Google Reviews are a simple request from patients that can make a significant difference to your presence in Google Search results. The how, what, and who to get those Reviews are discussed in this Physical Therapy Owners Club podcast episode with Tyler Ashworth of SaintCX, recorded from a recent FaceBook Live event with Nathan Shields from the Physical Therapy Owners Club FaceBook Group. They discuss how to effectively collect what is considered “modern-day word of mouth” while keeping a reputable online presence in the eyes of Google algorithms.
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Supercharging Your Online Presence Using Google Reviews With Tyler Ashworth Of SaintCX
In this episode, I’ve got Tyler Ashworth of SaintCX.com joining me. Thanks for joining me, Tyler. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me, Nathan. I’m super excited.
Your company is all about helping PT owners generate Google reviews right off the bat. Why should PT owners worry? Why should they care about getting Google reviews? What can it do for them?
Our company is focused on Google reviews and patient feedback. You can gather those privately and then publicly through Google reviews. As we were building Saint, we were looking into how we make sure that this makes sense for physical therapists and their practices, going through some of the stats. Google reviews have become what we’ve coined the term as modern-day word of mouth. A lot of physical therapists have grown their practices from word of mouth and getting their name out there through friends, family, and referrals.
What’s interesting is word of mouth is becoming a little bit less effective for my generation, the 18 to 34 age group. They’re relying more on Google reviews than on recommendations from friends or family. With that, Google reviews have become that much more important and organic growth of how quickly you show up on Google’s listings. You are gaining the trust of the people who are surfing the web, looking for your types of services.
I’ve got my ideas about it. When I owned my clinics, Google reviews were around but we didn’t worry about them too much. If I were a PT owner nowadays, I would because I know what it does for you. I know you’re going to share some data as to what it does for your SEO, Google’s online presence, and being on the first page.
A lot of PT owners think that their clinics might be immune to it, hopefully not but let’s be honest with each other. When you consider a place you’re going to go to, whether it’s a doctor’s office, a store, a new restaurant, or someplace you haven’t been to before, how many times out of ten are you checking them out on the website first? Even if it’s to get an address and a phone number, you’re going to check out their website.
If you’re going to Google for them, inevitably, their star rating’s going to show up. You want to see a good rating in the stars and how many people have rated them. It’s natural for anybody, even outside of that 18 or 34 demographic. They’re going to check you out online. They’re going to check your reviews and website to see exactly how you are, what you are, how you are, and what your presence is.
A couple of years ago, if you were to search for a physical therapist nearby, you’d only be able to see their reviews if you went to the map view. Google has seen how important reviews are when it comes to people’s decision-making so the Google search experience has changed. There in the forefront is the number of reviews that you have. It’s not in chronological order either. It’s reviews that they claim as most relevant. If you have a negative review that’s getting a lot of views from potential patients, that’s going to be there at the top.
Our goal is how we can help you bury that and make sure you’re taking care of that patient who had a bad experience but pushing that further down with consistent high-star reviews to make sure that your business is being represented properly. I don’t think any of us are out there to try to give a bad experience but it’s almost inevitable not to get at least a couple of bad reviews because some people are going to find a way to complain. It’s important to keep that in mind when thinking about reviews.
If someone were to do some consistent reviews or gather consistent reviews and good reviews, is there a threshold like a certain number of reviews they need to shoot for? For example, in one of my earlier episodes several years ago, I talked to someone about Google reviews and they said, “You got to hit at least 35 and more and start pushing past that to be somewhat relevant.” Maybe that number has changed. Maybe it’s the same. The second part of the question is, once you hit that threshold, what does that do for a company?
Thirty-five could do the trick. Now, it’s much easier to leave reviews. How many more people are doing it? Thirty-five would be considered very low, even if it’s all five-star reviews. What we’ve found, especially in the physical therapy space, is that if you can hit that 300 mark, you’re seen by Google as the most trusted local provider. Once you’ve reached that, it’s a little bit more smooth sailing but it’s also a double-edged sword because we’ve seen physical therapists who have hundreds of reviews but the last review they got was a year ago.
Google takes those things into account when accounting for how they’re going to rank you. They want to see a couple of things. They want to see high-star overall ratings. It’s better to have between a 4.7 to a 4.9 average star rating compared to a 5. Google takes that as more legitimate, which is interesting. A lot of people don’t realize the consistency of how often they are getting new reviews. Do they come in massive amounts all at once? Is it consistent? There are ways that you can pay for reviews. They’re watching out for that. The context of the review is making sure that it’s on brand with the service you provide. The fourth is if you’re responding to those reviews.
