Patient Reviews

Patient reviews have become an indispensable tool in the dental industry, significantly influencing both patient choices and clinic reputations. They act as a potent marketing tool, reflecting the honesty and quality of dental services. Research indicates that over 90% of dental patients read online reviews before deciding on a clinic, yet only a small percentage actually leave reviews themselves. This highlights the importance of dentists actively encouraging their patients to leave reviews​​.

Patient reviews also have a significant impact on local SEO. When potential patients search for dental services, reviews often determine whether a clinic ranks on the first page of search results or not. High Google ratings can greatly increase the likelihood of a clinic being chosen. Reviews serve as social cues, providing authenticity and unbiased insights into the patient experience​​.

Furthermore, nearly 97% of customers rely on reviews for their buying decisions, with 82% of Americans consulting reviews before making a purchase. However, there’s often skepticism about the authenticity of reviews, with 48% of customers uncertain about their credibility. This underscores the critical role reviews play in a business’s success and the need for genuine, trustworthy patient feedback​​.

In summary, for dental clinics, managing and leveraging patient reviews is not just a matter of reputation but a strategic component in attracting new patients and enhancing their online presence.

Table of Contents

What Are Patient Reviews?

Patient reviews are feedback and opinions provided by patients about their experiences with a dental clinic or practitioner. These patient reviews, typically posted on various online platforms, offer insights into the quality of care, patient satisfaction, and the overall experience at the dental clinic. They serve as a vital form of social proof, helping prospective patients make informed decisions about their dental care providers.

Why Are Patient Reviews Important for Dental Clinics?

  1. Reflecting Reputation: A dentist’s reputation is often directly correlated with the quantity and quality of patient reviews they receive. Positive reviews act as a powerful marketing tool, offering an authentic glimpse into the dental clinic’s service quality and patient care.

  2. Influencing Patient Choices and SEO: Most patients turn to online reviews when searching for dental services. Positive reviews can improve a dental clinic’s search engine ranking, making it more likely to appear on the first page of search results. This visibility is crucial for attracting new patients in an era where technology plays a significant role in patient decision-making.

  3. Feedback for Improvement: Reviews provide valuable feedback for dental clinics. They not only inform other patients but also help the clinic understand its strengths and areas needing improvement. Responding to and learning from this feedback can lead to enhanced patient care and services.

  4. Credibility and Trust: With a high percentage of consumers relying on reviews for purchasing decisions, patient reviews hold substantial weight in establishing a clinic’s credibility. They often play a significant role in a business’s success, acting as a decisive factor for potential patients.

In context, patient reviews are a critical component of a dental clinic’s online presence and reputation. They serve as a bridge between the clinic’s services and potential patients’ expectations, playing a vital role in shaping the clinic’s public image and influencing patient choices.

How Do Patient Reviews Impact Local SEO for Dental Practices?

Patient reviews play a crucial role in enhancing the local SEO of dental practices. They influence local SEO in several ways:

  1. Boost in Search Engine Rankings: Online reviews are significant factors for ranking on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). The quantity, frequency, and diversity of reviews account for 15% of the signals used by Google’s SEO algorithm. These reviews help Google understand the services provided by the dental practice, thereby influencing its ranking in local search results.

  2. Relevance through User-Generated Content: Reviews serve as fresh, relevant user-generated content (UGC). Google’s algorithms consider such content to learn about the dental practice and determine its ranking based on patients’ search queries. Regularly updated UGC in the form of reviews complements other content updates on the dental website.

  3. Meeting Basic SEO Requirements: Keywords in patient reviews can help dental websites rank higher on Google. These reviews often contain relevant keywords naturally, which can boost the website’s visibility. Additionally, review sites linking to the dental website create credible backlinks, further enhancing SEO.

  4. Enhancing Click-Through Rates: Good reviews can increase the dental website’s traffic, boosting click-through rates. High engagement and traffic suggest to Google that the website is a credible source of information, thus improving its SEO ranking.

  5. Automatic and Manual Optimization: Google uses both algorithms and human search quality raters to assess websites. Online reviews impact both these aspects, helping dental websites rank high for relevant search queries.

  6. Social SEO Enhancement: Social media engagements and links shared on these platforms contribute to local SEO. Patient reviews shared on social media improve the practice’s visibility and help build backlinks, thus influencing local SEO over time.

What Strategies Can Dental Clinics Use to Encourage Patient Reviews?

To maximize the impact of patient reviews on local SEO, dental clinics can employ various strategies:

  1. Personalized Emails: Send personalized emails to both new and long-term patients requesting reviews. Include links to review platforms like Google and Yelp in the emails.

