A few years ago Google page one became the new version of Yellow Pages, with local businesses listed at the top of the page. Today, Google page one is the new TripAdvisor, and gaining a five-star ranking is now a recognisable sign that you have satisfied customers. In general, prospective patients are more likely to believe existing patients’ recommendations – so this process is like word of mouth, but by people who don’t have any formal connection to each other.
Once you have five stars, these become visible on Google and if you are the first practice in your area to achieve this you stand out, making people more likely to click on your listing. Some of our clients are now recording between fifty and a hundred five stars and they are implementing in-practice systems to encourage patients to give them a five-star review. What our successful clients are realising is that those who prioritise Google page one and make sure they are getting five-star reviews every week are able to build trust with potential patients.
A five star ranking changes people’s perception of your practice before they have even viewed your website.
Only people with a Gmail account can give a review on Google, so to encourage patients to post a five-star review, dentists need to ask for a recommendation from every patient with a Gmail account. Having the team on board is important in making any kind of campaign like this work, but if the system is tracked, the team can receive weekly feedback about the numbers of five-star ratings and this can become a great internal motivational tool.
This area remains a minefield for dentists, particularly as Google is constantly changing the rules. We suspect that 80% of dentists are not even aware of the five-star ranking process and the benefits it can bring, and a similar number will be unaware of the new rules governing responsive websites.
Although dentists are big users of technology and understand the user experience from their own point of view, they often fail to understand how this applies to their own patients’ use of their website.
Our clients’ priority is to attract more patients – it is only when they consider how they are going to do this that they start to take an interest in the different tools that can make this more successful.
For clients who want to give themselves the best chance of success on Google it’s about having a responsive up-to-date website, that is keyword and content rich, created using industry standard coding, which incorporates a blog, YouTube and social media feeds.
Most clients still say that word of mouth is a big factor in attracting new patients. The reality is that when patients are recommending a practice to their friends and family, those friends will still go to the web and search for the practice before they take up the recommendation. So dentists who want to attract the best friends of their patients need to take account of the power of an effective website and five-star ranking.
Posted by Gemma