Do you want to know what dentists in Ontario can and cannot do when it comes to online reviews?
As Wisevu specializes in dental website design, dental SEO and dental online reputation management (ORM), in Ontario, Canada, we want to share with our readers some interesting facts about online reviews for dental practices in Ontario, Canada.
Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario is strict when it comes to dentists collecting and displaying reviews on their websites, so we wanted to clear any doubts related to online reviews, so lets dive right in.
Can a dentist in Ontario ask patients to leave a review? Yes, you can ask your patients to leave you a 3rd party review on sites like Google or RateMDs.
Note: According to Yelp guidelines you are not allowed to ask for yelp reviews, but the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario doesn’t say anything about asking for Yelp reviews, so we will leave the decision with you : )
Are dentists in Ontario allowed to display reviews on their website?
No, dentists in Ontario are not allowed to showcase any reviews on their websites. This includes any third party reviews like Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews or RateMDs reviews to name a few. At Wisevu we offer widgets that allow our clients to showcase reviews from 3rd party sites like Google, but unfortunately our dental clients cannot use these widgets as the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario prohibits them.
This also means that you are not allowed to have Google’s rich review snippets on your website, which allow you to have that attractive star rating next to your organic Google listing. Or are you???
Well, we did a quick Google search for Dentists in Toronto and found some listings in organic Google search results that do in fact have rich snippets as you can see in the screenshots below.
When we looked at these sites we noticed they did not display any reviews on the pages that were marked up with these rich review snippets. We wonder if they purposely did this to not get in trouble with RCDS, or if they simply don’t understand Google’s review snippet guidelines… Hmmm. So, although they are not technically breaking any rules with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, they are in fact breaking the Google guidelines, one of which clearly states to:
“Make sure the reviews and ratings you mark up are readily available to users from the marked-up page. It should be immediately obvious to users that the page has review content.“
Google warns that: “If your site violates one or more of these review snippet guidelines, then Google may take manual action against it.“
However, since Google is currently pretty lax with their review snippets, many listings are going against their guidelines, and are still benefitting from these amazing stars on their organic listings. So, in the end it is up to you whether you want to risk breaking the rules to get those star ratings for your organic Google listings, or if you want to play it by the rules and forget about the rich snippets if you are a dentist, a physiotherapist or a registered massage therapist as the same rule applies.
You may be wondering, what happens if I cheat now and then get caught by Google later? Will I lost my listing altogether? Will I lose my precious review snippet? Well, it seems like all you have to do is remove the snippets once you get caught cheating and “Once you have remedied the problem, you can submit your site for reconsideration.”
This means that in the end you will simply lose the review snippet on your organic Google listing, but the question is, when will Google catch you? And why not benefit from the review snippets while you can?
I bet most of you are thinking, my competitors are doing it, the heck with the guidelines, get me those star ratings… Muahahahaha. : )
Well, you could snitch on those sneaky cheaters and report spam in rich results to the big G. Or you can chant the famous idiom “If you can’t beat them, join them” and ask your online reputation management provider to get you those sexy 5 stars next to your organic Google listings. And while you are at it, you might as well mark up all your key landing pages with these reviews snippets (again against Google review snippet guidelines) but ey, if you gonna cheat, you might as well go all in : ))) Don’t say you heard it from us.
And finally, some good news, as a dentist practicing in Ontario, you are able to, in general terms, state on your website that clients really like your services.
So there you have it, hopefully this helps you better understand what you can and can’t do with online reviews as a dentist practicing in Ontario.
If you got a question of your own and want to ask the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in Ontario you can call them at and find out for yourself at +1 416-961-6555
Please do share your findings in the comments below.