If someone told you there was a way you could increase production volume this year without having to spend a single penny to do so, would you listen? What if that success not only came free, but that someone other than yourself would do the leg work to bring in that income? Would you want to do more than just listen?
This seemingly unlikely business scenario is the real-life business of optimizing your presence online. The basic formula is this: You write. People search. Because people search for things relative to what you’ve written, they find you. And what do people love to search for most? Customer reviews. Here’s why they help:
They’re sticky and local: Customer-created content also gives you a boost in search because of its “social” properties. It’s sticky. Alive really… reviews can become a word-of-mouth machine for businesses that leverage them correctly, as the more shares, likes and comments there are about your business online, the greater your visibility. Also, because reviews are locally-focused, they win extra bonus points from the search engines as being “relevant” – an important (and simple!) concept to understand if you want to understand search.
They weigh a lot: In order to help us find what we’re looking for when searching, search engines employ what’s known as an algorithm – essentially, a computer program that looks for “clues to give you back exactly what you want.” And when seeking a new dentist, what a lot of us want to know is how a dentist is viewed in the community. Do patients love ‘em, or hate ‘em? It’s really that simple. Because of this, reviews are weighted heavily in search, so much so that they pull nearly the same rank as well-written content on a business’ home page.
They’re available on the go: Type this into search when you can: “Dentist near me.” This “near me” way of searching is one of the main methods mobile users search – particularly when using a maps app. And, because reviews are featured prominently in map searches (as you well know!) you need to pay attention to getting more now.
So, make it easy for patients to leave reviews! Use a marketing and communications suite that integrates tightly with a PMS, and automatically asks patients to review your business. This way, you’ll be able to maximize your presence online in the places people are likely to stumble upon you most often. Search engine directories are an important part of your online footprint, so get out there and get those reviews going!
So, stop worrying about keywords and unnatural writing styles to get you to the top of Google search. Instead, be sure your directory profiles are up to date, and your page is complete with dental-related, relevant content. And, don’t forget to ask for reviews! How do you do that? Well, funny you should ask!
Deana Zost is AADOM’s DFW chapter president, and a frequent guest on Gary Takacs, “The Thriving Dentist” podcast. She is a 25-year veteran of the dental industry, having spent ten of those years as an office manager.