Dental Marketing 101: Google My Business

Google My Business is an integral part of any dental practice marketing. For most patients, Google is the first place they look to find a new dentist.

Making it easier for patients to find you online has become the crux of online dental marketing.

As patients increasingly look to their phones to find dentists, it is important to boost your search ranking by using every marketing tool available. And in this ranking game, there is no easier and more effective way to get started than with Google My Business.

Creating a profile is often the first step in creating an SEO marketing strategy, as Google helps patients find your practice through local searches, increases traffic to your website, and effectively opens you up for business online.

Beyond just verifying your practice, these simple ways to optimize your profile will help you get down to (Google My) business. It's time to get an edge over competing practices, bring in more new patients, and generate more revenue.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) literally puts your practice on the map, or Google Maps at least.

In 2014, Google introduced GMB as a way to aggregate Google Pages for customers and patients searching for businesses in their area.

It allows dentists to manage their online presence by linking their practice to Google Search and Maps — essentially, helping patients find your practice.

Google My Business also gives you control over what potential patients see. It does this by allowing you to update your listing (description, information, hours, photos, etc.), connect to your website, and even interact with patients who leave reviews or questions.

Your GMB profile is like a nice smile — it is a great first impression worth taking care of.

And the best part? It’s completely free!

Why should a dentist use Google My Business?

Ranking high in local search is key to growing your practice, and GMB helps you get there.

Compared to paid or organic searches, local search is tied to Google Maps and Places. Therefore, it helps patients find you according to geography and ranking.

Statistics back up what we already know to be true — people rely on their phones to find dentists.

Market research reveals that 60% of American adults use their smartphones to find local business. Moreover, 71% of people look up and confirm the location of a business before visiting.

Google’s own research on local search behavior shows that 50% of people who search for a business on a mobile device will contact that business within the next day.

Creating and maintaining a strong GMB profile enables you to meet your patients where they are already are — on their phones and on the go.

Setting up Google My Business for your practice

1. Claim and verify your Google My Business

Google has made it easier than ever to set up your profile.

After going to the Google My Business homepage, click “Start Now.”

Follow the series of prompts to fill in all of your practice’s information. This includes the name of your practice, location, category (orthodontist, family dentist, etc.), and a link to your website.

Once you provide your practice info, Google will send a postcard with a verification code to complete the initial process.

2. Be consistent with your info

Boosting SEO and ranking is all about consistency.

After you set your name, address, and phone number (NAP) for your practice, don’t change it or provide alternative options on your website or any social media accounts.

Google can see your practice's basic information across your accounts, and inconsistent info can result in a lower search ranking.

Also make sure to link your GMB profile to your practice’s website instead of a social media account or landing page.

You will miss out on a great deal of site traffic if you send patients to your Facebook page, which does not boost your ranking on Google.

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3. Be accurate with your location

It is important that your address points to the exact location of your practice.

While setting your location to a broader region to attract more patients might seem like a good idea, Google docks profiles that misrepresent their location.

4. Add photos

High quality images of your office and staff personalize your GMB profile. They also make it more enticing for patients to make an appointment.

Give an idea of what it would be like to visit your office.

Showcase inviting images of your waiting room. Highlight smiling pictures of staff and happy patients.

5. Encourage and respond to reviews

Reviews are a key feature of Google’s business directory, as patients rely heavily on ratings when choosing a dentist. After all, 84% of consumers admit that they trust user reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Log in to your Google My Business account to read and respond to each review. Be sure to do this whether the review is positive or negative.

Engagement helps boost your ranking, and saying thank you to a nice review shows other potential patients how much you appreciate current ones. When dealing with negative reviews, it's best to acknowledge them and work to find a resolution offline.

You can also interact with patients through Google’s new Question and Answer feature.

Patients can ask questions like “What are your holiday hours?” or “Do you offer whitening treatments?” From there, you can respond and further build your profile and credibility with patients.

6. Add a link to make Appointments

Make it easier for patients to book their visit directly from Google by adding a link to your appointment page.

Remember the mantra: people are lazy. Eliminating even one extra click through your website can increase appointment requests.

And if you’re feeling ambitious, GMB has also implemented a new booking feature to allow patients to make appointments.

This requires setting up your account and connecting your profile to your booking provider. And while it takes a bit more time, it certainly stands to increase your online appointment requests.

7. Create engaging posts

Google My Business also offers the option to create posts that serve as small ads for your profile.

You can publish posts about new services, special promotions, and events. Or you could even just publish a stylized link to book an appointment.

This is another free and under-utilized function that can help drive patient acquisition.

8. Check your profile regularly

Most practices simply claim their GMB profile and forget it.

But as the competition for search rankings increases, getting one of the coveted spots in the local 3-pack (first 3 business shown in Google Maps search results) requires regular engagement and maintenance of your profile.

Checking in even once or twice a week gives you a chance to respond to new reviews, add a quick post, and also prevent any unwanted edits from sneaking into your profile.

It all comes down to one thing: helping Google help you.

By creating a Google My Business profile with these tips in mind, patients will be able to find your practice more easily. And with minimal effort, you will see big results for your practice.

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