5 Reasons Google Reviews are Important for your Dental Practice6 minute read
Google has become the Yellow Pages of our lives. We rely on the powerful search engine for nearly everything, from looking up a recipe to translating a sentence from English to French. The first point of contact any potential patient has with your business is likely through Google.
This means what Google says about your practice can have a profound effect on your business. A strong, positive presence online will help draw new patients to your practice. That said, the opposite is possible too. A few negative Google reviews and potential patients may avoid your practice altogether.
Our world is becoming more and more digital. So, your practice needs to follow the same pattern in order to keep up with the changing dental landscape. Here are five reasons why Google reviews are important for your practice:
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1. Increase referral conversion by having lots of Google reviews
It is always the best practice to ask your patient for referrals, if you are successful at asking, prospective patients who have been referred will Google you.
When a potential patient Google’s you, they will see an entire profile tile displaying all the information about your dental practice, including the hours, location, website, address, and most importantly, your reviews.
You may know that you have patients coming in from your awesome patients that are referring their friends. But what you don’t know are the number of patents that are referred to you by a friend that actively choose to go somewhere else because you have negative reviews, a low rating, not enough 5-star reviews, or a poor presence online.
This is especially important for younger millennial patients, as they are the generation of the internet and make their decisions almost instantly. They also make up a large percentage of the population in need of more expensive treatments like Invisalign, or are may be doing research for their parents who may be great candidates for dental implants, veneers, and other more expensive treatments.
Increasing the number of positive reviews on Google should lead to a high referral conversation rate and more business for your practice.
2. 92% of patients looking for a dentist online read reviews
Almost all patients will do some research about your practice and use Google reviews as their primary “trust” source. They begin by typing something like “Dentists in Midtown Manhattan” and are shown results in three different ways; paid ads, local map (which may also have paid map ads) and organic search results.
Google AdWords allows businesses to purchase the blocks either above or below organic search results. Any type of business can use them, and they are available for any search terms. This, however, can be problematic as we will see when we get to point #5.
Local Map Ranking
Most businesses that have a physical location will likely be using Google’s local map listings. It’s simple to set up and allows the possibility for your business to appear in those top three listings. If you have not already claimed your maps listing, you should consider going to Google My Business and claiming it.
Organic Search Results
These are results that appear organically, or naturally, because of their relevance to the search terms. No advertising. No funny business. However, to rank #1 for popular keywords, it takes a lot of time and you will certainly have to pay a “search engine optimization” specialist a lot of money.
Most people want to find the best dentist they can, as close to their location as possible. That means it’s important to consider where your practice ranks within the Local Map Listings. Having the best Google Review possible is necessary to sustain a strong, positive and visible online identity.
3. Local map rankings are influenced by reviews
Four main factors that you can control influence local map rankings: volume of reviews, recency of reviews, frequency of reviews, and your review ratings. Here’s a good an example of why this could be a bad thing for you, even if you have a great practice:
Let’s say I’m new in town and looking for a dentist. I find your practice through the Local Map Search on Google and discover that you’re only a few blocks away from where I work. For this example, let’s say you only have a 2.0 rating, only 2 reviews and one is over a year old. I also find another dental practice a few blocks farther with a 3.9 rating and 20 reviews with several made in the last 6 months. Logically, I am going to choose the dentist slightly further away over your practice.
That doesn’t mean your practice isn’t as good, if not better. It just means that it doesn’t have enough Google reviews to even compete with the other practice. This is not fair, but it is the reality in today’s world that potential patients are connecting with dentists through the internet.
If you are not keeping an eye on your listings and reviews, it’s possible that your competitors or angry staff could have been the ones posting those negative reviews.
4. Advertising has increased 10X in the last 10 years
Online advertising relies on a paid bidding system, called cost-per-click, or CPC. What this means is that you only pay when someone actually clicks on your website. But this is unsustainable, especially for private practices because the cost of advertising has also increased 10X.
Which bring us to the last point.
5. Compete with corporate practices – and sell high when the time comes to retire
Corporate practices can afford to spend large amounts of money on digital advertising. The average cost of most high-traffic dental keywords is about $10. It takes the average dentist about 20 clicks to get a patient, which means that the customer acquisition cost is close to $200.
These practices are then able to attract new patients with affordable deals listed on their site. An initial exam may indicate a need for more expensive treatments, such as fillings, Invisalign, veneers or implants.
This means that corporations can afford to spend hundreds of dollars to get one new patient because they make up for it in the long run! It’s important to note that many of the more expensive treatments are required by younger people, who are all online
Ensuring your practice has solid Google reviews will help it to flourish. In the process, you will have also transformed your patients into brand ambassadors.
The benefits won’t stop there. A strong presence on Google can also add more value to your practice if or when you decide to sell. Potential buyers will look at your reputation and presence online to judge the success of your practice and get an idea of its value.
You become much more attractive to buyers when they see that you have a steady flow of new patients and a high number of positive, recent Google reviews.