The Marketing Expert – don’t make these mistakes with your dental Google Business listing

This month the Marketing Expert, Shaz Memon, discusses how to boost your chances of your dental Google Business ranking higher in search results.

As a Search Engine Optimiser (someone who helps practices rank high in Google), I often get asked: ‘How can we make our Google Business list appear higher in the search results?’

Before I dive in, let’s cover the basics.

What is a Google Business listing?

If you are opening a dental practice, have moved location, or have permission to work independently under your brand, you will want to register your business on Google.

This will allow people to find your business, contact you, and to be able to leave and read Google reviews.

A free Google Business listing is an excellent addition to your dental SEO strategy. You can personalise your listing with photos, offers, posts, and essential business information.

How do I get a Google Business listing?

Visit Google Business Profile to register.

Once you have completed the verification process, you will have access to your Google listing.

The listing will usually appear if someone searches Google or Google Maps for your practice’s name.

How does a business listing appear?

Your practice should appear if someone googles your practice name or searches for your practice on Google Maps.

The only time this isn’t relatively straightforward is if you have chosen an extremely generic name such as ‘dentist London’. This is because Google will be unsure of who to rank since there will be other practices with the same or similar names.

Google’s algorithm for ranking your practice considers geographic proximity, relevance, completeness and quality of information.

The other way a Google Business listing will appear is if someone searches a key phrase aligned to your treatments, such as ‘dentist in location’, ‘dental Implants in location’ or ‘Invisalign in location’.

Now, Google does not say it is your right to appear for searches that are relevant to your practice. But as a dental Search Engine Optimisation service provider, we have little influence over Google Business listings.

However, I have some advice to boost your chances of ranking your dental business listing as high as possible. Following this advice may also help your Google Maps positions. Google looks more at your geographical location for map rankings, and the advice here may increase your chances of improved Map listings.

Optimisation of your Google Business Profile encourages Google to rank you higher in local results. And a higher rank, as you know, means more visibility and engagement with your practice.

If you are interested in learning more about SEO as a whole, I have written this article for you: The ultimate dental SEO guide.

The mistake people make is keeping the business listing basic and not completing the sections I’ve outlined below:

1. Complete your primary and additional category

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘category’ beneath the practice name.

Primary category

For the primary category, I would recommend selecting dental clinic.

You could also select from:

  • Dental school
  • Dental hygienist
  • Emergency dental service
  • Dental radiology
  • Dental laboratory
  • Teeth whitening service
  • Dental supply store
  • Dental insurance agency
  • Skin care clinic
  • Dental implants provider
  • Dental implants periodontist
  • Facial spa.

Additional category

You can choose up to five for the additional category.

These are the ones I would recommend, subject to suitability:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Teeth whitening service
  • Dental implants provider
  • Emergency dental service
  • Skin care clinic.

You could also select from:

  • Dental school
  • Dental radiology
  • Dental laboratory
  • Dental supply store
  • Dental insurance agency
  • Dental implants periodontist
  • Dental clinic.

2. Service area

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add service area’.

Enter your immediate area and all the places nearby from which people travel to you or where you wish to attract people.

The more specific, the better.

3. Hours

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘hours’ or the hours table.

Be concise here and be sure to update your opening hours if things ever change.

Patients rely on the information served by Google and may complain of inaccuracies, even if the times are listed correctly on your website.

4. Special hours

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add special hours’.

Enter specific dates where your hours will differ.

For example, we advise entering all national holidays here, or any days you may be closed for some reason.

Patients tend to check your Google profile more for opening hours than they would check your website.

5. Appointment links

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add link’ under ‘appointment links’.

Paste a direct link to your appointment page here, or paste the link to the contact page on your website.

6. Products

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add or edit products’ under ‘products’.

You don’t have to be a store to use this feature.

Dental practices can use this to list fees for all your main treatments, including new patient exams, X-rays, and hygiene services.

Make sure to take the time to complete this.

7. Services

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add a service’ under ‘services’.

Here you can list every single treatment you offer.

You are not confined to a pre-populated list, so you can add various ‘custom services’.

List all dental, facial aesthetics and treatments you wish to be found for here.

8. Add business attributes

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add attributes’ under ‘from the business’.

These are the options you will want to consider selecting for your practice:

  • Accessibility > wheelchair accessible entrance
  • Accessibility > wheelchair accessible restroom
  • Amenities > restroom
  • Planning > appointment required
  • Planning > referral required.

9. Business description

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add business description’.

Provide concise information here about the focus of your practice and whether you are mixed or private.

Use this area to optimise using key phrases. For example, ‘We are a practice in [location] focused on ‘key treatments’, or, ‘As a practice in [location], we want to serve the local community with the most advanced, gentle, and holistic dental treatments available’.

