Episode 005 – Google My Business
On this episode of The Practice Marketing Podcast, hosts Garrett Smith and Don Lee discuss Google My Business and how your practice can take advantage of this free product from Google. With almost half of all Google searches showing localized results powered by Google My Business, Garrett and Don tell you how you can take advantage of Google My Business, and how you can make sure you practice appears highly in local searches and in Google Maps. For more information about this episode, and the complete show notes, please continue reading below.
“What You Will Learn”
On this episode of the practice marketing podcast you will learn:
- What is Google My Business
- Why Google My Business it’s important to your search visibility
- How you can use Google My Business to increase your practice’s search visibility
Segment #1 – What is Google My Business?
- Google My Business is Google’s local business directory product, that’s free for both practices and individual providers, even employed physicians.
- Google uses the information on your practice’s Google My Business page for their listings on Google Maps and in their local search results.
- It’s important to note that many practices and providers may already have a Google My Business profile, and don’t even know it. It’s important that you claim, and enhance your profile, like yesterday.
Google My Business is Google’s local business directory, which it uses to power it’s Google Maps listings and local pack search result pages.
Segment #2 – Why Google My Business is important to your practice’s search visibility
- Patients are heading online first, and a large majority of them are going to Google.
- Google knows that for many health searches, patients want to see local providers (or results from their website)
- Because of this, it uses Google My Business profile information in order to populate both the knowledge panel for searches of your name (and your practice name), as well as populate the local pack of search results, characterized by the map and then listing of three of four providers, or practices
- This makes your Google My Business profile a core component of improving your practice’s search visibility, and driving new patient appointments, since it’s prominently displayed, especially on mobile
- More so, patients are increasingly using GPS to get to your office, and Google Maps is quite popular, especially since it’s the default on Android devices used by millions of patients.
Your Google My Business profile is important because it’s a core component of improving your practice’s search visibility, and driving new patient appointments from the search engine.
Segment #3 – How you can use Google My Business to increase your practice’s search visibility
- First make sure you have claimed your provider and or practice listing on Google My Business, which will allow you to make changes to your profile.
- Once you have claimed ownership, you need to completely enhance your profile. This means adding accurate information about you or your practice, with particular attention to the name, address, and phone number used. You should make sure this is always consistent across all of your online listings.
- After this, the most important element is to make sure you properly categorize your profile. This is important because Google uses this information when choosing which listings to show for certain searches.
- It might seem like a pain, but fleshing this out with a couple dozen pictures of you, and your practice, goes a long way; after all, if you do rank #1, don’t you want to look great?
- Once you’ve done all this, check out some of the other options, such as Posts, Videos, and even Q&A. These newer features give you a taste of where Google is headed, and additional opportunities to stand out from competitors.
Google My Business is a free product that you can optimize to give you and your practice the best opportunity to rank highly for localized searches and even searches that happen on Google Maps.
Full Episode Transcript
Garrett Smith: 00:00 Hey everyone. Garrett here. For more information about Google My Business, check out chapter four in Book Now! Internet Marketing For Healthcare Practices, available at Healthcaremarketingbook.com.
Don Lee: 00:11 Hey Garrett. Someone told me that when it comes to ranking high end Google searches, that it’s not just my website that counts, what’s up with that?
Garrett Smith: 00:18 On this episode of the Practice Marketing Podcast, you will learn what is Google My Business, why Google My Business is important to your search visibility and how you can use Google My Business to increase your practice’s search visibility (music)
Speaker 3: 00:34 Are you looking to take your practice to the next level? Well, you’re in the right place. Welcome to The Practice Marketing Podcast with your host, Garrett Smith and Don Lee.
Garrett Smith: 00:46 Hey. Welcome back. Garrett Smith here alongside my partner in crime, Don Lee. This is episode number five, Google My Business. We’re excited to be taking a little, bit more of a deeper dive on one of the more important aspects of search engine optimization and overall search visibility for your practice. Definitely excited to be back here with you Don.
Don Lee: 01:07 Yeah. Pleasure to be back. Always enjoy talking with you about this stuff, and leading into this episode here, when I think about websites and when … I think when people generally think about websites, to the uninitiated, you’d think, “What’s on my website is what’s going to dictate whether it ends up high on a Google search or not,” and I’m hearing, this is not the case. So, what is driving, what else is driving my websites searchability other than the content on the site?
