Did Google Change the Rules About Online Dental Reviews?

A report from late May indicated that Google is no longer counting anonymous reviews in its Knowledge Panel total or in the overall rating for a website. While one online wag observed that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a Google bug and a Google feature, it’s possible that this is a permanent change.

The change was detected by an online website owner and later confirmed by an SEO specialist. The anonymous reviews still exist and can be accessed but no longer influence a dentist’s review total or overall rating.

That’s potentially good or bad news for your dental practice, depending on how many “A Google User” reviews your page has, and when those reviews are positive or negative.

Savvy dentists will recognize that this change primarily affects their Google+ page and statistics derived from that page. That’s potentially a big deal because the vast majority of dental prospects these days read and trust online patient reviews. And the “star” rating functions as a snapshot of your practice. Many prospects will gravitate toward the practices with the higher overall rating and never look at the reviews for lower-rated practices.

Take Action Now To Safeguard Your Online Reputation

The best step to combat a precipitous drop in your online rating is to get as many valid positive reviews as possible. Your practice probably has a procedure in place to request patient reviews. Hopefully, it’s not giving out reminder cards immediately after each appointment. The patients who have spent an hour or more in the chair and whose mouths are still numb aren’t likely to oblige you.

It’s an online world today, and electronic requests are the way to go. Some patients prefer to receive emails, while others opt for SMS text messages. The savvy practice will offer both, and set up an automation program to make sure that those requests are sent out in a timely fashion.

Of course, once you have more reviews, you or your designee has to stay on top of those reviews, responding to thank positive reviewers and addressing the complaints of dissatisfied patients. All in all, that’s a big ask for a busy dental practice, and it’s no surprise that getting reviews takes a back seat to actually doing the dentistry.

Enter RAVE™ Reputation Management for Dentists

SmartBox’s RAVE™ Reputation Management makes it easy to manage your online reputation. RAVE will help you garner as many positive reviews as possible, and deal with negative reviews quickly and effectively. RAVE also ensures your patients can actually see your reviews.

Patients automatically receive a review request after each appointment, via their choice of email or SMS. And your practice is notified of via email of each new posted review, giving you the jump on responding as needed.

RAVE absolutely will not slow down your practice management software. And, it’s surprisingly affordable – just $199 for installation and $199 a month after that. There’s no long-term obligation; you can cancel at any time but we seriously doubt you’ll want to when you see the results.

Learn more about SmartBox’s RAVE™ Reputation Management by visiting http://ravereviewsystem.com.