Google My Business listings are extremely important for medical professionals such as doctors and dentists. If you want to attract new clients, you should realize that many people use search engines to find a good doctor or dentist. Without a Google listing, potential patients will find your competitors instead of you. If you don’t already have a listing with Google My Business, make sure you create one as soon as possible. Even if you already have a listing, it’s essential to optimize it in every way possible. Google recently added some helpful new features to GMB that make it more useful than ever to attract more clients. Let’s look at some essential tips to make sure your practice is easy for people to find on Google.
1. Make Sure Your Listing is Accurate and Up-to-date
In order to achieve a good ranking with Google, you want to ensure that your listing is accurate in every way. Google is especially concerned with NAP information, which refers to your name, address, and phone number. You should also include your hours, which lets people searching know if you’re open or closed right now. Go over all of the information of your listing and fill out all fields. Make any corrections that are needed. Keep in mind that Google sometimes pre-fills certain fields so don’t just skip over them and assume everything is correct!
Make sure you use the exact same name for all your online listings. For example, you want your Google listing to match those on Yahoo, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing. Even minor variations in spelling or format can cause confusion that might harm your ranking. For example, Google might interpret “John A. Smith, DDS” and “John Smith Downtown Dental Practice” as two separate entities.
2. Add a Business Description
You can add a description as part of the knowledge panel on GMB. Including a detailed description of your practice is a powerful way to set yourself apart and provide some detailed information. This is an old feature of GMB that was discontinued but recently reinstated. Because of this, many businesses aren’t currently using it, giving those that do a real advantage.
You can write up to 750 characters in the description. You should use this field to describe essential elements of your practice, including any areas of specialization. This information should be evergreen and informative and not overly promotional. The description field gives you a chance to include some important keywords that can improve your ranking. It also provides people searching with valuable information about your practice.
3. Book Appointments
Your main goal for your website as well as GMB listing is to get more bookings. Traditionally, patients usually made appointments over the phone. This, however, is rapidly changing. Research reveals that the majority of patients prefer to schedule appointments online. One of the new GMB features makes it easier than ever to encourage people who find you on Google to book appointments right away. There’s now a section you can add where you can include an URL that takes people to a page where they can book appointments. This lets you turn browsers into clients within seconds. Of course, it’s up to you to set up an efficient landing page where it’s simple for people to book appointments.
4. Use Quality Photos
You may not think photos are especially important for a medical practice but they actually help to optimize any business listing. Google sometimes publishes photos in the section called the knowledge panel.
People are naturally drawn to images so it’s helpful if your listing includes some quality photos of your building, yourself, staff, equipment, or anything else that reflects well on your location. This helps to introduce people to you and your practice. It’s fine to use a smartphone to take photos as long as you get clear images.
5. Google Posts
You can now enhance your listing by adding posts. This turns GMB into something of a social media site, allowing you to tell people about any new promotions or services that you offer. Google Posts show up in both Google search and Maps, making this another way to optimize your listing for SEO. You can also upload images as well as up to 300 words of text. Additionally, you can add a call-to-action within posts. You could send people to your website or to a page where they can book an appointment.
6. Add a Q & A Section
Another useful new GMB feature is the Q & A section. FAQs are always popular on websites and it’s a good idea to have such a section on yours. Now you can also answer questions on GMB. This is another way to add helpful content to your listing and engage with existing and prospective patients. Questions can be simple queries about hours (“Do you offer weekend appointments?”) to more elaborate questions about the services and procedures you offer.
One difference between the Q & A section on GMB and the FAQ on your own website is that you can’t simply fill out this field yourself. The idea is to answer actual questions that people send in. However, you can always recruit a few friends and colleagues to send in questions. You can use this as a subtle marketing technique by calling attention to some of your services. For example, “What kind of implants do you offer?”
7. Encourage Clients to Write Reviews
Reviews are becoming more and more important for all types of businesses, including medical professionals. People seek social proof in the form of online reviews before booking an appointment with someone new. Reviews are closely connected to your GMB listing and can really help yours stand out. You can have outstanding reviews featured in your listing. You can imagine that someone would be more likely to choose a practice with a list of five-star ratings over one with no published reviews. You can post a sign in your office (Yelp actually makes signs for this purpose) and have your staff politely remind people to share their experiences on review sites. It’s very important to monitor your reviews and respond to all of them.
Google My Business is one of the most important aspects of local SEO for doctors and dentists. You can think of this listing as another website and social media site where you can share information and get publicity.
Keep the above tips in mind to optimize your GMB listing.
If you need help with your Google My Business Listing, Contact us today!
Link360 is a digital marketing agency located in Greenville, SC. We help businesses that want to grow, but are frustrated that their website is not generating the right leads for them.