What’s the first step of an internet marketing campaign for a dentist? For most, it’s creating and optimizing your dental practice’s Google My Business page.
Google My Business (GMB) is the free online tool for telling search engines all about your dental practice. Think of it as Google’s personal phone book, providing your website, contact information, and reviews of your practice to patients and potential patients.
Ask any marketing team about their dental clients’ top concern, and most will probably say it’s “ranking higher in Google local search results.” Google evaluates hundreds or even thousands of pieces of data in its ever-changing algorithm, and the single most important piece of that data pie that it pays attention to is its own GMB phone book.
While Google is usually “smart” enough to find the details about a local business without much help, it’s important to claim and optimize the listing for your practice. Not only will this provide a much-improved user experience for those patients who might seek you out, but it also verifies and builds trust with Google itself.
How to Optimize Your GMB Page
You’re convinced of the importance of a GMB page and ready to get started. But how?
The first step is finding out if you already have a page dedicated to your practice. Begin by conducting a branded search for your practice, which includes the business name and your location, and seeing what pops up. If your practice has already claimed the listing, skip ahead to the next section.
If you’re an established practice that has been around for years, a GMB page might already exist for you—this is indicated by the appearance of a “knowledge panel” on the right side of the results page. If you see your practice in such a box already, then claim your profile.
If not, surf on over to the GMB listings and start completing your profile.
Give Google Everything It Wants
As with any of your business listings, make sure that everything is correct and consistent, particularly your practice name, address, and phone number. The more complete your profile is, including images, hours, and business details, the more likely Google is to recommend your practice.
Filling out your listing provides essential information for your patients, but in addition, many don’t realize that if you leave any of your information blank, someone else can fill it in—even a competitor. That’s right: the “Suggest an Edit” feature allows anyone to suggest changes to your profile. If you leave your profile blank or unclaimed, those changes could stick until you’ve optimized the page yourself.
Verify Your Listing
If you want all of your hard work to stick, you’ll need to verify your business. Google won’t display your updated information until your listing has been verified, and the simplest way to do this is by mail. Google will send a postcard to your business address with a verification code. (Don’t accidentally throw it out!) Type in the code on your GMB profile and voila—you’re done!
Not So Fast; You Need to Manage Your Listing
There’s a lot of opportunity available on a free service that the majority of the population uses to find local businesses. Many features on GMB allow your practice to interact with patients, meaning you’ll want to stay tuned-in to your listing.
Google’s review platform is the most important place to cement your online reputation, and you should respond to the reviews your patients leave there. GMB allows people to message your practice or even post publicly to your Q&A section, which is another area that anyone can answer if you fail to. There are many other valuable tools for both patients and practices on GMB, so be prepared to explore once you’ve mastered the basics.
GMB Is One-Stop Shopping for Potential Patients
Optimizing your Google My Business page is the first step to improving local SEO. It’s free and provides a plethora of tools to help connect patients and dentists.