Google update pulls reviews from across web

Historically, dental practices have relied heavily on word of mouth. Patients share the great experience they had at a dental practice and encourage their friends and family to choose the same dentist. What dentists often don’t think about is the patient who might have had a negative experience.

The consequences of a negative consumer experience continue to challenge practice owners. Now the reach of consumers’ opinions can extend past family and friends to the web, where review sites allow a reach that is likely immeasurable.

Consequently, dentists should take note of a Google update launched in mid-September that pulls business reviews from other websites and displays those reviews in the “knowledge panel” — a box of information that appears on the right side of Google search results. Previously, only Google reviews appeared in the knowledge panel, but now reviews from other websites such as Facebook and Healthgrades are also displayed in the form of “votes” with links to those reviews.

CDA marketing expert Courtney Isett says consumers are increasingly turning to online review sites to make business decisions. In fact, some studies show that more than 85 percent of consumers report they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

“Online reviews are the new word of mouth,” Isett said. She also noted that while the Google update provides consumers access to more reviews, it also opens the door for dentists to further refine and manage their online reputations.

“With Google’s integration of other online reviews dental practices have a great opportunity to optimize all of their online profiles,” Isett said. “This way if someone clicks on your Facebook vote, your future patient will have all the information needed to contact your practice.”

Visit CDA Practice Support for marketing resources.

Updated: 01/20/17

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