As anyone in the service industry can attest, there will always be someone who has something less than positive to say about their experience, and veterinarians know this better than anyone. Often, through no fault of your practice, a customer might look to blame your practice for a pet tragedy. The problem in today’s world is that these upset clients can post their complaints online for the whole world to see in countless forums, review sites, etc. As a veterinary practice, you likely want to get rid of this bad pr through an online reputation service as quickly and completely as possible. While this is a great first step in restoring your good name, Google warns that you choose very carefully, as manycompanies providing this service will use shady means to do so, and Google will discredit your website’s rank with worse consequences than the original bad review might have. Here’s more from Google:
“Google advises business owners to be wary of SEO and reputation management services that promise to generate reviews, and Google says it will take down fake “glowing testimonies”. The company also notes that it does not take down negative reviews for just being negative for anyone, and instead advises business owners to respond themselves. Google also says not to trust anyone who says they know how to remove reviews from Google” (WebProNews/Search, February 5, 2013).
Many reputation companies will tell you what you want to hear: that they can get rid of the bad press and create good press, but unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that a bad review will never be taken down just because, and a “glowing”, fake review created by the company or yourself will always be found out by Google. Even if creating fake reviews for your veterinary practice has worked in the past, as this information states, Google is making the research of reviews a top priority.
So what if Google finds out that you have unnatural reviews posted online? The ramifications extend far beyond just having the “glowing” review removed from yelp, citysearch, or wherever it may be posted. The bad reviews might become higher ranked in Google when people search for your practice or services online, so that it is the first thing that they see. Also, Google may probably discredit your practice’s website because of these shady tactics and push your website into Google search results oblivion (think Page 10 and beyond), and if you’ve never been discredited by Google before, you should know that Google doesn’t forgive easily, and could keep your website in algorithm oblivion no matter what you do.
The crux of the matter is that a bad reputation online (or even one bad review) does carry weight in the eyes of your prospective client, but the easy way out that many reputation companies take, will always be penalized eventually by Google, and the penalty will come down on your site, not the reputation company. This is why choosing the high road is the only way. What is this high road? Reacting to a bad review in a natural way; here are a few examples of the high road approach:
1. Respond to the negative review quickly and positively. By showing that you are invested in your clients’ experience, you show new clients that you are invested in them as well.
2. Be vigilant about what is being said about you and your practice online (VetNetwork offers veterinary reputation monitoring/management).
3. Encourage clients who have had a good experience at your practice to write reviews for your practice. The more positive reviews online (authentic reviews), the less weight a bad review will have in the eyes of a potential client.
Don’t have the time? VetNetwork always and only takes this high road approach to encouraging good reputations online for our clients. For veterinary website online reputation services that keep you in the good graces of both your potential clients and Google, give us a call.