What if you could advertise your dental office on the world’s largest online search platform?
With Google My Business, you can.
This free digital tool is an easy way to build your exposure, expand your virtual reach and bring more local clients through your doors.
However, because there are so many features to this platform, there’s a good chance you aren’t using it to its full potential. That’s why we’re here!
Today, we’re sharing a quick guide on how your practice can optimize Google My Business to see the results you deserve.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
What is Google My Business?
First, let’s cover exactly what Google My Business does.
In short, this is an online business profile, searchable by Google just like your website. When you set yours up the right way, you’ll appear in relevant search results, including Google Maps. Rather than taking viewers to your full website, this profile offers a short snippet of your practice, covering high-level details including:
- Your contact information
- Your hours of operation
- Client reviews and feedback
- Important links
Once they review that information, you’re one step closer to encouraging them to click on your website and learn more about your practice. Google data shows that 50% of people who research a company on a mobile device will contact that company by the following business day.
Why Do Dentists Need It?
Why should your practice take the time to create a profile on Google My Business? Two words: local search.
Industry research shows that people aren’t choosing their dentist solely based on word-of-mouth recommendations anymore. Rather, they’re taking to the internet to find one that meets their needs. As they search, they’re prioritizing the following metrics:
- Online reviews
- Geographic proximity
- Online ranking
If you’re a dentist in Springfield, MO and a local resident searches Google for “dentists near me” or “dentists in Springfield”, your Google My Business listing could show up at the top of the results. This is a simple and cost-effective way to expand your visibility by a landslide.
As opposed to paid searches or organic searches, local searches are connected to Google Maps and Google Places. This means that the more robust your online profile is, the greater opportunity you’ll have to climb the search engine ranks and appear near the top. Your profile is the first step toward attracting the eye and attention of your local target audience.
In turn, when your company details are easier to find online, it won’t take long to recognize and reap the rewards. Improved exposure and visibility lead to more patients. In turn, this helps grow your revenue. The entire cycle begins with making sure your online presence is complete, and a Google My Business profile is a quick but critical step in that process.
How to Claim Your Google My Business Profile
When you’re working with Google, you know the steps will be as simple and straightforward as possible. Thankfully, this is also the case when it comes to claiming and setting up your Google My Business profile.
You’ll begin by going to the Google My Business homepage. From there, click “Manage Now.”
This will trigger a series of prompts, which will walk you through the process of claiming and completing your profile. Along the way, you’ll need to enter the following basic information about your practice:
- Your business name
- Your location
- Your niche category (family dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon, etc.)
- Your website link
After you supply the required information, Google will send you a postcard that includes all of the details on your profile. Within it, you’ll find an authorization code that you’ll need to enter to complete the setup process.
How to Optimize Google My Business
So, how can you optimize your Google My Business profile to maximize free local exposure and attract new patients? Let’s take a look at how you can make the most of every section of your profile.
1. Select the Right Category for Your Dental Practice
It’s important to specify the kind of dental services your practice provides. Some of the ones you can choose from include:
- Pediatric Dentist
- Cosmetic Dentist
- Emergency Dental Service
- Denture Care Center
- Dental Laboratory
- Dental Radiology
- Dental Clinic
- Dental Hygenist
- Dental Implants Periodontist
- Oral Surgeon
- Teeth Whitening Service
- Denture Care Center
- Dental Insurance Agency
- Dental School
- Dental Supply store
In most cases, your staff will perform more than one kind of service. For instance, you might provide cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, and pediatric dentistry, all at the same location. While you can select up to three categories, make sure to set the most important one as your primary category.
2. Monitor and Respond to Reviews
Google My Business also allows clients to leave reviews on your profile for everyone else to see. Given that 84% of people trust online recommendations as much as advice from their family members and friends, this feedback holds a ton of weight.
Keeping a close eye on yours is a key part of online reputation management.
You can log into your account to monitor and respond to each review. Though it can take some time, this is a necessary step to take, regardless of whether the review was positive or negative.
Why? Any time you engage with your audience on your profile, it helps boost your ranking. It takes mere seconds to say “thank you” for a glowing review. In addition, you can keep your response to a negative one respectful, and then work offline to come to a resolution.
3. Interact through Questions and Answers
Google recently added a Questions and Answers feature to its profile listings.
You can use this tool as passively or proactively as you choose. If you prefer, you can allow users themselves to post and answer questions about your practice.
If you go this route, Google enables you to receive push notifications so you know immediately when someone has asked a question on your profile. If you can answer quickly, you’ll boost your engagement rate and help solidify your office as a local expert.
Often, these questions will extend past the basic information included in your profile. For instance, someone might inquire about your holiday hours, the kinds of dental treatments you provide, your payment and insurance options, and more.
