Are you scared to "Google" your own practice for fear of seeing a bad review? Do you feel at a loss when confronted with an angry or insulting diatribe against your practice is posted online? Many dentists hesitate to create an online presence because they don't know how to handle the attention — good AND bad — that comes along with the visibility.

 

What patients say about your practice online is a critical component of generating new patients. Long gone are the days when “real-world” recommendations were the only way to grow your practice. Your reputation, both online and off, is one of your most prized assets. But it can also be your biggest downfall if not managed properly.

 

Getting 5-star reviews on websites like Yelp and Google will not only boost traffic to your website, it will help turn digital visitors into real-life patients. In terms of traffic, positive Google reviews can improve your Google Maps rankings. This is a profound benefit, as the top three map listings give you prime real estate on page one for people searching for a dentist in your area.

 

In a recent survey an astonishing 79% of consumers state that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Source: BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2013) Managing your online reputation comes down to managing what perspective patients will see when they search for your practice, or another way to think about it, what are people saying about you?

 

 

The very nature of the Internet ensures so much freedom for every individual that it becomes difficult for dentists to control and manage their professional reputations online. The number of rankings or ratings websites have also increased, and some are focused exclusively on physicians. While these websites present an opportunity for dentists to promote their practices through word of mouth publicity, they also pose the risk of creating unfairly negative pinions against them