Dental professionals who want more traffic to their websites, and more loyal patients, need to be putting serious effort into garnering more positive online reviews. With 90% of customers reporting that online reviews assisted with their buying decisions, not having reviews is detrimental to business, and too many negative reviews can be a death knell. These are the reasons why.
When searching for Google, patients are inundated with dentists and orthodontists, no matter which local areas they happen to be searching. With all that competition, given a choice between dentist A and dentist B, the professional with the most positive reviews will be more likely to win out. More reviews will give a local Google listing more stars, and that shiny profile is going to look mighty attractive to a patient looking for the highest level of dental care.
On the other hand, if a dentist or orthodontist is lacking in reviews or only has one or two stars, that Google profile may as well be invisible.
That means that dentists with a business strategy in place for earning more reviews are already ahead of the game. And, those without a strategy had better catch up if they hope to remain competitive. There is no more room for error in this area, as patients are more discerning of where they want to spend their hard-earned money.
Besides, no reviews or a string of negative reviews tend to convey that a business is stagnant or has issues, which doesn’t bode well for patients in the market for excellent dentistry.
Not only will more positive reviews help a dentistry profile stand out in Google (and on other platforms), but more reviews can contribute to higher rankings. In fact, software as a service (SaaS) company Moz conducted a survey that showed that online reviews make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank their search results.
With higher rankings, more attractive listings, and the ability to sway patients to calling or emailing to schedule an appointment, the solution is clear: More reviews are critical to a successful dental SEO strategy.
In most cases, by the time a prospective patient has read a dentist’s online reviews, they’ve already decided what services they want – such as braces or teeth whitening – and they’re now in the process of selecting the ideal provider.
What researchers have found is that when prospects start reading online reviews, they are ready to make a buying decision right there and then. Therefore, a dental professional’s online reputation can create a make or break moment by the time the search results populate on a prospect’s screen.
Sadly, many dentists believe that online reviews don’t matter, but the research proves otherwise. In fact, a study by BrightLocal showed that 85% of consumers read online reviews. And, 67% of consumers read 6 or fewer reviews before they form an opinion about any given business.
Another study showed that 90% of consumers claim that online reviews influence their buying decision, and 86% said that negative reviews inversely impacted their decision.
These studies highlight how important online reviews are for dentists and orthodontists who want more from their search engine optimization campaigns, as positive reviews build trust and lead to more patient conversions.
Most prospects searching for a dental professional are going to use a search engine like Google. Therefore, front desk staff should be asking each patient to leave a rating and review of the practice in Google first and foremost.
Of course, staff probably won’t want to encourage dissatisfied patients to leave their thoughts. Doing so might be counterproductive.
Still, each patient should be asked, but never ask for a positive review. Some platforms, like Yelp, discourage businesses from soliciting positive reviews, and will ban a listing if the business is found out.
The idea is to ask for authentic reviews, whether those reviews are positive or negative in nature. A mix of genuine reviews tends to appear more honest to prospects who may be searching for a dental professional in their area. If the practice is listed on more platforms, such as Yelp, give patients a list of sites to leave their reviews. The more diverse the review spread, the better the practice’s online reputation will appear.
Dental professionals can improve their online reputations by responding to each review that shows up online. Staff should respond to the reviews whether they are positive or negative.
If the review is positive, thank the patient for the feedback and encourage the person to schedule a follow-up appointment.
For negative reviews, ignoring the feedback won’t look good for the practice in question. A better strategy is to explain to the person that their feedback is appreciated, then ask the patient to get in touch with the front office so that their concerns can be addressed.
For dental professionals who are considering posting false reviews, don’t do it. A strategy like that can backfire, as online consumers (future patients) value transparency. Google also won’t take kindly if the practice is found to be misleading prospects. The dental practice could lose its rankings entirely, or face fines, such as these 19 companies who had to pay $350,000 for leaving fake reviews on Google, Yelp, and Yahoo; one of them a teeth whitening service.
To learn more about online reviews and how they can affect dental rankings in the search results, contact the SEO team at Millionairium by calling (310) 299-2799 or send an email to request a free consultation.
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