Anyone who has studied SEO understands that content creation is a contributing factor to a business’ search engine ranking. When it comes to SEO, one of the best types of content comes in the form of online reviews. Online reviews provide searchers with honest, credible information about what it’s like to be treated by your practice.

It’s just common sense. But, there is a great deal of confusion in the dental industry regarding how SEO works, and how reviews play into the seemingly enigmatic practice of dental SEO.  Here are 3 quick tips on how to identify if reviews are helping you rank:

1. Choose a transparent SEO company

It’s important to be informed about everything your SEO agency is doing to improve your search engine ranking. If they aren’t open and transparent about their tactics, it might be time to find a new one. Many cheap SEO companies won’t keep you in the loop. They might even tell you what they’re doing is a trade secret. This can be risky.

For instance, most SEO campaigns will include some form of link building. But what does that even mean?  What kinds of websites would find value in linking to your site?  A good SEO company will have existing relationships with a number of media outlets. Those relationships will help you acquire valuable links back to your site, which will improve your search engine ranking. Someone who works with others in your industry will likely have relationships with bloggers and columnists.

An example for dentists would be publishing content on Dentaltown where a link may be placed back to your practice’s website.  Irrelevant links can prove to be harmful to your rankings, so be sure to select someone who specializes in dentistry or whatever niche you’re in. Make sure your agency has created a customized strategy for your practice to earn links back to your site.

2. Reviews Contribute to Search Engine Ranking

Search engines decide how to display search results through a complex series of algorithms. Many of the principles on how SEO works can be found here.  If you don’t have reviews, you could be neglecting one of the most basic forms of SEO: content generated by third parties about your brand.

The four reviews-related ranking factors include the rate at which you’re acquiring reviews, the length of time you’ve been in business and actively receiving reviews, the star rating of those reviews, and of course, the total number of reviews you have in comparison with your competitors.

3. Local Search and Organic Search Are Different

On September 1st, 2016 something drastic happened.  The world of SEO was abuzz over something dramatic.  Many realized that the normally corresponding Google ‘3 Pack’ rankings had a drastically different ranking order compared to organic rankings.

The change referred to as possum caused many businesses to lose their hard-earned search engine ranking. While SEO experts are still analyzing the reasons why possum is causing legitimately optimized Google map listings to fall in rankings, there appears to be a direct correlation with websites that generate unique content on an ongoing basis, including reviews.  

If you hire an SEO expert, you can gain influence in your industry and community by forming a content creation and promotion strategy.  One very basic thing you can do on your own is to encourage your patients to leave a review on sites that matter most to your practice. Sometimes, you can see your rankings return almost immediately because of a small flaw in your SEO foundation.  An example would be to have all your citations verified and 100% consistent.

About the Author

Justin Morgan, SEO Expert

Justin has practiced SEO for over 5 years.  He started off serving all sorts of businesses in his hometown of San Luis Obispo, CA, before deciding to specialize in dental SEO.  Justin believes in using compelling content like online reviews to help build rapport and trust with your prospects.

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