In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about optimizing your GMB as a dentist. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that dentists can use to manage their online presence and appear in Google search results. Optimizing your GMB is an essential part of any dental practice’s digital marketing strategy, as it can help you:
- attract new patients
- improve your search engine rankings
- enhance your online reputation
- build your brand and name recognition
With this in mind, it’s imperative that dentists, orthodontists, and other dental professionals leverage it to their benefit.
What is a GMB?
Google My Business is a free listing provided by Google that allows businesses to create and manage their online presence across Google’s platforms. This includes Google Search and Google Maps. By creating and optimizing your GMB listing, you can provide potential patients with essential information about your dental practice, such as your:
- hours of operation
- location & directions
- contact details
- services provided
- office reviews
- photos of office and staff
- & more
It can also provide you (as the owner) valuable insights on engagement with it. That includes phone calls, site visits, and more.
Having a well-optimized GMB can also help you appear in Google’s “local pack” results, which can be an excellent way to attract new patients.
Difference between Google My Business (GMB) and Google Business Profile (GBP)
They are essentially the same thing. However, Google changed the name from Google My Business (GMB) to Google Business Profile (GBP). This was done in 2022, but many people still refer to the GBP as GMB. In that sense, the terms are interchangeable.
Claiming your GMB
If you haven’t already claimed your Google My Business (GMB) listing, now is the time to do so. Claiming your GMB is a straightforward process that involves verifying that you are the owner or authorized representative of your dental practice.
Here’s how to claim your GMB listing:
- First, check and see if one may already exist.
- If you bought a current practice you may need to get access from the previous owner. They can hand over the previous email they used to manage it, or they can use your email in order to assign a new “primary owner” of the profile.
- If you have been in business for a while, but never set one up, you may already have one. That is because patients can create it for you on your behalf to leave reviews for other potential patients to read.
- In that case, you will need to look for your listing on Google. This is usually done just by searching for the name of your dental practice on Google. In most instances it will be easy to find.
- Once you locate your listing, you will see a place where it says “Own this Business?”. Click on that link and it will guide you through the process of claiming your GMB listing. You will need to prove that you are the owner of the business in question.
Setting up your GMB
If you don’t already have one, you will need to create one. Here’s how to set up your GMB:
- If you are a new start-up, you will want to create your listing before anyone else does. You should do this once you have your business license and prior to opening your doors, if possible. If you never did though, you should do it ASAP.
- Go to the Google Business page and click “Manage Now”.
- Enter your dental practice’s name under “Business Name” and follow the steps to set up your listing.
- Follow the steps to verify your ownership or authorization to manage the listing.
By claiming your GMB, you can take control of your online presence and ensure that potential patients have accurate and up-to-date information about your dental practice.
What is the most important ranking factor for a GMB listing?
Simply put, it is relevance to the search query that is the most important ranking factor. No matter where you live, if you search “dentist new york”, you are going to immediately see results for dentists that are located in New York, and you will notice their names are similar to that in the map pack.
The name of your practice is essential to the ranking of a GMB listing. So, you may want to take that into account when deciding on the name of your practice. Consider common search terms in your area. For instance, if you are a dentist opening a new office in Naples, FL, consider a highly searched keyword such as “dentist naples fl”.
As you can see, there is significant search volume for that term in that area. If available, the business name, “Dentist Naples FL” would be a benefit to you strictly from a marketing perspective. If that isn’t available, or if that name is off-putting to you, maybe try something as close as possible e.g. “The Dentist In Naples”.
Choosing a name close to a highly searched term in your area will get you a lot of incidental traffic on Google. It will also be easier for patients to remember in most instances. Cross reference highly searched terms in your area using Google Keyword Planner with names of offices already opened in your area. This will help you come up with a suitable name that will rank better in your city with less effort.
If you already have a name chosen, consider changing it officially. It is not advisable to violate Google’s terms of service by using anything other than your actual business name. Doing so could get your account suspended.
What is NAP?
