By now, your dental office is most likely listed on Google. If, for some reason, your office is not set up with Google, now is the time to get set up, complete your profile, and link your phone number, website, and map listing. Google allows you to do all of this at no charge.
Google has over 93% of the market share in online searches, with 88.6 billion website visits in March 2023 alone. This means the majority of people around the world (and especially in North America) use Google to look up websites and other information.
Additionally, Google’s algorithm considers location when displaying search results, which means local businesses, services, and healthcare providers are more likely to show up first. Having your practice properly set up on Google will help you attract more prospective patients from your area.
In addition to being listed on local search inquiries, your Google listing allows your office to make a great first impression. Accumulating positive reviews (read: Online Reviews: The Powerful Way to Make or Break Your Digital Image) is one of the main factors you may think of when it comes to first online impressions. A complete Google profile goes beyond reviews, however. Other factors that give your profile more value to users include:
You can post the interior of your clinic, your logo, photos from your website, and more. Having more data on your Google Business Profile makes your listing look more credible and inviting to prospective patients.
Making your office information as accessible as possible means patients do not face roadblocks that may deter them when trying to learn more about or book an appointment with your practice. For example, adding a phone number or website address to your profile allows patients or potential patients to reach you in the way that they prefer quickly.
Claiming your Google Business Profile also creates another avenue for prospective patients to find your office on Google Maps. In 2018, a study found that 67% of people use Google Maps more than any other navigation tool. Between 2019 and 2020, Google searches, including ‘near me’, have increased by more than 200%. People use Google to find local businesses, including dental offices. The bottom line is that a completed Google Business Profile is an inexpensive but highly beneficial asset to your dental practice by making your office’s information easily accessible to potential patients and by building up your online reputation.
Knowing how Google determines your online ranking in search results is the foundation for building a strong online profile that attracts new patients to your practice. Let’s review the key factors Google uses when ranking your practice in a search result.
According to Google, there are three main factors that the search engine uses when categorizing and ranking search results – distance, relevance, and prominence. Before moving forward, let’s get a better understanding of each factor.
A person using Google to search for a nearby dental office will first see the closest options to their location. Usually, multiple results show up depending on where you are in the world. Out of a few options, you want your practice’s listing to look more appealing than the other nearby dental offices in the same search result.
The only times a Google search will not factor in location is when a user includes a specific location in their search. For example, instead of looking up “dentist,” if a user searches “dentist in Toronto,” Google will prioritize results for dental practices in Toronto.
Google’s algorithm uses different factors to determine the relevance of a search result listing. Primarily, keywords (for example – “dentist” or “dental”) and usability of webpages determine the relevance of a listing for a specific search term.
Google determines your practice’s Google search prominence by the information it pulls from across the Internet, such as links, directories, and more. Any information about your practice online, whether from you or from news articles, local online directories, or even your own website and Google Business Profile, contribute to your measurable prominence (according to Google). This is where reviews come in. Google’s prominence factor is the reason that having a lot of good-quality reviews helps boost your practice’s listing.
If your office does not have a lot of online reviews or has a lot of sub-par reviews, consider using a review management service such as ABELDent RMS to help boost your practice’s ranking in search results over time.
Now that you know the three key factors that go into determining your dental practice’s rank in a Google search, you can work towards becoming one of the first options in your area. By prioritizing your Google Business Profile and using keywords and reviews to your advantage, you can grow your practice with ease. With an effective and complete Google profile, new patients will increasingly flow in.
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