Every business, including your dental practice, should have a Search Engine Optimisation strategy, and Google My Business (GMB) should be the first step. It’s important to your local SEO. It’s not technical, so you don’t have to worry about the tech savvy or IT staff handling it, you can do it. In fact it should be done by the person who owns the business, and knows the business the best. The best bit? It’s easy and FREE!
Google has an extensive guidelines document available, but as we have been doing some work with Dental Practices, we created this blog article as a how to, so you can simply and easily get started. It’s essentially a follow the prompts process, but we do give you some pointers as to how to make the most of this tool.
Setting Up Your Listing - The Basics
- Claim your listing. You are a business that clients and/or patients visit so you are eligible, you just need to start the process by going to Google My Business. When you start typing your name, it may already appear, if not you’ll need to create a new business.
- Complete the listing thoroughly. We don’t just mean the address, contacts, website, opening hours etc; add services and other aspects of your business (more on that later). Communicate as much as you can; what your prospective clients and patients would want to know about your practice.
- Check for Accuracy. Incorrect information can cause issues for search engines, and will possibly disable them from accurately listing your practice. Incorrect information also looks unprofessional. Double check that everything is the same across your website also.
- Use keywords. If you haven’t already, it’s time to devise a list of keywords for your business and practice, and use them generously throughout your listing.
- Get verified. You’ll need to have your listing verified before it goes live to be found via search. You can do this a few ways, so choose the way that suits you best. You can get a video or phone call or text, or gain it instantly via the Google Search Console.
Optimisation of your Listing - Using The Sections
Now that you have got your fundamental listing happening, it’s time to get a little busy and maybe a little creative. These sections outline your services to potential clients, provide information and feedback, and communicate specialties, and other social stuff to attract traffic to your business and your website. It’s broken into sections, and by clicking on the pencil/edit icon in any of the sections you can edit, rewrite, remove, update any information when you need to.
This shows up under the header “your business name” and should be a summary of your business, peppered with your keywords. Keep it short - one or two paragraphs is plenty.
As consumers we are drawn to the most convenient and simplest way to do things, so enable those that find you via Google search to book an appointment; paste your booking form URL into your GMB listing.
Ratings & Reviews
We’ve got a bit more to say about this section, as our company motto is “We’re here to make the web a better (more human) place”, it’s what we believe. In fact it could be a whole new blog post we are so enthusiastic about it.
Happy customers, mean good reviews, mean more customers.
Reviews are critical for a successful business, so why should dental practices be any different, but don’t believe me; check out this crucial statistics. Only 6% of consumers don’t trust reviews at all, and 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as they trust them from a friend. A whopping 72% of customers don’t take any action till they’ve checked reviews and if that doesn’t convince you Google accounts for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide.
Personally (and I’m not quite a millennial), when I travelled through the UK and Europe, I chose my accommodation, restaurants and other ‘touristy’ stuff based solely on reviews, and I reviewed everything myself wherever I could.
Anyhow, it’s important that this section is activated and monitored, Google includes reviews in their algorithms, so it can affect a business’s rankings. Encourage patients to leave reviews, ask them then remind them to leave them; make it part of your dialogue. You can even get a link to your review section for all of your electronic communications.
There’s going to be some extra work on your plate, as there is no opt out for this section; it's for the benefit of the user.
It’s not recommended that you ignore questions posed by users, and it’s just as imperative that the responses and answers are accurate, and more importantly; timely. Any user can answer these questions and crowdsourced answers are inherently troublesome. Ignore user questions at your peril; it makes it appear as if you just don’t care.
Categories & Services
Same same but different - 2 separate sections. So what’s the difference?
- Categories: these are already there and you select the categories that are generally relevant to your business. Put yourself in as many as you fit into depending on what you offer at the practice.
- Services: within the Info label, this section pretty much is constructed like a menu of all the services and treatments that you offer at your practice, and you can include pricing. You add items, complete with a description of the service or treatment item (and price), under section titles. Just like a menu.
GMB posts last 7 days; and they are a way to share information with the public about your business. By setting reminders this is a great free way of communication with your potential patients, to set yourself apart from competitors.
Try things like blog posts, practice updates, appointment reminders to engage visitors and entice them with your professionalism and expertise.
Photos & Videos
Photos and videos - good quality - can show visitors what to expect when they arrive at your practice. Photos of your business, inside and outside, can enable the practice to feel familiar when they arrive, snippets of messages can be shot and posted from staff, welcome and intro tit bits. Before uploading, name your images and videos with keyword friendly names to optimise your listing.
The information you find here; keywords that bring people to your listing, images viewed most often, number of clicks and visits etc, will help you make changes to your listing and profile; for better results for you and your customers.
Google Learns About Your Practice from Your Listing
By keeping your listing accurate, you not only help customers learn more about you, but so does Google, and this can lead to higher website traffic.
As part of your larger Marketing strategy for the practice GMB will go some way to ensure that you:
- Gain Visibility- you’ll get found online when patients search for “dentist” or other dental related words and phrases
- Out Rank Competition in your geographic area on search engines
- Attract new patients to grow your practice
Taking the time to optimise your practice listing could have a very positive impact on your business.