About the author:
Dr. Kathryn Alderman’s mission is to create a successful business FAST without BURNOUT for dentists or teams. Dr. Kathryn Alderman has been practicing dentistry and mastering the business of dentistry while growing from one location to seven locations. Currently, she is the CEO/Founder of Nebraska Family Dentistry (multiplication group practice) and Progressive Dental Mentor. (agency supporting dental practices.)
In today’s digital age, the importance of an effective online presence cannot be overstated, especially for dental practices. Among the various digital platforms, Google Maps and Google Business Profiles are crucial in driving traffic and attracting new patients. In this SEO article, we’ll explore the best strategies to optimize your Google profiles and maximize the benefits of Google Maps to enhance your practice’s visibility, attract new patients, and improve SEO. In addition to enhancing your practice’s visibility on Google Maps and attracting more patients, optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) page also positively impacts your overall SEO efforts.
Here’s how optimizing your GMB page translates to an increase in SEO:
Local Search Visibility: When potential patients search for dental services in your area, Google uses various factors to determine which businesses to display in the local search results. By optimizing your GMB page with accurate and relevant information, you increase your chances of appearing in these local search results, thereby improving your overall online visibility.
Improved Search Rankings: Google considers signals from your GMB page when determining your website’s search rankings. A well-optimized GMB page sends positive signals to Google about the legitimacy and relevance of your dental practice. This, in turn, can positively influence your website’s search rankings, making it more likely for potential patients to find you when searching for dental services.
Trust and Credibility: A fully optimized GMB page with positive customer reviews, accurate information, and engaging visual content helps build trust and credibility with both Google and potential patients. Trust signals play a crucial role in search engine algorithms, and by optimizing your GMB page, you enhance your practice’s reputation in the eyes of search engines and prospective patients.
Increased Click-Through Rates: An optimized GMB page can lead to higher click-through rates (CTRs) when your practice appears in search results. A well-crafted business description, appealing visuals, and positive customer reviews can entice users to click on your listing, driving more traffic to your website. Search engines see higher CTRs as an indicator of relevance, which can positively impact your SEO efforts. Enhanced User Experience: When potential patients come across your GMB page, they expect to find accurate and helpful information about your practice. By optimizing your GMB page, you provide a better user experience, making it easier for users to find essential details such as your address, phone number, business hours, and services offered. A positive user experience contributes to improved engagement metrics—such as longer website visit durations and lower bounce rates—which can indirectly benefit your website’s SEO. By recognizing the interconnectedness between your GMB page and overall SEO, you can leverage the power of Google Maps and GMB optimization to drive more organic traffic to your website, improve search rankings, and establish a strong online presence for your dental practice.
The 6 Easy Steps to Optimizing Your Google Profiles and Traffic from Google Maps.
Step 1: Claim and Use Multiple: Google My Business (GMB) Listings According to Google, you can have a Google My Business listing to represent the entire dental practice. You can also create separate Google My Business profiles for each dentist who works at the clinic. This allows each dentist to have their own online presence, and patients can find and review them individually. However, it’s essential to ensure that each dentist’s profile is correctly linked to the main practice listing and follows Google’s guidelines to avoid potential issues or duplicates. When creating practitioner listings, it’s essential to consider their potential impact on the main practice listing. To prevent any issues, follow these guidelines:
Name: The practitioner’s name should not include the practice name but solely represent the individual dentist.
Phone Number: Use a different phone number for the practitioner’s listing, even if you need
to set up a tracking number that forwards calls to the actual dental clinic.
