By not regularly contributing content to your Google My Business profile, has your practice overlooked an important new tactic to achieve success in search results? Google My Business profiles are often patients’ first interactions with practices online, visible after they search Google for specific medical services or a particular business name. A Google My Business profile presents basic, but useful information about the business, including a website address, location/directions, and telephone number. Optimized profiles can even display videos, pictures, reviews, or other noteworthy content.
Example of a Google My Business profile appearing in Search Engine Results
Since your Google My Business (GMB) profile often makes a first impression for the practice online, having accurate and complete information shows professionalism and earns authority in search while boosting potential new patients’ confidence. Your GMB content is an opportunity to create positive feelings of anticipation for the actual experience patients can expect in office. It’s also helpful that existing patients can leave GMB reviews that your practice may respond to. Interacting with reviews fosters deeper relationships with patients, can address patients’ negative experiences, allows for invaluable feedback, and provides a real-world example of the practice’s character, showing off the quality of care patients can expect to receive.
Images in your profile catch visitors’ attention and showcase the experience. Not only do they offer a great visualization of the experience, but research shows that Google also rewards profiles with a robust image gallery. Recent research shows that there is a strong correlation between your image quality/quantity and the resulting search performance.
Fortunately, with the quality of digital photography available on modern mobile phones, you can easily and affordably create inviting imagery for use in your Google My Business profile in-house, without having to hire outside professionals. It’s best to take photos of the entrance; the reception, consult, and procedure rooms; and the exit to convey the full experience to potential patients. In addition to experiential/facilities imagery, staff pictures will convey friendliness and familiarity, while certifications and diplomas can confirm superior credentialing. Images of specialized equipment are also helpful. There are countless possibilities to choose from when building your profile’s gallery.
Example of a dermatology practice’s profile pictures
Now, successful practices will want to check the results of their efforts in GMB. Before you start refreshing your Google My Business profile, secure a baseline performance summary by clicking the Insights tab and recording the data. As practices continue along with GMB, this area will allow them to monitor their profile picture views, direction requests, and phone call results.
Example of Google My Business’s performance as seen under Insights
Example of photo views
We predict that making an effort today toward building up your Google My Business profile will pay off with Google SEO in the future. Google My Business is similar to Google’s “Enhanced Search Results” and “Zero Click Search” strategies, where the Google Search Engine Result page (SERP) features answers to searchers’ queries directly on the results page, preventing any need to click further into Web page listings.
Google is capitalizing on this idea. You can see some of Google’s Enhanced Search Result efforts when searching for such information as the temperature in Italy, translating lines from English to Italian, or seeing what movies were made with an Italian theme.
Example of Weather Enhanced Search results
Example of Language Translation Enhanced Search results
Example of movie-focused Enhanced Search Results
Enhanced Search Results can appear in many ways, including Instant Answer, Knowledge Panels, Definitions, and Featured Snippets. As one example, you can see in the screenshot below that Google is featuring “People also ask.” Answers like this come from Web pages optimized for Featured Snippets so they address Google’s interest in having immediate information directly on the SERP.
Google is making a serious effort to provide search results that satisfy the searcher—without the need for actually clicking any links. Your Google My Business profile could be optimized to provide patients almost everything they need to know (along with a link to your website and ways to contact you).
The Google+ service, which was recently retired, used to be where you could build personal and business profiles. These profiles overlapped with the Google My Business profiles in some ways. Now, in order to better tap into Google’s larger plan, practices will want to renew their focus on Google My Business to compete with platforms like Facebook as a user’s main aggregate source for information and attention. As Google evolves and expands search services, data and history indicate that it will likely reward those businesses that fill their Google My Business profiles with correct and complete content.
–Sean Berry is MetaMed Marketing’s account coordinator and in-house digital media specialist.