5 Star Reviews with 4.8 Rating – Google Ratings Explained

17 February 2017 | | Internet, Marketing

We’ve been encouraging dental practices for some time now to ask patients for Google reviews. The need to gain Google reviews for your local dental practice continues to increase for a number of reasons;

  1. The competition has long ago cottoned on. It’s no longer a case of getting reviews to stand out, but getting as many reviews as possible and more than your competitors.
  2. Google continues to display reviews prominently and shows no sign of stopping in using the reviews as a form of differentiating relevant businesses to their users. 

Having succeeded in a vast majority of cases- and with our dental practice accounts now boasting excellent 5-star reviews – increasingly the issue of discrepancies between reviews and ratings needs to be addressed.

This is what we see;

 

On its help page, Google helpfully points out that…

“Your score is calculated from user ratings and a variety of other signals to ensure that the overall score best reflects the quality of the establishment.”.

It’s clear that Google is not calculating the average of 5-star reviews in the same way as you or I would. Ordinarily, if you had 8 reviews all with 5 stars, and you averaged the rating, you’d never be able to get to 4.9.

However, put yourself in Google’s shoes. You need to support the better dental practices.

Is a dental listing with eight 5-stars actually better than a dental practice with 48 5-star reviews and two 3-star reviews?

To combat this dilemma, Google have played with Maths (and our heads) and added an algorithm to the reviews and ratings, which weights 5-star reviews differently if there are less than a certain number.

Mike Blumenthal and other high profile Google Experts, propose that they are probably using something like a Bayesian average to inform the ranking and rating of individual listings.

“A Bayesian average is a method of estimating the mean of a population consistent with Bayesian interpretation, where instead of estimating the mean strictly from the available data set, other existing information related to that data set may also be incorporated into the calculation in order to minimize the impact of large deviations, or to assert a default value when the data set is small.”

Wikipedia – Bayesian average

It’s hard not to find fault in this average method, but on the whole, it is probably the most accurate and fair way of calculating ratings from reviews.

Essentially Google uses its algorithm to extrapolate what your reviews would be if you had a larger number of reviews.

 

Understandably, it’s misleading and annoying when our dental practices have worked so hard to get reviews – but at least it is constant and the same for everyone, so the playing field is level.

We see this re-calibrate at around the 20-30 review mark, at which stage if all 20-30 reviews are 5 star – your rating will be more likely to be a 5-star rating.

Keep asking patients for Google reviews!

Dental Design supports practices across the UK to establish a positive online presence for their dental practice through SEO, PPC, online PR management and social media management. Contact the team today to find out more. 

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