  2. Face-to-Face Requests: Ask patients for reviews directly when they visit the clinic, ideally after their treatment and before payment. This method feels more personal and can be more effective.

  3. Utilizing Social Media: Leverage social media platforms like Facebook to ask for reviews. Posts can include direct links to review sites.

  4. Direct Mail Solicitations: Use direct mail, such as letters or postcards, to request reviews. Including a QR code that directs to review sites can make it easier for patients.

  5. Website CTAs: Place calls to action (CTAs) on the dental clinic’s website, especially on high-traffic pages, prompting visitors to leave reviews.

  6. Appointment Cards: Distribute appointment cards that include URLs for Google and Facebook listings, encouraging patients to leave reviews.

  7. Take-Home Instructions: Provide take-home instructions or templates to patients, guiding them on how to write reviews, especially for those unfamiliar with the process.

  8. Promotional Items: Give out promotional items with the dental clinic’s information and a note encouraging reviews.

  9. Milestone Postcards: Send out postcards to mark special occasions or milestones, using them as an opportunity to request reviews.

  10. Text Messages: Utilize text messaging to ask for reviews, especially immediately after appointments or procedures.

By implementing these strategies, dental practices can effectively encourage patient reviews, which, in turn, significantly enhance their local SEO and overall online visibility.

How Should Dental Clinics Effectively Respond to Negative Reviews?

Responding to negative reviews is a critical aspect of managing a dental clinic’s online reputation. Here are key strategies to effectively handle negative reviews:

  1. Respond Promptly and Professionally: It’s important to respond quickly to negative reviews. A timely response shows that the dental practice values feedback and is committed to resolving issues. Remember, responses are visible to everyone, so maintain a professional tone that reflects the values of the practice.

  2. Compliance with HIPAA Guidelines: When responding to reviews, dental clinics must adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This means avoiding any disclosure of private patient information. Even acknowledging that an individual is a patient can be a violation. Responses should be general and aim to move the conversation offline.

  3. Empathetic Approach: Address the concerns raised in the review empathetically. Avoid being defensive or pointing out inaccuracies, which can come across as aggressive and may further alienate the patient. Empathy in your response can portray your practice as understanding and caring.

  4. Encourage Offline Resolution: In the response, encourage the reviewer to contact the clinic directly to discuss and resolve their concerns. This approach helps to take the conversation out of the public domain and demonstrates a commitment to addressing patient dissatisfaction.

  5. Avoid Aggressive or Defensive Language: Stay positive and accommodating in your response. Being aggressive or overly defensive can harm the practice’s reputation and deter potential patients.

Which Platforms Are Most Influential for Patient Reviews in Dental SEO?

Several platforms are highly influential for patient reviews in dental SEO. Each platform has its unique features and audience, making them important for a dental clinic’s online presence:

  1. Google: Google is the most popular review platform, accounting for a significant portion of all reviews worldwide. Reviews on Google can greatly enhance a clinic’s visibility in search queries. Google Business Profile is a crucial tool for managing a dental practice’s online presence on this platform.

  2. Facebook: As the second-largest review platform, Facebook allows dental clinics to create a business page, increasing their visibility. Reviews on Facebook, now called recommendations, help clinics appear at the top of local search results.

  3. Healthgrades: This platform hosts millions of reviews for dentists and doctors. It offers an intuitive search function for patients to find dentists in their area and includes features like appointment requests and health-related content.

  4. Zocdoc: Zocdoc facilitates online appointment booking and sends reminders for dental cleanings. It’s a useful platform for patients to find dentists based on specific criteria such as location and insurance.

  5. Vitals: Known as a large online database for patient reviews, Vitals also offers educational guides and helps patients discover new dentists in their area.

  6. 1-800 Dentist: This site provides extensive dental care content and offers custom recommendations to patients based on a questionnaire. Reviews are requested after appointments, adding to the clinic’s online reputation.

  7. This is a community platform where dentists can interact with peers and patients, publish articles, and direct patients to book appointments, thus enhancing their online presence.

  8. CareDash: A comprehensive healthcare review site, CareDash emphasizes transparency and allows users to compare dentists based on reviews, helping them find the best fit for their needs.

Each of these platforms offers unique opportunities for dental clinics to enhance their online visibility and reputation, making them essential components of an effective dental SEO strategy.

How Can Dental Clinics Incorporate Patient Reviews on Their Websites?

