Is Your Online Presence Scaring Off New Patients?

online presence reputation

How good is the reputation of your pediatric dental practice? Do you compare well with nearby competitors? You might seem to be doing everything right, yet you’re still struggling to gain the 5-star reputation that you deserve.

Before we learn how you can establish your legacy as the best children’s dentist in your area, take a snapshot of where your practice reputation is right now. The simplest way to start is by doing the same thing that parents will do when looking for a new dentist for their kids – search for your practice on Google.

Online Reputation – Where are you Now?

online presence

Start your self-assessment with a branded, organic search for your practice, entering “practice name + location”. When prospects are considering your services, as many as 81 percent of them will conduct a similar search to check you out. What will their first impression be?

Ideally, they’ll see your website, a knowledge box, and an assortment of sites recommending your practice. However, if your reputation is suffering, they might encounter bad press and negative reviews.

You’ll also want to conduct a local search (in maps) using keywords such as “pediatric dentist + location” or “children’s dentist near me”. While rankings are important for visibility, don’t get too caught up in the details of where you rank. Your specific ranking can vary due to several factors.

Focus your attention on your ratings and reviews relative to other practices in your area. Make sure your Google My Business page is complete, including photos and up-to-date contact information. If you were in a patient’s shoes, which dentist would you choose?

It’s important to know what parents are looking for when they are looking into your practice. Remember, facts aren’t as important as perception. You might only have their attention for mere seconds to form their first impression.

  • Overall rating on review sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Health Grades
  • Number of reviews on review sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Health Grades
  • Testimonials
  • Relevant news mentions, both good and bad
  • Social media activity
  • Mentions on sites like or the BBB

Initially, those are the questions that parents will be asking about you. The questions you should be asking yourself are:

  • Does my practice have a 5-star reputation?
  • How do I compare with competitors?
  • Is my practice well received on every major platform, including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Health Grades?

How do I Improve my Online Reputation?

Your dental practice might deserve a 5-star reputation and not yet have it because it hasn’t been a focus of your marketing campaign. You don’t have to wait for them to happen organically. If you are dazzling your patients but are still lacking in reviews, you might need to simply ask for them.

The standard operating procedure of your practice should include asking for ratings and feedback from parents. It is important, however, that you ask in the right way.

Yelp Consumer Alert

yelp warning
It might be tempting to offer something in return for a great review, but don’t do it. Imagine your opinion of a competitor that was compensating patients for reviews and you’ll understand the problem.

Compensation also violates the terms of service on review sites. If it’s discovered that a business is rewarding customers for good reviews, they might hide the review, punish your practice, or even notify users of their suspicions.

Don’t bend the rules and end up hurting your online reputation instead of improving it. Check out this law firm that lost nearly all of their reviews after Google found out they were offering passes to the local zoo to clients that left a positive review.

How Do You Ask for Reviews?


Seriously — it works! “Hey Mrs. Price, it would mean a lot to me if you could leave us some honest feedback online about your experience here.”

Now that wasn’t hard, was it? Frame the request as a personal favor and you’ll even help cement their loyalty as well as getting a 5-star review. Patients will want to help you after having a great experience at your practice.

Whatever the current status of your online presence, it’s never too late to improve reputation.

Dr. Rhea Haugseth