Garrett Smith: 01:35 Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, first and foremost for years, and years and years the emphasis has really been put on optimizing your websites so that it ranks highly. Really, over the last couple years, Google My Business has become more and more prominent, and so, you know Google My Business is Google’s local business directory product. The best part about it, you know is that it’s free, both for practices and individual providers, even if you’re an employed physician, one of the things that I always encourage employed physicians to do is go out there and claim their online presence, that is their presence and so that’s one thing that they can do to kind of take control of their own online marketing.
Garrett Smith: 02:10 Now, the key thing to know about Google My Business is that Google is using this information on your practice or provider profiles, to populate their listings on Google Maps, and also in their local search results. What you may not understand is that uh, whether you like it or not is, you could already have a profile and not know it. Often times Google and other sites that we’ll talk about in future episodes, find your information whether it’s publicly accessible from the government and end up spinning up profiles for you, without your knowledge. Obviously, most of these websites give you, including Google My Business the opportunity to claim your name and likeness. So, this is really an aspect of SEL and overall kind of search visibility internet marketing that is low cost for you to do, but very, very important.
Don Lee: 02:58 What I find interesting about that is what you said that this profile might exist and I as a practitioner, as a provider, I might not even know about it. And, to me that’s really interesting is that happened and … I mean, do I have any control over it, or is it just out there and it’s out there?
Garrett Smith: 03:13 Well, you can’t really control a third party from taking publicly accessible data about you and the practice and publishing it on a website. And so, what Google knows, what other third party websites know is that patients are searching for your name, and your practice. And, they know that in the healthcare space, you know, a lot of practices and a lot of doctors have either, you know, not embraced internet marketing, or have been slow to embrace a lot of the changes that are happening.
Garrett Smith: 03:42 And so, they’ll gladly take a new patient, visitor on their website if you’re not gonna build a website yourself and, and have a profile, you know, that you own and control. Now, for the most part, these third party websites, uh, especially the major ones like Google, they allow you to claim that profile. Now, you need to go through a verification process obviously, but once you’ve gone through and verified you can then, sort of take ownership of that and be able to kind of change information, update things, and kind of enhance and optimize your profile.
Don Lee: 04:13 Yeah. I guess that makes a lot of sense, cause Google is in the business of helping people find what they’re looking for on the internet, right? So, if I haven’t put it out there, that doesn’t take away Google’s motivation to try to solve that problem for their customer. So, it does make good sense.
Garrett Smith: 04:30 (music) Pro tip number one. Google My Business is Google’s local business directory, which is uses to power its Google maps listings and local pax search results.
Don Lee: 04:43 All right Garrett, so I get the basic idea here, that this is out there, and that I have the opportunity to claim it and probably should. But, let’s talk a little, bit more about why I should. So, what specifically does Google My Business do for me and my searchability on the web and how does it help get people to my website ultimately?
Garrett Smith: 05:02 Yeah, so Google My Business helps you get patients to, to both your website and into your practice, primarily because, as we’ve already explained, patients are going online first when they’re looking for a new provider, or an alternative provider in many cases, or to kind of do research on some referrals that they’ve gotten from friends and family, or, or maybe even their family physician.
Garrett Smith: 05:22 And so, we also know that a large majority of them are going to Google. And so, what has happened is that Google has realized that for a lot of the health related searches, patients were not satisfied seeing results from that, were outside of you know, say a 20 mile radius. And so, over time, what Google has done is they have changed the way that their search results pages look, and the functionality and the, and the features that they make available to patients who are searching Google.
Garrett Smith: 05:52 And so, one of the things that they’ve done is for searches for, very often the provider’s name, the providers practice. They are now showing a right-handed sidebar that has what’s called the knowledge panel, which contains all kinds of structured information that is taken directly from your Google My Business profile. So, that’s one way to enhance that. So, when someone is going to go ahead and do a search for your practice, and all of a sudden on the right hand sidebar, this information is kind of called out by Google and it’s very prominent, you want all that information in there to be accurate and correct and, you wanna look great, just like you’d want your website to look great and have all the accurate information.
Garrett Smith: 06:29 But, more than that, a lot of the, the searches for information around a particular specialty, service and treatment is now showing providers on a map, and then, the local three pack underneath, because Google realizes that patients want to see a local provider, right? More often than not a patient doesn’t wanna travel more than 20 miles to see a generalist or a specialist. And so, by making these changes, Google has made Google My Business product more important, because they are taking the information that provider has put on there, or that Google finds for you and using that to power that section.
