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What Online Reviews Really Mean for Your Dental Practice?

Online reviews really matter whatever business you’re in. For many years - decades in fact - dental practices have relied on word of mouth to grow their patient list. Now, in the 21st Century, business growth depends on online reviews.


The great purpose of online review sites


Online reviews give Internet users easy access to local info and evaluations of local dental offices and other businesses. When people are looking to find out more about a company, business or product, one of the main things they’ll look for besides a website is reviews from other clients or patients about a business or product.


The Local Consumer Review Study done in 2013 found that:

  • 85 percent consumers that read and use the online reviews of local businesses;

  • about 79 percent of consumers trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations do;

  • an estimated 73 percent of consumers trust the local businesses more because of the positive online reviews that they have read.  


The online reviews from other patients will help you understand the needs of your patients and provide potentially new patients with the information they need to call your office.


These reviews also help boost your online profile so that Google and other search engines will rank you more favorably. These reviews will appear next to your practice name in search results. People will often click on those reviews before they even visit your website. Through the online reviews, you increase your visibility in the cyberspace that builds more trust to your customer base to go to your website.


Selecting the best online review sites


Bing Local, Angie’s List, Google+ and Yelp are examples of online review sites and there are many others. It would be impossible to follow them all. The best thing to do is focus your attention on websites that are heavily trafficked or those that show up prominently in the search rankings and yet focus on your particular industry such as ZocDoc, HealthGrades, Doctoroogle, RateMDS and Yelp. Reviews from these sites have a high degree of credibility and rank well on search engines. To see what other people are saying about you and/or your practice set up a Google alert for your practice name, and your name. It’s also a good idea to track some of your competing practices to get an idea of what you need to do to make your practice and services stand out.


The importance of social media


In today’s information age and Internet world, you really need to know how search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing utilize the reviews in search results. Bing and Google will present the number of reviews a dental practice or business has in its local search results.


Plus, today’s Internet searchers have access to more info and opinions than ever before because of the popularity growth of social networking. Search engines use social networking site activities as positive indicators. Google is by far the biggest search engine with it being used for over 70 percent of web searches. Bing has recently launched their Smart Search feature, that integrates reviews from other places, like Yelp and Facebook in information outcomes for local businesses.


Essentially, online reviews on social networking sites like Google +, Facebook and Twitter are turning into interactivity and personal recommendations on social network vehicles and now have a vital role today on how the sites ranks in searches.


How you can benefit from online reviews


If you don’t have an online presence with review sites and social networking, you should strive to get on these sites and make sure that your business information is updated, including your business name, phone number, address, URL website and business hours so that the prospective patients can reach you.


It is also a good idea for you to create a blog that gives information about your dental practice, dentistry in general and some expert advice. Share relevant information with your audience and engage with them. This will build loyalty.


Through social networking vehicles, your engaged and loyal audience can endorse and promote your dental practice to thousands of people. That is a very powerful tool that can drive “word of mouth” patient traffic more than previous generations could ever have imagined.


Of course, with the good reviews, there are also the bad reviews. The bad reviews provide opportunities to respond and/or implement changes to address the concern or issue.  Your diplomatic and timely response to negative reviews, you show your audience that you are interested and care for them and that you are willing to do the extra mile to serve them better.

One of those dentists who goes the extra mile is the cosmetic dentist in Hollywood, Karen Gordon, DMD.

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