What would it mean to your vet practice if the number of calls you received from local pet parents needing the vet services you offer more than doubled?
That is exactly what happened to Dr. Mariana Ramos, a veterinary dentist at VetFace, just a few months after partnering with ViaWeb Marketing to optimize and manage her clinic’s Google Business Profile (GBP).
While her clinic’s profile on Google had been claimed, nothing had been done to optimize it and no attention was given to keeping it updated.
And this wasn’t the only thing ViaWeb did. We also created a fast, responsive website optimized for search engines and ran paid ad campaigns on Facebook and Google Ads, each of which produced their own positive results. But we can discuss that another time.
Here, let’s focus on how we more than doubled the number of calls this vet practice received just from Google Business Profile.
An overview of the process is provided below. And at the end of the article, you will find a link to a checklist that you can download and print to help you work through each step.
Or if you prefer, you can hire an agency like ViaWeb that specializes in optimizing and managing Google Business Profiles for veterinarians to do the job so you and your team can dedicate themselves to what they do best. We’d love to help!
The first step to optimizing your profile is to ensure that the information about your vet practice is complete, accurate and up to date.
The type of information that Google allows you to add to the profile includes:
You can also add services and products, which will be discussed in more detail below.
To get the most out of your profile, add as much information as possible about your practice. Be sure that the information you do include is accurate and follows Google’s guidelines so that you don’t get your profile suspended.
You also want the information to be consistent with information about your practice on other websites, such as business directories. This is especially true of your practice’s name, address and phone number.
Update your profile any time changes are made in your practice. Regularly check your profile, since Google occasionally makes changes to the information they allow to be included.
While the services you list on your Google Business Profile do not show up on desktop, they do show on mobile, which accounts for the majority of searches on Google.
Take advantage of this resource to list all the services that your practice offers. Don’t just include the title of the service. Use the text box to describe each service in detail. Try not to be too technical. You want potential clients to understand what the service is and what benefits it might offer.
According to Bright Local, profiles with more than 100 photos received 15 times more website visits and 7 times more calls than those with only 6 to 10 photos.
More photos = more actions.
Increasing the number of photos and videos on your profile leads to increased visibility. These are people typing in the name of your clinic, general veterinary-related terms, and phrases and questions about specific health issues their pets might have.
In other words, the exact people you want to reach.
By just adding a bunch of photos and, then, adding a few more on a regular basis, you can significantly increase the number of pet parents who find your vet practice.
Because we do this for VetFace, the clinic’s photos were viewed 89.8% more than other practices in the same area during the last quarter.
The GBP photo gallery is divided into different topics: 360, Interior, Exterior, At work, Team, Identity. Here are some basic recommendations for each folder.
Videos are especially important. The amount of video that people watch online has more than doubled since 2018. And it will only keep increasing. Cisco predicts that online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic this year.
We’re not talking about long, difficult-to-make videos. Google onlyallows videos of up to 30 seconds on GBP. And, from our experience, informal videos that you shoot with your cell phone seem to attract more attention and connect better with potential clients than those that are professionally-made.
We recommend uploading photos and videos as quickly as possible until you reach 100 or more. Then, upload new photos and videos on a regular basis. You can do this daily, weekly or monthly.
Just how important are online reviews?
Studies show that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
I know that is what I do. And you probably do too.
When it comes to reviews, there are 3 essential elements: quantity, rating and recency.
The number of reviews your practice has will determine how credible it appears to online searchers. According to Salsify, it takes an average of 112 reviews for consumers to trust a business.
What actually matters is the number of reviews your practice has in relation to other practices in the same area.
If the vet practices that are showing up in Google’s 3-pack (the 3 results just above the organic list) for people who search vet services in your area all have a dozen or so reviews, you probably don’t need 112 to reach that position, although you still might try to get there.
Now, if your competitors all have several hundred reviews, you are going to need a lot more than 112 to outrank them.
While we do recommend you know how many reviews practices in your area have so that you can establish an initial goal, the focus should be on creating a process by which your practice is generating new reviews on a regular basis.
Of course, it’s not just the quantity of reviews that matter. You can have tens or, even, hundreds more reviews than any other practice but, if the overall rating is much lower than theirs, searchers will more than likely choose your competitors.
So, your goal should be to have as many or more reviews than your competitors AND a rating that is equal to or higher than that of other practices in your area.
Finally, recency is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Many consumers will click to read the reviews. If all they see are reviews from several months to years ago, it will create a negative image.
Not only that, Google takes into consideration how frequently reviews are posted when determining which practices to place in the 3-pack or the top of Google Maps listing.
We work with veterinarians to help them create a system to solicit reviews from clients on a regular basis. We provide them with review request templates for e-mail, messenger apps and print materials that have proven to produce positive results.
If your vet practice sells products such as pet food, treats, toys, supplements, and medication, you can add these in the products section.
Be sure to use high quality images that highlight the product. We recommend placing the product front and center on a white background and being consistent with the size of all product images.
Practices that do not sell such products can still take advantage of this section by including their services as the products they sell.
We recommend you create a visually appealing image with high contrast that stands out and more easily captures the attention of searchers.
One of the best ways to attract potential customers and build trust is to provide valuable content that answers the questions pet parents have about problems their animals might have and possible treatments they might need.
You don’t need to wait for someone to submit a question. You can submit and answer your own questions.
We recommend you create a list of 10-20 of the most frequently asked questions about your practice, common problems, and the vet services you offer. Then, add them to your profile.
Finally, add a couple of new questions and answers monthly, especially when you want to promote a specific service.
Posts are one of the most powerful resources of your Google Business Profile.
We have witnessed significant jumps in the number of calls each time we begin posting regularly for a client who has either not been using this resource or was using it inconsistently.
Each post has a topically-relevant image that captures the searcher’s attention, a brief but informative text about pet care or vet services you offer, and a call to action that leads them to either visit the practice’s website or make a call to schedule an appointment.
Take note of which posts get more views and clicks. Identify topics that garner more attention and actions. Try to publish similar posts more frequently.
Once you follow the 7 steps above to optimize your veterinary practice’s Google Business Profile, schedule regular updates to keep the content fresh.
We recommend you add posts and request reviews daily, upload new photos and videos weekly, and submit questions and answers monthly.
You should also check for new features at least once a month and update your business information (e.g., holiday closures, offers, etc.), as needed.
After a few weeks, you should start seeing an increase in the number of website visitors, direction requests and calls from your vet practice’s Google Business Profile.
If you consistently follow this process for a few months, there is a good chance the number of calls to your practice will more than double, just like they did for Dr. Mariana Ramos at VetFace.
Remember, we have a checklist you can download below. Let us know if we can help in any way.
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