We’ve talked about your Google My Business page for your practice in many blogs on our site. It’s a great tool to manage your practice’s online presence across Google, including in search and on Google Maps. It provides another avenue where potential patients can find your practice, and it’s free. What’s not to love?
The long URL that was your Google My Business address — that’s what. The long mix of random letters and numbers was basically unusable for putting on business cards, signs in your office, or anywhere else. Patients and potential patients would simply have to find you through search.
But in April, Google added a new feature to Google My Business — short names. With short names, rather than a list of a million characters for your Google My Business (GMB) address, it will now look like this:
That can fit on a business card, sign, or anywhere else you want to help people find your practice. Here’s more information on this new feature and how to make your practice short name.
Why did Google add short names?
Google is always adding (and sometimes taking back away) new features and short names is just a new feature. But it serves a purpose and makes GMB better for businesses/practices. No matter how much a practice wanted to add its GMB listing to its promotional materials or wherever, it was really not doable because of the long URL. This kept GMB at arm’s length from most business marketing plans.
But now, thanks to this easy-to-use shorter URL, businesses can easily share it with customers. This adds value to a GMB page and businesses/practices can make it a part of their online presence, rather than feeling it was just something out there to fill in information whether it ever was seen or not.
What are the details of short names?
Practices can choose a short name between 5 and 32 characters in length. The short name can be anything, as long as it doesn’t violate any Google policies. For instance, you couldn’t claim a competitor’s name in your short name, and you can’t violate their policies with inappropriate stuff. You can change your short name three times a year.
At this point, short names is being rolled out, so you may or may not see the prompt to create one in your GMB account area.
Why should I bother to create a short name?
Why should you create a short name for your practice? It simply adds power to your GMB page as another tool in your online presence. You can use this link on your practice website, social media practice pages, business cards, in-office signs at the front desk, or anywhere else you have your regular business information listed.
Short names work on any device. When a user types in your practice short name, he or she will be directed to your GMB listing on Google Maps.
Here’s how to create your practice short name
- Sign into your Google My Business account.
- Open the location you want to create a short name for (if you have more than one location)
- From the menu click “Info” then “Add profile short name.”
- Enter your short name (between 5 and 32 characters). Your short name could already be taken. If so, you’ll then receive an error message and you’ll have to try another.
- Click “Apply.” The name will show as pending until approved. Then it will show up on your business profile.
As we said, Google is rolling out this short name feature, so your GMB listing may not yet be able to use it. If you are, you will find the option listed under the phone number section. Look for the @ icon in front of “Add profile short name.”
What should my short name be?
Google recommends using the location in the name. This is especially helpful if your have more than one practice location. For instance, if your practice, Healthy Smiles, has a Detroit and an Ann Arbor office, your short names for the two locations could be HealthySmilesDetroit and HealthySmilesAnnArbor.
Whatever you choose, you should probably stick with it. This is obvious if you have it printed on business cards or other materials. Remember, the goal is to simply make it easier for patients and potential patients to get to your GMB page on Google Maps.
If your practice wants to be known for a certain procedure, say dental implants or facelifts, you could have something like BocaRatonDentalImplants or BocaRatonFacelifts. Obviously, practices with more competition in an area may find that certain short names you try are already taken. That’s all the more reason to get into your Google My Business account and create yours now.
If you have questions about short names or anything else to do with your Google My Business listing, simply contact your MyAdvice representative and we’ll help you out.