One of the biggest things that goes unaccounted for is making sure that when a patient leaves your review, whether positive or negative, you’re going on to your Google business listing and responding to those because Google takes that into account. The specific amount is 26% of your SEO ranking, which is how high you rank when someone searches for some of your key terms on Google. 26% percent of that is based on your Google reviews and those 4 specific metrics that went through.
You’ve worked with a number of physical therapy clinics already throughout the country. What has been the benefit? What are some of the results of increasing the number of Google reviews or having more recent Google steady reviews staying in that 4.7 to 4.9 range and responding? What are some of the results a clinic would expect for doing this work to get the reviews?
First and foremost, you’re running a business. You want to have your ear to the ground with how your patients are feeling about your overall practice and the experience they’re having. It helps bring up more concerns and give your patients more of a voice. You can pivot from there, like talking to your employees about how to properly do things. One of the first things is it helps you get a good understanding of where your practice stands as far as how people feel about you because there are times when patients might not voice their opinions. When you’re actively asking for their review and feedback, they’ll give that.
The second is that when you are consistently getting a couple of reviews every single week, you’ll start to see that. I’m here in the Park City Area in Utah. If someone goes to type in Physical Therapists Near Me or Park City Therapy, it’s not always the person who has the most reviews who will pop up first. Google will take a lot of those other things into consideration. If you’re getting consistent reviews, they’re a high star, and you’re responding to them, you’re going to start being listed higher than other ones who have five times as many reviews who got those several months ago.
On top of that, it can drop your customer acquisition cost. It’s such a cheaper way to find new patients. If you’re able to list up top and people are coming to your website and filling out a contact form or calling you that way, you spent a platform like Saint would cost you, which is going to be much less than running Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
Looking at your Google reviews, do you know how the rest of that 73% is broken down by chance?
Another massive part of it, and what I want to talk about a little bit, and I can transition into that, is your Google My Business listing. When you go and claim that, that’s the first step. Make sure you are claiming your business. When you do it, make sure that you do it under a new Google account. Don’t do it under your personal Gmail. Start a new Gmail account and open that up. It’s separated and that keeps it clean. 1) Your number of reviews, the consistency, and all that that I talked about. 2) Is your Google My Business listing accurate? Are the keywords you’re using tied to the services that you provide?
It’s called the NAP score. It’s Name, Address, and Phone number. If you have your name, address, and phone number on your Facebook account, website, Google My Business listing, Yelp, and on these different places, Google will look at all of those different locations. If one of those fields, whether it’s your name, address, or phone number doesn’t match up and there’s inconsistency, you instantly get dinged. Another 20% of how they determine their rankings is based on consistency across your NAP and the accuracy of your Google My Business listing as far as keywords go.
From there, it breaks down into your website. How many keywords do you have on your blogs or homepage? It breaks down into the lower percentages. 7% to 5% is the back links. How many people are backlinking to your website? How many links are you linking on your website? It is a deeper SEO. At least 50% to 60% of it is all the stuff that you can do on your own without having to hire an SEO expert and fully optimize your site, which is good news because SEO experts are expensive.
I’m glad you went into that because I would assume that buying Google Ads is going to rank you higher. That might be a smaller percentage than what I’m thinking. If you can have some consistency in name, address, and phone number, and you’re getting some consistent Google reviews, especially recent ones, and you’re responding to them, would you say you’re ahead of the pack typically?
Yeah, especially in the physical therapy space. This is going to be different for a technology or an eCommerce company. They have more employees to cover these things but for physical therapists, if you’re doing those simple things, you’re for sure going to be ahead of the pack. Google reviews can be helpful to the extent that you’re able to learn a lot about what people are searching for and what messaging seems to attract and resonate with your potential clients or patients. You can do a lot of this without having to spend money on Google Ads.Google reviews are helpful to resonate your message with potential clients without having to spend money on Google ads. Click To Tweet
When you’re asking for reviews, it doesn’t matter what they say. Are you looking for certain keywords, a number of letters, and words? Does it matter? How specific do they need to be on these reviews?
