Business consultant Rick O’Neill discusses how Google My Business can help generate clinic enquiries
Most aesthetic business owners recognise that appearing on the first page of Google search results for key search terms can have a significant impact on traffic and enquiries. In fact, according to software company Moz, the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92% in recent years.1 Second-page results are far from a close second, coming in at below 6% of all website clicks.1 But, local search is the name of the game when it comes to attracting potential patients within a close radius of your business location, and I believe that the most critical element of local search is a Google Business Profile.
So, what is it, how do you manage it, and how can you optimise it for best results?
I’m sure that you have all heard of the term search engine optimisation (SEO). It’s a big topic, and not one you can cover in comprehensive detail without putting on a week-long workshop. But there is one specific element of SEO that matters more than any other for an aesthetic clinic, particularly one with a fixed location, and that is what’s commonly referred to as a local search, or a ‘near me’ search. This is when someone types into Google, for example, ‘skincare clinic near me’ or ‘skincare clinic’ with location/GPS enabled on their device.
According to software company HubSpot, this kind of search grew by more than 900% between 2013 and 2017.2 In 2020 as many as 46% of all Google searches were local and more than 50% of ‘near me’ searches result in a physical store visit.3 This clearly represents a significant opportunity to owners of aesthetic clinics to find new patients and scale their business, but where do you start in order to capitalise on this type of web traffic? To help manage and grow your clinic’s online presence, having a Google Business Profile is integral because without it you are highly unlikely to appear in local search results, which as we have established, is where a significant proportion of your potential patients are seeking clinics. This refers to your business’ ‘listing’ on Google, which is a profile all about your clinic that can appear either to the right of the search results (usually if someone searches for your business by its name) or within Google Maps (if people are searching for similar businesses to yours in their area).
Sometimes Google will create a Google Business Profile for your business automatically if it finds information about it via your website or other sources, but if not, you will need to create one yourself. A Google Business Profile contains information such as your business name, location, opening hours, website address and much, much, more as I’ll cover later. However, simply having a Google Business Profile is only the start. In order to optimise your profile to appear for the right searches, and the right kinds of potential patients, you need to actually ‘manage’ it. To do this, you need a website (and App) called Google My Business.
A Google My Business (GMB) account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile, verify it, attain management rights to it, and unlock additional free features to increase your visibility on Google, and ensure that the details presented on your profile are correct and current (sometimes these are auto-generated by Google and can contain errors or out of date information). You can find GMB online, and they also have an excellent mobile application called My Business which I would highly recommend to help you keep on top of your Google Business Profile optimisation and updates (including responding to reviews, which as you will read below, is very important).
There are four essential steps to getting started and optimising your GMB profile.
So, let’s break each of these down into some simple actions you can take today to have a significant impact on your results from Google search.
Firstly, you should log into the Google account you want to use to manage your business from. This will be linked to your Gmail email address, and if you don’t already have one you will need to create one. Once logged in, head to business. google.com and click ‘manage’ at the top right. Then, search for your business and click ‘manage now’, or if you can’t find it click ‘add your business to Google’. Follow the steps and populate your information.
In the process of populating your GMB profile, Google will ask you to verify it. This is a vital step, as the verification mark means you get the full range of options for managing your profile and optimising it, and more potential patients will find you as a result.
Once you’ve got full access to your GMB profile, and it’s been verified with Google, the real work starts! Optimising your GMB profile is an important and ongoing task. It makes the difference between having a GMB profile that only shows when people search your business by name, and having a GMB that appears when people search by treatment or condition – which is where the additional traffic comes from to help you scale your business.
At my agency, we’ve been optimising GMB profiles for several years and have kept a careful eye on the elements that make the biggest difference to where your profile appears in the local results. Our internal check list now contains more than 80 ways to optimise a GMB for the best possible position in the search results.
Here are the 14 most important ones (assuming you’ve already claimed/created and verified as above):
The GMB app gives you an important tool for boosting your local search presence and engaging patients online. It helps you reach out to new patients. Plus, the intuitive interface makes it simple to immediately update your business information. The App also allows you to communicate with your patients, for example after a customer leaves a review, you have a chance to respond to it (and when you do this, it adds to your rank with Google, as responding to reviews is a known signal that your business is active and credible).
The way we type queries into Google is quite different from the way we talk to our voice assistants (Siri, Alexa). For example, if you’re looking for a local skincare clinic, your searches might look a little like this:
Typed: Skincare clinic near me
Voice: What are some good skincare clinics in my local area?
According to early 2019 survey data from Perficient Digital, voice is now the number two choice for mobile search, after the mobile browser.7 Your GMB listing is an important part of local SEO and voice search. Because voice searches are often used to find out important details about your business, such as contact number, address, and opening hours, Google must have accurate information on these details. Your website and structured data (which is the meta data and title tags used in your website’s code8), go a long way in making sure Google has the right information about your business, but Google (or Alexa/Siri) wants to be accurate, and the way it does this is by looking at your GMB listing. This will give Google all the information it needs to understand what your business does, who it’s for, when it opens, where it is, and much more. This is the exact information voice searches are asking for, so it’s a quick way to get accurate results to people’s questions.
Verifying and optimising your GMB profile can have a significant impact on your Google presence and therefore the traffic and enquiries coming into your aesthetic clinic. Now is the time to take this action and benefit from the results. So, what are you waiting for?
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