2012 Local Consumer Review Survey Shows Doctor Reputation Management Is Crucial

May 9, 2012
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Earlier this year BrightLocal surveyed 4,500 local consumers in the United States, Canada, and the UKto explore exactly how users were using the Internet for local searches and the impact reviews had on their behaviors.  Yesterday, Search Engine Land posted the second wave of the survey that explored the types of businesses consumers were searching for and the importance of “reputation” for different

Earlier this year BrightLocal surveyed 4,500 local consumers in the United States, Canada, and the UKto explore exactly how users were using the Internet for local searches and the impact reviews had on their behaviors.  Yesterday, Search Engine Land posted the second wave of the survey that explored the types of businesses consumers were searching for and the importance of “reputation” for different businesses.

Doctor and Dentist Searches On the Rise

When asked what type of businesses people searched for on the Internet in 12-month period, dentists and doctors rounded out the top five searches behind hotels, general shops, and clothing shops.  However, doctors and dentists saw the largest growth in search, seeing a six percent increase in searches since the 2010 survey.

Local Consumer Review Survey 2012 - Chart 1

More Consumers Are Reading Doctor and Dentist Online Reviews

Seeing an 11 percent increase from the 2010 data the survey found that more people are reading online customer reviews for doctors and dentists.  Aside from restaurants and cafés, doctors and dentists were the only other business type to see a growth in online review reading over the last two years.  Additionally the survey revealed that most consumers read between two and 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business.

Local Consumer Review Survey 2012 - Chart 2a

Reputation Matters

In comparison to the 2010 data, the 2012 numbers are slightly down (this may be due to small sample size); however, it was clear that when it comes to online reputation, 27 percent of those surveyed said reputation mattered most when choosing a doctor or dentist.  The top three reputation traits, all of which saw growth over the 2010 data, were most important to consumers were:

  • Reliability
  • Value
  • Accreditations

Doctor Takeaways

Increase Your Online Presence:  More people are using the Internet to find a doctor or dentist in their area.  Increasing your online presence can help set you apart from another doctor or dentist in your region.  This doesn’t mean you should go build 10 new websites, it simply means you need to start thinking about more online properties such as Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, HealthGrades, and the like.

Keep Reviews Fresh:  Review consumption is up, but consumers are reading fewer reviews overall.  This suggests consumers are more savvy when it comes to online reviews and are able to form an opinion faster.  In order to stand out in today’s local search space it is more crucial than ever to manage your reputation and ensure that your online listings feature current reviews about your practice, be it good or bad.

Therefore, with consideration to the information I have provided, be sure to encourage patients to review your practice on Google Places or Yelp if they are happy with their experience.

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