Watch the webinar replay of ‘Everything You Need To Know About Google Business Profiles‘
Hi and welcome to our fifth webinar of 2022. Today we’ll be talking about everything you need to know about Google Business Profiles. My name is Ian Cantle and I’m the founder and chief strategist at Dental Marketing Heroes. We are a dental marketing agency whose mission is to help dentists thrive so your team and your families can thrive, so you can give more back to your community and worthwhile causes that you believe in. Because that’s what gets Dental Marketing Heroes charged up each and every day.
Today, I’ll be sharing information that has the potential to radically impact your practice and increase your new patient numbers.
What We’ll Cover
Here’s what we’re going to be covering today on this important topic.
- What is Google Business Profiles?
- Why Google Business Profiles is so powerful
- What can optimizing GDP — which I’ll use interchangeably with Google Business Profiles — do for your practice?
- Common GBP mistakes and how to avoid them
- The 16 Google Business Profile Optimization tips you must do to get great results
- The 5 monthly tasks to perform to avoid slippage and see improved results
- Your Google Business Profile key metrics to track
- Common mistakes and how to avoid them
It’s a ton of information, but I believe it’s what you need to know to be truly successful in this important area of local marketing.
Free Google Business Profiles Optimization Resource
Now, before we jump into today’s topic, you may be asking who I am and what makes me a credible source of information on this topic. Well, my superpower is marketing strategy and marketing implementation. I bring over 20 years of experience helping businesses market themselves. I’ve co-authored an Amazon best-selling SEO book called Content Marketing For Local Search — Creating Content That Google Loves And Prospects Devour.
And I’m a weekly podcaster on the Marketing Guides For Small Businesses. I keep up to date with the latest trends and certifications, but most importantly to you as a practice owner, is that I have consistently delivered very high returns on investment for my clients’ marketing investments. So I hope that puts your mind at ease that the information I’m sharing today is grounded in a lot of experience and best practices.
What is Google Business Profiles?
Now let’s jump in by asking the question that some practice owners might be asking themselves, what is Google Business Profiles? And even if you’ve marketed your practice for years, you may not realize that Google My Business has been renamed to Google Business Profiles. This happened a few months ago. Throughout this webinar, you may hear me reference it as GBP for short. So let’s start by briefly looking at what Google Business Profiles is.
Your Google Business Profile is your central platform for managing how your business shows up when somebody googles your practice name or the service that you offer. It manages how you show up on Google Search, Google Maps, and you can even do some very rudimentary Google advertising straight from Google Business Profiles. Within your Google Business Profile, there’s a host of information related to your business.
You provide your standard contact information like your location, your hours, and a description of your practice. You include links to your website, even appointment links, so someone can book an appointment. You choose categories of services you offer. You then add the services and products you can provide with descriptions, and much, much more. Think of it as your local ranking powerhouse.
Why Is Google Business Profiles So Powerful For Your Dental Practice?
There are three main reasons GDP is so powerful and why you shouldn’t ignore it.
The primary reason it’s so powerful is, Google loves Google. It’s no surprise that Google puts a higher priority on businesses that do what Google wants them to do. It just makes sense. A healthy way of thinking about it is that you want to play on Google’s Court and win. So you have to play by Google’s rules or you will lose. And Google wants every business to be listed in great detail within their Google Business Profile Directory.
Number two, it connects your profile with where people are searching for your services. Most often, Google search engine makes up 92% of all searches in the world. People will google your business or search for your services, most often on Google itself. So it pays to be there and to be prominent. With Google Maps people are looking for dentists close to them or close to their work or close to someone they love and they search on Google Maps to get this information.
And number three, it’s the tool you use for managing and responding to Google reviews and messages for your practice. Google reviews are vital because they are a powerful ranking factor for local businesses. So the more good reviews you get and the more often you get them, the more powerful GBP will perform for you. Reviews are also an incredibly powerful type of social proof that shows that you keep your promises to patients. And reviews show up throughout all the Google properties in different ways. So those are three main reasons Google is so powerful for your practice.
Also, your Google Business Profile is what feeds the back end of Google local results. So when you do a local search, you’ll see results like this:
So this example is somebody searching for the best dentist in Los Angeles. It’s a big area, but when you do that, a map pops up. Google Maps show the closest or most relevant three businesses on the map, and then it lists the top three results with highlights in what we call the three-pack. Sometimes an ad is shown in that three-pack, and the three-pack becomes a four-pack.
