How To Build A Good Reputation Online With Google My Business
In the pre-internet/pre-smartphone world, patients find their therapist’s clinic through the yellow pages. Think of Google as today’s go to directory for businesses and professionals. Long before you sit face to face with a client, you have to make a good impression online because when customers are in need of a product or service, they will most likely do an online search first.
Benefits of a Google My Business Profile.
The main benefit of having a Google My Business profile is that it makes customers find businesses easily. With an optimised GMB profile, complete with relevant information and photos, a business will have a higher chance of showing up in Google search and Google Maps results.
You might have already noticed this yourself when you do a search in Google or in Google Maps to look for restaurants or stores.
Restaurants are able to showcase their menus, health and safety measures, offer promotions, and inform customers if their restaurant offers dine-in, takeout, delivery, or a mix of these. Some even have a reservation button right on their GMB profile. In the same way, shops can also list their products, tell their customers about events and discounts, and highlight options such as delivery or curbside pickup.
All this information is easily obtained by the customer at a glance, without them having to go to the restaurant or store’s website. If you present your business well in your GMB profile, there is a high chance that it would lead customers to your clinic, your website (if they want additional information), or even getting them to book an appointment straight from your Google My Business profile.
Catching people’s attention in this age of short attention spans is a challenge and Google My Business is a tool that will help you rise to that challenge.
At this point, you might be asking, will this tool work even if you are not in retail or the restaurant business? Is it worth setting up for your therapy or counselling practice?
Setting up Google My Business for Therapists, Counsellors, and Psychologists
Here are a few things that therapists, counsellors, and psychologists can do with a Google Business Profile:
- Build trust by connecting with people directly via direct messaging or responding to reviews
- Show essential information such as services, clinic hours, and address
- Share posts that indicate expertise and years of experience
- Link to website
- Offer an easy way to book a session directly from the Google My Business profile
Setting up a Google My Business listing can be an essential part of your digital marketing strategy to reach more people who are in need of counselling. Best of all, it’s free and easy to do. To set it up, head to business.google.com and go through the steps.
How to Optimise Google My Business
Once you have set up your Google Business Profile, optimise your listing to get the best results. Here is how you optimise it:
1. Verify your business.
The process of verifying your account is necessary to prove to Google that you are the business owner. With a verified account, you
- control all information presented on your Google My Business account
- have access to analytics data that will help you understand how customers found you online, and
- can quickly respond to customer queries and reviews.
You will be prompted to start the verification process towards the end of setting up your profile, so make sure that you have reviewed all the information you provided during the set up process before you click on the Verify now button.
2. Build a straightforward and accurate profile.
Every information you provide in your profile will affect how people will respond. You need to provide essential information that projects authority in your field, reliability, and professionalism. Ensure that you
- Use the correct name and description of your clinic
- List down the location, contact numbers, clinic hours, and website
- Choose the category and attributes that best describe your practice and clinic
- Post the services your clinic provides and your rates
- Use professional language in the business and services descriptions
- Post good quality photos of your clinic
Make it easy for people to know what you specialise in (e.g. child psychology, trauma, anxiety, etc) by using related keywords. This also helps you to rank better in Google searches. However, don’t overdo the keywords or you will be penalised by Google, and come across as gimmicky to people. Be truthful in your descriptions and as always, spell check.
Note that making sure your profile is accurate doesn’t end after you set up and verify your GMB. This is an ongoing process where you regularly review your profile to add information (e.g. new services, rates), remove outdated information (e.g. if you have changed contact numbers), or edit your hours (e.g. closed during holidays) to name a few examples. Inaccurate information can cost you in rankings, positive reviews, and number of patients booked.
3. Ensure consistency with other digital assets.
If you have other digital assets such as a website and social media accounts, double check that the information across all of these are the same particularly with your clinic name, location, phone number, and clinic hours. The same goes for local and professional directories where your clinic/practice is listed.
4. Make your profile stand out.
Optimising your Google My Business profile is an ongoing process. While you don’t have to necessarily post updates as frequently as you would with a social media account, there are some parts of GMB that benefit from an update every now and then. Here are a few simple things you can do to make your profile stand out:
- Upload photos and videos – Having even a few relevant photos add to the legitimacy of your business to Google. At the very least post some professional-looking exterior and interior photos of your clinic.
- Post updates – Google prefers relevant and up-to-date content. Uploading GMB posts on a regular basis will impact your search rankings positively. Some ideas for posts include milestones in your practice and helpful information or tips on maintaining one’s mental wellbeing.
- Show that you care – A mental health practitioner that comes across as both competent and compassionate will definitely attract more patients. Answer queries promptly and respond to every review thoughtfully.
Google rewards profiles that have good engagement with high rankings. Plus, when your GMB profile reflects responsiveness people are more likely to book your services .
5. Keep an eye on your KPIs.
With a verified Google Business Profile, you are able to access all the data tracking your profile’s performance. For example, you will be able to see website clicks, phone calls, and bookings from your Google My Business listing. This knowledge of your profile’s performance will help you understand how people find you online and what steps you can make to improve your rankings and services.
Setting up and optimising your Google Business Profile is an essential tool in improving your SEO rankings which leads to higher results in Google Search, Google Maps, and more. What this means for your practice is that you are able to attract more people that are looking for the services you provide. Going through the setup, verification, and optimisation processes is not that hard when you are able to spend some time on them. If you don’t have the time and need a bit of help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I hope this overview has given you an idea of what Google My Business is and how it can be useful for your practice as a Therapist, Counsellor, and/or Psychologist, specifically in driving traffic to your website or contacting you directly. Feel free to get in touch via email or the contact form, and please subscribe to get regular updates below.