Could you imagine what the internet would be like without Google?
Google holds over 90% of the search engine market so it’s safe to assume that many of your patients are using Google to find your practice.
Therefore, it’s important for practice managers to leverage the tools built into Google to make their business listings as visible and user friendly as possible. The primary tool they should focus on is Google My Business.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a tool you can use to help patients quickly and easily find your contact information, hours, reviews, and more. In just a few steps, you can take advantage of this easy-to-use tool to extend your internet presence while letting patients know where to find you. It allows users to Google My Business also gives customers the opportunity to leave reviews, which are invaluable for attracting new clients.
How to Create a Google My Business Listing
You can create a Google My Business listing in five easy steps:
- If you don’t have a Google Account for your business, create one.
- Log in with your Google Account, then visit google.com/business. Click “Manage now.”
- Find your business by typing its name in the appropriate search bar
- If you are a new practice you will need to click “Add your business to Google” and enter your name.
- Do not put any information about your business in the business name section other than your actual business name. The name you enter here should match exactly the name on your building signage, business cards, etc.
- Answer some simple questions:
- What is your business category?
- Where is your physical practice address located?
- What areas do you serve?
- What is your business phone number?
- What is your business website?
- Enter your mailing address to verify your Google My Business listing via postcard.
It is important to verify your Google My Business listing. Doing so proves that you own your business listing, which improves your organic search results and gives you access to your website’s search data. It can take several days for Google to review and verify your business, so it’s best to start the process as soon as possible.
You also have the ability to let several people at your business share the responsibility of managing your Google My Business account. Google will let you have three different types of users:
- Owners, who have the most privileges and access, including the ability to add additional owners or managers.
- Managers, who can edit business information and view insights.
- Communication managers, who can interact with customers by posting photos and responding to reviews.
How to Optimize Your Business on Google
It is easy to customize the information your customers can find on your Google My Business listing. Adding details such as photos and hours of operation you can help you reduce customer uncertainty and attract new clients to your practice.
The easiest way to optimize your listing is to add photos. According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location, as well as 35% more clicks through to your website. At a minimum, add a profile and cover photo of at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall in either JPG or PNG format. Google also recommends optimizing your profile with interior, exterior, product, and team photos. Adding a video and logo file in the logo section would add even more value to your listing, which could help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value.
While logged into your Google My Business dashboard, select “info” on your listing, and add additional information. This is where you can add your hours, a link to your appointment scheduler, the year your business was established, and more.
Google My Business also allows your customers to leave reviews, which can serve as an online version of word-of-mouth marketing, helping new customers find you. When you post replies to these reviews publicly as your business, it helps build trust with new customers by showing that you value your existing customers. Your business needs to be verified to be able to respond to customer reviews.
You can also let customers message you. This allows you to quickly and easily answer your customers’ questions they may have about your business. If you turn this feature on, it is important to remember to be responsive (as customers can see your average response time) and to avoid sharing sensitive information via messages with your customers, such as their payment or billing information.
It is important to keep your business information up to date so that your customers have the correct website or phone number when people find it on Google.
How Does Google My Business Affect My Online Reputation?
A verified, optimized Google My Business listing can affect your organic search ranking. By having clear, easy-to-find information in Google Search, more customers will be able to find your business. However, it is still important to monitor your Google My Business dashboard from time to time, as anyone can “suggest an edit” to your business’s information, giving the possibility that someone could add incorrect information.
If you have optimized your Google My Business listing by responding to your customer’s online reviews, it can serve as a basic version of online reputation management, allowing new customers to see the customer service offered by your business.
Take your online reputation management to the next level with Fountain Analytics’ Patient Experience (PX) Score Reports. Each report allows you to easily track, analyze, and benchmark each of your individual provider’s online reputations. Using the reports will save you time and help you focus your energy on what really matters to patients. It’s the most cost-effective way to track your online reputation.