Dental clinics can effectively incorporate patient reviews on their websites by:

  1. Highlighting Reviews on the Homepage: Displaying a few top reviews on a carousel loop on the homepage can be impactful. This strategy showcases positive patient experiences and can give the clinic an edge over competitors. The reviews can emphasize the clinic’s unique value proposition, such as exceptional patient care or facility cleanliness.

  2. Dedicated Reviews/Testimonials Page: Creating a dedicated page for reviews or testimonials is advisable. This page can include reviews shared directly with the clinic’s staff, as well as those from external sources like Google. Some website creation services offer seamless integration of Google reviews onto the testimonials page, which can be a valuable tool for prospective patients actively seeking feedback about the clinic.

What Are the Best Practices for Displaying Patient Reviews to Optimize SEO?

Understanding the Impact of Reviews on SEO

Online patient reviews significantly impact SEO for medical practices. They not only lead to additional patients but also make it easier for potential patients to find your practice online. This enhanced visibility is crucial because a significant percentage of people do not scroll past the first page of search results, with over 50% of organic online searches not moving beyond the first page.

Importance of High Ratings and Sufficient Review Numbers

To rank well in search engines, it’s essential to have a high overall customer response rating, ideally above 4.1. Additionally, the quantity of reviews matters, with a median number of around 30 reviews being a benchmark for local businesses to achieve good ranking.

Leveraging Reviews for Multiple Benefits

Patient reviews serve multiple purposes: they provide feedback on what’s working and what isn’t, build rapport with patients, help others find and trust your practice, and enhance your SEO ranking.

Effective Review Collection Strategies

Creating an effective survey process is vital. Surveys should be on a 5-point scale to fit into search engine aggregation, focus on the patient experience, be brief, and allow free-form responses. Offering surveys in multiple formats (mobile, online, hard copy) is beneficial, and ensuring they’re editable only by the submitter helps maintain authenticity.

Responding to Reviews

Acknowledging feedback, even with a simple thank you, demonstrates that you value the patient’s time and input. This gesture not only fosters goodwill but also contributes positively to SEO.

Handling Negative Reviews

Addressing less-than-favorable reviews is crucial. Thanking patients for their feedback and inviting them to discuss their concerns privately helps maintain both patient privacy and your practice’s reputation. Importantly, a few negative reviews can add credibility, as a perfect score might be viewed with skepticism by potential patients.

Dynamic Content for SEO

Publishing reviews on your website allows for dynamic content, which search engines view favorably. This content reflects your site’s activity and provides insight into your services and community engagement.

When Is the Ideal Time for Dental Clinics to Request Patient Reviews?

In-Office Request

The ideal time to ask for reviews can be during the dental visit itself, especially if the patient expresses satisfaction. Engaging in a conversation about their experience and subtly introducing the idea of sharing their experience on your review platform can be effective. Ensure that the review platform links are visible on the checkout counter and the patient’s receipt.

Post-Visit Communication

Sending an automated text message or email on the same day of the visit can serve as a reminder for busy patients to leave a review. Follow-up emails a few days after the visit can reinforce this message. Including clickable links to review sites in these communications is vital.

Leveraging Digital Platforms

Posting links for leaving reviews on your website and social media accounts is crucial. Social media reviews are particularly influential in drawing clients. Ensure your practice’s social media accounts and website prominently feature options for patients to leave reviews.

Encouraging Reviews with Incentives

Offering incentives like discounts, offers, or raffle prizes can encourage patients to leave reviews. Positive patient reviews are a hallmark of attracting more clientele and should be a focal point in your review acquisition strategy.

In context, effectively displaying patient reviews for SEO involves a multifaceted approach that includes strategic collection, thoughtful response, and leveraging digital platforms, all while understanding the critical role these reviews play in SEO and patient trust.

How Can Dental Clinics Use Patient Reviews to Improve Their Services and Patient Experience?

Dental clinics can significantly benefit from patient reviews by using them to improve services. Here are some key strategies:

  1. Be Specific: Encourage patients to provide detailed reviews. Specific feedback on aspects like treatment quality, appointment booking process, and waiting time can offer valuable insights for improvement.

  2. Easiest Feedback Channels: Ensure that the process for leaving reviews is straightforward and user-friendly. Utilize familiar platforms to patients to increase the likelihood of receiving feedback.

  3. Balanced Feedback: Ask for both positive and negative aspects of the patient experience. This approach helps identify areas of strength and those needing improvement.

  4. Monitor Competitors: Analyzing feedback for competitors can provide insights into areas where your clinic excels or falls short, offering opportunities for strategic improvements.

  5. Responding to Reviews: Engaging with patient reviews, especially those with detailed feedback, demonstrates a commitment to improving and adapting your services.

