Like it or not, Google dominates the search engine world. In fact, 88% of online searches in the US are done using Google.1 On average, Google processes about 70,000 searches per second or 2 trillion a year!2
Those are some pretty impressive numbers. But here’s what’s even more interesting… Almost half of all searches on Google are ones looking for a local business.3 This means that a HUGE number of people in YOUR community are searching for places using one of the most powerful phrases in the land of Google…
So how do we make sure those people are able to find YOU when they search?
Well my friend, let me introduce you to your new BFF – Google My Business, or GMB.
What Is Google My Business, and How Can It Grow My Practice?
In order for your prospective patients to find you, Google needs to know you’re there. And that’s where Google My Business comes in. This amazing tool was developed to4:
- guide nearby patients to your specific practice and allow them to connect with you
- help you establish credibility and build trust with your patients and community
- boost traffic to your website and get more people calling your office
Here’s the thing – people who are searching on Google are ready to act – right now. Almost 9 out of 10 searches for local businesses will either call or visit within the first 24 hours of searching.5 So, it’s important that you’re ready for their phone call! By establishing a solid Google My Business profile, you can provide:
- a sneak peak into your practice through photos, posts, and review ratings
- the latest news and information to keep readers up-to-date
- the ability to easily leave reviews, which boosts your visibility and builds credibility
The first step is to add or claim your practice on GMB. If you’re worried about it being a huge time sink, don’t. Adding or claiming your listing is straightforward and pretty painless.
Once you’ve got that base covered, it’s time to set up and optimize your account. To get you started on the right foot, here are a few simple tips on how to create a knock-out Google My Business listing, plus a few pointers to avoid making the most common mistakes.
How to Optimize My Google My Business Listing
Aside from adding your basic contact info, hours of operation and website link, here are three areas you’ll want to pay special attention to and knock out of the park:
1. Add Photos to Build Trust
Businesses that include photos are more likely to receive a higher number of clicks to their website AND more requests for driving directions.6 So, be sure to include a variety of high-quality photos taken inside your office. Consider snapping pix of the following:
- your logo, if you have one
- photos of your building, waiting room, patient care areas, etc.
- professional-looking photos of you
- snapshots of your different events or products
- a beautiful bouquet of flowers or wall art
The point of including photos is to give your potential patients a feel for you and your practice. These visual clues help your prospective visitor have a sense of what you’re like, making it less intimidating for them to reach out.
2. Post Regularly
Posting on GMB is different from posting on social media (though there is some overlap). Posts on GMB are more focused around highlighting things that are going on in your practice or maybe something new. You can also post about what makes your practice unique.
Similar to showing up regularly on social media, these posts will show your patients that your practice is current, relevant and active. So, make sure to post on things like:
- Events – ones you’re hosting (webinars, classes) and ones you’re attending (community outreach, fundraisers, health fairs, etc.)
- Promotions – contests, giveaways, offers, and so on
- Supplements – whether you’re bringing in new ones or spotlighting the ones you currently offer
But here’s the trick: when it comes to posting on Google My Business, shorter is better. It was awfully nice of GMB to give you 1,500 characters per post, but that does NOT mean you should necessarily use them all. Shoot for a minimum of 150-300 characters so readers can catch most of the details in the post preview.
3. Keep It Current
Posting regularly will help make sure you keep your readers updated with the latest and greatest in your practice. But keeping it current goes beyond just a few weekly posts. Make sure to also include updated COVID notices, upcoming office closures, or changes to your office hours.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about reviews for a second. Whenever a patient leaves you a review on GMB, make sure you read and respond to it in a timely manner. It doesn’t matter if the review is positive or negative – respond. It shows your patient and other readers (aka, potential patients) that you value your patients and their feedback.
Mistakes to Avoid on a GMB Listing
Okay, my friend, now it’s time to talk about what NOT to do with your GMB listing. Here are four common mistakes you want to avoid like the plague:
- Missing information. You’d be surprised how many listings are missing vital details. Make sure your GMB listing isn’t one of them! Include the core pieces like your hours, website, address, and phone number.
- Incorrect information. The only thing worse than not having information is having the wrong information. Imagine the horror of finding out that a patient came to your office for a walk-in appointment… but the doors were locked and lights were off. Avoid this by making sure ALL your GMB listing info is current, especially your address and business hours.
- Map pins in the wrong spot. With many people using GPS, you want to make sure they head to the right spot! If they can’t find you, they may assume your practice is shut down, or not worth the effort.
- Ignoring reviews. This one’s a biggy. Patients want to feel acknowledged and appreciated, regardless of their review. I know it’s tough and not fun to respond to negative reviews, but see it as an opportunity to “right” the “wrong.” Let them know you appreciate their feedback and are committed to making sure your patients are well taken care of. Responding in third person allows you to avoid any confirmation or acknowledgment that they are a patient of record.
Make it part of your weekly or monthly practice to check in on your GMB listing. I recommend adding a recurring reminder in your calendar so you can add new posts or photos and check that your information is still accurate. And be sure to download the app so you can easily respond to those reviews and welcome any new followers!
Don’t Overlook Your Google My Business Listing!
Your ideal patients are searching for practices like yours. It’s worth the time and effort to make sure they can quickly and easily find YOU.
By harnessing the power of Google My Business, you’ll be putting your stake in the ground for your local community, letting them know that you are 100% available to help them resolve their health concerns. So, get your GMB account set up and start optimizing it. Your future patients are waiting!
1. (n.d.). Search Engine Market Share United States… Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share/all/united-states-of-america
2. (2019, November 7). 25 Google Search Statistics to Bookmark ASAP – HubSpot Blog. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/google-search-statistics
3. (2019, February 5). 60+ SEO Statistics to Help You Rank #1 in 2021 – SEO Tribunal. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://seotribunal.com/blog/stats-to-understand-seo/
4. (n.d.). Google My Business – Drive Customer… Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://www.google.com/business/
5. (2019, June 25). 16 Stats That Prove the Importance of Local SEO – HubSpot Blog. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/local-seo-stats
6. (n.d.). Make your business listing awesome – Google Support. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://support.google.com/business/answer/6335804?hl=en