You and your team work hard to gain reviews for your practice. After all, good reviews are your insurance policy for getting a bad apple. Look at reviews like the conversation that patients are having about you online. Asking for reviews starts the conversation, the review lets new patients know what kind of experience they can expect, and your response lets everyone know you’re committed to delivering excellence to every patient. So we understand how frustrating it can be when Google removes a good review.
Google Review Removal Speculation
In 2018 there was quite a stir when many dentists noticed that good reviews were being removed. Some speculated that Google was no longer allowed reviews posted from third-party links. If this were true, it would have been a big headache to fix since many dental offices use third-party links to gain reviews, and it would have been counterproductive for Google. Google wants your Google My Business profile to have as much information as it can, and that includes reviews.
More Reviews = Better User Experience = Better Business for Google
We’ve continued to use third-party review sites for our member offices and see a significant return when it comes to their online reputations. In 2018 we used BirdEye, but now we use the Online Practice Center, which gives us a full suite of tools to manage reputation, social media, and more.
Why Does Google Remove Reviews?
Google’s only criteria for a review is that it doesn’t distort the truth in any way. Here are the facts, right from Google:
“Reviews are automatically processed to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”
Spam and fake content are reviews that don’t reflect a genuine experience. Reviews will be removed that are duplicate, posted by the same person from multiple accounts, and not reflective of a real experience. Google will also remove off-topic reviews. This means regardless of the rating, no one can post content that doesn’t have to do with your dental office—this includes personal rants that are mostly off-topic! Reviews with content that is dangerous, derogatory, inappropriate, an infringement on others’ rights, and offensive will also be removed. Among the list of things Google reviews can’t have are:
- Reviews containing hyperlinks and email addresses
- Solicited reviews (a review created due to the writer being paid by the business. e.g. “I’m giving this restaurant 5 stars because they said if I write a positive review on their GMB page, I’d get a free meal!”
Google prohibits conflicts of interest and impersonation. No one can post a review of your business about employment experience, manipulate your reviews as a competitor, and you can’t review your own business. Finally, reviews will be removed when posted by someone pretending to be someone they are not.
Regardless of the reviews rating, Google upholds these standards and allows you and others to participate in the process by flagging reviews.
Why Else Might a Review be Removed?
Google sends all reviews through an algorithm that detects the prohibited actions mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are instances when a review is removed unnecessarily. In this instance, we can report it and attempt to get the review back, but it may take a while before it’s displayed again due to Google’s sheer size.
Expect your number of reviews to fluctuate naturally. The reviewer can remove their review if they wish, and if they delete their Google account, Google will also delete their review.
Don’t Lose Heart—You Can Still Stay Ahead of the Competition
While it might be disheartening to see your reviews fluctuate, asking for reviews and staying on top of responding is still the best way to uphold and enhance your online reputation. We know your patients have genuine, great experiences in your dental office every day. Not everyone will take you up on your ask for a review, but many will. The vast majority of authentic reviews will stay, and you’ll still have a let up on the competition by staying the course.
How to Ask for Reviews
If you and your team are having trouble getting new reviews, share these tips and make it a priority at your office.
- Doctors and hygienists: Ask for a review before leaving the patient’s room
- Ask front desk staff to reiterate the request before patients leave the office
- Have a QR code printed on flyers or posters that sit strategically around your office
- Send a text within an hour of patients leaving your office with a review link
By implementing these proven review strategies, staying the course, and keeping in mind that reviews fluctuate, you won’t have to worry about a bad reputation. And with Pro Impressions, you won’t have to worry about Google’s changing landscape, either. We’re ready to quickly respond to any change that Google throws at us and your practice won’t skip a beat.
If you have any concerns about reviews, contact your Account Manager and we can talk through it.
If you’re a dentist looking for a dental marketing company that checks all the boxes, schedule a consultation today.