While your website is an important aspect of marketing your dental practice, it isn’t the only way that prospective patients can find you. Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is another crucial way to reach people in your area who are looking for the dental services you provide. When you set up your GBP—formerly known as Google My Business—you will be required to enter and verify your practice’s information. However, the process doesn’t end there.
You also need to optimize your GBP to improve your profile’s chances of ranking high in local search engine results pages (SERP). This is one of the highest priorities of local SEO marketing, as a high SERP ranking means your practice is one of the first to appear when someone searches for those services.
What Factors Affect Rankings of Local Search Pages?
Google determines search page rankings based on three factors:
- Relevance: How accurately does your GBP match the search that was performed? When optimizing your GBP, one vital task is ensuring that you’ve chosen the right GBP categories. Google continually adds business profile categories. Google allows business owners to choose one primary category and up to nine secondary categories.
- Distance: If your practice is located 50 miles away from the area where the search was performed and other closer practices are offering the same services, you will likely not see as high a SERP ranking as you would if your office was two miles away from where the search was performed.
- Prominence: What is the reputation of your practice? This factor is largely evaluated on reviews left by customers.
Optimizing your GBP doesn’t have to be difficult. Often, your local SEO rankings can be improved merely by regularly adding new photos and correcting inaccurate NAP (name, address, phone number) information.
What GBP Features Should Be Optimized?
GBP optimization should include all features of your business page, including the description, categories, operating hours, photos, videos, and other information that local prospective patients would be searching for. Your GBP listing title can be up to 800 characters and should at least include your practice name. If possible, including other information such as the main services you offer is helpful to add to the title page.
Your business description can be up to 750 characters long and ideally will include semantic keywords, mention of notable awards your providers have earned, your primary services, and unique details about your practice that set you apart from the rest. GPBs also allow you to add attributes, which identify specific features and amenities that can help you show up in additional search queries.
Other Important GBP Features
Be sure to set regular business hours and list these on your page. Your hours should be updated if they change during the holidays or if you plan to close your practice for 6 days or less. If you intend to close your practice temporarily (at least 7 days) or even permanently, you should provide this information in your GBP so customers understand your availability and avoid the inconvenience of showing up for a walk-in visit only to find that no one is there. It should be noted that if you mark your business as permanently closed and then later decide to reopen it, you will need to open a new GBP profile.
Finally, you should manage and respond to reviews to increase your prominence and reputation scores for higher local search rankings. This not only allows you to interact and thank patients who have left a positive review but also to be proactive in quickly addressing any negative comments or informational requests. You also have the option through your GBP to allow prospective patients to message you through your profile. However, you should only use this feature if you have someone able to respond to all messages within 24 hours.
Do You Need Both a GBP and a Practice Website?
Your business website and your GBP are both important marketing tools for your practice, and one does not replace the other. Ideally, a potential patient would find your GBP through a local search for the services you offer. They would determine that your practice provides the services they need and would click through to your website, where they could find more information.
The profile page is free, and if you’ve used other Google products in the past to promote your brand, you likely already have a GBP that simply needs to be optimized to ensure that local searchers have the most accurate information.
Google designed their profile pages so that business owners could manage their profiles. You can receive help from a digital marketing provider to ensure that both your GBP and your website align with your digital marketing and local SEO strategy. While all marketing services providers will include your GBP in the services they deliver, it is important to find a provider who can offer unique solutions tailored to your specific practice and clientele that places you high on SERP rankings and gives you a competitive advantage over other practices.
Trust Market My Market for an Optimized Business Profile
Many third-party providers of SEO and GBP services want clients to believe that these are difficult concepts that only the experts can comprehend. Market My Market believes in transparency, and the truth is that SEO isn’t the complex marketing approach that others make it out to be. Instead, it is a set of clear actions such as optimizing your Google Business Profile that require a bit of ingenuity and patience. Let our team develop a transparent, comprehensive, and understandable SEO strategy designed to take your unique business to the top of local search rankings.