Google reviews play a pivotal role in shaping the reputation — and ultimately the success — of modern therapy practices.
Case in point? A recent survey reveals that 63% of consumers (yes, more than half) check Google reviews before visiting a local business for the first time.
If prospective clients see too many lackluster ratings on your profile, it’ll be much harder to get them through the door. On the flipside, a higher percentage of glowing Google reviews will increase trust and even help you win over more private pay clients.
Potentially even more important? Practices with many positive reviews are more likely to show up at the top of Google!
Google reviews are clearly important. But that begs the question: what can you do to ensure your practice maintains a positive reputation and a steady stream of reviews?
In this complete guide to Google reviews for therapists, we’ll discuss the secret to 5-star ratings. We’ll also talk about how to manage and grow your online reputation like a true theraprenuer.
Table of Contents
Google Reviews for Therapists: Laws and Regulations
Disclaimer: The content presented on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Consult with a qualified attorney for advice regarding any specific legal situation or matter.
Before we go further, let’s briefly touch on the laws and regulations surrounding what therapists can and can’t do when it comes to online reviews.
Although specific laws vary by jurisdiction, most states borrow rules from the American Psychological Association (APA) and American Counseling Association (ACA).
Here’s what the ACA has to say about soliciting reviews from clients:
“Counselors who use testimonials do not solicit them from current clients, former clients, or any other persons who may be vulnerable to undue influence.“
But wait — there’s more. If you do receive a review from a client, you cannot respond in a way that suggests you’ve worked together. It’s client confidentiality and HIPAA 101 — you may not disclose information suggesting the provision of health care.
So, when replying to a review, you’ll want to be vague. Saying “thank you for this thoughtful review” is fine. Saying “I enjoyed working with you” is not.
We’ll go more in-depth on replying to reviews in a moment. For now, keep these considerations in mind as we move forward through this guide on Google reviews for therapists.
How To Get 5-Star Google Reviews as a Therapist
Legal jargon out of the way, let’s discuss how to actually get 5-star Google reviews for therapists.
Step 1. Set Up Your Google Business Profile
The first step to getting Google reviews for therapists is setting up a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business).
What’s a Google Business Profile, you ask? A Google Business Profile (GBP for short) is a listing within the search giant’s local business directory.
Before you can start earning reviews, you must establish your business on the platform.
Fortunately, getting started with a Google Business Profile couldn’t be easier. Simply go to the GBP website and enter your practice’s details. Fill out as much information as you can — including your location, hours of operation, and a general overview of your services — and submit it to the search giant for indexing.
Within a few days, your GBP will begin showing up in Google searches. And, it’ll feature a section showing your current reviews (if any) as well as a place for people to leave reviews.
Step 2. Ask Your Professional Network for Reviews
Now that you’re set up, it’s time to start securing your first reviews!
You may be restricted from directly asking your clients for reviews. But what about your professional network?
You probably have a ton of contacts from school, internships, and agency work. And I bet many of them would be more than happy to write a glowing review for your profile.
If you’re a social butterfly, you probably have this step covered. For the more introverted out there, let’s break this down step-by-step:
1. Prepare a list of contacts (email and LinkedIn are the perfect place to find these contacts) that may be willing to write you a review.
2. Go to your GBP dashboard, and head to the reviews tab. There, you’ll see a link that — when clicked — prompts users to write a review for your business. Copy that link and prepare it for the next step.
3. Write a generic outreach message explaining the situation (a paragraph or two is fine). You’ve launched a Google Business Profile for your practice, and you’re looking for reviews. Include the link at the end of your message as a clear call to action.
4. Send your message out to all of your contacts, adding a small personal touch for each person on the list.
Before long, you should see a trickle of reviews come pouring in. Since these are personal connections, they should all come in as 5-star reviews, giving you a quick and easy boost to your search engine rankings.
Step 3. Add Calls to Action on Your Website & in Your Email Signature
At this point, you should have your GBP set up and an incoming stream of positive Google reviews headed your way. Excellent!
Now, let’s make it easy for clients to leave you reviews.
I know what you’re thinking: wait a second… didn’t you just say that you can’t ask clients for reviews?
Yes, that’s correct. You can’t directly ask for reviews. But you can make it easy for clients to leave reviews at their leisure, and you can leave calls to actions in conspicuous places where your clients regularly look, such as on your website and in your email signature.
So, that’s exactly what you should do!
Remember that link you shared with your professional network? Copy it once more, and paste it somewhere on your website — ideally on the contact page. Make sure to wrap the link in a clear call to action that doesn’t directly ask for a review. Something like Leave a Review is perfect.
