If you’ve taken the time (and had the courage) to ask patients to go out of their way to post a review for your dental practice on Google, you may be disappointed. While we’ve had some client dentists say that their Google reviews were missing for a year, then reappeared, others report that their reviews simply do not show up. The problem seems to be growing. A quick search reveals, missing Google reviews are frustrating business owners across all industries. This can be a serious hindrance in dental marketing.
Why Google Reviews Disappear
Google troubleshooters are looking for answers to the problem, but the company does not yet appear to reason for the missing reviews. A few key factors may influence reviews being filtered out and unpublished. These include, but are not limited to: duplicate business listings; reviews posted prior to the Google+ Local launch (a few months ago); the sorting of reviews, as selected in a dropdown menu by the reader; a review having a URLs (not allowed); or Google marked the review as spam. Unfortunately, Google does not share the criteria for spammy reviews, so you cannot know whether this is the cause of your problem — or how to fix it.
Here’s Google’s review posting policy.
Where Are the Missing Google Reviews?
If your review posters (patients) did not follow the above policy, your review may be in a holding tank. The reviewer can amend the review and republish. Google says that if a review is edited to meet the guidelines, and it is not considered spam (for unknown reasons), it could become public immediately.
What Can a Dentist Do to Help Google Fix the Review Issues?
One Google forum says, “For Google to investigate, it would be helpful for them to know the URL of your profile, as well as the URL of the Google+ Local/Business page that you are trying to leave a review for.” So, they are suggesting that the reviewer report the problem, but as a marketing professional, I can tell you, the reviewers don’t care. They’ve done due diligence by creating a review, and life goes on. The business owners, or dentists in our case, become frustrated and disenchanted with Google reviews as a viable dental marketing tool.
Businesses, including dental practices, can visit this forum on missing Google reviews to report missing reviews.
Should Dentists Continue to Ask Patients for Reviews?
YES! But don’t ask your patients to post Google reviews. This advice is completely counter to what I’ve recommended for a dental marketing strategy in the past. I’ve always advised that dentists play the Google game and soothe the Google beast. For now, until the lost-in-cyberspace Google reviews issue is resolved, I suggest that a doctor just ask patients to submit reviews via email or in print. The testimonials can then be published on the doctor’s website. Don’t rely on Facebook reviews or Yelp! as a replacement, either. Both of these companies change their tactics regularly, which frustrates business owners.
If you don’t rely on Google Local reviews, your map rank may not be as high as your competitors, but you also won’t lose those rave reviews from your patients. This strategy won’t work in Texas. The TDA does not like dentists to use testimonials in advertising. Texas dentists may be wise to use a service like Demandforce or ZocDoc to gather and publish reviews on their behalf. This seems to be a loophole. If I hear differently, I’ll certainly write a blog about it!
One More Google Review Issue to Consider
If Google only publishes a few negative reviews about your practice, your maps listing may rank high. However, this means that the first impression of your brand on a potential patient will be negative reviews — not good. Be sure to respond to all negative reviews on your Google+ Local listing. Respond with compassion and empathy, not haste and emotion. Our copywriters can create a response for you to review, if you’re an MDPM client.
Dental Marketing Done Right
If you’re a dentist or physician who needs guidance on a dental marketing plan, or you need to rework and refresh your online image, call us today at 972-781-8861. Modern Dental Practice Marketing specializes in branding, websites, content management, and dental marketing. Our professional creative and technical team can help your dental office find the success you’ve always wanted in 2013!