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. It’s essential for dental practices to have accurate NAP information on their Google My Business (GMB) listing. NAP information is used by Google to determine your business’s location. This is a critical factor in local search rankings. The business location factor is second only to the search query relevance.
Use your official business name on your GMB listing and make sure it’s consistent across all online directories and platforms (including social media and your own website). Be consistent with all parts of your NAP on those platforms as well, including address and phone number.
Doing so will improve your search engine rankings for local SEO.
Fill out every section completely on your GMB
To optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing fully, it’s essential to fill out every section completely. Here’s a list of the sections on your GMB and why they’re important to complete:
- Business information: Provides potential patients with basic information about your dental practice, such as your hours of operation and website URL.
- Services: List all of the services your dental practice offers to prospective patients in the area.
- Add updates: Allows you to share updates and promotions with potential patients and keep your listing fresh.
- Insurance: Let patients know which insurances you accept at your dental practice.
- Photos: Provides potential patients with a visual representation of your dental practice and can help you stand out in search results.
- Reviews: Allows potential patients to see what others are saying about your dental practice and can influence their decision to choose your practice.
- Q & A: If there are any questions there, make sure to answer them.
Complete each section on your GMB fully. By optimizing your GMB you will attract more patients through local SEO.
Business categories (primary and secondary)
Categories are a critical component of your Google My Business (GMB) listing, as they help potential patients find your dental practice when they search for related services. Your GMB allows you to choose a primary category and several secondary categories that describe the services your dental practice offers.
Choose the most relevant primary category that best describes your dental practice. Choose secondary categories that are relevant to your services but more specific than your primary category.
Your business description is an opportunity to tell potential patients more about your dental practice and what makes it unique. A well-written business description can help you stand out in search results and attract more patients to your practice. Here are some tips for writing an effective business description:
- Keep it concise and informative, focusing on what sets your dental practice apart from others.
- Use keywords that describe your services and specialties to help potential patients find your practice.
- Highlight any special features or amenities that your dental practice offers, such as a comfortable waiting room or state-of-the-art equipment.
Optimizing your GMB through providing a quality business description is just one step, but an important one for dentists.
Google allows you to specify a Service Area for your dental practice on your Google My Business (GMB) listing. In addition to your immediate area, you should list all of the surrounding areas where you would accept patients from. This can include other cities, neighborhoods, and communities. List as many as you can in your general area.
Remaining Business information
You want to make sure you fill out every different section. It will include:
- Business hours
- Service options
- & More
By looking through the various sections of the business information section, you should be able to find which options apply to your office. Adding relevant information to every section will help as you are optimizing your GMB for your dental office. When you are finished, you might want to check the “Profile Strength” when you are done to make sure you filled it out satisfactorily.
Publish posts weekly on GMB
Publishing regular posts on your Google My Business (GMB) listing is a great way to keep potential patients engaged with your dental practice and informed about your services. Here are some benefits of publishing posts on your GMB:
- Allows you to promote special offers, events, and new services to potential patients.
- Keeps your GMB listing up-to-date and informative, which can improve your search engine rankings.
- Encourages engagement from potential patients.
Here are some tips for creating engaging posts that attract more patients:
- Use eye-catching images and videos to grab potential patients’ attention.
- Keep your posts short and to the point, with a clear call-to-action.
- Publish posts on a regular schedule, such as once a week, if possible.
Posting regularly is part of optimizing your GMB and highly recommended if you are looking to boost engagement from prospective patients.
Upload photos of your office and staff weekly
Posting high-quality photos on your Google My Business (GMB) listing is essential for showcasing your dental practice and attracting more patients. Studies show that GMB listings with more photos get a higher engagement rate.
Here are some tips for taking and uploading photos that showcase your practice:
- Use a high-quality camera or smartphone to take photos with good lighting and composition.
- Take photos of your staff, waiting area, treatment rooms, and equipment to provide potential patients with a comprehensive view of your practice.
- Upload photos on a regular basis to keep your GMB listing fresh and up to date.
