5 Ways A Dentist Can Get Positive Reviews On Yelp
A Blog for Dentists & Other Healthcare Professionals

5 Ways A Dentist Can Get Positive Reviews On Yelp

Some dentists might wistfully remember a time before Yelp, when a few bad online reviews didn’t have the power to take down your dentistry practice. But on the other hand, Yelp can be a really useful tool for dentists who want to manage their online reputation and attract new patients.

Yelp is currently the most popular online review site for finding dentists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Follow these five simple steps to take control of your Yelp profile today and start getting those positive reviews that will make patients flock to your practice.

1. Claim and start managing your Yelp profile

The first thing you need to do to start getting positive Yelp reviews as a dentist is to claim your Yelp profile. You’ve probably already done this, but in case you haven’t, follow Yelp’s instructions to claim your business page.

If your practice has multiple locations, make sure to claim those locations too, as Yelp views different locations as separate businesses. Do this by going into your main Yelp business account and going to Account settings, then click on the Claim Another Business Section and click the Claim another business now link.

Next, you need to start optimizing your Yelp business page. This means that if your profile is not 100% filled out, you need to go in and complete as much information as you can. Be sure to include key information such as:

  • Business name
  • Business category
  • ​Address
  • ​Neighborhood
  • ​Phone number
  • ​Website
  • Hours of operation

You'll want to consider the option to book an appointment through Yelp as well.

You will additionally want to add appropriate multimedia, including a high quality photo of the dentist, photos of your offices, and your practice logo. Dentists should also take advantage of the opportunity to add video to your Yelp profile. This is a great way to get people comfortable with you and your practice before they ever visit the office or even speak to you over the phone.

Now that your profile is all decked out, it’s time to start managing those reviews. Make sure your account is set up so that you receive email notifications as reviews come. This way, you can monitor reviews and respond appropriately (more on responding to reviews a little later).

A good Yelp profile for a dentist has elements such as: hours of operation, high-quality picture of the dentist, your business logo, and business address.

The first thing you need to do to start getting positive Yelp reviews as a dentist is to claim your Yelp profile.

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2. Respond appropriately to your reviews

Now that you’ve begun to monitor your reviews, you can start responding to reviews, both positive and negative. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of this one, since we recently wrote an entire blog post about how dentists should respond to online reviews, which is required reading if you want to start getting Yelp reviews.

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The main things to keep in mind when responding to Yelp reviews is that your responses should be brief, and professional. Thank people for patients the time to review your practice, but never say anything personal about the patient or you’ll be in violation of HIPPA rules — and don’t offer them a freebie to “thank” them for their review or you’ll be in violation of Yelp’s rules. Really, you’re walking a pretty thin line when responding to Yelp reviews. But nonetheless, it’s still important that you respond to some or even most of your reviews, as this shows patients (and potential patients) that you’re paying attention to their feedback.

When it comes to responding to negative reviews, again, keep your public responses short and brief. Do not lose your temper, or write a lengthy or personal response with your “side of the story.” You can assure them that you will resolve any issues they may have experienced, but if the allegations are very inflammatory, it is probably best not to respond publicly.

Whether someone left a positive or negative review, it is generally good to follow up with a private message to the person who left the review. With a positive review, be sure to thank the reviewer, and may even give them a call to show how much you care. Your private response to a negative review can be a little bit more tricky. However, many times, you will be able to get the person who left a negative review to change their rating if you make an effort to resolve their problem.

Here’s an example of a bad dentist response to a negative Yelp review — Angry, long-winded, going into personal details … these are all no-nos.

3. Understand Yelp’s “Recommended Reviews” system

One thing a dentist needs to keep in mind when monitoring their Yelp reviews is that many reviews are filtered out by Yelp’s very strict review filter. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of your positive reviews will end up as “not recommended,” i.e., hidden from view.

What makes a review get filtered out? Well, no one knows for sure. Yelp says its “recommendation software” uses intelligent algorithms to decide if reviews should be recommended or not. Generally, it filters out reviews from people who have posted few or no other business reviews. Yelp says the software also filters out reviews that seem fake and those that have “unhelpful rants or raves.”

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All in all, Yelp filters out about one quarter of your reviews. It’s important for you to know that it’s not worth writing to Yelp about why a great review someone just wrote you got filtered out — Yelp says its employees cannot override the software to manually “recommend” a review.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to get more of your good reviews through. One important thing you can do is ask patients if they have a Yelp profile. If the patient says yes, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure they have a positive experience at your dental practice, and and also let them know (in a non-pushy way) that your practice is on Yelp. This is because Yelp is more likely to feature a review from someone who already has an established account.

One of these “not recommended” dentist Yelp reviews was filtered out because the user had written no other reviews — but why is the other review not recommended? It’s hard to say.


Inevitably, some of your positive reviews will get filtered out, and it will be disappointing. But try not to let it get to you — it happens to the best of us.

4. Encourage patients to review you on Yelp

Yelp has a strict policy regarding review solicitation — you’re not allowed to ask customers for reviews. That said, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage patients to leave you a review on Yelp that are completely within Yelp’s guidelines.

Here are some totally kosher things you can do to remind patients to review you on Yelp:

  • Add Yelp signage at your business location (for example, a “Find us on Yelp” sign)
  • Share positive Yelp reviews on your social media accounts (with the reviewer’s permission)
  • Add prominent buttons on your website that link to your Yelp profile

All of these things will remind patients with Yelp accounts to review you. You might even get creative and do something like set up iPads in your waiting room with Yelp as the homepage.

Go to http://www.yelp.com/brand to get Yelp-branded materials you can use to remind patients to review you on Yelp.

As mentioned, it’s especially important to let patients who are active on Yelp know that you’re on Yelp too (hint, hint). So, be sure to find out which of your regular patients are on Yelp and then try to work Yelp into the conversation next time they’re in for a visit.

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5. Listen to your reviews

A good dentist who is also web-savvy knows that a few negative online reviews is something that comes with the territory of being a dentist in 2015. Rather than freak out over a couple critical Yelp reviews, a smart dentist will use these reviews to their advantage — by fixing the problems that these reviews bring up.

For example, say someone complains about it taking too long to get an appointment or a rude receptionist. Work on improving your availability and have your staff brush up on their customer service skills. Not every critique has an obvious solution, but in most reviews, you will find at least one piece of useful information you can use to improve your dental practice, so that most of your future Yelp reviews will be positive ones.

Conclusion Get Better Yelp Reviews with Review Management for Dentists

Ultimately, your online reputation as a dentist depends on having a great Yelp profile with lots of positive reviews. If you follow the steps on this list, you will be well on your way to building a terrific Yelp presence. If you need more help perfecting your Yelp profile or trying to minimize the impact of some really damaging Yelp reviews, learn more about our review management for dentists, or give us a call at (801) 783-3101.


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About the Author

Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenues goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and a passionate bodybuilder.

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