Online Reputation

Reputation is everything to a dental office. If, for whatever reason, patients feel they can’t trust you, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

Word of mouth used to be hugely important in establishing the credibility of a business, particularly small businesses such as dental practices. In the digital world, your reputation is now judged largely online, and comments on review platforms play a major role in how your office is perceived.

Online reviews are crucial to your reputation because they’re likely to be seen by most individuals in your locality looking for a new dentist. And they’ll judge your practice on the basis of these evaluations. Reviews are perceived as trustworthy and unbiased because they come from a genuine source – your patients.

Research tells us that the vast majority of people give the same weight to online reviews as personal recommendations, and seven in ten will trust a local business more if it gets good reviews.

Expanding Your Reach with Reviews

Growing your profile of online reviews will showcase your status as a reputable practice to an increasing number of potential patients. It expands your reach because building your online reviews is a highly effective and affordable strategy in search engine optimization (SEO).

A strong presence on online platforms can boost your practice’s visibility in major search engines like Google, and achieve better results in attracting new business than conventional marketing.

Unique, quality content is vital to get the attention of search engines, and that’s what your patients are creating when they write reviews of your practice – more valuable content that can be tracked and indexed, which means more people heading the way of your office via your dental website.

Ways to Strengthen Your Reputation Through Online Reviews

A solid online reputation goes in hand in hand with a strong presence among online review sites, and there are various ways to achieve this:

  • Get more positive reviews.
  • Mitigate the effect of negative reviews.
  • Deal with fake reviews.
  • Make sure reviews are fresh.
  • Claim your profile on review sites.

Increasing Review Volume

To build your online reviews, you need to make it as easy as possible for patients to leave reviews.

Remind them they can give you feedback in the testimonials section of your own website, and suggest review platforms such as Google My Business (GMB), Healthgrades and Yelp. Include requests for reviews when you message patients after an appointment, and encourage your team to ask for reviews.

Research indicates that about 70 percent of your patients are likely to publish a review of your office if you ask them to. And the same number of your potential patients will be browsing online reviews as they search for a new dentist.

To reflect the true feelings of your patients, you need as many of them as possible to post reviews. Otherwise there’s a risk that most feedback will come from unhappy or even resentful patients.

Countering Negative Reviews

It’s easy to get upset about negative reviews and maybe dismiss them, especially if you feel they aren’t justified. However, you can’t afford to ignore adverse comments. Doing so may give the impression you don’t take your patients’ opinions seriously.

Responding to a disparaging review gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities in resolving problems and that you care about what your patients think.

For example, if a reviewer seems to have a valid grievance, you can enhance your online showing how you’re taking steps to address the particular issue.

You needn’t worry too much about negative reviews damaging SEO. As well as algorithms, Google uses human quality evaluators when assessing content, and according to them a few negative reviews are “completely normal and expected”.

Dealing with Fake Reviews

If negative reviews are distressing, fake negative reviews can make your blood boil, and they can be a big problem because it’s tricky to deal with them.

You can flag an untruthful defamatory review on Google, for instance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be removed. And Google doesn’t insist that reviews are by actual patients.

Nevertheless, you still have the right to respond to a fake review. This presents an opportunity to highlight the values of your practice and your emphasis on excellent patient care.

Keeping Reviews Fresh

Prospective patients look more to recent review posts than old ones. According to research, 70 percent of consumers ignore reviews more than 90 days old.

Keeping reviews fresh also feeds search engines. Just as a steady stream of new content on your dental blog helps search engine optimization, so do new reviews posted on a regular basis.

These reviews provide an ongoing influx of new content for search engines to digest, and all the better if these reviews are appearing on authoritative sites.

Claiming Your Profile

Unlocking your business page and completing your profile on highly ranked review sites allows you to build your reviews and enhance your online reputation. It enables you to monitor feedback and respond to it in a way that increases confidence in your practice. This dialogue may also inspire further reviews from patients.

Claiming and filling out profiles on various sites can be tedious but it’s worth it. It gives you more control in how your reputation is perceived online, and in most cases, it costs you nothing except your time.

Google My Business and some other review sites will email you when a new review is published, so you can respond to it immediately.

How to Get Expert Help with Your Online Reviews and Reputation

First impressions are all important and online review sites are often the first place potential patients go to when considering the merits of various dental practices. They do this because they value the opinions of real people like themselves – other dental patients.

If you can demonstrate through online reviews that your patients are getting a high standard of dental care and great customer service, prospective patients will know they can put their faith in your reputation.

Contact DentalROI if you need help to improve your online reputation by building your online reviews. Our services include dental reputation management and SEO, and software solutions such as automated review requests.