Google is the world’s largest search engine and its integrated tools — like Google Maps — can help your practice reach new patients with ease. If you’re wondering how you can use Google to advertise your business, it’s important to recognize that paid ads are only a small part of the equation. Here’s a look at the three primary areas you should be investing your time in so you can leverage all that Google has to offer.
Google My Business is more than a profile, it’s a free hub where you can manage your presence in Google search and on Google Maps. Creating your profile won’t cost a penny, but you will need to verify your information using your email, phone number, or video verification. You may be asked to use a few methods, especially if you’re trying to claim ownership of a pre-existing profile for your business.
Once you’ve verified that you are the rightful owner of the GMB listing, you’ll be able to edit and add information with ease. Some of the things you should do right away include:
The above information can be updated as often as needed, but you probably won’t need to alter it that often. However, you might periodically log into your Google My Business account to handle posts, offers, events, and reviews.
Anyone can leave a review for your practice and responding to reviews (both negative and positive ones) is important for maintaining your practice’s reputation. Google also has a means of requesting the removal of inaccurate or fraudulent reviews and it’s important to stay on top of it in case of spam.
Lastly, you can activate a direct messaging feature that lets patients and potential patients contact your practice with ease. This is great for confirming holiday hours, wheelchair accessibility, and other details. Plus, GMB allows you to post public answers to frequently asked questions to save your team time.
If your practice has a website as it should then finding ways to improve your search engine rankings is an essential, ongoing activity. When it comes to tracking and improving your rankings in Google, there’s no better way to do it than with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to understand who’s visiting your site and what they’re doing while they’re there. For instance, in addition to the number of visitors you get, you can see where they came from (i.e., the search term or referring link), their geographical location, the device they’re using, and more. On your site, you can even see what pages they visited and how long they spent on each one.
Understanding how to leverage Google Analytics can take some time, especially if you’re not familiar with analytics tools. However, Google Analytics has come a long way in recent years and it’s generally quite user-friendly. Plus, Google has plenty of documentation and tutorials to help you get the most out of it. With that in mind, here are some key features to look at:
There is a lot more to learn about Google Analytics, but the most important takeaway is that you should absolutely be using it for your practice. Even if you have no intention to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) right now, Google Analytics can begin collecting valuable information about your users that you’ll be able to leverage down the road for SEO and advertising purposes.
Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) allows you to put your practice in front of a targeted audience in Google Search and on YouTube and third-party websites that participate in the Google Ads network. Google Ads represent one of the most popular forms of PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising and, so long as you have the right audience data, you can see major returns from your campaigns.
Setting up Google Ads can be daunting, especially if you’re like most practices and don’t have a dedicated marketer or copywriter on your team. However, while you might outsource the copywriting, the actual setup is easily something that your practice can do on its own. Plus, if you have Google Analytics tracking your website data already, then you can take away much of the guesswork associated with targeting.
Google Ads allows you to control where your ad is displayed. The most common is in search results where it will appear as one of the top three results above all organic search results on the first page. In other words, it’s a way to instantly climb to the top of the page above all of your competitors without investing months into SEO. While you’ll have to pay to be there, it’s a great way to drive traffic and appointments, as long as you target the right keywords.
The way that Google Ads works for search ads is simple:
In order to control your Ad spend, Google lets you set your budget in a few different ways. For instance, you can set a maximum cost-per-click, a daily spend cap, or a total spend cap for each campaign. It’s worth taking the time to follow Google’s tutorials so that you can set up a winning campaign from the start, without wasting money on trial and error.
All in all, especially when combined with Google Analytics, Google Ads can be one of the most powerful tools to grow your practice. Plus, you can get a free $500 ad credit when you sign up!