What keeps you awake at night? Are you worried about that leaky faucet in the kitchen? Or is it your clinic that demands your mind’s attention in the wee hours of the morning? Perhaps you’re concerned that potential new patients won’t be able to find your business online—or worse, that they’ll see that dreaded one-star review when they search your company’s name. Well, I’ve got good news for you: I’m about to show you an easy way to fix all of those problems through Google My Business (except for the drippy faucet—you better just call a plumber for that one). Then, you can finally start getting a full night’s rest.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a fantastic platform that Google provides free of charge to all business owners to help them track, update, and manage their company’s Google digital profile. This platform connects your business’s Google Maps listings, Google+ business pages, and online reviews and allows you to quickly check all of your online information to make sure it’s up to date. (After all, you don’t want patients showing up to your clinic when it isn’t open, do you?)
What do I need to get started?
Honestly, not a whole lot. But, you definitely will need a Google account. (If you don’t have one, you can create one here.) It takes 15 minutes to go through the signup process and fill out your business’s key information.
How do I start using Google My Business?
Now that you’re hyped on Google My Business, you’re probably wondering where to start. It’s simple! Just follow the steps below, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
1. Find your business.
First, go to Google My Business; then, click on the Start Now button at the top of the screen.
On the next screen, search for your business name or address. If, for any reason, Google can’t find your business, you’ll have the option to add your business to Google Maps. (This is great if you’re starting a new clinic or adding a new location.)
Once you find your business (or create your business), you’ll click on the listing and receive a prompt to verify that you’re authorized to manage the business you selected.
2. Verify your business.
After you select your clinic, Google will ask you to verify the listing over the phone. (This is to confirm that you are an authorized representative of your company.) To do so, add a valid phone number and select either “Text Message” or “Voice Call” to get your verification code.
Once you’ve verified your business, you’ll need to confirm its physical address. Because you can only do this via snail mail, you’ll need to make sure the address is correct; then, select “Verify.” A postcard with a verification code will arrive at this address in approximately two weeks (sometimes less) and will provide instructions on how to complete the verification process. You may also choose to confirm your information later, but keep in mind that until your account is verified, the information and changes that you make on your profile won’t appear online.
3. Add your business information.
Now comes the easy, fun part: adding information to your profile! Google will provide you with a handy checklist of items to complete on your profile, including:
- profile picture,
- hours your business is open,
- photos to showcase your location, and
- website address.
If your information changes at some point in the future, don’t worry; Google will let you update your profile with new information any time you need to.
4. Manage photos, reviews, and insights.
Now that you’ve found your business, verified it, and added basic info, it’s time to actually manage your clinic's digital presence. At the top of your company page, you’ll see five navigation menus: Home, Info, Photos, Reviews and Insights. Let's review each option.
This one’s easy. It simply takes you to the main dashboard screen. There, you’ll see a snapshot of your clinic's web traffic over the past 30 days.You’ll also be able to quickly scan all of your company’s information to make sure it’s correct; look at your company's insights (more on this in a moment); see your Google Analytics and YouTube traffic; share an update on your Google+ page; and finally, manage all of your Google reviews.
This is precisely what you think it is. Click here to update or add any of the following pieces of information:
- company name
- phone number
- hours of operation
- special hours
- physical address
Finally, you can see all of the Google-affiliated sites (like Google Maps and Google+) that include a listing for your company.
Here, you can add your logo, cover photo, other brand images, and even photos of your location’s interior and exterior. Finally, if you are so inclined, you may add photos of your employees at work or even a team photo of everyone who works at your location.
This is arguably the most important section of the bunch. It’s where you can view and reply to all reviews about your clinic that people have left on Google. For example, if you see a five-star review and want to reach out to the customer to thank him or her (or ask for a testimonial)—or, in the case of that one-star review, if you’ll like to address a customer issue—you can easily do so in this section.
This section provides you with reports on your company’s Google presence. Here, you’ll find:
- number of views your business profile has received;
- information about how people interact with your profile (this shows you which items—such as your hours, your website, or directions to your location—your online visitors are most interested in);
- details on where your search traffic is coming from (e.g., which geographic locations have the highest volume of searchers looking for directions to your clinic); and
- how many phone calls you can expect to receive based on traffic to your listings.
You can also use the “posts” and “audience” tabs to see how your Google+ page posts are performing and what your audience demographics are.
5. Sleep better.
If you’ve followed all of the steps above, you’re now up and running with Google My Business—and, hopefully, on your way to a blissful night’s sleep. Oh, and a snazzy sidebar like this one will now appear in Google’s results when people search your clinic’s name. Pretty cool, eh?
Now, there’s a lot that I didn’t cover in this article—including the processes for uploading and downloading multiple business listings; connecting your AdWords account to your Google My Business profile; other power user features; or the worst of the worst, which is connecting your old Google Places and Google+ brand pages together to create a unified online Google profile (shudder!).
If you need help with any of those advanced Google My Business features—or if you have any questions about the material I covered in this post—be sure to let me know in the comments.