Create the Perfect Google My Business Listing for Your Dental Office
What is Google My Business?
It is not a secret that most people are using Google these days to find information to make decisions including selecting a new dentist. Google My Business links Google search and maps into one place , helping new patients find you easier.
When someone does a search such as “best kids dentist in Wilmington” a map with three top rated practices shows up near the top of the page.
This map also know as the snack pack. This includes the top three SEO optimized dental practices and lists them on the map. This is where you want to be.
The listing meta descriptions include your Google reviews, address, hours (even if you are opened or closed), phone number and links for website or directions to your practice. If you click on a business in the snack pack it expands revealing the practices Google My Business listing.
Your Google My Business (GMB) listing will also appear when someone does a branded search (searches your practice by name) in the right column. This listing, called the Knowledge Graph, contains the same information as that in the Snack Pack, but more of it is visible including pictures, recent reviews, etc.
Google My Business is available in desktop, tablet and mobile environments.
The GMB is an all-in-one stop to manage your dental practice’s presence in the Google Universe.
In addition to the SEO benefits (discuss in a moment), the best part about Google My Business is it completely free and easy to manage. There is no need to pay a high-priced SEO or webmaster to do it. The only criteria is you have to offer a service that has face-to-face interaction, so it is perfect for a dental office.
Why do I need a Google My Business?
80% of the 40,000 Google searches per second are users looking for local services. Almost all of your patients will search your practice online, even if their best friend since childhood referred them. Properly optimized, your Google My Business page will be
Google My Business should be the foundation of every dental offices SEO efforts. You have invested good money in getting a great looking website, now you need to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to be doing – driving new patients and book more appointments.
Simply put, your GMB provides everything a potential patients needs to find your practice online, know where you are and contact you to make an appointment: a link to your website (including link to your online appointment form), a map with directions to your office, office hours, patient reviews, photos and an abundance of additional information about your practice.
Claim and Verify Your Listing
The first thing you have to do is determine if you have already claimed your dental office’s Google My Business account. If you are like many practices. you may be surprised and already have one and not even know it.
Start by going to google.com/business. Try signing in. If you can, you have an account. Check and see if you still need to verify it. If you have verified, simply skip down to learn how to optimize your GMB.
If you don’t have a profile, don’t worry, it is super easy to secure your GMB profile.
9 East Steps to Claim Your GMB Profile
13 Tips for the Ultimate Google My Business Profile
The following are proven tips to optimize your GMB and increase your Google rankings. These are all DYI tips that you can do yourself without assistance from a digital agency or consultant. Spend an hour optimizing your profile with these 13 powerful tips and about a half hour a week maintaining it and you will skyrocket to the top of page one.
2. Get your patients to post Google Reviews
Sure it sounds obvious, you want your patients to leave you a Google Review. Hopefully a 5 star review. But without a plan to encourage your patients to leave a review, you probably won’t get a lot of them.
Outside of your NAP, the reviews are the most powerful tool of your GMB. Before scheduling an appointment, patients want to see what others have thought about you. Plenty has been written about the influence of social proof (in a nutshell, people’s opinions are swayed by the opinions of others). In fact, studies have shown that 85% of people trust an online review as much as they do the opinions of their family and friends.
Therefore, it is critical you have an abundance of good reviews. The good will take care of itself if you develop a pleasant and trustworthy experience for your patients (we will talk about how to do this another time) so we will focus on how to get plenty of reviews.
The primary tactic for getting reviews is simply: you need to ask for them.
Each and every patient should be encouraged to leave a google review.
This can be done in a variety of ways. But they all have one common theme. You have to ask. Patients, more often than not, won’t leave a review unless they had a bad experience. You don’t want that rare bad experiences being the predominant reviews on your GMB.
Therefore, make a plan to ask every patient, every visit, to leave a review. When asked, most people will oblige.
One of the easiest ways to ask for a review is fortunately one of the best as well. Send follow-up text to a patients after their appointment asking them to rate their experience. There are many 3rd party services that can automate this experience for you at costs that won’t break the bank. Companies such as BirdsEye and Podium are two of the leaders in online review management, but there are a myriad of options available.
The next logical tool would be email follow-ups. While I am huge fan of email marketing, I feel that texting is a better vehicle for securing online reviews. Even great email campaigns have just too many unopened emails to be the vehicle of choice for securing online reviews. But if you don’t have the budget for a text messaging campaign, email can be set up fairly easily and not requiring hiring a 3rd party company to help you.
Another simple solution is to include a postcard in the patients checkout page thanking them for their patronage and asking them to leave a review. You can make it easy by including a QR code to provide a direct link to leave a review. Most modern smart phones use the camera app to launch a QR code and no longer require the use to install a QR reading app. Setting up a QR code is easy with many free online QR code generating sites.
If you plan to go this route, here is an excellent post from HubSpot outlining everything you ever wanted to know about QR codes.
Lastly, you can go old school and simply ask in person. Yup, face to face. However many people feel awkward or that it is rude or an imposition. But it doesn’t have to be. The trick is to spend sometime creating a mini script that is authentic and sincere.
Something like this works wonders:
“We would appreciate if you would share an honest review of your experience today. Google reviews help us provide the best care to our patients and attract great patients like you.”
Patients often feel obligated to leave a review without feeling pressured or put off.
The request can come from anyone in the office. They key is whoever is requesting needs to feel comfortable and confident in making the request. It can be the dentist at the end of the exam, the dental hygienist after she compliments the patient’s oral hygiene or even at checkout while making a recall appointment. All that matters is each and every patient is asked.
PRO TIP Do not offer an iPad in your lobby or encourage the patient to leave the review on the spot if you offer wifi. Google will know the review is coming from your office’s ISP and the algorithm will discount the reviews.
Which strategy you employ to request a review is not important as long as you choose one and implement it.
Reviews provide comfort to a patient selecting a new dentist and reviews feed the Google algorithm, improving to SEO efforts. Look up your competitors and make it your goal to get twice as many reviews as the next best practice.