Which Metrics Can Dental Clinics Use to Measure the Impact of Patient Reviews on SEO?

To quantify the impact of patient reviews on SEO, dental clinics can track several key metrics:

  1. Website Traffic: Analyze various aspects of traffic, including organic, paid, social media, referral, and direct traffic. Organic traffic growth indicates successful SEO strategies.

  2. Keyword Rankings: Measure the progress of specific keywords relevant to your dental services and compare them to your initial rankings.

  3. Click-through Rate (CTR): Evaluate how many people click on your website after seeing it in search results. A low CTR might indicate issues with keyword relevance or unengaging metadata.

  4. Session Duration: Monitor how long users stay on your website. Longer sessions suggest engaging content, while short durations might highlight areas needing improvement.

  5. Bounce Rate: Assess the rate at which users leave your site quickly after arrival. A high bounce rate could indicate issues like poor loading speeds or unengaging content.

  6. Total Conversions: Track how many website visitors convert into scheduled appointments. This metric directly correlates to the effectiveness of your online presence and SEO efforts.

In context, dental clinics can use patient reviews as a tool for service enhancement by soliciting specific, balanced feedback and responding to it thoughtfully. Additionally, tracking key SEO metrics such as website traffic, keyword rankings, CTR, session duration, bounce rate, and conversions can provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of patient reviews on online visibility and patient acquisition.

How Do Patient Reviews Contribute to the Overall Online Reputation of Dental Clinics?

Patient reviews are a cornerstone in shaping the online reputation of dental clinics, influencing both prospective patients’ perceptions and search engine rankings.

  1. Trust and Decision Making: A staggering 90.4% of patients trust online reviews, often using them as a starting point in choosing a new dental provider. Positive reviews can significantly boost patients’ confidence and trust in choosing a particular dental practice.

  2. Quality Perception: About 73.6% of individuals read reviews to gauge the quality of dental services. They look for details that offer insight into the patient experience, such as service quality and the clinic’s approach to patient care.

  3. Problem-Solving Abilities: Nearly half of the patients read reviews to understand how a clinic addresses patient problems. This includes aspects like communication, accessibility, and the overall patient-dentist relationship.

  4. Relevance and Timeliness: The recency of reviews is crucial, with 69% of patients observing the date a review was written. Recent reviews are perceived as more accurate and relevant, influencing patients’ decision-making processes more effectively.

  5. Authenticity Concerns: The authenticity of reviews is vital, with 84.5% of patients believing that only half of the dentist reviews are genuine. Managing fake reviews is essential to maintain a trustworthy online presence.

  6. SEO and Visibility: Reviews are a key ranking factor in Google Search, improving a dental clinic’s visibility in search results. They are viewed as evidence of a clinic’s expertise, authority, and trust, playing a critical role in search engine optimization (SEO).

How Can Localized Content Augment the Effectiveness of Patient Reviews in Dental SEO?

Localized content is a powerful tool that works hand in hand with patient reviews to boost dental SEO effectiveness.

  1. Enhancing Online Reviews: Managing online reviews is part of leveraging localized content. Encouraging patients to leave reviews on local platforms and responding to these reviews are key components of this strategy. Localized content helps a dental business rank in local search results, increasing visibility and reinforcing the impact of positive reviews.

  2. Localized Blog Posts: Utilizing blog posts to highlight the expertise of dentists and share patient testimonials can significantly boost a clinic’s local online presence. This content not only establishes trust but also signals to Google the legitimacy and relevance of the dental practice within a local community.

  3. Community Engagement: Writing about local events and community involvement strengthens the local SEO score. It showcases the dental practice’s commitment to the community, further enhancing its local relevance and appeal to prospective patients.

In context, patient reviews are instrumental in shaping the online reputation of dental clinics, influencing patients’ trust, perception of quality, and the clinic’s visibility in search engine results. Localized content complements patient reviews by reinforcing local SEO efforts, building trust through community engagement, and highlighting the practice’s expertise and patient satisfaction. 

Together, they form a robust strategy for enhancing the online presence and attractiveness of dental clinics to prospective patients.


In conclusion, patient reviews play a crucial role in shaping the online reputation of dental clinics, significantly influencing patient trust and decision-making. These reviews not only provide valuable insights into the quality of services and problem-solving abilities of a clinic but also greatly enhance its search engine optimization (SEO). 

Coupled with strategic use of localized content, such as highlighting doctors’ expertise and community involvement, dental clinics can effectively augment their online presence. This combination of patient reviews and localized content creates a compelling online narrative, attracting new patients and reinforcing the clinic’s standing in the digital healthcare landscape.