Ways To Improve Your Local Ranking on Google

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Search these days is, first and foremost, local. Google looks at your location and returns results that are in the vicinity. The algorithm assumes if you’re searching for “Dental Implants” that you’re not out to expand your knowledge of dental procedures, but looking to find a way to replace that missing tooth with a dentist down the street.

But you’ve probably noticed that organic search results keep getting pushed lower and lower on the search engine results page (SERP). This is not your imagination. Google has placed three paid search ads atop the SERP now. Below those ads, you’ll usually find a map and three or four listings in a faintly outlined box. Then there are a handful of “People also ask” questions for instant answers that come from a website, but the answer may fully address your query without you having to leave the SERP.

And then, finally, you’ll see the organic search results.

OK, so if you’re not paying for your search results (which should be a part of your digital marketing plan as well, but that’s another blog), and you’re doing everything you can to boost your organic search, but it’s not easy with the lower designation on the page, how do you get into the box with the map and the three or four listings?

Google My Business, that’s how.

Here are a few things to do to make the most of this free aspect of Google’s world.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Your Google My Business listing has heaps of information. It leads with your average review stars and a cryptic description of what your practice does.

If you click on one of the listings, you see more detailed information, the full Google My Business treatment.

Medical practices can sometimes discount their Google My Business listing thinking they’re not like a restaurant or other retail business that seeks instant customers. But that’s not wise. A potential patient isn’t going to get a dental implant on a spur of the moment decision, but this GMB information will help the person decide who they’re going to check out first.

That can be your practice if your Google My Business page is in tiptop shape. Here are a few tips to make it so.

Enter all your practice information

First off, you need to verify your practice, but you’ve surely already done that. That simply means you “claim” your practice and manage your information. Just because you may not have actually set up a Google My Business page doesn’t mean you’re not out there already. That’s why you need to verify it.

OK, now it’s time to enter all of the practice information you can. Make sure all your information is correct, you know, name, address, phone, hours of operation, what you do, etc. All of this information needs to be listed the same way, i.e. 555 Cherry Drive. Not 555 Cherry Dr. one place, 555 Cherry another. Choose your business category and add a description.

You don’t see a description on many GMB pages, but that’s a missed opportunity. It will show up just after a listing of snippets from your reviews. This is your chance to differentiate your practice for specific areas, procedures, or treatments. On certain pages, you can see it listed as “From XYZ Practice.” That’s the description the practice has furnished, and it can be up to 750 characters. You can add to what potential patients know about your practice with a well-written description.

Make use of the images

Don’t think because you’re a medical practice that you don’t have interesting photos to add to your GMB listing. Google says, “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos.”

Your offices are beautiful — show off your space in a couple of pictures. You have cool equipment — show your cool devices in pictures. You have fun staff members — put them in. And you have happy patients — you can use their pictures (if they OK it, of course).

Patients can also upload their own images to your Google My Business page, and you should encourage them to do so.

Respond to all of your reviews

Reviews can be the make or break item for a potential patient. Here are a couple of stats about reviews:

  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked
  • 30% of consumers say they’ve judged a business based on its responses to reviews

Everyone’s a reviewer today. It’s not like the old days where there was a movie reviewer at the local newspaper or a food critic. Now everyone submits reviews. Medical practices are no different. People will review your practice.

And you need to respond to those reviews. Look at how this heating and plumbing business does it.

Now those are attentive responses. They note the problem the customer had and how they responded. And they thank the customer for their business. Who wouldn’t become a loyal customer? Plus, this isn’t haphazard — they respond to EVERY SINGLE one of their 1,219 reviews!

Of course, you’ll get a less than stellar review from time to time. They are important, as consumers are leery of a business that gets 100% 5-star ratings. No one is perfect. It’s OK if someone grouses a bit about something (hopefully not anything serious), but you need to respond to the issue and hopefully fix it or suggest that they contact you directly by phone or email to do so. Then once you do fix the issue, have the reviewer update their review. Now you turned that negative review into a positive one.

These are a few of the steps you need to take to get the most out of your practice’s Google My Business page. There are other steps, such as using posts to promote events, but that’s for another blog. Or, it’s a perfect question for your MyAdvice representative. If you’re one of our practices, we probably manage your GMB page for you, but if we don’t, let’s talk. Fill out a contact form or give us a call.

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