Is Your Google My Business Profile Working for You or Against You?
By: Patrick Chavoustie
When you type the name of your practice into Google’s search engine, what shows up? Most likely, the information includes the name of your practice, photos, hours, etc. But who decides what this online presence looks like? Thanks to Google My Business, that can be you! Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use profile that Google launched in 2014 to help businesses and organizations like yours connect with local consumers across Google Search and Maps. Your GMB profile compliments your website to make sure your audience has instantaneous information about your practice, enticing them to contact you while improving your local exposure. As GMB continues to evolve into an all-inclusive platform that over 95 million consumers are utilizing daily, it’s crucial that your profile is optimized to achieve digital marketing success on Google – a search engine with over 90% of the world’s search engine market share. (GlobalStats)
5 Actions You Should Take to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
The first step in optimizing your GMB profile is to claim it! Create an account and claim your business! A 2019 report by BrandMuscle found that only 61% of businesses have claimed their business listing. Assuming that statistic is correct, by simply, creating an account, you’re already one step ahead of 39% of your competitors Simply sign in to ttps://www.google.com/business/using a generic company email (PracticeName@Gmail.com). The email you use to create your listing will be considered the Owner of the business, so make sure you always know the login information. If you have an established practice or have taken over someone else’s practice that has been around for several years, there’s a good chance your profile has already been created and you just need to claim it. The easiest way to tell if you have an existing profile is to visit https://business.google.com/add. Enter the name and address of your practice and then select from the search results. If you have an existing profile, Google will notify you that “This listing has already been claimed.” If this is the case, you should request access and fill out the appropriate forms.
Verify Your Business
After you’ve created or claimed your GMB listing, the next step is to verify your account. There are nine ways to verify your listing, but the most common options include phone, email or postcard. According to Google, verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users. Verification also intercepts anyone that may pose a threat to your practice with the intent to make unauthorized changes or claims to your profile. This step is extremely crucial for the protection of your business, but more importantly, for controlling your business and brand information. Before Google verifies your physical location, you cannot manage your photos, Insights, posts, customer reviews, FAQs, etc.; signals that make up 25% of all ranking factors for the Local Pack.
Because GMB signals are a fundamental strategy in getting ranked on Google, it’s important to include as much information as you can within your listing. You can list and describe every service and treatment you offer, service areas, hours, URLs and a bio about your practice. Doing so builds the credibility of your profiles to Google and your patients. The more relevant content you provide, the more likely Google is to put your listing in front of those practices around you. Investing in creating great content will pay for itself time and time again. Keep in mind that whatever you post will be seen by anyone searching, so make sure it’s clear, consistent and correct.
Include Pictures and Videos
We encourage dental practices to invest in high quality, professional photography and videos because businesses with photos see 35% more clicks through to their website. Excellent images (no stock photos) of the dentists and the staff can resonate with patients before they even step foot in your office. Your GMB listing is a great way to showcase these photos and highlight the personality of your brand to the 60% of consumers that say local search results with great images capture their attention and are more likely to encourage their decision. GMB even offers you the option to categorize your photos to make it easier to identify your team, customer photos and the interior and exterior of your practice. If you don’t have an extensive gallery of photos, focus your efforts on your cover and logo, as these will be the first two things clients see when searching for your practice. Often, the other photo displayed is a 360° street view of your practice. This feature offers an immersive experience that encourages more customer engagement – which is always a plus in today’s competitive online market. If you’re not interested in taking these 360° photos yourself, you can select a Google Trusted Photographer from https://www.google.com/streetview/contacts-tools/.
You only have one chance to make a great first impression! Make that happen long before a patient visits your practice for the first time. According to BrightLocal, 92% of new patients read online reviews before choosing a dentist, making Reviews a top priority when optimizing your GMB listing. You can be the best dentist in the country, but your skillset can’t compete with the value of a 5 Star review. Use your listing as an opportunity to engage with your customer base by responding to their reviews if they are good and especially if they are bad. Show your appreciation for their business and acknowledge their critiques in a way that entices them to come back to see you. If you’re concerned about the number of reviews you’ve been able to acquire, try linking external review platforms like Facebook or reputation management tools. Star ratings are a quick, visual indication of the trustworthiness of your practice, so shamelessly promote yourself in this area by asking for reviews whenever you see a client.
After you complete these steps, Google your practice for a second time. What do you and your clients see now? After applying these tips, your listing will be a direct reflection of you and your practice, and you’ll see a noticeable difference in the amount of traffic Google funnels your way.
Patrick Chavoustie runs the daily operations as the CEO of BSN Enterprises, LLC and Omni Premier Marketing. His extensive background in Medical and Dental Marketing and Business Development, alongside his leadership style, positioned him for this role. Omni Premier Marketing has expanded from working exclusively with plastic surgeons to working with multiple medical practices and developing the premier dental website design and marketing solutions under his direction. When not assisting clients or teammates, Patrick is active with multiple non-profits in the community; helping others and giving back is very important and something he encourages employees to do.
The Metro Denver Dental Society is a not-for-profit component society of the American Dental Association and the Colorado Dental Association.