How Online Reviews Positively Impact Your Dental Practice’s Local SEO

Amongst the arsenal of dental online marketing strategies and collaterals that dentists leverage to achieve success in their dental practice, online reviews have a direct impact on your dental practice’s local SEO. They are one of the main factors for ranking on Google search engine result pages (SERPS). 

The quantity, frequency and diversity of online reviews shared about your dental practice accounts for 15% of signals that Google’s search engine optimization (SEO) algorithm uses to update its ranking and listings. Your online reviews allow Google to learn more about the service you provide and the value you offer dental patients. 

Online reviews are highly beneficial to dental practices. From brand exposure, development of social proof, lead generation to increased sales and revenue, there is no doubt that online reviews play a big role in dental marketing. If one of your marketing goals is to boost your dental practice’s local SEO., you need to have a system in place for gathering and promoting more online reviews about your dental practice. 

Local SEO refers to your dental practice’s ranking on Google’s SERPs when patients in your community or geographical area search for dental-related services. In this article, we will discuss the ways online reviews positively impact your local SEO. You will also learn how to leverage your dental practice’s online reviews to boost your ranking on Google’s SERPs.

How Online Reviews Positively Impact Local SEO

  1. Reviews highlight your dental practice’s relevance to search engines

Any good SEO specialist would advise you to regularly update your dental website with new and relevant content as a means to improve your local SEO. While this is good advice, it is not always easy to keep churning out new blog posts or sharing weekly updates—especially if you don’t have a concrete content marketing strategy in place for your dental practice. However, your patients’ online reviews can complement your regular updates and blog posts because they are relevant user-generated content (UGCs) about your dental practice. 

UGCs refer to content about your dental practice created and published online by your patients. When a patient publishes a review about your dental practice or leaves a rating on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Healthgrades, WebMD or other review sites, they are essentially sharing unique, fresh and relevant content about your practice. Google’s search engine algorithms take into account the content that appears on the internet about your dental practice. Google uses what people say about your dental practice to learn more about you and determine your ranking depending on patient’s search queries. 

The more often your dental practice gets reviewed online, the more information Google gathers about you and your practice and the better your dental website’s SEO. 

  1. Reviews help you meet your basic SEO requirements

The basic SEO attributes of every high-converting dental website include internal links, backlinks, keywords and title tags. To rank on Google, your website needs to be curated in a way that factors in these attributes. Just as your SEO specialist focuses on optimizing your dental website to meet these SEO requirements, your patients—albeit unknowingly—help you meet these requirements when they share online reviews about your dental practice. 

The more often certain keywords appear in your patients’ reviews, the higher your dental website will rank on Google. More so, most review sites will link your dental website to a page on their website. As reviews are populated on those pages, Google’s search engine algorithms will consider the links on those pages as relevant and credible backlinks to your website. 

  1. Reviews help your dental website rank for relevant keywords

One of the direct impact reviews have on local SEO is keyword building for your dental website. Keywords are essential to Google’s ranking. You have to determine your website’s keywords as you develop your content marketing strategy. As your practice’s online presence grows, the keywords needed for your dental website may change. 

Using your online reviews, you and Google’s search engine algorithms can learn about the keywords that are relevant to your dental website. If in their reviews, several patients mention the city your dental practice is located in—e.g. “This is the best dentist in St. Louis.”—Google will rank your dental practice high for searches about dental healthcare services in that city. 

Particularly, reviews help Google’s search algorithm to note the long-tail keywords (i.e. phrases) that your dental website can rank high for. These long-tail keywords typically have low-search competition. This means that there may not be a lot of websites that rank for those words and as such, your dental website can easily rank high for them. 

  1. Reviews boost your dental website’s click-through rates

Click-through rates refer to the traffic coming to your dental website. The more web visitors and patients visit your dental website, the higher your click-through rates. As prospective patients read your online reviews, they will be inclined to learn more about your dental practice by visiting your website. As more patients engage with your dental website, Google’s search engine algorithm will view your website as a credible source of relevant information for dental patients. 

More so, high click-through rates and website engagement indicates to Google that your dental website provides an optimal user experience for visitors. This means reviews can attract more traffic to your dental website and, simultaneously, improve your website’s relevance, credibility and engagement. These three attributes are essential to boosting your local SEO. 

  1. Reviews allow for automatic and manual optimization

Google uses both search engine algorithms and human search quality raters to assess websites and determine their ranking on its SERPs. Reviews have the same effect on both automatic/automated and manual search engine optimization. Google’s search engine algorithms monitor your online reviews and use them to evaluate your dental website’s relevance and credibility. Similarly, human search quality raters manually comb through your patients’ reviews to determine the legitimacy and authenticity of your dental practice and website.

By having an automatic and manual rating system, Google can provide web users with listings that are relevant to their search queries. Reviews give your dental practice an advantage in both systems and allow your dental website to rank high for relevant search queries. 

  1. Reviews boost your Social SEO

Social SEO refers to the links and other forms of engagement your dental practice gets on social media. Although social signals (social media engagement) account for less than 3% of the total Google ranking factors, the links—to your dental website—shared on social media help you build your backlinks and boost your local SEO. As more people on social media click those links, the higher your click-through rates and the better your SEO. Consistent engagement from social media to your dental website will help your website rank higher on Google’s SERPs. 

When patients share reviews about your dental practice on social media, your social SEO improves and over time, this boosts your local SEO. Keep in mind that social media is most useful for engaging with your patients. These engagements, if consistent, can result in more traffic to your website and patient leads conversion. Although social media isn’t a key lead generation or conversion tool, it is great for building engagement and improving your local SEO over time. 

How to Leverage Online Reviews to Boost your Dental Practice’s Local SEO

  1. Use online reviews to improve your keyword strategy

As your current patients continue to interact with your dental practice in person and online, they form opinions about your services and share them as online reviews. The words and phrases they include in their reviews will help you evaluate your dental practice’s brand identity. More so, these reviews inform you about the questions patients have or features of your practice that they appreciate most. 

This will give you an insight to prospective patients’ search queries as well. You can improve your local SEO by including these keywords and questions in your website optimization and content marketing strategy. By doing so, Google will rank your dental website for the keywords and search queries that matter to your current and prospective patients.

  1.  Promote your online reviews 

Your dental website should include a page or section that highlights your patients’ reviews and testimonials. Include some of your patients’ online reviews on your website, social media pages and in your paid advertisement campaigns. Also, add links or icons on your website that allow patients to easily write and share their reviews on industry-specific reviews sites and social media. By taking these steps, you can leverage your online reviews to improve your dental practice’s local SEO. 

At Connect the Doc, we support dentists to get the most out of their dental practice’s online presence, engagement and reviews. Our review tool helps you automatically gather more reviews more often and ensures those reviews are published on industry-specific review sites and social media. We can also work with you to develop a high-converting dental website, boost your local SEO, generate more patient leads and increase your revenue. Contact us today to maximize your dental marketing strategy.