You can always count on Google for one thing; a constant and steady stream of changes to local search. With Mobilegeddon shaking up personalized search results, it’s important to stay up to date with current trends to set yourself apart from your competition and promote your practice!
Becoming highly relevant online for the keywords you are trying to rank for means investing time towards working with an SEO Specialist. This doesn’t stop with on-site updates, like unique content or patient testimonials. It’s important that as a local oral health provider, you are represented on many online platforms. One is particularly important – Google My Business!
Do I need a Google My Business profile?
YES! A Google My Business profile can be considered a combination of a social media profile, like Facebook, and an online directory listing, like Yellowpages. Each profile can be optimized to reflect your practice’s opening hours, photos, and location. You can even create posts within Google My Business to promote specials you have running within the office or feature community connections! Patients can upload photos to your profile as well as leave you a review.
It is important to have a Google My Business profile because it enables your website to show up in Google search results and Maps. It helps you engage directly with new and existing patients, building a bridge between your office and the community.
Fostering a relationship with online users beyond the practice builds connections that can help potential leads convert to new patients!
Are Google My Business and Google Maps seperate profiles?
Long story short- they are the same profile!
Google My Business profiles can only be created by business owners like you. Your patients cannot create a GMB profile, log into or search on the Google My Business platform; they simply search for new providers using Google search or Maps. It’s imperative you have an active listing so your practice will show up in relevant searches.
Google Maps is the public-facing online directory and navigation tool that consumers use to explore and get directions to the products and services they need. A user can search Google Maps itself, but a regular Google search will also pull Maps info for its local results section (located beneath the paid search results and above the organic results).
How do I get my Google My Business profile to show up in search results?
A Local Map Pack or “Snack Pack” represents the top 3 Google My Business listings underneath the Map in many search results. These listings typically show above the fold of the page, though they are still integrated with Organic listings.
Local search is a great focus for many SEO’s in recent years and refers to building signals of relevance and prominence around a specific brick and mortar business location.
Google Determines Local Map Positioning in three key ways:
Relevance: Relevance refers to how well your local listing matches what a patient is searching for. Adding complete and detailed information about your dental practice can help Google better understand the type of dental practice you are and match your business to relevant search phrases.
Distance: Distance refers to how far a business is from the location used in a search phrase. For example, if a patient types in “Dentist Seattle WA”, Google will calculate the distance of each dental practice in the entire Seattle area to the center of the city and will highlight the closest and most prominent dental offices. If a patient does not specify a location in their search, Google will do their best to calculate distance based on what’s known about the patient’s location derived from their IP address.
Prominence: Prominence refers to how well-known your dental office is in your community. Some dental offices are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local rankings. This is why you sometimes will see other dental practices appear higher on Google Maps without much information on their page. Additional factors that influence prominence are links to your website from other online sources (like articles and local directories) as well as the quality of links. It is also important to note that your site’s position in organic search results is a factor, so implementing SEO best practices on your website is imperative to your success.
So, what should you remember?
SEO consistently changes every year, and you must react accordingly to the latest updates in order for your practice to rank well online. Keeping up with a steady number of changes in the online space means adjusting your SEO strategy to focus on the top ranking factors.
For tips and tricks on how to better manage your Google My Business listing, contact the Sesame SEO team today!
—Naomi Newell, Lead SEO Specialist, Sesame Communications