How To Effectively Optimize Google My Business During COVID-19
With uncertain times, clear and up-to-date communication becomes more critical than ever. Google My Business empowers you to stay connected with your clients by providing vital information about how COVID-19 is impacting your practice and what you are doing to minimize risks.
Utilizing Google My Business and the features it offers should be at the top of your COVID-19 communication and marketing strategy, especially when it comes to informing clients about new practice updates such as any telehealth services.
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In this article, we will cover how to update your Google My Business with COVID-19 changes, including how to add telehealth information, update current business hours, and relay new and relevant information. We will also discuss how GMB can help increase your practice’s visibility and website visits.
What Is Google My Business?
A listing on Google My Business (GMB) is a business listing on Google, similar to an online equivalent of a business listing in a directory. It’s a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. When a consumer researches your practice on Google or searches for any term related to your practice, you want to be among those top results. You want to be sure that all the information they need to visit or contact your practice is understandable and visible.
Google My Business allows you to create a listing on Google complete with your name, location, hours, updates, and reviews. GMB gives your website a public identity/presence on Google so that local potential customers can find you easily. Learn more about how to create a Google My Business Listing.
Why Your Practice Needs a Google My Business Listing
Today, it’s critical that you implement a strong, locally-minded SEO (search engine optimization) strategy to grow your practice. A well-optimized listing on Google My Business (GMB) is the strong base and foundation of local SEO.
When set up properly – and maintained frequently – your GMB listing can help increase your local search visibility exponentially. For instance, A study that was recently published by Bright Local showed that over 75% of Google My Business listings are being found through organic search. The study also found that in 2018 the number of people clicking through to a business’ website from inside the listing increased by 29%.
Improving your private practice’s local online presence will also significantly help improve your search engine ranking. This will then lead to an increase in the traffic you’re receiving, ultimately resulting in even more new clients contacting you through your website.
For more reasons on why and how to set up GMB for your practice, check out our past blog.
5 Tips to Optimize your Google My Business Listing Today
1. Update Your Business Description
A Google My Business Description allows for a 750 character summary of your practice, which should be similar /related to content found on your homepage. Consider changing that description to include updates for your clients about the state of your business during this outbreak. Since there has been and will continue to be confusion around businesses opening, the more consistent you can make your messaging, the better off you’ll be.
State your hours – “We are open! As the COVID-19 situation continues, we’ll keep our hours up to date.”
Restate what measures you’re taking – “We are currently open virtually and serving clients via teleconference or phone during this unprecedented time. Visit our website for more information on how to schedule.”
2. Address Telehealth Services in Your Listing
There has been a lot of disruption to regular business operations, and more are likely to come. That’s why your business must communicate effectively with your current and potential clients. Communicating updates and how your practice is responding to changes during this period of uncertainty can help you earn client loyalty.
Make sure you are updating your description to let your customers know if you are open in person, online, or temporarily closed.
3. Verify Your Business Hours
No matter if you’re changing your hours for a single day or if your hours are adjusted for the foreseeable future, keep them up to date. If you have made long-term changes to your hours, change the master hours now, and you can go back and change them later. If you are changing your hours for a short period, like a day or week, it might be easier for you to use the “Special Hours” feature.
For more information on how to update your Google My Business hours and descriptions, check out this quick tutorial.
4. Set Your Service Area — Telehealth-Only Practices
One of the many benefits of Telehealth services is that you can work with patients no matter where they are. If you are offering remote Telehealth services, then setting a service area with GMB is extremely important. This allows you to pop up for multiple areas since you are no longer limited to one single location, and thus expanding your client reach. You can set your service area based on the cities, postal codes, or other areas that you serve, and can add up to 20 service areas.
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5. Use Google Posts to Create a Statement
Google Posts are a feature within GMB that allows businesses to promote a product, service, or events. They appear directly on your GMB card in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and can contain a combination of text, images, and a call-to-action (CTA), and can also then be shared to social media channels.
Today, Google Posts offer another way for businesses to adapt to changes related to COVID-19. Google Posts offer free visibility on the search engine results page, which your practice can leverage to make a statement or communicate updates as they develop.
How to Create a Google Post
- Sign in to Google My Business. If you have two or more locations, click Manage location for the location you’d like to manage.
- Click Create post. Or click Posts from the menu.
- The “Create post” screen will appear. Here, you’ll see options to add photos, text, events, and a button to your post. Just click each field, and enter the relevant information.
- Once you’ve created your post, click Preview to see a preview. If it looks good, click Publish in the top right corner of the screen.
Your published post will appear in SERPs within a few minutes.
*ProTip: Create an Event
Google Posts usually disappear after seven days, but since no one knows how long the Coronavirus pandemic could last, your organization can select the ‘event’ option for it’s Google Post statement regarding COVID-19. Your team can then keep the end date unspecified to ensure the Google Post stays up for the duration of COVID-19.
Download our FREE Google My Business COVID-19 Checklist
We understand that this can seem overwhelming that is why we have prepared a short and comprehensive checklist that you can follow to be sure you have done everything to update your GMB page with all the proper COVID-19 Information.
Download yours here: