Various websites and local magazines offer “Best Of” listings, usually with a fee attached. Sometimes they involve voting, but often they are essentially an accolade for sale. Should dentists buy these listings? It depends on a few considerations, but the short answer is: Yes, usually they help more than they hurt. We’ll dive in more here.
Does the Listing Give You a Quality Link or a Link that Could Hurt You?
Just as dentists have an online reputation to protect, your website has its own reputation based on websites that it associates with. How Google measures the influence of links to your website is a trade secret that SEO experts have tried to figure out and manipulate for years. One thing is clear: Google DOES NOT want you to buy links to try to influence your rankings.
For a “best of” listing, this means that the link you get should be:
- Secondary to the listing itself
- Coded as a “nofollow” link
The last one refers to how the link is coded on the website. For a long time, Google said that if a link is paid for, such as in an online advertising campaign, then the link should be coded with a rel=”nofollow” bit of HTML programming that tells Google’s algorithm to essentially ignore the link. But then Google said that they actually do look at them and that they can influence your reputation still. It’s a bit of a mess.
You only want to generate links for your website that you can be proud to show to Google. A link to your website should be a natural vote of confidence in you and your dental office’s services, whether they are coded just so or not. If Google doesn’t see that happening, it’s not worth the link.
Dental Directory Listings Have Limited Human Value
Several businesses have launched directories for dentists that list them as the best. If it’s a dental-only directory, then we really need to evaluate it on a case-by-case basis in terms of its value. Still, you can assume one thing almost universally: no patient knows any specific dental directory. Humans are generally aware of Yelp and Google, and that’s pretty much it. For other services like roofing, there’s Angie’s List, but for dentists, the only runner-up is HealthGrades. Even HealthGrades is far from a household name.
You can let Google guide you for these listings. Do some searches in your area and see which directories consistently pop up. If you have extra money burning a hole in your marketing budget’s pocket, they won’t hurt you, but don’t expect a lot of bang for your buck. Instead, we recommend directing those dollars to bolster ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram.
Does the Listing Build Your Authority?
If the source is a trusted media outlet in your area, you should probably go for it. For example, in the Denver area, 5280 Magazine promotes a Top Doctors and Dentists list each year that actual readers pay attention to. If a Denver-area doc has a chance to be on that list, it’s worth spending the dough to have a listing in their Dentist directory and a featured listing in the magazine. Our client, Dr. Kevin Berry, was recently recognized as the first ADA Orofacial Pain Specialist in Colorado and had a write-up in 5280 Magazine. I thought it was a great opportunity to get some local press, attention from prospective dental patients, and even a local link.
Do You Need “Best of” Badges?
Your authority as the leading dentist in your market needs to be visible on your website. That can be tough. Quality online reputation management and a good website design can help prospective dental patients see that people love you. Best of the town badges can give this a little boost. They are unlikely to hurt anything if they look legitimate and don’t get too much clutter on your page. We call these badges ‘trust symbols’ because they bolster the trust visitors have in your brand. You can see how we use trust symbols on our own website’s home page here:
In addition to our Google expertise, we’ve won some design awards, are trained in HIPAA privacy management and StoryBrand messaging. You probably don’t know what these badges stand for, but collectively, they send the message, “We know what we’re doing.”
You can do the same thing on your website with the best of town logos. When you keep them updated, it shows that people in your area still love you. Don’t clutter up your website with old badges from years gone by. The value of saying “We’ve been the best for years” is lost compared to the negative impact the design clutter has on the website experience.
If you’re considering an online listing or a ‘Best Of…’ feature in a local magazine and want to know if it’s a good thing to pick up, don’t hesitate to call your account manager at 970-672-1212.