Thursday, September 27, 2012
What do you see? Are you happy with it?
Like it or not this is the way most of the public will know about you. Existing patients are likely to Google you just to get your phone number. Most prospective new patients will Google you. Even those with a great personal referral will Google you just to get your phone number and address.
What Google displays about you is your online reputation. It could be argued that in our modern connected Internet age your Online Reputation is the only one that matters. As a professional your reputation is a precious asset, if you do not proactively promote your reputation with your own web content then what someone sees about you online will be determined by others.
There are three general results you can expect from your personal Google search and only one is good. The three results are: nothing, lots of good stuff or some bad stuff.
Nothing: If nothing comes up on Google about you, it tells a prospective new patient you are so behind the times you are clueless when it comes to the Internet. If you are so out of date with the Net, are you also out of date as a dentist? Like it or not the most likely assumption a patient will make is that you are hopelessly out of touch and the prospective new patient will look elsewhere.
And it is not difficult at all to look elsewhere. Google will instantly supply the names and contact information for any number of nearby dentists.
Some bad stuff: Online user reviews have exploded in the last few years. They are everywhere from A (Angie's List) to Y (Yelp!) and especially the big G (Google). User Reviews are ubiquitous, extremely powerful and frustratingly difficult if not downright impossible to mitigate once you get a bad one.
Many dentists have some bad reviews on Google or Yelp! and don’t even know it. That is why the first sentence above is so important. Google yourself.
Like it or not if that prospective new patient sees a couple negative one or two star reviews with comments like, “The staff was rude,” “He kept us waiting over an hour,” or “They overcharged my insurance,” they are very likely to just move on.
Lots of good stuff: When you Google some dentists you find a direct link to their web site at the top of the page with lots of patient testimonials and a big easy to see box with the address and phone number. Below that is a link to their Facebook page full of likes and happy patient comments. Below that is a Google+ page with dozens of happy five star user reviews. (Actually, Google recently switched to a three star review system, but the point remains the same.)
This does not happen by accident.
Any dentist with a stellar online presence such as the one described above, created it with good planning, time and money. It is possible for a dentist or dental team member to create a positive online reputation using SEO (Search Engine Optimization), reviews and social media. However for most dentists it is much more effective and efficient to use a service such as Sesame Communications, ActionRun or DemandForce. Contacting any of them to get started puts experts to work so your practice’s online presence will fall into this third category.
If you Google yourself in the future what will you see? The future is coming and it will be amazing!