Your Google My Business listing is crucial to your local dental SEO and claiming your listing is the first step in optimizing it.
After all, you can’t perfect what you haven’t claimed, right? Claiming your Google My Business listing is easy and free, so if you haven’t claimed yours yet, check out our step-by-step guide here.
Your Google My Business Profile is Important to Local SEO
Like we mentioned, your Google My Business listing is fundamental to any business’s local SEO strategy. This listing displays everything a potential patient might want to know before they come to your office: business name, address, phone number, website, and reviews.
Having an optimized listing also increases your chances of showing up in the Google Local Pack (the top three businesses listed with the map in local search results), Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general.
Taking the time to optimize this listing could have a very positive impact on your business…if it’s done correctly.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to optimize your dental practice’s Google My Business listing, but before we jump into the specifics, there are a few things to keep in mind about the process:
- Fill Out Your Listing Completely.
Always add as much information as you can to your listing. In addition to basic information like your address, phone number, website, and hours, take the time to add services and attributes that will give prospective patients more information about your practice.
- Make Sure the Information in Your Listing is Accurate.
Inaccurate business information can be more than just unprofessional. It can cause confusion to search engines (like Google) and potentially disrupt their ability to list your dentist office accurately. Ensure that the phone number, address, and all information displayed on your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and matches what is on your website. If your phone number changes or your practice moves locations, don’t forget to update your listing!
- Know Your Keywords and Use Them.
Keep a list of your business’s keywords handy and use them throughout your listing. Keywords are crucial for SEO since without them, Google has a hard time understanding what your business is about.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
There are several parts to your Google My Business Listing. Here’s how to optimize each section:
- About Section
- Appointment Link
- Ratings & Reviews
- Questions & Answers
- Photos & Videos
This shows up under the header “From [Your Business Name]” and is a summary of your business. Tell prospects about your practice but keep this section relatively short (one to two paragraphs should be enough) and be sure to use your keywords strategically throughout the summary.
To add or edit your “About” section:
- From your dashboard, click “Info.”
- Scroll toward the bottom of the page and click the pencil icon under the “Accessibility” section.
- This will bring up a small window where you can write or copy & paste in your business summary.
Whether you book appointments over the phone, via a website contact form, or through a third-party service, it’s a good idea to add a link to your appointments page directly on your listing. Google makes this easy to do.
To add this an appointment link (or any URL) to your profile:
- Go to your dashboard and click “Info” on the left-hand menu.
- Scroll down until you see the “Website” section and click on the pencil icon beside this section.
- This will open a small window where you can add a website URL as well as an “Appointment URL”. Once you’ve filled out both of these fields, click “apply”.
Ratings & Reviews
91% of people aged 18-34 trust online reviews almost as much as a review from someone they know, making online reviews important for helping consumers make decisions. But you might be surprised to learn that online reviews can also a boost your site’s search engine rankings. We wrote a full explanation here but in short, Google includes reviews in their algorithm, ranking sites with more high-quality reviews higher than those with fewer, low-quality reviews.
Encourage patients to leave reviews and explain the impact that it can have on your dentist office. Something as simple as, “Would you mind leaving us a review on Google? A review can help other people know how great we are, which helps us get more patients.” can be effective. You can also have reminders printed on your invoices, business cards, and appointment reminder postcards.
The second part to pushing customers to review your business, is to take the time to respond to your reviews, both good and bad. Users find it pleasing to know that your dentist office is active in the online space, plus customers love knowing that the business they reviewed actually reads their comments and takes them to heart.
Most dentists perform more than one service and therefore fall into several categories: cosmetic dentistry, family dentistry, teeth whitening, etc. Putting your practice into more than one category helps you show up in local searches for all of these terms.
These should be relatively general terms that describe your practice. We’ll get into specific services in a bit.
To add categories to your Google My Business Listing:
- From the dashboard, click the “Info” tab in the left hand menu.
- Click the pencil icon under your business name.
- This will bring up a small window where you can add categories.
Questions & Answers
It might be tempting to ignore this section of your Google My Business listing, but you shouldn’t!
When patients or prospects ask questions using this feature, be responsive to ensure that the information given is accurate. As the business owner, you have an opportunity to provide a correct response to a question that is being asked, but you have to be quick. A question asked can be answered by any user, not just the account owner. Crowdsourced answers are often incorrect or unhelpful, which reflects badly on your practice.
Photos & Videos
High-quality photos and videos are an important part of your Google My Business listing because they help prospective patients know what to expect when they visit your dental practice.
Add photos of the exterior and interior of your office, including your reception area, exam area, products, and anything else that would give patients an idea of the feel of your practice. Once you’ve added these basic photos, be sure to upload new photos regularly.
Before uploading, give your photos keyword-friendly file names. Instead of the name assigned to it by your phone or camera, which is likely a string of numbers and letters, try names like “Dental-Practice-Raleigh” or “Cosmetic-Dentist-Office-Raleigh.” This tells Google more about your listing and helps boost your ranking.
To upload photos to your Google My Business listing:
- Go to your dashboard and click “Photos” in the menu on the left.
- On the photos tab, click the category your photo falls under.
- Click the plus (+) sign to upload your photos.
- This will pull up a small window for you to select your photos. Once they have been uploaded, you will not be able to change the order or filename so make sure they are in the order you want them. (If you make a mistake, you can always delete them and upload again.)
Google gives you the opportunity to add your services to your listing. This is beneficial because it lets viewers know what you offer before they even visit your website.
When adding services to your Google My Business listing, categorize them into sections (for example: Cosmetic Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, Orthodontia, etc.) Be sure to use relevant keywords in both the service titles and descriptions to help Google better understand your practice and what you offer.
To add services to your listing:
- Click “info” from your dashboard.
- Scroll down until you see the “Services” section underneath the URL section. To open this section, click this area (there is no pencil icon).
- From there, you will have the opportunity to add your services in categories. The service category should be the broad category the treatments fall under. For example, “Teeth Whitening.” The item is the specific service, in this case, it’s “Bright Smiles teeth whitening.” You can add multiple items under each service category.
Creating posts on Google helps you stand out and allows you to share information with people before they even visit your website. What should you share with your posts?
Try special discounts, checkup reminders, blog posts, or other updates about your practice. Use keywords in your posts and always use the call to action button to make it easy for customers to take the next step.
Google posts are live for 7 days so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of posting once a week (you can set reminders when your previous post is about to expire so you know when to create a new post).
To add a new post to your listing:
- Click “Posts” in the left hand menu.
- Then click the “Write Your Post” box at the top of the screen. This will open a small window for you to create your post. Choose the type of post and follow the prompts to create it. Click “Preview” to see how it will look to a visitor and when you’re happy with it, click “Publish.”
In the “Insights” tab, you’ll find valuable information about how your listing is performing. This includes which keywords bring people to your listing, the images being viewed most often, and the number of clicks, map requests, and visits your listing gets.
Use this information to help you make changes and updates to your profile and your posts to better serve your customers.
Use Google My Business to Boost Your Local Dental SEO
Optimizing your Google My Business listing should be a cornerstone of your local dental SEO strategy. It helps patients and prospects learn more about your practice but it also helps Google understand your business, which helps them show your listing to the right people. This can lead to more phone calls, website visits, and appointments booked.