When potential patients do a Google search for a dentist near them they will almost always see a 3-pack of local map results atop the search results. If they click the “more places” link at the bottom of the 3-pack it opens up all of the local map listings and the user is greeted with a long list of potential options.
For prospective patients, these reviews are incredibly valuable. First, if you have reviews, it speaks to the fact that you have a lot of patients, which is a sign that you’re a known quantity and trusted by a lot of locals who rely on you for their oral health needs. Secondly, the quality scores in the reviews give a quick impression of what your patients think about your services. If I were Jamboree Dental in this listing, I’d feel pretty darn good about how our reviews look compared to the competition. I mean, if you were a potential patient, who would you trust from this list?
In truth, there may not be that much difference in the services offered by the practices above, but perception matters, and you can really make a strong first impression if you actively manage the reviews for your practice on Google and other popular sites.
How do dentists get more online reviews?
This might seem too simple of an answer, but the key here is to simply ask for reviews. Of course, you need a system for asking, but if you don’t ask you’ll end up with few listings and an inordinate amount of negative ones. Most people aren’t motivated to leave positive reviews, but you can bet your bottom dollar that an unhappy patient will want to share their story.
Here are a few smart methods that can be utilized to increase your reviews.
- Set up a laptop terminal for patients. After your patients have received their swag bag make sure your staff asks them to leave a review at the terminal you’ve provided. You can bookmark your Google local page so all they need to do is sign in, leave a review and sign out. It’s smart to make a notice telling people to be sure to sign out so no one else can access their information. Alternatively, you can also use the terminal to supply reviews to other sites like Facebook or Healthgrades.
- Give patients a flyer with an easy to use URL to leave a review. You can use your shortname from Google My Business to make this as easy as possible.
- Use email follow-ups or your newsletter. These won’t convert nearly as well as getting people as they walk out the door after a successful visit, but you can still get some passive reviews by sending out follow up emails to patients and asking people to leave reviews if you do a periodic newsletter.
Why do I need to get online reviews?
Beyond the concept of sticking out from the crowd, actively working to get a steady stream of reviews serves a couple of important purposes. First, it helps you bury negative reviews. In a perfect world, every patient goes home happy, but that’s just not reality. No business really makes every customer five stars happy, but if you can keep your score closer to a five than a four the average consumer is going to believe you offer high-quality service. Second, a steady stream of reviews is a ranking signal to Google. There are only so many ways Google can figure out how popular a business is, but a consistent flow of reviews shows that people are in fact using you as their dentist, giving them more reason to rank you above places who aren’t getting reviews as frequently.
Have more questions about SEO or reviews?
Our team has over a decade of experience providing SEO for dentists and we’re happy to lend you our expertise as far as getting more reviews for your office or improving your overall SEO. Give us a call at 877.204.0234 or fill out our contact form to get in touch.