Have you Googled your practice lately?

May 20, 2012
Glenn Lombardi explains what you are likely to find online about your dental practice in a Google search. Even if the information is not very positive, take heart — you can control what prospective patients view about your practice. Here’s how.

By Glenn Lombardi

Where do people look when they need a new dentist? The Internet. They do a search using a variation of keywords such as, “dentist Fayetteville,” and in a matter of seconds the search engine returns a multitude of results in order of relevancy. By now, hopefully you have a practice website that follows best practice search engine optimization (SEO) in order to secure a high ranking in the search results for keywords relevant to your local area.

But what about a patient who was referred to your practice and wants to learn more about you? They’re going to search for your name or practice name to determine whether or not they want to book an appointment. Whether you have a website or not, you may be surprised at what you find when you search for yourself on Google or other major search engines. Here’s why ...

Inaccurate listings — Dentists without a website or dentists with a poorly optimized site may find that searching for their name on Google will, in fact, still return listings about their practice. The bad news is that these search result listings will mainly consist of online directories that have pulled your information from various sources across the Web to compile what they believe to be the most accurate representation of your practice. In many cases, the listings contain old addresses, outdated phone numbers, and incorrect services or office hours. Inconsistency and inaccuracy in these listings will ultimately result in prospective patients being unable to find reliable information about your practice.

Poor reviews — Dentist may also search for their name on Google, and instead of finding their website ranked at the top, they may find, among the numerous directory listings, several reviews about their practices written by patients. Unfortunately, the reviews don’t necessarily have to be positive in order to make an appearance online. That means the first impression a referred patient could have of your practice may be a former patient’s rant about his poor experience in your office. Too many negative reviews will reflect poorly on your practice, ultimately sending referrals to seek a different provider.

You own the page — If you’ve done your homework, then hopefully when you Google your name, what you find is that you dominate the majority of the search results page. The first listing to appear is your website, and listed directly below are links to your subpages, including your blog, office page, staff page, and services. Following your website is your verified Google Place Page with links to your patient reviews and a five star rating for your practice.

Like I mentioned previously, Google is going to return the most relevant results for each search performed. By having an optimized website, claimed directory listings, a verified Google Place Page, and a strategy to influence positive patient reviews, you can almost guarantee that someone searching for your name will only find information provided by your practice at the top of the search results.

I encourage you to Google yourself today. What do you find? Talk to a trusted dental website provider who can help you analyze the search results and map out a strategy that allows you to dominate the search results.

Author bio
Glenn Lombardi is president of Officite, LLC, the No. 1 provider of dental website design and Internet marketing strategies for the dental community. Officite has built more than 7,000 websites that have generated hundreds of thousands of appointment requests since 2002. To learn more, visit www.officite.com or call (800) 908-2483.