By having high-quality photos on your GMB listing, you give your listing a better chance at having a higher engagement rate. This helps your rankings and will get your dental office more exposure on Google.
Get as many reviews as possible on Google Business Profile
Reviews are an essential part of your Google My Business (GMB) listing, as they provide social proof of your dental practice’s quality and services. Here are some reasons why reviews are important:
- Reviews can improve your search engine rankings and attract more patients to your practice.
- Positive reviews can build trust and credibility with potential patients.
- Reviews provide valuable feedback that can help you improve your services and patient experience.
Here are some tips for encouraging patients to leave reviews and responding to reviews:
- Ask satisfied patients to leave a review on your GMB listing, and make it easy for them to do so.
- Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a timely and professional manner.
- Use reviews to identify areas where you can improve your services and patient experience.
Set up messaging
Setting up messaging on your Google My Business (GMB) listing is a great way to communicate directly with prospective and existing patients. Here are some benefits of setting up messaging:
- Allows potential patients to message you directly from your GMB listing.
- Helps you provide quick and convenient answers to patient questions and concerns.
- Improves your responsiveness to patient inquiries, which can build trust and credibility.
Here are some tips for setting up and managing messaging on your GMB:
- Log in to your GMB account and navigate to the “Messages” section.
- Set up messaging by providing a phone number that can receive text messages or downloading the Google My Business app and enabling messaging.
- Respond to messages promptly and professionally, and be sure to set expectations for response times.
Messaging is another way for people to be in touch with your office. It can increase engagement and will make people more likely to reach out to you.
Fully optimized GMB
A fully optimized GMB is a very powerful thing. However, it doesn’t come easily. You have to put the effort into it to make it happen, and it must be consistent. Let’s take a look at what an optimized listing might look like compared to one that is not fully optimized.
The GMB on the left is much better than the one of the right. You can see that the better GMB listing has done the following:
- Put a concerted effort into getting positive Google reviews
- Added COVID-19 info
- Added an appointment link
- Displays the hours they are open
- Lists insurance information
- Popular times indicate that it has a high engagement rate
- Has reviews on various 3rd party websites
A more fully optimized GMB takes up more real estate on the Google SERP and increases engagement.
My GMB got suspended, what do I do?
Google My Business (GMB) suspensions can occur for a variety of reasons, such as violations of Google’s guidelines, incorrect business information, or suspicious activity. If your GMB listing gets suspended, here’s what you can do:
- Log in to your GMB account and make sure you are following the guidelines for GMB listings.
- After you have made any necessary changes, navigate to the “Help & support” section.
- Request reinstatement.
You should make sure that you are following the terms of service before asking for reinstatement. Google can be fickle about suspensions, and if they think you are trying to break their guidelines, you will not be reinstated.
Here are some tips for preventing your GMB from getting suspended in the first place:
- Follow Google’s guidelines for GMB listings and avoid any practices that might be seen as spam or manipulative.
- Ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date across all online directories and platforms.
- Monitor your GMB listing regularly for suspicious activity or unauthorized changes.
The average dental office gets hundreds, if not thousands of searches each month. Losing access to your GMB listing could really hurt your business. There’s no reason to do anything sketchy with your GMB profile. Be sure to stay within the guidelines. Doing so is key in maintaining and optimizing your GMB.
The picture below are insights for a client of ours over a six month period. they are averaging 1896 views per month on their GMB.
Optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing is a crucial part of attracting more patients to your dental practice. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can improve your online presence, increase your search engine rankings, and build trust and credibility with potential patients. Key takeaways from this post include:
- Claim your GMB listing and ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Complete every section on your GMB listing, including categories, business description, and photos.
- Publish regular posts and respond to reviews and questions to engage with potential patients.
- Monitor your GMB listing for suspicious activity or policy violations to prevent suspensions.
A fully optimized GMB is a powerful marketing tool. Don’t miss your opportunity to maintain and grow your dental practice online through this amazing free listing.