In this 6-minute read:
- Claim your Google Business listing
- Google’s local 3-pack and why it matters
- 11 things to include on your Google listing
Every business, especially your dental practice, should have a Google My Business listing. This is the first step to getting found in the map pack and local search engine results.
Let’s talk about why Google My Business is so crucial for your dental practice to grow, and how you can optimize it to rank better on Google.
Claim your Google My Business listing
If you don’t already have a Google My Business listing, or haven’t claimed your Google listing, that’s the first step. Do a quick search on Google for your dental practice to see if there is a listing for your dental practice already out there. If there is, you’ll want to claim ownership of it. If not, you’ll want to create a new one.
Setting up your Google My Business listing is a fairly simple process. Check out our guide: How to claim your Google Business listing
Google’s local 3-pack and why you need to be there
On Google, local businesses are often displayed in what is called the “local 3-pack” or “map pack” as we commonly refer to it. Whenever someone conducts a search that expresses local intent, like “dentists near me” or “teeth whitening services in Tacoma,” Google recognizes that they are looking for a local business and displays this map pack.
The reason that this is so important is that this is where the majority of people start their searches when they need a new dental service. Google is the phone book of the digital age, and if you aren’t found, you are going to be sorely missing valuable opportunities, especially since most people choose where to go based on the top three results.
For consumers that conduct searches on their phone, their results are hyper-focused on their proximity to the services they are looking for. So if they are on the opposite side of town from your dental clinic and there are several other practices that are much closer to them, Google will show those other practices first.
So, it’s not possible to show up in every search within your town, but you’ll get the benefit when searchers are closer to your practice than others. Make sure you are showing up well and have all of the necessary information for patients to choose your practice when they find it.
Things your dental practice needs to include in your Google listing
Optimizing your Google Business listing is one way that you can show up better in the map pack and local results. Make sure you include these 11 things on your dental practice’s Google listing, and you’re off to a great start.
- NAP information
This is the most important information to include on your Google listing. NAP—or name, address, and phone number—are the three main things someone is looking for. This is how people find your business and contact you.
Google allows you to put multiple categories on your listing, with one primary category. This is one way that they help users find the most relevant business to their search queries. They do have a specific list of categories to choose from. Check out this updated list of all Google Business categories.
For your dental practice, you probably want to add “Dental Clinic,” “Dentist,” and other related services like “Teeth Whitening Service” or “Dental Implants Periodontist.” Find the categories that are relevant to your practice and add them to your Google list so you don’t miss showing up for services that you offer.
Patients need to know when your dental clinic is open in order to contact you and set an appointment. Provide the best customer experience by always keeping your hours up to date, especially surrounding holidays or if your hours change in the summers.
Many people won’t even bother going to a business that doesn’t have a real website connected to their Google Business listing. When people are in research mode, they are trying to learn as much about your practice as possible in order to make an informed decision. Help them out by providing easy access to your website.
Google will also use content from your website to help provide better results for users. If your website talks about teeth whitening and someone near you does a search for that service, Google will often place a description below your listing that says “Their website mentions ‘Teeth Whitening.’”
Make sure you have at least 5-10 recent photos of your practice. Include your logo, photos of the outside of your building, photos of your lobby and treatment rooms. As a service that most people fear, try to alleviate that anxiety as much as possible by being totally transparent about what patients should expect when they arrive.
Photos will help with that. And they’ll also help patients to find your business easier if they know what your building looks like.
There is a place for you to enter a description of your dental practice on your Google listing. This doesn’t always display in the search results, but it’s another opportunity to share more about your practice with potential patients.
Beyond Google’s preset categories, you can add custom services to your Google My Business listing. Add all of the services your dental practice offers to give your patients the full picture of what you can do for them.
- Service areas
Google has recently implemented “service areas” as another item you can include on your listing. If you’re located in one city, but you frequently serve patients from surrounding towns, be sure to add those to your service areas.
- Include attributes
When you edit your Google listing, there’s a section called “Highlights” that you can edit. It has specific attributes that Google will allow you to add to your dental practice, like “women-led” or “wheelchair-accessible entrance.” Pay attention to these and add any that are applicable to your business so Google can help provide searchers with the best information.
- Google Posts
From your Google My Business listing, you can publish short 100-300 word posts that promote special deals or events your dental practice is holding. These posts can be displayed on your Google business listing when someone searches for your business and entice them to visit you. They expire after 7 days in order to encourage fresh content on a regular basis.
We’ve saved the best for last. A regular supply of reviews is crucial to converting new patients to your dental practice. Be sure to constantly encourage your patients to leave Google reviews. A steady stream of fresh reviews coming in will entice people to click on your listing, and if they like what they’re reading, they may just give you a call to schedule an appointment.
Once you have your Google listing properly optimized, there’s a lot more you can do to help it rank better in local searches. A huge factor to help your dental practice rank better is to get more reviews and respond to them. (In fact, Womply research shows that businesses that regularly respond to reviews earn up to 49% more revenue!) If you aren’t sure where to start with getting more reviews, you could benefit from reputation management software, which streamlines and automates the online reputation management process for you.