Dental Reputation Management: A Guide to Responding to Google Business Reviews for Dentists

Monday, Jun 3, 2024

Dental Reputation Management: A Guide to Responding to Google Business Reviews for Dentists

Google Business reviews are a pivotal element in shaping the reputation and success of dental practices. These reviews (whether positive or negative) not only influence patient perception but also play a crucial role in your dental SEO (Search Engine Optimization), affecting a dentist's visibility online. Understanding how to manage these reviews, especially when addressing negative feedback, is essential for any dental professional aiming to uphold a stellar online reputation. 

In this article, we'll explore why and how dentists should effectively manage and respond to Google Business reviews to enhance SEO and patient trust.

Understanding the Impact of Google Business Reviews for Dentists on SEO

Google Business reviews are more than just feedback from your patients; they are a powerful tool that Google uses to determine your dental practice's ranking in search results. According to several studies getting consistent positive reviews is an important  way to improve your Google maps ranking and be found more often. In addition, positive reviews will improve your social proof, making potential patients more likely to choose your practice over others. 

Reviews, especially those containing long-form keywords relevant to your dental services, help Google understand the relevance of your practice to specific search queries. What this means is that Google is looking at the text in the reviews. If a patient gives you a review and they mention their new veneers, you’re more likely to show up on Google maps for search phrases that are related to veneers.

The Significance of Responding to Reviews

Responding to Google Business reviews is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates to your patients that you value their feedback and are committed to improving their experience. In fact, when a practice responds to a patient’s review, they can receive a Google notification letting them know that their review has a reply. This can enhance patient loyalty and encourage more positive reviews.

When a prospective patient uses a Google search to locate a dentist in their area, reviews are likely to determine the practice they'll ultimately choose. When comparing several similarly high-ranking websites, patients will often visit the dental office with more positive reviews, even if the website ranks slightly lower for a keyword than a competitor with fewer or more negative reviews. For example, if your practice ranks third highest on Google Maps but you have more positive reviews than the first two listings, you’ll often receive a majority of calls and website clicks from prospective patients. Reviews play a vital role in a patient’s decision making and lead to more scheduled appointments.

From an SEO perspective, responses to reviews can further influence your practice's visibility on Google. Google's algorithms favor businesses that engage with their customers, marking them as active and relevant within the community. Notably, keywords in reviews can help improve your website’s overall ranking in search results.

Try This: Use a dental reputation management tool to automate replying to and requesting new reviews.

Best Practices for Responding to Google Business Reviews for Dentists

Learning how to respond to Google Business reviews can help you get the most out of them. When replying, there are a few factors to keep in mind for the best customer experience and SEO benefits:

Timeliness is Key 

Responding to patient reviews swiftly demonstrates that your practice values patient feedback and is committed to excellence in patient care. Aiming for a response time of 24 to 48 hours shows attentiveness and a proactive approach to patient satisfaction.

Try This: To ensure you reply to reviews quickly, turn on Business Profile notifications to get alerts on your phone and in your email inbox whenever a patient leaves a new review.

Incorporate Keywords Strategically 

While it's important not to force keywords into your responses unnaturally, include relevant keywords where appropriate to enhance your SEO.

SEO Benefits

For dentists, engaging with Google Business reviews by responding promptly and appropriately can positively affect your SEO. Google's algorithm acknowledges active customer interaction, which can influence your ranking in search results.

Length and Quality of Responses

Keep your responses concise yet personal. Acknowledge the reviewer's feedback, address any concerns raised, and thank them for their input. 

Review responses can be short—a few sentences is usually sufficient. The example image below shows a simple reply to a review:

Consider using an AI tool like ChatGPT to leave lengthier replies. While a short reply is better than none, a longer response gives you the opportunity to optimize your comments for keywords:

Try This: Streamline your response process and leave quality replies simultaneously using AI tools like ChatGPT for reviews and dental marketing.