Now suppose we search for a particular business by name. In this example, we’re searching for Beverly Grove Dentistry:
Results show up below it, some ads, some organic results. And then on the right there’s this other box. We call this the Knowledge Graph. Google is again pulling the data from your Google Business Profile and making it easy for the searcher to find you and to find information about you for your local business to have an opportunity at being served up to the searcher in your area.
Looking to have their problem solved, you must have your Google Business Profile listed, claimed and filled out properly. The benefit of stronger SEO is worth the time and effort. And what a lot of practices don’t realize is that Google Business Profiles can actually provide business intelligence that you may not find anywhere else. For instance, you can learn what areas people are asking directions from. You can even use that information as a way to target your direct mail.
If you do direct mail or your ads, you can also learn what days and times are the busiest for phone calls. And this can help you as a practice equip your front desk for scheduling. The point I’m trying to make here is that Google Business Profiles has data that, when used in creative ways, can help you manage your practice and your marketing better.
Now, before we go further, I want to share what optimizing your Google Business Profile can do for your practice because I believe that this is the reason you’ll invest more time, energy or money into optimizing your profile. In fact, it’s probably why you’re here today.
What Can Optimizing GBP Do For Your Practice?
So let’s answer the question of ‘what can it do for me’? Well, optimizing your Google Business Profile can:
- Increase your practice’s visibility on the most used search engine so you’ll show up when qualified patients are looking for dentists or particular services you offer.
- Increase visibility on Google Maps. And Google Maps is a really important place to be because searchers will often use Maps to learn more about the dentist in their area and eventually use it to get to your practice.
- Increase phone calls from prospective patients.
- Increase form fills from prospective patients. Not everybody wants to pick up the phone. Sometimes they just want to fill in a form.
- Increase visitors to your website.
It’s a very important off-page SEO element in your overall SEO strategy. In short, it’s a local SEO ranking powerhouse, so don’t ignore it.
Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what Google Business Profiles can’t do for you. It’s just one part of your marketing plan. It is not a silver bullet, so don’t confuse it as such. But having said that, it’s a vital component in successfully marketing your practice.
Most practices will already have claimed their profile. If you don’t have access to your Google Business Profile, then google your practice’s name and if it has a GBP, a knowledge graph will appear to the right of the results. There will be an option to claim your profile. You will have to go through a verification process with Google to prove that you own the business. This may be a phone call and email verification, or most often it will be a mailed verification code to the business address and that takes up to twelve business days. So get on it!
The reason Google does this claiming and verification process is that they want to ensure the information in their directory is real and that people are not gaming the system as that would reduce the trust in the results that they provide.
Okay, we’ve talked about what Google Business Profiles is, why it’s so powerful, and why you should spend energy optimizing it, and that you need to claim your profile if you haven’t already. Now let’s look at what optimizations you should actually do as a dental practice to get great results and ultimately outrank your competition. There’s lots you can do within your profile to optimize it. Let’s look at the top things.
The 16 GBP Optimization Tips You Must Do For Great Results
- Complete everything in Google Business Profile and ensure your NAP is consistent. I’ll explain that in a second. I know this sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been hired to perform a Google Business Profile audit and we find that a business has left information elements blank or has outdated contact information, especially if they’ve had a move in the past, they’ve moved their clinic. The second part of this is to be consistent. Your NAP, which stands for Name, Address, Phone Number (I know, super technical) should be exactly the same. I mean exactly the same. Down to the punctuation and the forms for how you notate a road or a street, etc. For within your website, it should be the same. And on Google Business Profiles it should be the same. And on any other online directories, even on your social profiles, it should be exactly the same. And the reason for that is that Google scrapes that information and is looking for whether there are issues with it. And is this still the best and most relevant dentist that we can send people to? And if the information is not consistent, it raises red flags for Google.
- Carefully select your primary category. Your primary business category is one of the most important things to get right in your Google Business Profile. If you get this wrong, it has the potential to sabotage all of your efforts. But if you get it right, it will help you compete with other dentists in your area and potentially beat them. For most dentists, ‘dentists‘ is the primary category you’ll choose. If you primarily work with children, choose pediatric dentist. If you’re an orthodontist, the primary category would be orthodontist. The reason for this is that most people search using those terms even more so than dental clinic, and a lot of practices choose dental clinic as their primary category (seems pretty straightforward), but not everybody gets this right.
