Incentives are attractive. So attractive that people are posting “fake” online reviews just to score something… even if it’s just a couple of bucks or a discount on services. Although it sounds harmless enough, each of these insincere commenters are adding to a rating that just isn’t real.

Yelp Aims to Keep It Real

Since Yelp wants to remain a trustworthy resource, they’re cracking down. Who wants to see a bunch of pleasant comments only to walk in the door and realize they’re obviously in the wrong place? If you know what you’re looking for and confirm a decision to switch to a new doctor based on others experiences, you need to be sure that your source is legit. Though opinions found on Yelp aren’t as helpful as personal word-of-mouth references, they’re as close as you’re going to get.

Don’t Try to Cheat Your Way to the Stars

When it comes to gaining popularity online, organic marketing has become such a key. Combined with SEO, reviews from online directories such as Yelp and Google are the best way to get attention and increase your number of patients. Racking up reviews is the tough part. While it used to seem perfectly acceptable to coax people into leaving a review, these days that’s purely deceptive behavior.

• Don’t associate yourself with the phony Yelpers. You know you’re better than that and completely able to score helpful reviews without bribing people for them. If you have 11 real and useful reviews, it’s better than having 120 fake ones with zero substance and believability. Plus, you’ll save your conscious mind something to worry about.

• The reputation you build online is bound to follow you for the life of your business (and possibly beyond). Make every step you take towards a better search rank an honest step and the payback will come.

Don’t Obsess Over Reviews

It’s obvious that reviews are a big deal in online marketing efforts. But just as good reviews can help grow your business, bad ones can have the opposite effect. With Yelp’s new efforts to keep search clean, the bad guys are going to be picked out in no time. That right there will be a helpful step up for the honest ones like you.

If you feel like you’re constantly worried about not getting enough reviews, remind yourself to relax. Things that happen naturally often take a lot more time than those that are coerced into action. Chill out and focus (or obsess) on your patients and your practice and the rest will follow.