Google My Business (GMB) has grown a lot in the last five years, and as Google continues to put more time and effort towards local search, there’s no denying that it’s an essential tool for your business. This is even truer in the last year with Google phasing out Google+.
So what does it take to set up a GMB listing? What information do you need to include? And how do you maintain your listing after setting it up? This post will get into all that and more, but it’s important to continue to educate yourself on changes to GMB as Google continues to add new and useful features.
Name, Address, Phone, and website
Let’s start with the basics. Before we get into all of the great features that GMB has to offer, we have to start with what’s most important. Your business’s Name, Address, Phone number, and website need to be prominent on your GMB listing (and any other listings you’re managing online).
It’s essential that these four pieces of information are included in your GMB listing because this is the information that any potential patient will need in order to find you. It’s also important when considering Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google is looking for this information to check the legitimacy of your business online and to verify your location. This consistency can greatly improve how you rank in search results.
Respond To All Reviews
Google has become one of (if not the most) valuable review platforms. Nearly every industry relies on positive reviews to drive new customers, clients, or patients to their business and dentistry is no different. In fact, you can assume the majority of patients are going to read your reviews before making a booking decision. That’s why it’s important to get reviews, but it’s also important to respond to those reviews, both good and bad.
The reason you should be responding to bad reviews is simple, and it has more to do with other potential patients than the unhappy one. By responding calmly and professionally to negative reviews, you’re showing other potential patients that you aren’t hiding from any issues, and that you’re willing to deal with them professionally, which speaks volumes about your practice. Don’t worry about that bad review – if you stay on top of getting reviews, it will quickly be buried, not to mention most users take 1-star reviews with a grain of salt. If you have mostly good reviews you’ll be just fine.
Be sure to respond to positive reviews too. It not only shows the patient that you appreciate the time they took to write a positive review, but you’re also showing Google that you’re active on GMB. That engagement can go a long way.
Respond To All Questions
The Question & Answer section on GMB is relatively new and gives users the ability to ask a business a question directly. Keep an eye on this section because you need to respond to all questions coming in.
If you aren’t seeing questions coming through, it’s okay to post your own questions and answer them. Think of it as an FAQ section that comes up in a Google search result, it gives you the ability to answer questions patients often ask before they even make it to your site.
Another great feature GMB offers is Google Posts. This feature provides a great opportunity to promote things beyond your website. Think of it like any other social media post that appears in search results.
This is a great feature for promoting events, specials, office news, and anything in between. You can set up your post to have a call to action of some sort, like booking an appointment or calling the office for more information. You can also link to a page on your website. Websites like Canva or Small Thanks With Google are great resources to help you create quick graphics to use with your posts.
Google My Business Name & Description
Setting up your name and description in GMB won’t take long but they’re both very important. Keeping a few things in mind while going through the setup process can go a long way. It’s important to set yourself up for success from the beginning. Starting with the name on your listing, keep in mind that you want to keep your title simple (and as short as possible). Also, make sure you’re using your legal business name.
Now that you have your GMB name sorted, it’s time for the description. There’s some debate surrounding the optimal length but you don’t want to sacrifice important information for length. You need to make sure your description includes keywords like location, top services, brand name, dentist name, etc. The tricky part is including all this information without being spammy. You don’t want to keyword spam your location or services in your description but it’s a good idea to mention them not only for SEO purposes but also for the sake of users.
Also, keep in mind the description character limit, Search Engine Land states: “You are given 750 characters to work with, but the first 250 are what shows in the Knowledge Panel. After that, the content is cut off, but it’s still in your GMB description. The decrease in characters from the previous 4,500 to 750 was probably done to cut the amount of spam showing in the descriptions.”
Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about:
“At Palos Pediatric Dentistry, we know your child is special. That is why we treat your child based on their personality as well as their dental needs. Dr. Richard Facko is experienced in treating youngsters of all ages. His compassionate style, expert skills, and ability to communicate with children make him a favorite among parents and kids. We offer several services for your children’s dental needs including preventative services, infant oral health, restorative dentistry, silver diamine fluoride, emergencies, special needs dentistry, orthodontics, and behavior guidance. We even offer sedation dentistry for children who may be anxious about dental care.”
Include All Relevant Categories & Attributes
Within GMB there is a section dedicated to categories, which is devoted to properly categorizing businesses in search results. The primary category is the most important, but don’t hesitate to add all the categories that are relevant to your business.
The same goes for attributes, add as many as apply to your business. However, make sure the categories and attributes you’re adding are still relevant to your business.
Photos and Videos
Lastly, you should be adding photos and videos to your GMB listing. You can add a ton of photos so don’t hesitate to continue to add them over time. Things like office photos, staff photos, and patient photos are a good place to start. When adding images, make sure to categorize them using Interior, Exterior, Team, At Work, Logo, or Cover.
Videos are seen on GMB less often than photos but more practices should be shooting videos and adding them. We always push our clients to work on video content for the website but that content works just as well for GMB. Things like intro videos, FAQ response videos, patient testimonials, and in-depth informational videos about the services you offer are a good place to start.
Google My Business continues to become an incredibly valuable resource for practices and users alike. More and more users are interactive with practices via GMB and that’s not going to change. Representing yourself well on GMB can produce new patient leads you might have otherwise lost. It also means that you’ll see new leads coming through GMB, patients that may not have even gone to your website. Showing off what your practice has to offer on GMB means you have another location online to drive new patients and you can never have too many platforms leading new patients your way!
If you’re looking for a marketing partner that can help you capitalize on all the great features GMB has to offer and more, give us a call at (720) 399-7071 or reach out to us through our website. Great Dental Websites has helped many Open Dental customers optimize their online presence, and has developed a unique website platform to seamlessly integrate eServices features like online scheduling and online forms.