Not too many business owners are wise to the fact that a major piece of online marketing real estate is Google Maps. The top three Maps listings are now served above the top organic search results, and also marked on the map which is even higher on the page. Above that come paid ads, if there are any for the search that has been entered. Maps results are also given more prominence on mobile devices than they were before.
Getting your dental practice into this primo spot takes a different approach to organic search because we’re dealing with a different algorithm. Whereas organic search is based on your website and authoritative links, Maps is all about your Google Business page. It involves getting your business’s physical address on as many trustworthy websites as possible because the location of your practice is the key piece of information that Google wants to ratify.
The location of your practice is obviously going to affect how well you do on Maps: if you’re in the centre of Birmingham you’ll have more chance of appearing in a search for “Birmingham dentist” than if you’re three miles out. Another factor is reviews — and other well known customer review platforms as well as Google Reviews will help. It’s worth being realistic here. If there are 10 practices in Birmingham and you’re on the outskirts of town, you’re not going to make the top three on Maps. However if you’re central, and providing you do everything right, you could get into the top three within a week or two.
We can advise you on whether to invest in Maps and, if so, it’s more of a two way process than organic search because we’ll be asking you to get as many online reviews as possible. Regular reviews are the thing here because Google sees every review — even a bad one – as a trust signal that your business is active and serving customers. If you are running Google Ads, you have a high organic ranking and you’ve made the top three list on Maps, that is a hell of a lot of real estate before your potential customer even has to scroll down. It’s going to massively increase the click through rate to your website.
Another reason to think about Maps now is that more people are using voice search. Andrew, our head of SEO at Hive, says: “Google My Business page is extremely important for users who are searching via voice search, and for users who want to read reviews before they sign up for any treatments.
“Optimising your business for visibility in voice search is more important than ever, with 58% of users having used voice search to find local business information in the last year alone. Voice search devices like Google Home, Alexa and Siri are all connected to directories in order to return business data when you speak to them.
“With Google’s Home assistant, for example, if I start a voice search command to say, “Is there an orthodontist near me?” Google is using its database to query my voice search through Google Maps, which will take data from a Google My Business listing. This process is similar across other platforms, with Alexa utilising Bing and Siri using Apple Maps.
“So managing your business presence across voice systems is important. A local citation, also known as a business listing or online directory listing, is any place online that displays your business’s name, address, and phone number. Google goes to sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages to validate the data they have for your business. If Google finds data that doesn’t match or is missing altogether this can really hurt your ability to appear within the map results.”
Trust means trade
A piece of research into 1,000 US-based consumers in 2018 called the Local Citations Trust Report found:
- 80% of users lose trust in a local business if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online
- 93% of users say they are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories
- 40% of users would give up looking for a local business that they couldn’t find because the address was wrong online
If you’d like to review your search marketing strategy give us a call or send an email and we’ll happily audit your current performance and offer some recommendations. If you decide to work with us, on a monthly basis we will optimise your exposure in the following ways:
- Business Pages Across Google / Bing (setup / updates / optimisation)
- Creating new citations
- Repairing current citation listings
- Providing recommendations for gaining more reviews, and a list of sites to get reviews on
- Reputation Management – checking your reviews across the most important review sites
- Each month you will receive a full report