Google My Business (GMB) was launched in 2014. This changed how businesses with physical locations are found online as well as in real life.
For anyone with search engine optimization experience, creating a Google My Business listing is one of the first steps in any local marketing strategy. With Google’s dominance in the global search engine market, they trust and rely heavily on their own GMB listings to provide the most accurate and useful local search results to their users.
Google has made it easy to be part of their search ecosystem by providing Google My Business as a free tool that helps business owners manage their information across Google and its powerful roster of partners, and help their businesses show up in both Google Maps and Google Local.
Because Google’s algorithm is top-secret and comes along with somewhat strict guidelines, it can make it difficult to know how and where your business will appear in search results. Let’s face it; you can’t control Google. But, you can take what we know and optimize your Google My Business listing to help you rank at the top of local search results faster.
What’s New with GMB — Updates and New Tools
Google My Business is continuously evolving to help local businesses maximize the impact of their GMB listings. Google releases updates, changes, and new tools all the time, but the following are particularly useful for dental practices looking to get the most out of their Google My Business listing.
- Add a Logo — businesses can display their logo on the upper right of the profile instead of a profile photo, and the image will appear beside posts or review responses. You’ll find options for adding a logo under the “Overview” tab in your GMB account.
- Welcome Offers — these can be sent to thank customers/prospects who follow a business. You can include a description, coupon code, and a website link in your offer. Look in the “Turn Followers into Customers” area of your profile and click on “Create Welcome Offer” to create, preview, and then publish your offer.
- Marketing Kit — The Google My Business Marketing Kit is a new site to create and print promotional assets. You can get free stickers, posters, social posts, and more created from your GMB profile. Want to make a poster for your front window to highlight a particularly awesome Google review? You can create those here for free. Download your kit and receive printable posters, signs, stickers, and table tents for your business. Visit https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com/ to get new promotional material for your practice throughout the year.
- Local Favorites —The top 5% of local businesses in a category will be awarded a “Local Favorite” badge. Currently, the Local Favorite program highlights the most popular restaurants in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles but look for expansion of the local favorite badges for other popular categories including dentists in the future.
- Short Names —Businesses can create and register their desired name and search users will be able to search Google Maps for @shortname and bring up the profile. You can share a short URL to ask patients to leave a review or to share your Business Profile. All businesses that have claimed their short name in Google My Business can have a shareable short URL.
- Book an Appointment — Route search users directly to a landing page for booking an appointment. Managing your bookings through another booking provider simplifies the booking experience. Your patients also benefit from built-in integration with widely-used Google products, like Calendar, and automatic reminders, so they don’t miss their booking.
You can use the booking tab in Google My Business to view the booking history of your business listing for bookings that came in through Reserve with Google. If you already use a scheduling provider on this list, you’re automatically eligible to receive bookings.