Garrett Smith: 07:06 And so, if you really wanna have that number one spot, or that prime real estate visibility, you’re going to have to not only claim your Google My Business profile, but also take some steps to enhance it. And furthermore, Google is also taking that information and using it to populate Google Maps, and more and more patients, you know, they’re not looking up directions beforehand, before they get into their vehicle, they don’t have paper maps anymore for the most part.
Garrett Smith: 07:33 They’re kind of relying on Google maps and other GPS, apps, or pieces of software that often times leverage Google’s data. And so, if you don’t have your profile claimed, enhanced, and with all the correct and accurate information, a lot of bad things can happen and I know Don, this is, this is something that’s a little, bit close to you. I know you’ve actually, probably experienced this before you, you told me beforehand.
Don Lee: 07:54 Yeah, absolutely. The thing that drove this home for me, was I had a meeting a couple weeks ago. It was at a healthcare facility. I hadn’t been there yet. Uh, I knew roughly, you know, I knew what city it was in. I knew roughly where I was headed, but I didn’t know the address. And going into it, I knew I didn’t know the address. And, I guess subconsciously without really thinking too hard about it, my plan was, I’m gonna go get in my car with enough time to drive there and a little, bit of spread, and I’m gonna Google their address and then I’m gonna drive there.
Don Lee: 08:23 And what I found was, I couldn’t find their address. You know, it wasn’t in, you know, I didn’t get into this kind of uh, Google shortcut, three pack stuff you’re talking about, so they didn’t show up there. Then, I went to their website. I hit the contact us page, there was no address on the contact us page. And, it basically, it kind of threw off all of my scheduling. And, one that’s my own stupid fault, right? I should have been more prepared, but I’m a prime example of what a patient might be. What if I was a patient trying to find that facility?
Don Lee: 08:51 You can’t just say, “Oh, well, that’s, the patient’s stupid fault that they couldn’t find us.” Like, I had this almost unknown to myself, I had this expectation that I’m going to be able to find you on the internet, I’m gonna be able to find you really easily and the information I find is gonna be correct, and it wasn’t. So, you know, that made me late for a meeting. No big deal, but if you’re talking patient going to a practice for an appointment, now that patient might not show up.
Don Lee: 09:18 That patient might be really late. They might throw off your scheduling. Now, you’ve got an unhappy patient, you’ve got your schedule screwed up. If the appointment goes away, you might have lost out on some revenue, and they might not ever come back. So, like there’s a whole, bunch of bad things that happened, because the address wasn’t there, simply put.
Garrett Smith: 09:36 Yeah, so either you didn’t have a profile and it was difficult to find ya, or you had a profile and you didn’t pay attention to it and it had some inaccurate information. In both scenarios that’s a negative and I think that scenario that you just explained, really, to me, exemplifies why today, patient experience starts online, right? The first touchpoint of dealing with your practice is not when they arrive in the, the office, or, or see someone at the front desk, or they’re sitting in the waiting room, it’s actually while they’re in the pursuit of finding you that, that experience with you in the practice starts.
Don Lee: 10:09 Yep. Right on and they’re comparing it to what they’re used to everywhere else on the internet, and everywhere else on the internet, it’s easy to find this information and it’s usually correct, because these businesses want you to show up and I think the message here is that we, we gotta act the same way as practices in the healthcare industry, we gotta want out patients to show up and be in a good mood when they get there as much as humanly possible, so that we could do our work.
Don Lee: 10:31 The other thing quite con, uh, aside that I’m thinking about is, I’m, as you’re going through and describing the layout of the Google page … If you think back to the first segment what I said was, Google is in the business of helping people find what they want on the internet. So, you’ve got the top engineers across the country in usability and how do we figure out the best way to lay out our page, so that the exact information, the best information gets to these people.
Don Lee: 10:58 And then, for free, for you at least, for free they have given you this tool, that basically lets you put all of your information into it. And as I’m, you’re going through this thinking to myself as a business person, as a practitioner, if I can take advantage of this free scaffold that was designed by the world’s best engineers, the world’s best UX engineers who spent all of their time thinking about how to get the information right where it needs to be, like that’s a great tool for me. I should be taking advantage of that, right?
Garrett Smith: 11:26 Absolutely. I think, you know, just to put it in perspective, even being a small solo practice, in a, a small to medium market, is going to have that profile be seen by thousands of potential patients in a given month. It could be generating you know, dozens, if not hundreds of phone calls into your practice, and I think that, that’s just too much to ignore. And again, this isn’t something that you need to spend big bucks to do.
