July 17, 2017
by Jackson Hadley, My Social Practice
When people in your city search Google for “dentists near me,” is your practice among the first results? Reviews play a critical role in determining your search ranking, and ultimately, where prospective patients decide to go.
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that I try not to be anecdotal. But today, I thought I might break that rule to tell you about an experience I had with Google reviews that has strong parallels to what your potential patients go through when searching for a new dentist.
I recently bought a new home that needed some paint work done before I moved in. First, I asked family and friends (many through social media) if they had any recommendations on who I should hire to do it — if there was any company they had a particularly good experience with, or anyone to avoid. After getting a few ideas, I decided to also do my own research online.
Like virtually everyone does, I started with Google. By simply searching “painters near me,” I got a list of businesses in my city that might be able to meet my needs. They were presented to me in order based on proximity, number of Google reviews, and overall review score. As I looked through the results, I was surprised by how few reviews there were for many of the companies. However, because of their reviews, there were a couple options that clearly stood out from the rest. I called them that same day and scheduled appointments. One actually ended up giving me the best bid on the job!
After all my online and offline research, phone calls, and asking family and friends, what ultimately determined the company I went with? Google reviews.
You Can’t Afford to Ignore Google Reviews
I’m confident in saying that my search for a painter, and the role Google reviews played in it, mirrors the experience a large number of your potential patients have when finding a dentist. Now, over 90 percent of consumers use online reviews to research local businesses, and 84 percent trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Additionally, consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more on products and services from businesses that have excellent reviews — which for dentists, means greater case acceptance.
As obvious as the importance of Google reviews is, it’s baffling to me how few dental teams put any effort into acquiring them. Perhaps it’s just not something they’re thinking about, or it seems too difficult. But for the practices that do make getting patient reviews an organized team effort, it’s a golden opportunity to build a reputation as their city’s premier dental care provider.
How does your practice stack up on Google against your local competition? Do this today: open Google Maps on your phone or desktop and search the phrase “dentists in (your city).” Is your practice in the top results where prospective patients can see you? If not, how many positive reviews would you need to be there? In most U.S. cities, by acquiring just two positive patient reviews every week, your practice could be at or near the top in under a year.
Still, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Effectively and comfortably bringing up the topic of reviews with patients is something that your team members might not be experienced in. Get the basics with one of My Social Practice’s free ebooks, The Dental Practice’s Guide to Online Reviews. Study it with your team. You’ll find that acquiring Google reviews is one of the best things you can do to grow your online reputation, and in turn, your business.
About the Author
Jackson Hadley is a marketing strategist with My Social Practice, which provides a complete social media marketing solution for dental, orthodontic and optometric practices. A public relations specialist, Jackson combines the advertising and trust-building aspects of social media to help businesses connect authentically with their communities.