Online review sites give people the opportunity to share their opinions about local businesses with their family, friends and larger web communities. It’s kind of like bring word-of-mouth advertising away from the water cooler and amplifying the message across the Internet. With that type of potential reach, it’s no secret that online reviews can seriously affect your business.
A number of websites allow patients to post reviews of your practice on their site. The main online review sites are Google, Facebook and Yelp. If you don’t have accounts on those sites, we’d recommend setting them up. If you’re not sure if you have an account, search your practice on Google to see if you already have Google, Facebook or Yelp listing. You can claim your listing on Google My Business and Yelp by following the instructions on the page. If you have a Facebook account set up but don’t have access, contact the administrator of the page to request that they give you access.
The type of review varies but most let users write some text about their experience, as well as give you a rating. For example, Google offers a 5-star rating system, which shows up in local search engine results.
So why should you bother getting online reviews? You need online patient reviews for two reasons: to convert potential patients into new patients and to improve your Google ranking, so your business shows up at the top of a Google search.
Choosing the right dentist is important and getting an endorsement from a family member or friend has a big impact on a new patient’s decision. Online reviews can complement or replace personal referrals and they can be accessed more quickly and easily.
In fact, many consumers say online reviews can be just as valuable as personal recommendations. Search Engine Land reports that 72% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
Google knows that feedback from customers is extremely valuable to someone when choosing a dentist.
When a dental practice has a wide selection of customer reviews, that practice is ranked higher. A survey of leading search experts shows customer reviews and social activity account for about 16% of the information Google considers when ranking a business. (http://moz.com/blog/local-search-ranking-factors-2013) This makes getting reviews an essential part of the picture when you want to improve your ranking in search engines.