When patients are leaving reviews, it’s good to ask them, “Would you mind leaving us some feedback via review on the services you’ve been getting?” The more specific keywords they can provide as far as like, “I had a knee replacement. American Fork Physical Therapy has helped me,” that’s helpful. A patient can go on and leave a five-star review with no text. Google is going to weigh those much less than even a four-star review with more text and context behind what services they provide. When you’re asking for it, try to make it in an organic way of asking for them to give a little bit of context of why they left the review that they did because that can go a long way.
I was wondering about that. Are there certain reviews that, if you’ve got them, it doesn’t matter? Your reviews have to be some text behind it. There has to be some timeliness to it. Are there some reviews where this isn’t going to do us any good? Is it simply those that don’t have any text?
For those that don’t have any text, Google will also look if this person is leaving their review lives in Bangladesh and you’re giving services in Florida. There’s this probably paid for. It’s Google’s online world. We’re all living in it. They’re going to continue to change their algorithms here and there. Our job is to help physical therapists do what they do best. We can help them to make sure their business is staying relevant through Google reviews and patient feedback.
Are you seeing those people who are acquiring more Google reviews? Maybe the first step is that they’re moving up on that page and getting to the first page of physical therapists near me or physical therapy in X city? Are you seeing that starting to translate into more referrals or self-referrals that come across Google searches?
It’s hard to track that number. People can fill out a form where they can call the phone number. The fact is it is moving up your Google of which page you’re listed on. Once you’re starting to get consistent reviews, it’s a quick move over a couple of weeks or months, which is fast in the Google world to start moving up. A lot of people want instant results. That is the benefit of Google ads and Facebook ads paying for Google Ads.
If you bid the highest on those specific keywords, you will be placed at the top no matter what but you use pay-per-click. Organic Google growth takes a little time but once you have it, it’s hard to lose it. It’s like a well-oiled machine. Once you have it running, it continues to play to your benefit. Another thing I was going to add to one of the questions you asked previously was the benefits that PTs are seeing from this. Something that a lot of people wouldn’t have thought of as a benefit to consistent, high-star-rated Google reviews is when it comes to hiring.
I met with a physical therapy practice. There are two guys who’ve been running it for several years. They’re starting to bring on their replacements or some younger physical therapists who got out of school. It was interesting to talk to some of these younger PTs about their experience of why they ended up choosing to go with this specific practice over another.
They mentioned that they looked at Google reviews and Glassdoor. Eighty-six percent of employees and job seekers will research reviews on a business to determine if they even want to apply. When it comes to attracting top-tier talent, a great front receptionist, or whatever role you’re trying to fill, it is becoming more common for people to look at those reviews and take that into account because they can say a lot about the business.
I started the interview by saying, “People who are looking for physical therapy are going to be looking at your website.” It’s the same thing with those people who are looking for work or if you’re trying to recruit somebody, even if they’re not necessarily looking but you’re trying to recruit them. You’re doing that through student internships or trying to recruit recent graduates or people through LinkedIn and Indeed. One of the first things they’re going to do is check out your website and see what you’re all about.
In this industry, people are relying heavily on partnerships with other doctors but that still can be a big part of your growth and consistency in attracting new patients. They’re also going to look at Google reviews. If you’re our referral partner and you’re being referred a bunch of people, and you have bad reviews, that’s going to come and be taken into account because these other referral partners want to make sure they’re referring to the best practice possible and who has a good reputation.
Maybe this isn’t your niche but you have some insight into it. What are your recommendations for people who are looking at Google Ads? I don’t think that’s what you guys necessarily work in that space but what are your recommendations for people who are considering, “I should spend some money on Google Ads?” Do you have any insight on that?
I come from a marketing background. If someone’s interested, they can reach out to us. We can help get them in contact with the right people. If you’re looking at Google Ads, don’t go into it hoping to spend $5 a day for a month and see crazy results. You need to have probably around $2,500 to $5,000 set aside to say, “I’m going to spend this over the course of the next 2 to 3 months. If it goes well, I’ll continue to feed it. If not, I’m going to stop it.”
The hard thing with Google Ads is turning them on and off. You have one good month and you decide to turn them off for a month. Google is looking for consistency. Their algorithms are also changing on the ad side. I would recommend finding not a huge agency. You could even go onto Fiverr or Upwork. You could find good Google Ads experts overseas who do good work for cheap but have goals behind it. You need to know what distinguishes you from the other physical therapists.