Encouraging More Reviews

Actively seek reviews from your patients. This can be as simple as asking them to leave feedback on Google post-visit or sending follow-up emails with links to your Google Business Profile.

HIPAA Compliance

When responding to reviews, it's crucial to remain HIPAA compliant. Avoid acknowledging someone as a patient or revealing any personal health information. Keep responses general and focus on your policies and practices rather than individual cases.

Handling Negative Reviews

While positive reviews can boost your SEO and reputation, negative reviews offer an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and a commitment to patient satisfaction. Replying thoughtfully to negative feedback can mitigate its impact and sometimes even turn a dissatisfied patient into a loyal one. When responding to negative dental reviews, keep these guidelines in mind:

  1. Offer professional and compassionate engagement. Acknowledge the reviewer's concerns and express empathy for their experience. Offering to continue the conversation offline shows a genuine willingness to resolve the issue.

  2. Take a solution-oriented approach. Where possible, offer a resolution to the complaint raised. Whether it's a complimentary service or a direct line for further discussion, the aim is to leave the patient feeling heard and valued.

  3. Learn from feedback. Use negative reviews as a tool for improvement, identifying areas for enhancement in your practice's operations or patient care protocols.

  4. Build a positive online image. Encourage positive reviews from satisfied patients to mitigate the impact of negative feedback. A strong portfolio of positive reviews can overshadow the occasional negative comment.

  5. Engage with every review. Show appreciation for all feedback by responding to both positive and negative reviews. Personalized responses can foster patient loyalty and attract new patients who value engagement.

Here is a great example of how to respond to a negative review. 

Patient review:

“Absolutely terrible with toddlers. As a pediatric dentist you should have patients and compassion. This woman has none. Was so impatient when my son was scared and started crying, telling him to shut up and getting rude with us because of him being upset. Left without any services and never looked back.” Eva

Practice response:

“I want to express my deepest apologies for your recent experience at our dental practice. Hearing that we did not provide the compassionate care we strive for, especially to a child feeling scared, is deeply concerning to me. We take your feedback seriously as it helps us improve and ensure such situations are not repeated. I truly wish to understand more about your visit and discuss how we can make things right for you and your son. Could you please reach out to me at your convenience? I'm available for a personal phone call or via email, whichever you prefer. Ensuring your trust in our care is paramount, and I'm committed to doing everything within my power to restore it. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.” Dr. Joe Smith.

Google Business Reviews for Dentists: Key Takeaways

Google Business reviews are a cornerstone of your dental practice's online reputation and SEO strategy. Actively managing these reviews by encouraging feedback, responding thoughtfully while adhering to HIPAA guidelines, and incorporating SEO best practices can enhance your visibility and appeal to potential patients. 

Remember, the goal is not just to attract new patients but to build a community of loyal ones who trust your practice for their dental care needs.


How do I ask for dental reviews?

Directly asking patients while they're in the office is a great way to get new Google reviews. You can set up a QR code linked to your review page for patients to scan and display it visibly in your practice. You can also use a dental reputation management tool to send automated requests to patients after appointments.

Is replying to Google reviews good for SEO?

Google has confirmed that responding to patient reviews can help to increase your Google Business Profile's visibility. The algorithm rewards businesses that show they value customer feedback.

Do keywords in reviews matter?

Keywords found in Google reviews and replies both help with your SEO. Having keywords in your reviews shows Google that your practice is relevant for those search terms and encourages the algorithm to rank your profile higher.

Do Google reviews boost SEO?

Google's algorithm uses reviews to help it determine where a website should rank for various keywords. Getting more Google Business reviews for dentists matters—a steady stream of positive incoming reviews shows Google that your practice provides quality service and encourages higher rankings.

Why do reviews matter for local SEO?

For dental practices, local SEO is vital. Reviews play a significant role in local search rankings, with Google using them to assess the relevance and prominence of your business in local search queries. A robust collection of positive reviews can improve your practice's visibility in local dental search results, making it more likely for potential patients in your area to find you.


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