You should also do the same in your email signature. Instructions for adding an email signature vary depending on which email provider you choose, but the general format remains the same.
Managing Google Reviews for Therapists
Now that you have Google reviews coming in, you need to manage them. Let’s talk about the different ways you can do so in a legal and ethical manner.
1. Keep an Eye on Your Google Business Profile
The most important step to managing your Google reviews is to keep an eye on them! Be sure to visit your Google Business Profile regularly, and keep email notifications for new reviews on.
Unsure how to turn notifications on? It’s easy! Just click the three right dots in the top right of your GBP dashboard. Then click the “Notifications” tab and slide the “Customer Reviews” toggle on.
2. Respond to Reviews Promptly, Warmly, and Without Disclosing Personal Information
Once you get a review — be it positive or negative — you’ll want to respond promptly, within a day or two.
This isn’t just for the reviewer’s sake. By responding promptly, you’re also showing prospective clients that you respect and respond well to feedback. This is essential, as 89% of consumers regularly read business owner responses to online reviews.
In general, you’ll want to respond warmly, using kind language that conveys empathy and compassion.
The tricky part? If the reviewer is a client, you’ll need to leave out information that divulges your connection. Otherwise, you risk violating HIPAA laws.
Here are some examples of how to respond to positive and negative Google reviews in a warm yet ambiguous way.
Positive Response Example
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! I’m committed to providing the best experience for everyone. Your feedback is genuinely helpful and appreciated.
Negative Response Example
Thank you for bringing these concerns to my attention. I am sorry to hear about your experience but grateful for your willingness to share it.
3. Reach Out to Reviewers in Private
Just because you can’t be personal in your reviews doesn’t mean you can’t reach out in private!
It’s a great idea to reach out and thank your therapy clients for positive reviews. That personal touch will mean a lot to them, and it may even increase referrals in the future.
Reaching out to those who leave negative reviews is just as — if not more — important. It’s a chance for you to dig deeper into what the problem was and maybe even prompt the reviewer to change their ratings.
While you should refrain from outright asking negative reviewers to change their ratings, a positive enough experience often leads to that same outcome.
Google Reviews for Therapists: Leveraging Your Reviews
Alongside increasing your search engine optimization and encouraging Google users to give your practice a try, your reviews — both positive and negative — present a number of growth opportunities for you and your practice. Here are a few ways you can leverage your reviews for even greater results.
1. Post Google Reviews on Your Website
First off, we don’t advise using or reposting someone’s Google review without their permission, even when it’s for your business. That’s a legal gray area. But there’s nothing stopping you from asking non-client reviewers if you can use their reviews on your website.
Nine times out of ten, the answer will be a resounding yes.
Once you’ve obtained permission, post the review on your site for people to see! Everyone loves a sneak peak into the experiences of others, and these positive reviews can influence prospective clients to reach out (a recent study shows that 91% of millennials trust website reviews as much as classic mouth-to-mouth testimonials).
Where on your site should you add these reviews? Consider sprinkling them across several pages: on your home page, service page, even your contact page. Better yet, include several of them in a website slider, and your visitors can scroll through many at once.
2. Use Reviews in Your Marketing Materials
Including positive reviews in your marketing materials is another great way to show social proof and entice would-be clients to give your practice a try.
Consider adding positive review snippets into physical marketing materials such as fliers and brochures. A snippet or two can make a huge impact and call people to action.
You can also include them in your digital marketing materials. Add them to your social posts, in your newsletters, even in your email signature. Don’t go overboard by showing too many positive reviews (that can have the opposite effect and turn clients away), but do include a fair few where you think they’ll work well.
3. Incorporate Review Feedback Into Your Private Practice
Ultimately, the best way to get more 5-star Google reviews for counselors and therapists is to deliver an outstanding experience for your clients. A great way to deliver a positive experience is to incorporate reviews and feedback, and grow as a mental health practitioner.
That’s right — your reviews aren’t just for marketing. You should read and genuinely take into mind the thoughts laid out by your reviewers. They can give you fantastic insights into where you excel and what you might be able to improve for similar clients in the future.
Final Thoughts on Google Reviews for Therapists
Google reviews have become an essential consideration for mental health professionals aiming to thrive in the digital landscape.
The strategic utilization of Google reviews goes beyond mere testimonials; it becomes an integral part of your therapy practice’s growth and client engagement strategy.
By understanding its impact, implementing effective strategies to obtain reviews, and leveraging those reviews, therapists can create a dynamic online presence that resonates with clients.
If you need support along the way, feel free to reach out to the team here at Kindpages. We’d be happy to help you acquire and manage Google reviews for your practice.