How Online Reviews Impact Dental SEO and Patient Acquisition

online review

Even before the internet became commonplace and everyone had a website, companies relied on “reviews” (or, word of mouth and reputation) to maintain the business. A good reputation got new customers, and enough bad word of mouth could mean the end of your company. The only difference today is that word of mouth has taken the form of online reviews, and they’re available for all to see.

There are a few places you can get reviews, including Google itself and your own website. Each has its own benefits and each can impact your SEO. Read on to learn more about how online reviews impact dental SEO and patient acquisition.

Google Reviews and SEO

When it comes to reviews and SEO, you want to focus on Google reviews specifically. Once you set up your Google Business Profile, customers can leave Google reviews, and you’ll be able to respond if you wish.

Google reviews are different than reviews on social media or your own website. They appear directly on Google along with your business information. Anyone who looks up your website or finds it in search results can see them.

By being posted right on Google, it allows the search engine to use these reviews to determine the power, trustworthiness, and relevancy of your website or business. This has a direct impact on your SEO and ranking for several reasons:

  • Like your website’s content, Google can pick up keywords from reviews. This helps them better understand what your website is about and what you offer.
  • It considers your overall star rating average when determining how high to rank your website in a search result. Generally speaking, an average of 4.5 and above is considered great.
  • A high volume of reviews means you’ve gotten lots of traffic and lots of business. If you have a high volume of reviews, it’s even more important that they’re mostly positive. A high volume of poor and negative reviews can hurt your ranking and your reputation.
  • Google trusts your customers more than you. You can say anything about yourself, but if multiple customers echo the same positive sentiments, it’s more likely to be true.

With all of this in mind, you should encourage customers to leave you a great review on Google if they had a good experience. Unfortunately, someone who had a bad experience is more likely to leave a review unprompted.

There are a few ways you can ask for reviews:

  • Mention it in person before the patient leaves.
  • Follow up their appointment with a thank you email, and ask for a review. Make this easy by including a direct link to your Google Business profile where they can leave it.
  • Send out a survey to see how people are feeling about your service. This can provide valuable feedback, and you can leave a link to review at the end of the survey.

If you do get a few bad reviews, don’t go right to panicking. The odd bad review in a sea of good ones won’t do real damage. That said, you can always choose to respond and either explain the situation, offer to make it right, or do whatever else you deem appropriate. The most important thing to remember is to always remain polite and professional, even if the reviewer wasn’t.

Another thing to consider when replying is to try and naturally use a few keywords in your reply.

Social Media Reviews

While Google reviews are important for rankings, you shouldn’t discount the power of social media. Many businesses run a page across various social media platforms. This allows you to reach more customers, post announcements, and keep people engaged with you. It also leaves you open to comments, feedback, and reviews.

Facebook, for example, has a proper review system where customers can leave a rating and/or a comment, and they all show up on your profile.

These reviews can impact SEO by adding activity, content, and keywords to your profile. In addition to SEO, though, social media comments and reviews can help you build a reputation. If someone is shopping around for a new dentist, they may check out your social pages and lots of positive customer reports will leave an impression.

Website Reviews

Lastly, you may choose to create a space for reviews on your own website. You can always choose not to do this if you’d rather focus on Google reviews instead, but it’s an option.

By allowing customers to leave a review on your website, you’ll see a few benefits:

  • It adds content to your website. If the reviews include a few keywords that are relevant to your business, even better!
  • Google likes when a website is active and consistent. Reviews add something to your website regularly without any effort on your part. When you reply, this adds even more!
  • Potential new patients are likely going to look at your website before using your services, regardless of your Google reviews. When they open your website and see even more positive reviews and happy customers, they’ll be more inclined to book an appointment.
  • It gives you the chance to respond to issues, answer questions, and personally thank your customers. This creates confidence in potential new patients.
  • Lots of reviews can reduce your bounce rate. The bounce rate refers to how long a visitor spends viewing your website. A high bounce rate means lots of people click on your website but leave quickly without reading much. Potential patients will want to spend time reading the reviews posted, thus lowering your overall bounce rate! A lower bounce rate is good for SEO and may lead to higher rankings.

Improve Your SEO and Get More Patients with Online Reviews

Don’t neglect or ignore the importance of online reviews. Whether people are shopping for new clothes or a new healthcare provider, almost everyone consults the internet in some way or another. Having a good SEO strategy is key to gaining visibility and attracting new patients to your dental practice.

Lots of positive, keyword-rich reviews will have a strong impact on your SEO. Not only that, but it’ll instill confidence in new patients and encourage them to choose you over another. Contact us today for more help with your SEO strategy!

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