The Top 5 Review Websites for Dentists
Websites that provide user reviews for your dental practice are more influential than ever to bring in new patients. Potential new patients that are looking – and in some cases, not looking – for a dentist will find your reviews through many sources: online map applications such as Google Maps or MapQuest, a Google search for a dental consulting services in their area, someone may look up ‘dental practice’ in an online directory such as Yelp, or they may drive by your practice and notice your business, then manually look up your reviews (I tend to do this before paying for any business’ services). Smartphones make this option easier than ever.
Review websites not only help with your overall reach on the web, but they have a lot of influence where search engines like Google place you in their search results. Positive reviews help get you on the first page of search results – more specifically, a section of the first page of result called ‘local results’. These results typically display the overall review score under the business (highlighted in the infographic below) and show map markers to the right.
#1. Google+ Local
It is debatable which of Google+ Local (formerly Google Places) or Yelp is the most influential on the list – but it isn’t debatable that you must have your listing completed/verified on these two websites.
Google+ Local reviews show up through search results, Google Maps and Google+ pages – so pretty much anyone doing online research for dentists will see them. This is where you can lose a potential new patient before they look at your website, call you, or visit your practice. It takes 4 or 5 reviews before the scores starts showing up in the results.
Luckily for us, a faceless entity such as Metro Dental – despite their marketing budget – is more likely to garner negative reviews than your practice.
Google considers over 200 factors in their search results algorithm, and Google+ Local reviews are one of the biggest factors for showing up in local results. Google wants to show the most relevant content and provide the best user experience possible to the searcher – they know that a business with 20 one-star reviews isn’t one that someone will want to find in the first place.
This is a nice infographic illustrating the simple process for someone to leave a review with Google+ Local. You can learn more about getting Google+ reviews here.
Yelp is what most people think of when they think of a “review website”. Yelp reviews aren’t seen by the same amount of people like Google+ Local reviews because they aren’t integrated into Google Maps and most Google search results. While the casual searcher just looking for a place to get a cleaning and x-rays done may not see these reviews, a patient considering an expensive service is more likely to look up your practice here.
Concerned about fake reviews and extremely critical reviews? Yelp claims to have this covered through their filtering system; there is a study showing how they do it.
If you have accumulated many positive reviews in Yelp and Google+ Local, it might be a good idea to display those reviews through Facebook Apps and links to those review pages to encourage your Facebook fans – who are more likely to leave positive reviews – to leave a review on your more influential business listings.
A patient leaving positive feedback may also be seen by many of their friends, which would encourage them to consider your business if they live in the area.
Facebook reviews do tend to be overwhelmingly positive – which may lose credibility with some patients due to the nature of it being a social network where friends and family of the business can easily skew the ratings from the unbiased Facebook visitors.
#4. Yahoo! Local
Yahoo is still a popular website and many people look up businesses through their business directory at Yahoo Local.
The reviews there are typically aggregated from Yelp or other review sites, which emphasizes the importance of getting positive reviews on Yelp.
A completed profile on Healthgrades includes an abundance of information – mostly irrelevant to the typical patient – but Google’s search algorithm heavily factors all of this into how high you show up in the search results. Even if there aren’t many patients leaving actual reviews here, it is important to have your profile completed.
This article will evolve/adapt to changes from the review websites, further research into this topic, and comments like yours below. What has your experience been like with review sites? Have you had any success in efforts to get your patients to leave a review?