Google continues to keep local dentists (and local search experts!) on their toes. The local listings that appear at the top of local search results are more competitive than ever and the two huge changes implemented this week only serve to increase their value. Here’s a breakdown of what happened.
1. A massive cleanup of local listings has occurred
A drastic uptick in the volume of spam Google receives has lead the platform to filter more local search results to fight fraudulent business listings. As a result, less local search results are appearing, and your dental practice may be subject to their filter – even though it is a legitimate business. No one except Google can perfectly describe the changes, or their parameters that determine a legitimate listing from a false one, but there are some steps you can take to protect your dental practice and still appear on Google’s local search results.
What does Google consider a “spammy” listing?
Google has lengthy definitions for spam, but as it relates to local search, Google is cracking down on duplicate listings, fake businesses, inconsistent business listings, and businesses that have a high spam score (as determined by their algorithm).
2. Google adds Reviews from the Web
Reviews from the Web highlights user generated reviews, rather than critical reviews, which are available in the local knowledge panels. The reviews are taken from third-party sites like Yelp! and Facebook, and the aim is to create a better experience focused on user search intent. By incorporating Reviews from the Web, potential patients can see your dental practice’s ratings from other sites, in addition to Google’s open reviews. This gives potential patients a more complete picture of your practice in a quick glance.
How you can take advantage of the changes
Claim, verify and optimize your Google My Business listing
By claiming and verifying your practice’s Google My Business listing, you are ensuring that your office appears on Google local listings. Verifying your business with Google makes it more legitimate by their standards, and will help reinforce your credibility with Google and potential patients. After you’ve verified your business listing with Google, make sure that it is complete and accurate.
Let Smile Savvy Manage Your Online Listings
Managing your online listings is a continual process that can require a lot of time. If not done correctly, you could wind up with duplicate listings or incorrect online listings that hurt your search engine rankings. Allow Smile Savvy to claim, optimize and manage all of your listings for you, so that you can spend more time with your patients, and less time online.
In addition, our Review Pro service provides an easy, effective way to drive reviews to the sites that matter most. You can request feedback from the patients most likely to give a positive review and your website helps you filter negative reviews so that you can manage them off-line.
We offer the most comprehensive and cost effective local search services available to dentists. Check out our local search and review services here, and reap the benefits of accurate online listings and more positive reviews.