Garrett Smith: 11:49 You can do this yourself, if you’ve got some time, and it’s not as time consuming as building a website or anything like that with a couple of online tutorials and a couple of hours, if you got the right resources, you can put this together, or you can hire an agency or freelancer or contractor to do this. To me, for anyone who’s a healthcare provider, or involved in the practice, this a 100% must, no brainer, no excuses. You have to be doing this, and I’m adamant about this one as I am about having a website. It’s very low hanging fruit that can have a, a huge payoff for you as, as an individual provider, but also for the practice at large.
Don Lee: 12:25 Yeah, and then just reading between the lines here. What I’m hearing, is you’re probably talking about a couple hours of effort, if you wanna do it yourself, or if you’re gonna go hire an agency or, we, like I can’t imagine this is a huge love for an agency.
Garrett Smith: 12:36 For just someone to kind a claim, enhance, optimize, you know, make sure that you’re following all the best practices, one time fee, you’re looking at three 400 dollars. If you include Google My Business and all the other providers in there, you know, you could be looking at a thousand to 1500 dollars. So, even for a employed physician, you know I hear from them all the time, that they don’t get enough love from their internal marketing departments. Well here you go, you know, uh, for a 1500 dollar investment or less than that, you can go ahead and you can take control of all of your online profiles. In the majority of cases, just by doing something, is gonna differentiate you from your peers and potential competitors, and put you in a better position to get more patient appointments.
Don Lee: 13:16 Yeah, so a couple hours or a couple hundred, bucks, maybe a thousand bucks seems like a no brainer.
Garrett Smith: 13:24 Pro tip number two. Your Google My Business profile is important, because it’s a core component of improving your practices search visibility and driving new patient appointments from the search engine.
Don Lee: 13:39 All right Garrett, so I’m a, let’s say I’m a, I’m a Doc. I’m listening here and I buy in and I wanna go check this out. But I wanna take it, I wanna take a crack out of myself first, before I go off and start calling agencies or whatnot. So, if I wanna go right now and pull out my computer and start checking out my Google, Google My Business profile, where should I start?
Garrett Smith: 14:00 Yeah, first thing is, go to Google.com, type in your name, and then also your practice name, and see if anything comes up on the right hand sidebar already. It may be that Google has already created a profile for you, maybe somebody in your organization has also done that. But first and foremost you want to see if, if it’s there. You can also go to maps.google.com, Google Maps and search for your office location and address. If it’s not there, when you type in your address or your name, it’ll actually give you a little prompt to add your location. So you can go ahead and add your location.
Garrett Smith: 14:30 What you’re gonna see is, you’re gonna have like a little, bit of a screen uh, to fill out basic information, business name, address, phone number. They will then send you through a verification process. Typically, it’s a little postcard that they send. Uh, so it’s gonna take a couple of days for that postcard to get to you, but once you get it, you’re gonna insert a little code and that will essentially verify that you know, you are at that location, you are who you say you are, and that will enable your profile and then from there, you can go about populating it.
Garrett Smith: 15:00 But before I talk about [inaudible 00:15:01] populating it, one of the important things to note is that you should have a listing for every provider and every practice location. So, if you are a single, you know a solo practice, but you have two locations, you’re actually going to have four Google My Business profiles right? So, you’ll have one for you as an individual provider at each location and one for you, uh, for your practice at each location and so, and obviously that extrapolates out uh, if it’s a larger practice, or healthcare organization. So, once you have actually claimed ownership you’re gonna wanna go out there and completely enhance your profile.
Garrett Smith: 15:38 And, and really what you wanna do when, when I talk about enhance is a couple of things. Number one, you wanna make sure that all the information about your practice is accurate and all the fields that you could fill out are filled out accurately. So this isn’t a time to kind of just get to 80%, you wanna fill this out to 100%. You really wanna, pay particular attention to your name, your address and your phone number. You should make sure that your name, address and phone number is consistent across all of your online profiles, and that’s a big component of something that we’ll be talking about when we, we get into listings management.
Garrett Smith: 16:10 Now, once you have your basic name, address and phone number information the next biggest thing with Google My Business is, you want to make sure that your properly categorized, because Google uses the categorization of the profile to influence where they show it for particular searches, so that’s very important. So, it may not be enough to just categorize yourself as a Doctor, you may want to dig down into the particular specialty, but also talk about maybe some of, the various other naming conventions for, for what you do and your practice, know they’re available in a drop down uh, that Google provides.
