This blog has been updated from an earlier blog to be even more helpful.
Ranking higher in search engines is one of the top concerns for veterinary practices to attract new clients. To rank your practice higher, one of the simplest and most important ways is to create and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing, a free, simple-to-use tool for businesses to manage the information that Google users find when they search for a business or the products/services they offer.
If you’re unfamiliar with the name, GMB listings are those information panels that come up with photos, hours of operation, directions, and more when you Google any business. GMB listings are like Google’s phone book. While Google’s algorithm evaluates hundreds or thousands of pieces of data in determining the search engine ranking of a business, one of the biggest ranking factors that Google pays attention to is its own GMB listings.
If you haven’t claimed and verified a free GMB listing for your practice, or if you have a GMB listing but haven’t updated it in a while, here are three reasons to do it today:
1. More Website Traffic
According to Google and Oxera, accurate and up-to-date GMB details generate roughly 30% more click-throughs to a business website.
2. More Actual Clinic Visits
According to Ipsos MORI, businesses with GMB listings are 38% more likely to have searchers visit the location, and visitors are 29% more likely to become customers.
3. More Customer Trust
According to Google and Oxera, businesses with verified, up-to-date GMB listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable.
Getting Your GMB Listing Started
Once you’ve created your initial GMB listing, Google sends out a verification code by postcard that you use to verify your business location. Log back into GMB and make sure you enter this code carefully. Should you enter the code incorrectly more than five times, you will receive a message that your verification has failed, and you’ll no longer be able to verify your business. Once you verify your listing, you will be able to make changes to your business information, write posts, and share images.
Tips for Optimizing Your GMB Listing
- Fill in your basic practice information: business name, address, phone number, website address, hours of operation, etc. Then double-check what you’ve entered against what you have on your practice website to make sure they both reflect the same information.
- Select your business category. You can choose up to 10 categories to show off the services you provide, but you can only choose one primary business category. So, choose your categories carefully. If you add or edit one of your existing categories, you may be asked to verify your business again.
- Distinguish your practice in your business description. Having words like “animal hospital” or “veterinary clinic” in your practice name certainly tells people that you care for animals. Yet competing practices likely offer the same level of information in their business names. To distinguish your practice, use your business description to tell people what sets your practice apart from competitors.
- Upload photos and/or videos. According to Google, businesses with images in their GMB listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location—plus 35% more click-throughs to their websites—than businesses that don’t use images.
- Share GMB posts just like you share social posts: Google Posts gives businesses an easy way to attract new clients and strengthen relationships with existing ones. Google Posts appear on your GMB listing, and clients can both read a full post and share it with friends directly from Google.
Next, Take a Good Look at Your Practice Website
It’s one thing to attract more pet owners to your practice website with a GMB listing. Yet it’s another thing to keep pet owners engaged once they arrive. People make split-second decisions about a practice based on:
- How a website looks and functions
- What pet health care tools and resources a website offers
- How a website stacks up against competitors
So, take a step back, make an honest assessment of your practice website, and ask yourself some key questions:
- Is it custom designed to reflect the distinct style and personality of your practice while adhering to established design standards and user experience best practices?
- Is it optimized to display beautifully on smartphones and mobile devices to reach people on devices they use?
- Does it have user-friendly navigation so visitors can explore your site with ease?
One of the quickest and simplest ways to make an honest assessment of your practice website is to look at what other practices are doing. To do that, here are a few examples of the kind of practice websites that stand out from the competition and convert more visitors into clients.
client communications, google