- Select applicable secondary categories as well as your primary category. These are especially important if you have a wide variety of services, that many dentists do. At the time of this webinar, you could select up to a total of ten categories — and there just so happens to be ten dental-related categories. Add as many of them as are relevant to your practice to help you show up for searches related to those services.
- Add the surrounding towns and cities you serve under service areas. You will always have the strongest local SEO ranking power at your business’s location, and if someone moves away from your office, it will diminish. But you can also set up areas you serve within Google Business Profiles. This helps you show up in those surrounding areas that your practice serves and draws patients from. Completing this and also creating location pages on your website which we spoke about in the SEO webinar, will help you show up better in surrounding areas.
- Include a link to your website and add a UTM code such as ‘/?utm_campaign=gmb‘. Ensure that you use the https version, assuming you have one, and you absolutely should have one because that’s a ranking factor as well. The UTM code will allow you to see in Google Analytics that this visitor came from Google Business Profiles. When you put your secure website link in your Google Business Profiles, you’re creating a powerful connection between Google Business Profiles and the only online property you own as a business. This is really vital from an SEO standpoint.
- Include an appointment link. Google is always updating Google Business Profiles and one of the newer functions within it is you can add an appointment link. Google can send people directly to your appointment page on your website if that’s what they’re looking for. This reduces barriers for the prospect to make an appointment, which should always be your goal as a practice.
- List all your services and include detailed descriptions and even the price range or the ‘from’ price. Within your Google Business Profile info section, you can add services. These are very important and will help your practice show up for these services. When people are searching for them in your area, it’s always beneficial to complete all the form fields Google provides, but not everybody wants to say the exact price of their services, so under the price section you can choose a price range and say what price it starts from. This is powerful. You see this in a lot of marketing. Your goal here is to show up for their search and have the person click or call to get more information.
- If you sell products, perhaps teeth whitening kits or electric toothbrushes, whatever it may be, build those out under your Products section in Google Business Profiles. For products, you can include a photo description of the product, a price range, and even a link to your website for that particular product information. Again, links to your website help your SEO results. Don’t ignore them.
- Upload photos and keep uploading those photos regularly. You’d be surprised how important photos are for your Google Business Profile. Your photos can show up in all sorts of places, but the most important reason to use them is that prospects want to see them before choosing you, so add them in. Encourage patients to share photos with their reviews, or they can even add them to the photo section themselves. And of course, keep uploading photos of your team, or events, whatever it may be, of your practice.
- Generate lots of reviews and keep asking patients for those reviews every single day of the year. Reviews are one of the most powerful aspects of Google Business Profiles. The most recent stats I’ve seen show that over 90% of people value reviews as much as they do a personal referral. I know that’s crazy, 90% treat them just like a personal referral. Yet only 6% of consumers leave a review unsolicited, so ask, ask, ask. And make it easy for them by providing the links in emails or texts your practice sends out. You can even have a QR code that could be at your reception desk that people can quickly scan in and leave a review right there.
- You need to respond to reviews, but make sure you respond professionally. Reviews can sometimes be emotionally charged, especially on the negative side. People looking at reviews value responses from businesses. Google values responses from businesses too, so be sure to respond professionally, whether it’s a positive or a negative review. If it’s negative, your goal should be to show empathy, show that you’re willing to resolve the issue and move the conversation offline as quickly as possible to a phone call. This shows visitors that you’re fair, that you value your patients, and that if something were ever to go wrong, you will make it right. And that is amazing.
- Post, post, post… Post updates. Post events. Post offers. Post what’s new. Post covid updates (although those are gone now, and thankfully they’re gone). Google wants to share timely and valuable information with people about your business and the industry. So when you post things on your Google Business Profile, you’re fueling the Google engine, which Google likes. Google loves Google. It’s also a conduit for you to share information about your events, updates, offers, and what’s new about your practice. Think of it almost like a social media platform on steroids. Post!
- Check in to Google Business Profiles monthly. You may not be aware of it, but Google makes changes to your profile and visitors can suggest changes. Yes, that’s right, Google and users can essentially make edits to your profile. So check in often to see if there are any updates Google is going to perform on your profile. It will actually notate them. You can override these changes with the information you want because you don’t want Google making changes for you.
- Link to Google Business Profiles from your website. We shared earlier the value of linking to your website from Google Business Profiles. This tip is about linking from the other direction. When you link to Google Business Profiles from your website, you close the loop and provide an important linkage to Google. This is really important from an SEO standpoint.