Website Link: Link the practitioner’s listing to a different page than the one linked to the main practice listing. This is where the category part on Google My Business becomes crucial. The key lesson to remember is that when creating separate practitioner listings, they must be distinct from the original dental practice listing. Google’s algorithms are sensitive to similarities, and if they detect duplicate content, they may flag the listing, leading to its removal. To maintain the individuality of each listing and avoid any issues, ensure that the practitioner listings have unique and relevant information that sets them apart from the main practice listing
Step 2: Complete Google Business Page (GMB) with accurate information. This is crucial for building authoritative links and establishing a strong online presence. Provide comprehensive details about your dental practice—including your address, phone number, website, and business hours. Ensuring consistency between your GMB profile and information on your website and other directories is essential for credibility and trustworthiness. In addition to accurate information, adding URLs to your website on the Google Business Profile (GBP) page is crucial in optimizing your online presence and boosting your SEO efforts. By including relevant URLs, you provide valuable information to potential patients and make it easier for them to navigate to specific pages on your website. Here are some examples of the URLs you can add to your GBP:
• Homepage URL
• Online booking
• Teledentistry (if you offer it)
• Links to your service pages on your site
Step 3: Select ALL Relevant Categories and Add Services. The most critical ranking factor for your Google My Business profile is properly selecting your primary category. This choice is crucial for dentists, significantly affecting your visibility and ranking. Choose the most relevant primary category for your dental practice. Additionally, take advantage of the option to add specific services or specialties your practice offers. This helps Google understand your business better and improves your chances of appearing in relevant search results. Among the 16 categories that dentists must choose from, selecting “dentist” as your primary category holds immense importance. Avoid using the “dental clinic” category, as it does not rank as effectively as “dentist.” This is because “dental clinic” has negative connotations in the U.S., hindering your ranking performance. Using secondary categories can boost your visibility and help potential patients find your practice for specific services they seek. For instance, if you aim to rank for emergency dental services, include “emergency dentist” as an additional category or subcategory in your GMB profile.
Step 4: Optimize Your Business Description and Use Keywords. Craft a concise and compelling business description that accurately reflects your practice and the services you provide. Your business description serves as a snapshot of your dental practice and an opportunity to showcase what sets you apart from others in the industry. While crafting your business description, it’s essential to incorporate relevant keywords that describe your dental services naturally. Including relevant keywords describing your dental services naturally improves your chances of appearing in search queries. These keywords are specific terms or phrases that potential patients might use when searching for dental care in your area. For instance, if your practice specializes in family dentistry, consider including phrases like “family dentist,” “dental care for all ages,” or “gentle and friendly dental services.” Under the “Services” section of your GMB profile, take the opportunity to provide a comprehensive list of the dental services you offer. Include detailed descriptions for each service, explaining the benefits and outcomes patients can expect.
For example: “Cosmetic Dentistry: We offer a range of cosmetic dental procedures, including teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and smile makeovers. We create beautiful, natural-looking smiles that boost your confidence.” Add the link to your website’s URL describing this service. Adding URLs to your website on the GBP page is crucial in optimizing your online presence and boosting your SEO efforts.
Step 5: Encourage and Respond to Customer Reviews. Patient reviews play a significant role in influencing potential patients and improving your search rankings. Four factors play crucial roles in ensuring you benefit from Google reviews:
1. You need at least ten reviews on each one of the profiles you choose.
2. Google values velocity and the consistent flow of ongoing reviews and ranks Google Business Profiles higher when there’s a consistent flow of reviews. In other words, the sustained influx of reviews over time is more important than getting a burst of reviews all at once. You don’t want to get a sudden surge of 100+ reviews from a single email blast and then stop actively seeking reviews. Instead, the key is consistently and regularly receiving reviews, which sends positive signals to Google that your business is active and valued by the public.
3. Reviews with photos hold more value for Google. Encourage your patients to leave reviews with photos.
4. Encourage and respond to customer reviews.
Step 6: Upload Pictures to Show Your Practice’s Brand. Visual content is highly engaging and can help showcase your practice to potential patients. The power of visuals lies in their ability to evoke emotions and connect with your prospective patins. So, make sure to upload images and videos that accurately portray your practice’s personality and create an inviting atmosphere for all who visit your Google Business Profile. You have two fantastic ways to upload visual content: Directly to your profile: Add captivating images directly to your Google Business Profile. These pictures will be visible to anyone searching for your practice, leaving a lasting impression on potential patients. Making posts and updates: Stay engaged with your potential patients. by regularly posting fresh content, such as office updates, behind-the-scenes moments, or patient success stories. These posts keep your profile active and add authenticity to your practice. Do remember to include the URL to your website pages when making posts.
Optimizing your Google profiles might be the game-changer your dental practice needs. Optimizing your Google profiles and leveraging the power of Google Maps through a well-optimized Google Business Page page is a game-changer for your dental practice’s online presence. Not only does it improve your visibility on Google Maps and attract more patients, but it also significantly boosts your overall SEO efforts. By following the six easy steps outlined in this article, you can take control of your online presence and reap the rewards of improved search rankings, increased click-through rates, and enhanced user trust. Optimizing your GMB page signals to search engines that your dental practice is credible, relevant, and trustworthy, resulting in improved visibility and higher search rankings.