Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a complex beast. Whilst many dental practices work their magic to optimise SEO strategy, the one factor beyond their control is Google reviews. From a reputational perspective, so long as you’re providing a quality service, your Google reviews should reflect this. However, it takes more than star ratings to affect SEO—whether you’re opening a new dental practice or you’ve been running your dental practice for a while.
It’s easy enough to implement quality dental SEO in Australia if you’re well-versed in metadata. But what can you do to inspire a high volume of quality Google reviews? Although you can’t control your reviewers’ actions, you can take action to spread patient satisfaction far and wide. Let’s review the specifics.
Does quantity determine performance?
The number of Google reviews alone does not determine SEO performance, but it is a contributing factor. Why is this? The more reviews your dental practice has, the more legitimate it appears to be. Let’s say, for example, that you happen to land upon a practice with pages of reviews and a 4.2-star rating. Now, compare this to a practice with three reviews and a 5-star rating. Although the latter has a better rating, you’re going to trust the former for its higher volume of reviews and more realistic rating.
4.2 isn’t an amazing rating by any means, but it is decent. It reflects a satisfactory—if not mind-blowing—experience all around. The 5-star practice, on the other hand, has a clearly limited reach. These three reviews may be biased endorsements from the owner’s friends or family.
Does quality really trump quantity?
Yes and no. In the two examples above, quality and quantity are proportional. In the case of two practices with similar numbers of reviews, though, quality will trump quantity. Let’s say you see two competing dental practices with the same volume of reviews. Are you going to trust the 4.2-star business or the 4.9-star business? 4.2 indicates a satisfactory performance whilst 4.9 suggests an outstanding patient experience.
When you evaluate it, a high volume of reviews and a 4.9-star rating is your ideal position. The number of reviews legitimises your business and the high rating displays a consistent level of patient satisfaction, accounting for the inevitable reality that you can’t please everyone.
So, how can I leverage this knowledge to boost SEO performance?
If you want a high (or, at least, respectable) volume of Google reviews, you’ll need to ensure visibility. A website and social media presence is a must. You don’t need to provide Twitter commentary—live commentary about dental marketing won’t have Australia by the edge of its seat—but a Facebook and Instagram page will serve you well. Posting offers or even interesting content on social media shows you’re engaged and active in dentistry. Publishing topical blog posts containing popular keywords, for example, is a great strategy for landing yourself on Google’s first results page (case in point).
If you want a high volume of positive Google reviews, you’ll need to provide quality customer service. This applies to the online world as much as it does to real life. For example, if you have an online form for patient queries, ensure to respond to these promptly. If you have an estimated turnaround time (for example, three business days), ensure to disclose this so that (prospective) patients can manage their expectations.
Nudge them to take action
Finally, there are strategies you can take relating to the reviews themselves. For example, the moment an appointment is over, you should request a review from your patients—you could even add a corresponding QR code at the service desk to streamline the process. This is an effective strategy because it motivates immediate action. It also demonstrates your interest in patients’ experiences as well as an openness to feedback.
Once you’ve received a review, you should respond—even if it’s just to thank the customer for the positive feedback. If the feedback is negative or constructive, respond with solutions where possible and, if reasonable, provide contact details and the opportunity to find a solution. The only catch to dental SEO in Australia is that you need to respond to reviews in line with the AHPRA guidelines. By all means, thank your patient for their kind review, but do not endorse or even mention any treatments you offer. This can come across as unregulated advertising.
Keywords are Not Just for the Website Content
You might have often been advised that keywords must be included in the website’s content. But what not many practice owners are advised by their dental marketing company is that keywords in Google Reviews are also vital. It’s just a matter of knowing how to.
Yes, we understand that the confidentiality policies and guidelines for patient’s information handling dictate that you should not reveal the treatment done on patients. So, that practically stops you from replying to your patient’s review with something like, “Thank you for thinking of us as your preferred cosmetic dentist in Melbourne.”
I know, it would have made things A LOT easier if only you were allowed to do that.
But there are still some different approaches you can take to make sure your patients include the keywords. Check out some samples below:
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Here’s to successful dental SEO in Australia
Now that you know the basics of SEO and dental marketing in Australia, it’s time to take action.
At 360° Dental Marketing, we have a full 360° view of what it takes to make any dental practice a successful one. From keywords and practice visibility to patient review management, we’ve got you covered.
Contact us to see how we can make your business shine as bright as your patients’ smiles.