- Link Google Business Profiles to your Ads account and your Google Analytics accounts. Did you know that when you link your GDP to your Ads, you have more options for extensions and reporting? So make sure that you interlink your GDP to your Google Ads account and you should also link your GDP to your Google Analytics account, which will provide you with greater analytics.
- Turn on messaging only if your team can respond within five minutes, maybe ten at the most, but five is better — or immediately is even better. Messaging is so powerful it allows people to interact with you directly from your Google Business Profile. If someone wants to communicate in this form, then you owe it to yourself to be available to them, or they might contact some other dentist. Google wants this, so it earns you brownie points with them. But to make this work right, you have to ensure your team is equipped and trained to respond right away because that’s what people are expecting. If you wait too long to respond, you will lose that person. In fact, you can make a negative impression on them because you’re not responsive enough. We usually see that this is an initial point of contact that then gets moved to a phone call as quickly as possible to be effective.
Now, let’s look at monthly tasks that either yourself or perhaps your marketing agency should be performing every single month to keep your Google Business Profile optimized and working hard for your practice.
The 5 GBP Monthly Tasks To Perform To Avoid Slippage
- The first thing you should do every month is check what updates are being recommended by Google for updating your profile. We spoke a little bit about this in the last section for optimizations. These updates are either provided by users, or Google has found competing information on the Internet and it thinks it should change what you have in your profile. Please note that if you’re not regularly checking these updates from Google, it will simply replace the information, and that’s bad for the clients we manage. I find that only about 5% of the updates are correct. So if we weren’t keeping on top of it for our clients, their information would have been replaced with incorrect info. That’s bad for you as the practice and it’s bad for the visitors that are trying to find relevant information.
- I talked about this before — Post, post, post. But just to reiterate that in this section, you should be posting regularly on your Google Business Profile. Post events, post updates, post photos, post links to your blog, post weekly if you can, or monthly. At the very least, be aware that your posts only stay live for about seven days. So it’s important to keep posting. Agencies like ours use scheduling apps so that the posts go out regularly so that there are always active posts on your profile. Be active every month and it will pay dividends.
- As mentioned earlier, reviews are so powerful and Google values recent reviews. It doesn’t like to see big gaps in the reviews time-wise. So be sure to keep asking for reviews and be sure to respond to them as they come in. Again, this is monthly stuff you should be doing.
- Always be monitoring messages as they come through — people like messaging. We talked about this earlier. We see it with texting, with Facebook Messenger, we see it with Google Business Profile Messaging. We see it with all sorts of messaging right now. But the key is that you have to have somebody monitoring it and responding immediately to the message.
- This one’s a little bit of a hidden gem. Did you know that questions can be asked through Google Business Profiles? There’s a question and an answer section. Be aware that customers can ask questions through your profile, and it’s beneficial to have questions and answers there. If questions are being asked, be sure to answer them. You can also what we call seed the questions with frequently asked questions that prospective patients often ask. You as a practice can actually put those in there and answer them as well. So you put in the question, you put in the answer. Not quite as powerful as when other users do it, but it’s still very powerful to get it going. This will help you show up when those questions are being asked in Google Search.
Now, it’s great to talk about how powerful Google Business Profiles is, but the real test for your practice is to benchmark your data today and monitor the effects your activities have over time.
GBP Key Metrics To Track
Google Business Profiles has insights built into it, some of which are very interesting. But please be aware that they are very limited and the data is only temporarily available. Most of what I’ll share will have to be measured outside of Google Business Profiles. But to start, let’s cover some of the reports in Google Business Profiles itself.
- So within GDP, you can see things like calls from your GDP, profile messages, bookings, directions, website clicks, all from your GBB profile. It’s okay, but it’s quite limited. You can also see things like what days and times are the busiest for phone calls, which is really helpful for staffing your reception desk to handle influx of calls. But here’s where your reporting could get far more powerful, if you integrate Google Business Profiles with powerful reporting tools. Some of them are things like SEM Rush. There’s a whole host of them — BrightLocal, those are some of our favorites.
- You can also do geospecific category rankings. There are tools that allow you to report on your geographic keyword ranking around your location. This is very powerful to see how you’re competing month over month and year over year with practices around you. Remember, the higher you rank, the more qualified traffic and calls you’ll receive, which results in more new patients for you.
- Attributed leads. There are tools that can help you measure and report on all the sources of key actions like phone calls, form completion, website visitors. And this allows you to see every month how many calls you’re getting from organic results from Google Business Profiles, from Google Ads, from Facebook ads, from social media itself, and more. The reason this is so powerful is that for a practice, it helps you know what to put more marketing investment towards, and maybe less marketing investment towards, depending on the results.