Garrett Smith: 16:44 From there, always a best practice to make sure that you got great images, not only of you, but of the outside of the practice, the inside of the practice. Gives patients an idea of what to expect, where to go. Again, we kind of talked about them navigating to your practice, so giving them, not just the correct address, but also a visual to look for is helpful. I know that I, more often find things based on what’s around it, not necessarily the specific address, and so I always find that helpful when I’m looking for things, and, really …
Garrett Smith: 17:11 So if you get to the point where you’ve claimed it, you verified, all your information is up-to-date and accurate, you’ve got a lot of great images of you, potentially the staff, outside, inside of the practice, really the last thing is to start to take advantage of, you know on an ongoing basis, some of, the new features that Google My Business is offering up to businesses who have claimed and verified their profiles …
Garrett Smith: 17:31 Well, couple of those things are, number one, you can publish posts, so kind of akin to a blog post. You can post coupons, deals, content that you’ve posted on your website, even just an additional call-to-action to schedule an appointment, and Google often shows this information when patients are searching for you and the practice, uh, in the search engine results. You can publish videos, whether those are, you know a commercial about, from you, or about the practice, or maybe a video bio or something else. You can upload those, and they even got Q&A, where patients can ask particular question, uh, about the practice and you can respond in kind.
Garrett Smith: 18:07 And, and really I think, to kind of encapsulate this entire conversation Don, the big thing that you have to remember for those of you at home is that all of this is kind of showing where Google’s going in the future, where at a certain point I think what you’re gonna see is that Google My Business will become sort of your website on Google or your homepage on Google, as some folks in the search industry have already commented on, and so, you know I think this is another move by another sort of website platform, to try to keep you there, and try to keep patients there. But, for right now it’s free. It’s extremely prominent and so no excuses, must have for, for providers and practices.
Don Lee: 18:49 Yeah, definitely sounds like it, and even if you don’t necessarily like … You know, if you don’t like the concept of that, that, that’s where Google’s going, this is kind of, this is the reality you’ve gotta confront here is that, if the world’s going there, and you wanna continue to do good business, and provide good care to your patients, you gotta go where the people are and I think that you know, the way you describe it here, sounds like I can sit there, maybe I’m watching a football game or something like that. I can have my laptop and it sounds like I can kind of bang this out during the commercials, at least at the first crack at it myself, just to make sure it’s not wrong and just to make sure it’s not incomplete. It sounds like something I oughta go do as a doc.
Garrett Smith: 19:24 100%, and you know, not to sound like a blockchain groupie, but you know the future really is decentralized and, and I think that over time, there’s going to be more things like Google My Business that are on the internet, where your, your practices good, and, and you as a provider, whether you’re, you’re in a private practice or you’re an employed physician, you know, you’re gonna have to pay attention to and there’s gonna be more spots and more websites and more apps and things, not less of them.
Garrett Smith: 19:51 And so, I think starting now, even though you’re behind other folks who, who were really early adopters, you can still be ahead a, of the majority. I, I would imagine … I think one stat, just to leave you with is, you know, 51% of all businesses have yet to claim their Google My Business profile. You know, that’s an aggregate across all industries. I imagine it’s much higher in the healthcare space, just based on you know, the general intake rate of doctors who have websites.
Don Lee: 20:16 Yeah.
Garrett Smith: 20:16 And so, again, very valuable, free, and highly, highly, highly urge and encourage everyone out there to do it, whether they’re working with an agency or they just go about doing it themselves.
Don Lee: 20:25 Yeah, right on man, and 51% still open, I mean it’s basically now it’s an opportunity to differentiate yourself amongst at least half of, to your point probably more for the doctors, so yeah. No, that sounds like something we oughta get on.
Garrett Smith: 20:42 (music) Pro tip number three. Google My Business is a free product that you can optimize to give you and your practice the best opportunity to rank highly for localized searches and even searches that happen on Google Maps.
Garrett Smith: 20:58 On the next episode of The Practice Marketing Podcast, we will discuss how to optimize your online profiles on business and doctor directories. Thanks for listening. Can’t wait to have you back. (music)
Speaker 3: 21:10 Thanks so much for listening to this episode of The Practice Marketing Podcast, with Garrett Smith and Don Lee. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please leave a review and subscribe. And for more great content, and to stay up-to-date, visit inboundmd.com/podcast. We’ll catch you next time.
Garrett Smith: 21:28 Hey everyone. Garrett here. For more information about Google My Business, check out chapter four in Book Now! Internet Marketing For Healthcare Practices, available at healthcaremarketingbook.com