Can I incentivise to gain Google reviews?

Offering incentives to encourage reviews – is this sensible?

Google review illustrationGetting good Google reviews is important for two main reasons:

  • great reviews catch the eye in search results and serve as a recommendation of your services – sensible, obvious stuff.
  • reviews are strongly considered to be a key factor for ranking within the local results which appear on page 1 of Google – in the web marketing world still often known as the 7-pack ranking (although that number can vary)

So most business owners, including dentists, are very well aware of the value of reviews. The hard part however, is getting them! This is primarily down to a couple of key factors, 1) folks can just be too busy to go and review you even if they have the best intentions and 2) Google doesn’t make it easy by insisting that you need an account to make a review.

So we all know the value of reviews but we all get frustrated with the process. This is why lots of creative methods have been devised for helping to build your businesses review count, from gentle persuasion right through to paying companies to do it for you. The former is fine but the latter very bad!

Can I offer incentives to my patients to give me a good review?

This is another one of those frequently asked questions to which we offer the following advice. Basically avoid it – Google strongly discourages any attempts to manipulate their results as their review guidelines clearly indicate. Whilst we know this does go on, we also know that Google is becoming increasingly adept at identifying all forms of manipulation.

We have also seen other dental marketing companies suggest getting your friends and employees to place reviews for you but this is poor advice. Consider how social networks are integrated and just how easy it is for a large web company like Google to track your online footprints if they really want to.

So what can you do to encourage the all-important reviews?

Here are some of the recommended, ethical ways to help gain reviews:

  • make it easy for your patients by providing them with some simple instructions about the review process and where they can leave one for you online. We provide our marketing clients with exactly this information.
  • don’t be afraid to ask – send a message to you email contact list and Facebook fans and politely request that they leave a review for you.
  • display a prominent sign at reception asking for a review if the patient had been pleased with the service they received.
  • consider a page on you website which details the review process, its importance to your business and the process involved. Provide a link to the review page on Google.
  • modify your recall cards to include a call-to-action requesting a review.
  • identify your main proponents and make polite follow-up calls or use email to re-connect with them following treatment – thank them for their time and request a review.

However, you must avoid anything that could be construed as manipulating the process.

This is where your front-desk and admin. team can really make a difference – polite encouragement on their part can make all the difference. Perhaps consider incentives for your team in line with how many patients they encourage to leave a review!


Gaining Google reviews is very important if a little frustrating. Understanding what your can and can’t do is important – get it right and your brand reputation and local search rankings will benefit but get it wrong and be prepared to find Google on your case! If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please give Dental Media a call on 01332672548 and we’ll help with more practical ideas to help get you moving.