Dentist reviews: Don’t take your lead from AHPRA, take notice of Google

The most frequent question I get asked at present is “Should I be asking my patients to write Google reviews, and what about the Dental Board?”.
My advice is to take note of what Google’s own expert “Mike Blumenthal” is doing to help customers with feedback and reviews. [Check out Googles small business forum which lists Mike as the top Contributor]
Mike has developed software that his CV from Goolge says is to “help small businesses deal with the complexities of customer feedback and reviews: “

Mike’s software basically is designed to help people get reviews /testimonials on their own websites (More on how to keep the Dental Board happy below).  Check out his FAQ to learn the basic business premise which underpins his software.

Businesses should ask for feedback directly to the business (not first via Google + or Yelp or Yahoo) so the business can resolve any issues early.

His software allows you to vet what goes onto your own website and provides customers with links to your Google+ pages so they can also place positive reviews in these forums. Using this software allow you to imbedded positive testimonials within your website using particular coding that Google Search recognises and may use in your Google search rating.

Dental Board of Australia
Your dental practice does need to keep in mind the restrictions on testimonials for health care providers. These testimonial restrictions ONLY apply when you control the testimonial listings. e.g. on your own website or facebook page etc. [Check the rules out yourself Word version] The basic concept is that you cannot place a testimonial on your website that “advertises a regulated health service”. Hence a testimonial that does not advertise a regulated health service is not subject to AHPRA restrictions. e.g. Loved the new waiting room!

You will find that allows you to chose what testimonials you use and what appears on your web site. Interestingly you are allowed to use the common STAR rating from clients/patients on your web site if you don’t included the words of the testimonial which would breach the AHPRA restrictions, .

While testimonials are not allowed under the National Law, this only applies in relation to advertising a regulated health service. If your comments are not part of a practitioner or health service’s intent to promote or advertise their services, your comments are fine.

Publishing an award symbol or rating on a website advertising a regulated health service will not breach the ban on using testimonials in the National Law, unless it involves republishing the testimonials on which the award or rating is based.

From APHRA, Dental Board of Australia – FAQ on the revised advertising guidelines 20 May 2014.Word version

While I haven’t had any client ask for this software I think that Dentists should consider using it or setting up their own manual system that does the same thing before they ask for testimonials or Google reviews. Waiting room feedback forms and staff training on managing negative feedback should also be reviewed.

Getting rid of Bad Google reviews
The other most frequently asked question is how do I get rid of bad testimonials on Google. This is very very difficult. So be warned that by encouraging patients to use online means for communication they are more likely to opt for this as a means of complaining. Make sure you have a great mechanism in place for feedback of any sort and you know how to handle this feedback well.

Google + allows you to reply to your online google reviews
Google encourages all business to verify their Google My Business listing. ( if you need help or want to know if your business is verified). You can answer Google reviews via your Google + page and you can request that Google considers removing negative reviews if you can show good cause.

As a last resort dentists have removed their Google business listing just to remove negative reviews.

Dentists Google My Business

Google My Business is every dentist’s business. Gone are the days of bigger and bigger Yellow pages ads.
I have found many of my ‘normal’ searches never bring up a Yellow pages version or suggestion and we asked patients and friends and nearly everyone said the “googled” a search rather than ever use the Yellow pages. It would be interesting to know whether that is a bias of the demographic we asked or just a new reality.

Google My Business is a new interface Google has released integrating Google Maps, Google places and Google business pages.
It is important that Dental practices all ‘verify’ their Google maps listing and fill out the Google plus information.

Google My Business will be a step-by-step CPD exercise for Dental practitioners for the month of July in .

Every Smart Dentist should have a verified, accurate, and completed Google My Business listing. Load up some photos to make your profile a living mini web presence.


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SEO tips: Changes in a day

Evidence that changing your coding does make a difference to a Google listing

Google sometimes picks up its information from the stranges parts of the page. These words were in ‘alt’ tags.

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I shortened the “alt” tags so they were only one word each.
Google search was back to reading my meta description tag!

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Which only goes to show you should check out what Google search is picking up from your site.

Minimal intervention dentistry: An oxymoron

Minimal intervention dentistry is a ridiculous term!


The “minimal intervention dentistry” philosophy of dental treatment defines the MOST interventionist treatment in dentistry today.

The concept is good; the ideas behind it are evidence based; but the notion that it is minimal interventionist is totally wrong. When a dentist talks about minimal intervention dentistry he/she wants to change your whole life (for the better of your tooth substance). Rather than cut out or cut off your valuable tooth substance the minimal intervention dentist wants you to look at changing your lifestyle to preserve your teeth like in case of cosmetic dentistry – Oxford Dental Care.

So..”Get your act together”( As my kids would say) …

  • Clean your teeth better. No plaque please. Look in the mirror after cleaning. Use a plaque disclosing solution to check yourself. Get out the floss or flosspicks or picketers and clean well between your teeth as well.
  • Stop and think before you eat or drink. Has it got sugar; is it sticky; could you substitute for something tooth friendly; when did you last feed the bugs in your mouth. If it was less than 3 hours ago – think again.
  • Are you a candidate for high fluoride toothpaste or tooth mousse? Do you have poor saliva; acidic saliva; bad buffering etc.

I vote that we (the dental profession) take a stand and say we are Maximum Preservation Dentists. We will do everything we can to convince; coerce; badger; harass you to take a stand ‘for’ your tooth substance. We will work with you and support you. We will coach you and comfort you. We will stand by you and give your tooth substance ever chance to survive. We DO NOT think that any false replacement substitutes for the feel and cushioning of your own bodies natural ligaments and flexion offered by a real tooth.

Come to a Maximum Preservation Dentist today – dont accept anything less. You are worth the effort!

AHPRA advertising rules change again and again

On the 17th March 2014 AHPRA (e.g. the Dental Board) released new guidelines on advertising and social media. On the 18th March FAQ clarified and seemed to totally change the rulings from the day before!

These guidelines created so many complaints that AHPRA has gone back to the drawing board and is looking at revising them again.

What’s the problem?
The original guidelines said that healthcare practitioners were responsibile for comments about themselves on social media sites where they had no control. The guidelines also suggested that practitioners should be aware of what was written about them on social media sites.

Of coures this is totally unworkable. It ignores sites such as LinkedIn where ‘endorsements’ are part of the game!

Privacy policies and health web sites

Any business with a turnover of 3 million or a healthcare business needs to have a privacy policy that conforms to the new Australian Privacy principles.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner says that your web site is an ideal place to have your new ‘transparent’ privacy policy.

All localdentist and Directdeal Internet clients who require policies now have them on their website!

Most other dentists have not yet added a privacy policies to their sites. Perhaps they are waiting for Privacy awareness week!