Maybe a couple of streets down, whether that’s your mission and vision, specific types of exercises you do, or your ability to help them get the majority of it paid for by their insurance. Whatever that might be, make sure to express that in the language that you use on Google Ads. That’s what’s going to help you stand out and drive your ad strategy. The worst thing you can do is throw money at the wall and see what sticks, especially if money is tight. A lot of these large tech companies can do that but it’s different in the medical service space. Those are some of my initial thoughts.
I love your insight there because a lot of physical therapists think, “I should do some Google Ads.” One of the first questions that Google marketers are going to ask is, “What’s your budget?” You answered that right there. Set aside a good chunk of change of $5,000 to $6,000 and commit to it for a period to make sure that its legs get some traction.
Having those parameters is huge to let physical therapists or owners know that you have to have a budget. It’s going to be a few thousand dollars. It’s going to take an amount of time before you even see some results. Know what KPIs you’re specifically looking at. Asking at the front desk where you heard about us is going to be a big part of that. If you don’t have some backend systems in place to find out where they heard about you, it’s not going to matter too much.
I was going to say, “Have goals and know your numbers. What is your customer acquisition cost normally? How much are you willing to pay for an acquisition? Know your lifetime value.” Those are numbers that if you know well will help your Google ads be that much more effective. Those are numbers that you plug in that Google can work around and optimize your ads based on.
What else can you share with us about Google reviews? Have we covered it all?
I don’t think you can ever cover everything with Google reviews but let’s see what else I have. It’s something that can’t be like a diet, where it’s on and off again. Google reviews are something that needs to be ingrained in your practice’s daily routine. When you hand off a patient to the front desk for them to set their next appointment, make sure that you ask them, “Would you mind leaving us a Google review? We appreciate it.”
As far as some tips and tricks, when it comes to asking for Google reviews, it is the following. When asking for reviews, they found that if you phrase it as more of a favor than them doing you a favor, it can build trust. They feel like you trust them as a patient. They’re helping you as a business by leaving a review. If you can frame it in a natural way as them doing you a favor by doing something simple like leaving a Google review, that can be effective.
The other thing is making sure that you’re giving them the reason why. Using the word because is important and this goes beyond asking for reviews. If you’re handing someone off to the front desk agent, you say, “We appreciate you coming in. We hope it helped out, whatever your feeling might be. We respect your opinion and feedback so we’d love for you to leave us a Google review if you wouldn’t mind. That would be a huge benefit to our business.” By phrasing like that, you’re going to see a lot of success organically with people going home and leaving your review.
If you can build systems behind that to where it helps automate that process, which is where sync can come and help, it exponentially helps the actual chance of them leaving a review. The things I would touch on are the way you phrase the question and how you approach the task of asking for Google reviews and feedback, for that matter. Those little tips of framing as a favor and using the word because can help with your success right there.
What are some of those backend processes that you found have worked well and for one prior interview, he would hand business cards over? He had a QR code on the business card. They could simply click on that link, type away, and put the star in it. Business cards are enough. With the QR codes, is that what you’ve found has been successful?
QR codes can be a great first step. You don’t just want to take them to your Google business listing because they still have to dig to find your review link. You want to make it as easy as possible. You are like, “We value your feedback. Would you please do us a favor and leave us a review?” Here’s the easiest way to do so. It’s not going to take more than fifteen seconds out of your day because the last thing you want to do is create a job or another task for this person who’s already busy to go and do it. The best thing is to ask for a favor that’s super easy to do.QR codes are a great first step in inviting clients to give you reviews. You don’t want to take them to your Google My Business listing and have them dig deep just to find your review link. Click To Tweet
QR codes can help. You can dig for it. If you google how to find my Google Business link or my Google Business Review link, it’ll help give you that exact link. It takes them directly to there. We’ve built our platform off of text because people read their text messages. We’ve been giving someone a card that they didn’t have to open up their camera, scan it, and click on that link. It is a little bit harder than, “I got a text,” open that up and click the link that way.
Where does sync come in in that process? Do they help set up those backend systems and also track how the reviews are going?
There are a lot of CRMs or EMS systems that try to send out Google reviews through email. They first ask for their feedback on how likely it’d be to refer the business to a friend. Based on how they rate, they’ll send them a Google review link. There’s some automation behind that. We’ve tried to keep Saints extremely simple. Anyone in your office could do it. They could log on to Saint and have it as a tab on the browser as people are checking in and out or go onto their phone and quickly put in someone’s name and phone number. It sends them the link they need.
