The Importance of Google My Business for Your Dental Practice
For a savvy marketer or SEO specialist, the phrase “Google My Business” is part of everyday conversation. As a dentist, this might not be your area of expertise, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to see your practice optimized for growth. Thankfully, establishing a verified online presence through Google My Business is one of the easiest places to start. So, what exactly is Google My Business (GMB) and how can it help?
Understanding Google My Business
Much like print newspaper business listings or advertisements of the past (and sometimes present), Google My Business is the online, quick-scan profile of your practice. It includes your practice name, contact information, business hours, and more—all with an interactive element that lets patients get directions via Google Maps, review you, ask questions, and even make an appointment right from their digital device. Along with being considered a verified business through Google (necessary, by today’s standards), your online business listing gives you many significant advantages that can help patients understand who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch.
How to Benefit from Google My Business
1. Stay Updated
Google isn’t a big fan of a business that isn’t verified, especially if they have a website. The first step you want to take (if you haven’t already) is to set up an account with GMB and claim your practice listing so you can become verified through Google. Once claimed and verified, your practice looks more official to your patients and to Google, and you’ll be more likely to be seen when people search for your services. Google doesn’t trust inconsistency, so you’ll also want to be sure that your practice name, address, phone number(s), business hours, and other information is current across your GMB listing, your website, and social media accounts. Another great feature? Along with your website URL, you can add a separate line for appointments, with a separate URL that goes directly to your contact or appointment page.
2. Choose the Right Categories
Did you know GMB has over 3,000 categories you can choose from and allows you to choose up to 10 for your business? While best practices suggest you don’t choose that many (pick quality over quantity), GMB categories get pretty specific, so you shouldn’t have trouble narrowing anything down. For example, instead of simply “dentist,” you can opt for “cosmetic dentist” or “pediatric dentist” if that more accurately describes your practice. Selecting fewer, more tailored categories make your practice more likely to rise to the top when a patient searches these keywords. As you can imagine, having proper contact and location information and proper categories checked is a big benefit for getting quality leads to your practice.
3. Prioritize Custom Photos
It may be tempting to opt-out of a professional photoshoot and choose stock photography for your listing instead. But most patients (60% to be exact) prefer to see authentic photos of you, your staff, and your practice before they schedule an appointment. Showcasing your amenities, technology, and other enticing aspects of your practice can help ensure patients make more confident decisions in choosing you over a competitor. You won’t have complete control over which photos show first, as patients can upload their own, but you can tell Google you prefer a certain image to display by uploading a cover photo specifically. Remember, though you want professional, high-quality photos, be sure they aren’t overly stuffy and instead capture the genuine approachable feel of your practice.
4. Encourage Reviews
Not surprisingly, patient reviews can make—or break—your practice’s online reputation. Positive reviews have a two-fold benefit: making you more likely to be chosen by a new patient and to be seen and trusted by Google. Naturally, the more positive reviews, the better your chance of increasing your presence online and the number of new patients who schedule appointments. Don’t feel intimidated if you currently have few or no reviews. Most patients who’ve had a positive experience at your practice will readily agree to write you a good review if you make the suggestion. Since you’ve already claimed your practice business listing, you can respond professionally to both positive and negative reviews to help maintain your online reputation as it grows.
5. Keep Watch
It may be tempting to finish all these preliminary tasks and then leave your GMB profile alone. But as with your website and social media accounts, regularly checking in on your listing and making updates is a good idea. You’ll be able to respond in a timely manner to patient reviews, especially since nearly 90% of customers will read a business’s response to reviews before making a decision. Keeping watch is also recommended as anyone can suggest (and make) edits to your listing and you’ll want to keep tabs on your profile. Routinely logging into your GMB account is also the perfect time to engage with potential patients through Google Posts. Similar to a Facebook update, this feature lets you promote new services or specials in a post that will be visible when a patient views your business listing.
Google My Business is one of the simplest marketing strategies you can take, with results that can have long-term benefits. If you’re struggling to set up your listing or see all the benefits of having GMB, we’re here to assist you. Our dental SEO specialists help our clients set up and maintain their GMB accounts on a daily basis and can optimize your listing, too. Contact one of our practice growth specialists today by calling 727-286-6211.