- Competitive ranking report for key categories, reviews, number of photos… there’s a host of information you can see competitively. There are tools that allow you to monitor your practice alongside your competitors so that you can see how you’re competing. This is really powerful because your practice doesn’t live in a bubble and you’re competing every day for every new patient you get.
- Year over year reports. I’ve mentioned them before. These are the things I love to report on because it shows really big leaps forward for your practice. As mentioned, Google Business Profile only retains data for a short time, so some of the most powerful reporting your clinic needs is year over year reporting that can’t be done in Google Business Profiles, because when you do year over year reporting, it removes the seasonality from the reporting. So you can show how you perform this May versus last May, for example.
Many of these tools are quite complex and expensive, and if you’re working with a reputable marketing agency, they should have access to these tools and they should share this data with you regularly.
I also want to help you avoid common Google Business Profile mistakes, so let’s briefly take a look at these. You’ll see some common themes.
Common GBP Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
A lot of these we’ve already covered in some form today. But as a summary, let’s take a look at the most common mistakes.
- Keyword Stuffing or trying to game the system. Keyword stuffing is when you overtly add keywords you want to rank for in your practice name or other areas of Google Business Profile. This is against Google Business Profile policies and you can get banned.
- Locations that aren’t really your business. We don’t see this a ton in the dentistry world, but we see it a ton in other fields and industries. People do this when they want to show up in a surrounding area stronger. So they use a shared office or a virtual office or a home office. Again, it’s against Google Business Profiles. I’ve even seen people use their staff’s residence as a location. And these things Google eventually discovers and it can actually negatively affect you.
- Not filling in all your contact information. We’ve covered that pretty good today. It’s important.
- Information not consistent with your website and directories. GBP should always be your standard. Use it as your benchmark.
- Not capturing the best primary category and relevant secondary categories. We covered that pretty good, but again, I’m just trying to highlight the mistakes
- Not posting regularly.
- Not checking your information regularly.
- An attitude of, ‘if we build it once we’re done’. Your GBP is a living profile that needs attention each and every week and every month.
Now that you’ve learned how powerful Google Business Profiles is, you may be wondering where can you get help to get your GBP optimized to the Max?
I know it’s a lot to understand and even more to implement. And for most dentists and orthodontists they will never do this themselves or have an in-house team do it. So you need to find an external partner to help you. And that’s where we come in. Our Dental Marketing Heroes team is here to help you.
We’ve become well known for our expertise in the SEO world. We’re a National Excellence award-winning agency. For the past three years, we’ve been named a top SEO agency and a top Web Design Agency. We are an SEO for Growth Certified consultant. And we’re a Strategy First Master Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant.
Sounds impressive. And it is. As mentioned earlier, I also co-host a weekly small business podcast that I’d love to invite you to, called Marketing Guides for Small Businesses. And as mentioned earlier, I co-authored an Amazon bestseller book on this very topic. So all that to say, my team and I can help you with your SEO efforts.
And we’re very passionate about it. We’re so passionate about it that we find when we implement our comprehensive marketing engines into practices, we consistently achieve a greater than five times return on investment, sometimes very much more than that for you. And SEO is a key part of the formula to doing that. And Google Business Profiles. So if you’re interested in learning more, please schedule a free marketing consultation with me.
As mentioned at the beginning of this webinar, I want to provide you with a special offer.
I’ve actually co-authored this amazing ebook called Mastering Google Business Profile For Your Local Business. It’s a 35-page ebook that’s jam-packed with even more detail than we’ve covered in this webinar about how to get the most out of your Google Business Profile. And it’s free to you to download using the QR code or the link that you see here. And of course I want to make myself available to you for a free strategy session. Just click on the link in the email that will follow this webinar and please book a time together.
Also you can see a full lineup of the past and the future Dental Marketing webinars at dentalmarketingheroes.com — just navigate to the Free Resources section and then the Free Webinars page. All past webinar recordings are available and you can get immediate access to those.
And lastly, I’d like to invite you to join us for the next webinar in this series that will cover the important topic of: The 2022 Guide To Google Maps — How To Get Your Dental Practice Ranked On The Map. Google Maps drives lots of exposure and leads. There are specific strategies to showing up at the top of Google Maps listings.
So join us for this webinar on the first Friday in June which is June the third at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. I hope to see you there. In the meantime keep calm and market on!