On the other hand, if you want to maintain full control over your profile, you can go ahead and create your own questions and then answer them yourself. This is an ideal way to address common concerns and respond to FAQs without opening up your space to spammy, irrelevant questions.
This saves a patient from having to ask a question and serves as a valuable resource for anyone looking for more information about your practice.
4. Incorporate an Online Scheduling Link
How does your office currently handle patient scheduling? As online booking tools continue to proliferate almost every industry, they’re quickly making their way into the dental sphere. If you already have such a digital program in place, you can add a link to your Google My Business profile that allows patients to schedule an appointment on your website with a single click.
Or, you can also use this link to direct web users to your website’s contact page. From there, they can either call your office directly or complete your form to request an appointment!
5. List Your Services
In 2018, Google updated the Google My Business dashboard with a new “Services” section. Here, you can add a list of all the services that your dental practice provides. Once you click “Add or Edit Items”, you can enter the service or treatment name, along with a description.
As it’s relatively new, many dentists forget or skip this feature when setting up their profile. This means that if you take the time to complete yours, you’re one step ahead of the local competition.
And, don’t just stop there! You can also categorize your services to make them easier to search. For instance, you might group some into preventative care and others into cosmetic care or implantology.
Some countries will also allow you to list the prices associated with each service. If you’re able to add this information, do so. It’s valuable information for prospective and current patients alike.
6. Use Posts
In addition to your basic information, you can also use your profile to share quick snippets about your practice. Similar to a micro-blog, these posts give you a small amount of space, but if you choose your words wisely, you can pack a major punch in them.
The categories that any business can post about include:
- What’s New
- Welcome Offers
Each category will have its own number of designated characters. Hone your copywriting skills and keep your message concise, and don’t forget to include a Call-to-Action (CTA) at the end!
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of posts and how top optimize them.
Use this space to share news and time-sensitive information about your practice. For instance, you can introduce new staff members, unveil your latest equipment and talk about some of the new treatments that you provide.
If your country allows you to advertise special promotions or discounts on your treatments or services, take advantage of this feature! This is a simple and quick way to promote your promotional offers in your Google My Business, free of charge.
This kind of free advertising, exposure and visibility is a rare opportunity and an excellent way to get as many local eyes on your offer as possible.
You can also use the posts feature to increase your stance as an industry expert. For instance, you can share helpful dental care tips, provide relevant treatment information, or discuss trending research in your niche.
This is your space to establish thought leadership and discuss topics that interest your active and prospective patients. As you do so, keep your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy in mind. By incorporating relevant keywords that your audience is already searching for, you could help move your profile up the Google rankings, eventually earning your rightful place in the Top 3 Local Pack!
7. Keep Your Contact Information Accurate
One of the most important ways to optimize your profile is to make sure your contact information is correct. Did you change offices? Switch your hours? Get a new phone number?
All of these changes should be updated on your profile. Otherwise, you could send prospective patients to the wrong location, an empty dial tone or a closed office door. None of these bode well for business, so be sure to take the time periodically to check your information for accuracy.
The three biggies are your Name, Address and Phone Number, or your NAP data. Once you set these on your profile, they should be the same at every other customer touchpoint. This means your Google My Business NAP should match the NAP information on your website, social media pages, business cards, and other touchpoints.
Not only does this keep your patients in-the-know, but it also helps your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. Google’s bots can crawl your entire online presence and if they notice any out-of-sync data, they’ll ding you and move you lower on search engine results pages (SERPs).
In addition to your NAP, pay close attention to your website link. It should go to your homepage, not your social media accounts or a landing page. Remember, only traffic to your website boosts your ranking on Google, so sending your viewers anywhere else doesn’t benefit your ranking.
8. Improve Your Image Quality
Does your profile feature grainy, tiny photographs of your dental clinic?
If so, swap those out for high-quality images of your space and your staff. These not only attract the eye of your target viewers, but they also help add personality to your profile and speak to the professionalism of your office.
If you don’t have someone in-house who can take these images for you, it’s worth hiring a professional photographer. Images of smiling patients and sleek, modern equipment could be the linchpin that encourages an on-the-fence prospect to convert.
Master Your Dental Marketing Approach With Us
Learning how to optimize Google My Business is a major addition to your dental office’s digital marketing strategy. Yet, it isn’t the only step.
A robust online presence takes into account your web design, posts, social media presence, and more.
Are you looking for a professional marketing firm to help take this burden off of your shoulders? That’s where we come in.
We provide a range of digital marketing services designed with dentists in mind. We’ll help you recognize the power of Google Ads ad SEO to transform your online space into the revenue-driving, client-retaining vehicle of your dreams.
Contact us today to learn more and let’s get started.