There’s no specific automation. We didn’t want to tie into a specific CRM. The reason why I’m getting more into the benefits of Saint is I’ve worked in the text messaging space for a long time for a couple of different companies. It is so scary pressing the send button when you’re sending out a text to 1,500 cold past patients, cold leads, or even 20 people. It’s nerve-wracking because you don’t want to send the wrong thing to many people and not have a way to undo it. Once it’s in their inbox, it’s there forever.
We wanted this to be more intentional and part of your daily routine and more intentional in the sense of contextual, like, “You received service from us. We worked with you. Leave us a review.” It’s right then and there, rather than relying on your CRM to be perfectly up to date. If one of those fields that you’re running this automation off of is wrong, it can cause problems. It might take time. They might send it at the end of the day when, contextually, their mind is way past the good service they received.
If you can ask at the right time, with it fresh in their minds, you’re going to get a longer review with more of those keywords, which we talked about. Google takes it into account as better reviews and it will help your SEO. There is a better response rate overall. I would come in here, put in your name, Nathan, put in your number, and click send.If you can ask clients to leave you a review while their experience is fresh in their minds, you will get longer and keyword-rich testimonials. Click To Tweet
The setup process of Saint is also easy. If you put in your business information, you type out your text message right here. “Hi, name,” which is the name I typed in. Thanks for choosing the business name and the format that I talked about before. “We value your feedback. Would you please do us a favor and take a moment to write us a review in the link below?”
It automatically attaches your logo and gives them that link. It’s super slick. When you come back here to your dashboard, you can see how many reviews you’ve received. It would show how many reviews you’re at. You can go to the invitations page and see who opened it and who didn’t. Who do I need to follow up with? That is the Saint’s plugs in. It’s not going to be tied to any of your systems. It’s an easy setup where you can come in and start finding value from it.
I can see where the front desk or even the back office is. You might have this tab open at all times. If someone says, “I’m feeling great. My shoulder is doing this. I’m doing this for the first time in months. I have a lot less pain,” you are like, “Would you mind leaving a Google review for us?” If they say yes, you go into this tab, put in their name and phone number, and it’s done. They can do it while they’re sitting on ice.
The perfect opportunity is towards the end when they’re cooling off. They’re probably going to be on their phones anyway, surfing social media. We have a feedback tool. The link that is texted to them sends them to a landing page where it says, “Do you want to leave a review or feedback?” That’s important because some people want to leave a review but they also have feedback that they’d like to leave privately.
Giving them the option to do both helps kill two birds with one stone. Any of the feedback that comes in would come in through here. It’s like, “I enjoy working with Brian and would prefer to be notified before my appointment if he’s not available that day.” I don’t know how common that is but I hope you get the picture of where feedback can come into play.
You don’t necessarily want them to give that feedback as a Google review, not that it’s negative per se but they want to tell you without leaving it on Google.
We want to keep it simple and affordable. We know that there are margins. At times, it can be slim in the PT space. High-end, expensive software sometimes isn’t in the picture. We wanted to make sure that this was affordable, easy to use, and something you could get value in the day after you start and sign up.
If people want to reach out and talk to you about Saints and Google reviews, how can they get in touch with you?
You could email me directly at [email protected] or go to our website, SaintCX.com. Put in your name and number on that scheduled demo. We’ll get you scheduled with me or my business partner, Jason. We can get you set up from there. It usually takes 1 day or 2 to get all the information you need for me to get a phone number set up. You’re rolling and we’ll give free training. One thing that we’re throwing in for our partners and audiences is if you don’t have a Google business listing, we’ll help you set that up for free. We want to help you be successful and see benefits from it right off the bat.
I can see that might be a huge benefit, especially for new clinics getting off the ground. They need to be set up on Google My Business and make sure that everything is set up correctly across different websites and domains regarding name, address, and phone number. Have that portal immediately for newer clients and patients at a new clinic to start posting that feedback.
If you’re franchising and you open up another location, it’s got to have a separate Google My Business listing. You have to get reviews up there quickly. One of the best things you can do is have those separated and know a lot of people have it under the same umbrella but separate that. It is something Google takes into account. They were like, “These guys are legit. They have multiple locations. Both locations have a lot of reviews.” It plays a big role.
Thanks for taking the time to share. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having us, Nathan. I appreciate you.
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