What is Google My Business and Why is it Important for Local SEO?

Qualifying local businesses are able to claim their free Google My Business listing by visiting this website. In the past, local businesses would use “Google +” to accomplish something similar but google has been moving away from Google + for a while now. And to be completely honest, I am not sure if anyone ever ACTUALLY liked  Google’s failed attempt into social media. But that’s a story for another day, now back to the topic at hand.

Google will start by asking you a vartiety of questions. It is IMPERATIVE that you fill out all the information correctly on your Google My Business profile. This is valuable information that Google is going to use to when potential customers are looking for more information about your practice. Now here’s the scary part… if you don’t fill out that information, ANYONE else can and YES that does include your competitors. Once your Google My Business profile is filled out and verified, it doesn’t mean your safe yet. Google is constantly trying to create a community and learn from everyone that is a part of that community. One of Google’s core philosophies is that user-generated content helps build the community and further completes local business’ profile which allows them to experiment with different search strategies. Basically, don’t forget to check in once you verify your business or have Get Practice Growth monitor it for you (included in our Social Media and SEO services).

Now that I’ve done a good job scaring you about how any angry patient or competitor can change your GMB listing, it’s time to get to the fun stuff and optimize your listing. There are a variety of things that you can do once your GMB listing is verified and I know you don’t want to read an essay on all the different features, so I’ll stick to a high level overview.

Google My Business Posts: think of these like you would of social media posts. These posts show up in your Google My Business listing. You can add images, call to actions, and even link to another page or website. Post ideas: community outreach event, new patient special, pictures of your recently renovated waiting room, etc.

Messaging: Patients and potential patients have the ability to send you a text message. This is a great way to engage with people who are too busy to pick up the phone and call (and as always… Google is watching engagement closely). You can set up the message people receive after they send you a message and direct them to do a variety of things: visit your website, call this number, etc. Again, the more engagement you have, the better.

Google My Business Online Reviews: We all know how important online reviews are in today’s day and age, so I won’t get into that now. Positive online review left on your GMB listing have a HUGE impact on your organic SEO and local SEO. You should always encourage your patients to leave reviews on your GMB listing and other review sites. If you are having trouble getting patients to leave reviews, click here or call me 858-472-4717 and I will tell you about our Online Review Generation software that integrates with your practice management system and automatically sends texts/emails to your patients asking them for reviews.

Photos/Videos: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Great place to add photos of the office, doctors, staff, etc. These will show up in search results and studies show that people are much more likely to click on listing with photos/videos.

That about sums up everything for this post. While I could continue writing about everything else GMB is capable of but I am certain you don’t want to spend the next couple of hours reading everything (and if you, then we just became best friends!). Please don’t hesitate to contact Get Practice Growth if you have any questions or concerns regarding anything you just read. We are a Google Certified Company and more than willing to help share our knowledge with you and make sure you are getting the most out of GMB listing.

 

 

– Pete Johnson

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