Just like the field of animal medicine, the online world is constantly advancing. Between complex coding trends and baffling algorithm adjustments, how can your veterinary practice keep up? When pet care is your highest priority, your team probably doesn’t have the time to navigate the seas of change—so we’re here to help you stay on course for online success.
With that in mind, here’s a heads up: Google recently unveiled brand-new character limits that will impact how local pet owners see your clinic’s online listings. The good news? You now have a little more room to promote your practice and spread the word about your services. We call that a win for client acquisition—and customer retention too!
Ready to make some waves? Here’s a crash course on these recent Google updates, so you can learn to boost your SEO and better reach pet owners online.
Not so snippy snippets—the new and improved SERP snippet
When it comes to finding potential new clients, making your veterinary website easy to find online is crucial. Developing a stellar search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is a great place to start, but how can you ensure that your practice stands out from the competition?
Thanks to Google’s latest update, you now have more wiggle room to entice pet owners browsing the web to click through to your webpage.
Let’s say a local pet owner searches Google for a veterinary clinic near their home. On the search engine results page (SERP), each website listing contains a “snippet” of text that acts like a preview of what that webpage has to offer. In web-speak, this SERP snippet is also referred to as your website’s meta-description.
Historically, this snippet was restricted to 160 characters—best practice suggesting that you keep your website’s meta-descriptions around 155-160 characters. Well, you got a space upgrade! Google has started showing listings over 230-350 characters.
While a change is not necessary here, taking advantage of the extra space can increase the likelihood that a pet owner will click through to your website instead of seeking out a competitor’s practice. Plus, you’ll have more room to optimize your content and potentially rank higher in SERPs as a result.
Keep in mind that Google does tend to vary snippet sizes in searches, so there is no guarantee that all characters will be displayed. As such, try to include your most important points early in your meta-description, just in case!
Tip: Google isn’t always picky, sometimes it pulls ordinary content from your website for the SERP snippet instead of—or in addition to—your meta-description. To cover all your bases, consider including valuable information about your clinic in the first blocks of content on your veterinary website too.
Not to be outdone, your Google My Business listing is also getting a description upgrade!
Have more say—Google My Business listings get a character increase
If you’ve had your Google My Business listing for a long time, you may remember that Google has previously included and removed a description field for business listings on a few different occasions. Now it’s back and better than ever, with 750 characters of space to describe your clinic and win over more potential clients!
Your Google My Business description won’t affect your search ranking, so try to avoid any over-the-top keyword usage or writing in all caps. Instead, write your description with pet owners in mind. Provide valuable information about your clinic, and highlight the qualities or services that set you apart from the local competition.
Want to update your business description? To help improve the appeal of your practice and encourage more phone or website inquiries from pet owners, follow these simple steps:
- Login to your Google My Business account.
- Click the “Info” button on the menu bar.
- Next, click on the pencil icon to select the “Add business description” option.
- Write any additional information you’d like to add to set your business apart! Do try to keep it brief—you don’t want to oversell your practice or bore pet owners to another page.
And voila, you’re all set!
Now that you are up to speed on Google’s new description capabilities—and what they can do for your SEO—it’s time to amp up client acquisition at your veterinary clinic!