Facebook Reviews are Now Called ‘Recommendations’

Over the last few months, you may have noticed a change in the way reviews are submitted and rated on Facebook. In September, Facebook introduced its new review system called ‘recommendations’. Instead of rating a service between one and five stars, you are now asked to simply indicate whether or not you would recommend the business or service to other Facebook users.

Because one in three users turn to Facebook for business recommendations, it’s important to have an idea of how Facebook reviews work so you can use them to your practice’s advantage!

Reviews vs recommendations

The greatest difference with this review process is the way in which businesses are rated. Previously, patients were asked to rate the business on a scale of one to five, with one being the worst quality experience and five being the best.

With this change, though, reviewers are simply asked, “Do you recommend this business?”.

If the user marks “yes”, they are then prompted to provide more detail through a written review, just as Facebook has done in the past. There are some new features worth noting in this step, though, such as the ability to add tags and photos to provide more detail.

If the user marks, “no” (they would not recommend your practice to others), Facebook will still prompt the user to provide additional public feedback. This is important to note, as it creates a level playing field for all ratings, rather than favouring only the positive reviews. In fact, Google outlawed the tactic of favouring good reviews (only redirecting the user to a review platform if it’s a happy customer) this year. This practice is called “review gating”, and is no longer accepted online.

Regardless of if a patient loved or hated your practice, each user is now given equal access to easy reviewing. Facebook even stated that the change in the review process is to encourage constructive, honest and accurate feedback.

What this means for your practice

Despite not having the 1-5 scale, it’s important to note that practices are still awarded an average rating of their services. Facebook takes the average of the “yes (five)” and “no (one)” votes to come up with an overall score between one and five. Also, your old reviews should still available on your page and a part of your practice’s rating

Overall, your strategy for garnering reviews won’t change much. However, it’s important to note that there isn’t room for a grey area or a “so-so” experience, thus making the rating system more powerful. Now, patients either liked the practice or they didn’t. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that every step of a patient’s clinic visit, from interacting to the front desk to the appointment itself, is a smooth and pleasant experience.

Getting More Patient Appointments with Google Posts

The primary goal of any well-planned online marketing strategy is to bring more new patients into the practice. Beyond that, ranking well in search engines such as Google will help your dental clinic gain recognition within your community. A strong Google My Business listing is part of gaining online visibility, and new features to take advantage of are rolling out near-constantly. Google Posts are an untapped resource for many dental practices that can have an impact on your web visibility, traffic and conversion rate.

Introducing Google Posts

Google Posts are short, catchy posts that incorporate an image from your website along with a link to guide traffic to your site. Google Posts are great short-term communication tools that last on your listing for seven days. If you are featuring a service or have a new patient special, this is a great way to make the community aware of what is happening in your dental clinic.

Results from Our Research

In a 2018 Great Dental Websites case study, we created a sample of fifty posts across thirteen practices. What we found was that the posts alone produced 70 extra website visits resulting in an impressive 24 extra conversions, or patient contacts.

Google Posts Are Fast and Simple

Google Posts only take a few minutes. We have provided some beginner tips to help you get started:

1. Choose the type of post you want to create – specials, events or news about the practice. What would you like to broadcast to your potential patients?

Posts that look like a clickable button work best. If you don’t have a graphic design platform you like to use, we recommend making a free account on Canva. To create your post:

2. Use a solid background

3. Compose in 42 point font

4. Choose or create an image that is 750×750 pixels

5. Crop the post to centre text

6. Double check with the “preview” function

7. Publish your post. Though you can choose to make multiple posts, be sure to remember that they will disappear from your knowledge panel in seven days.

Create Winning Google Posts

Studies show that Google Posts welcoming new patients to the practice have the best results. So, even if you don’t have a special or promotion, simply announcing you are accepting patients helps to draw the eye. Keep in mind, though, what works well for one dental clinic may be different than another. Do some experimentation to see what types of Google Posts speak to your community.

Do You Need Help with Google Posts?

We welcome you to get in touch with questions about Google Posts. You can also find more information online here. If you are a current SEO client with GDW, your account manager will be a great resource to help you get started creating successful Google Posts.

Why Reviews Matter

Reviews are quickly becoming one of the most influential factors in how potential customers choose your business. One important aspect to note is that not only are people using them, but search engines are also using them to impact rankings. We will talk about how people use them, how search engines use them, and how rules in Australia can affect your business ratings.

How People Use Reviews

Imagine a potential patient searching for a surgery for a check-up and clean, and they type into Google, ‘dentist near me’ and several listings appear. They will likely read some of the reviews to find the clinic that best fits their needs, and has established themselves in the community.

People want to ensure that they are choosing the dental practice that will give them the best possible service for their needs. Therefore, you need to think of reviews as part of your sales team.

Reviews are very accessible, send visitors to your site and potentially your practice. According to Forbes.com, 90 per cent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 74 per cent say that positive online reviews make them trust local companies.

How Search Engines Use Reviews

Online reviews are beginning to have more and more impact on online rankings, which can affect your SEO efforts. Search engines will rank a dental surgery with more positive reviews higher on organic and local results than a dentist with very few reviews.

Another way reviews impact search engines is as Google focuses more and more on knowledge panels, users will have less reason to visit your site. All the information a potential customer needs about dental practices are right there in Google, and a prominent feature of those results is the overall rating and the reviews. To stand out amongst your competitors, there needs to be several positive reviews.

Reviews in Australia

Australia has some drawbacks when it comes to obtaining online reviews, and must follow the ACCC and AHPRA guidelines. In Australia, a  medical business should not:

  •       Solicit reviews
  •       Incentivise reviews
  •       Promote reviews on social media or a website
  •       Write reviews for competitors

The best way to get honest, favourable reviews is to do exceptional work, look after patients with compassion and they will feel compelled to write reviews based on the outstanding service they received in your dental clinic.

The Importance of Online Citations for SEO

Why Are Citations Important?

You have decided you want to start an SEO campaign and you want your dental practice to rank highly on search engines such as Google and Bing. Where do you start? One of the more important factors of SEO is building citations.

A citation is a listing on an online directory and consists of your company name, address and phone number, as well as additional information, depending on the citation. Examples of some of the more prominent citations are Google my Business, Yelp, and Facebook. There are also industry-specific citations, as well as citations specific to your region. Search engines place value on seeing your business listed consistently on several of these platforms and consider consistency when determining rankings.

Australian Citations

When you choose to do an SEO setup with Great Dental Websites, we submit your business information to the largest and most active directories to create a strong base for your ongoing campaign. Having these citations set up correctly will send strong signals to search engines and help your business rank higher. The ecosystem of Australian citations, however, is not as sophisticated as in the United States. While these citations we submit to are necessary, they may take significantly longer to appear online.

A big player in the Australian Citation game is Sensis, which controls Yellowpages and Whitepages, two of the more significant directories. Listings posted here may take several weeks or months to appear online, and they are upfront about how long their listings take to go live. Knowing that they could take a while, we still include them in our setup process due to do their importance.

Several citation directories offer paid versions that can speed up the process of a citation showing online, but we typically go with the free versions of listings when we do your SEO setup.

Good Things Take Time

Diligence pays off. Our team is working to set you up for success in your SEO endeavours and are keeping up to date with trends by using the best resources to get your business listed online correctly. With a little patience, your dental practice will be listed on the appropriate directories, and your SEO campaign should start to see consistent results, with the goal of higher rankings and traffic.