Strategically weaving your location and treatments into the description will make Google’s algorithm consider this information in addition to your proximity to the searcher.

10. Opening date

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add opening date’.

Enter the approximate date your practice first opened at this address or when it will open. This could even be decades in the past!

11. Add photos

Click on ‘info’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘add photos’.

Upload any photos and videos of the interior and exterior.

Exterior shots are essential as patients like to know how to identify the premises.

You can add your logo and your team photos here too.

Remember to keep these up to date to remain compliant and ensure that you only use high-quality imagery.

Smartphone imagery is fine as long as the image is stable, well-lit, and not pixelated.

12. Posts

Click on ‘posts’ in the left menu.

Here you can share announcements and news with your patients by posting updates to your Business Profile on Google search and maps.

This could be a repeat of a post from Facebook or Instagram.

These posts will show on your listing, so scheduling posts about significant achievements or announcements to go out weekly is ideal.

13. Reviews

Click ‘reviews’ in the left menu.

Reply to all your reviews to thank them.

Personalise them as much as possible without giving away confidential information, especially details about their treatment!

Here are my tips and email templates on how to collect 100 Google reviews in six months.

If you feel you have been the target of a fake review, please my ultimate guide to handling fake negative Google reviews – plus five easy-to-use instant responses.

If you are being bombarded with fake reviews or blackmailed, you can read my article on dealing with scammers and extortion gangs on Google reviews.

14. Questions and answers

Open your listing live on Google to see the ‘ask a question’. Click on ‘home’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘view on search’ to view your live listing.

Patients can ask questions to you publicly via your profile. Your answers can also be displayed on your listing.

I would advise seeding your own Q&A section.

To do this:

  • Make a list of the most frequently asked questions your practice receives
  • Ask, answer, and upvote your answer to these questions on your own profile.

Seeding your own Q&A section does not go against Google’s term.

When seeding your Q&A section, keep keywords in mind. Questions and answers that contain keywords (eg your location, Invisalign, Botox) can help improve your Business Profile’s ranking for that keyword.

So, keep your keyword strategy in mind when seeding your Q&A section, but use them loosely and organically, and utilise keywords.

By monitoring and seeding your Q&A section, you can ensure accurate information, highlight your best features, and reduce common barriers to entry.

15. Set up messaging

Click on ‘home’ in the left menu to view the ‘get message from customers’ options.

The new messaging feature on Google Business Profiles allows searchers to send a text message to your phone directly from your profile.

With 82% of smartphone shoppers (92% for millennials) using their device for local searches, this is an excellent opportunity for customers to get in touch with you.

To enable messaging, select the ‘messaging’ tab in your Google My Business dashboard, and you will have the option to install this via Google Play or the Apple App Store.

A few notes on Google My Business messaging:

  • You don’t need to worry about displaying your personal phone number as you’ll use a different number via Google’s app
  • Set up alerts for messages in your Google My Business. Head to settings and check off ‘customer messages’.

16. Enable alerts

Click on ‘settings’ in the left menu.

You can set up alerts to stay on top of questions and answers posted to your profile.

17. Add a manager to your business

Click on ‘home’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘send invite’ in the ‘add a manager to your business’ box.

Often, a practice manager, business manager or marketing person within the practice will be tasked with keeping your listings and website up to date.

In this instance, I would highly recommend making them a manager.

The video below shows how to add a manager (ignore the part where it shows how to add Digimax as a manager). Instead, use the email address of your colleagues. They will get an invitation by email.


Adding Digimax to your Google My Business page from Digimax Dental on Vimeo.

18. See how your listing looks on Google

Click on ‘home’ in the left menu, and then click on ‘view on search’.

19. Keep everything up to date

Treat your Google listing like a website! The information must always remain up to date.

Up-to-date, accurate content is something the GDC requires you to do, so sign in to Google Business profile to keep your listing current.

20. Invest in SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is the most powerful online marketing method for dental practices that I have seen.

Organic search listings are more trusted by patients, lower cost, and are an excellent long-term way to secure your brand’s positioning against rising competition.

Read more about SEO here: the ultimate dental SEO guide.

See some of our SEO results here: Dental SEO Google.

We would love to help you with your SEO (subject to conflict of interest)! Setup a call with us here: Contact Digimax Dental.

21. Integrate your Google profile business reviews to your website 

If you see our website Digimax Dental, we have a floating Google Reviews widget that is linked to our Google Profile.

See if your website designer can do the same – alternatively, if you are considering a new website, please get in touch!

Catch Shaz’s previous Marketing Expert columns:

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