Google is by far the largest search engine in the world, with currently around 86% of the global search market. If there’s anywhere you’d want customers to be able to find your veterinary practice, it’s here.
In addition, searches including the phrase “near me” have increased by over 200%, according to Google’s own research review.
With a fully optimized (and free) Google Business Profile, formally called Google My Business, your practice can be found far more easily by potential customers in your local area.
Read our Google Business Profile tips for veterinarians to see the benefits of claiming your GBP and how to optimize it to bring in new clients to your veterinary clinic.
What is your Google Business Profile and why should veterinarians claim and optimize their clinic’s listing?
Ignoring your Google Business Profile is essentially the equivalent of saying you’d rather not come up in local search results at all. And no business wants to be invisible on the largest search engine there is. Even so, many businesses still haven’t even claimed their Google Business Profile, let alone optimized it. If you do so and your competitors haven’t, you’re going to have a distinct advantage.
What is your Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile is what populates in Google Maps results and on Google Search when you search for a company by name. If you’ve ever listed your veterinary clinic in the paper version of the Yellow Pages, then really, your Google Business Profile is a listing just like that, except that it’s online and there’s far more you can do with it. What you get with your profile is the ability to control what Google shows about your business.
Even more important is where your completed profile appears on Google. Instead of simply appearing in the general listings, if your profile comes up when someone searches for a veterinarian in your local area, your clinic will get a really detailed listing on the top right-hand side of page one of the SERPS. That really is what you call visibility!
And your profile isn’t simply a hyperlinked title with a few lines of text below it, like the standard search listings. Your GBP will show a description of your business, your contact details, your opening hours, reviews, a map with directions, and possibly some photos of your business too. That’s a really eye-catching profile to have in a prime position on the search listings.
Even better, it’s free to claim, and it’s easy to update and keep fresh.
In addition, your GBP can help you get into the Local Pack. The listings in the Local Pack are taken straight from Google’s own directory. If someone searches for “veterinarian near me” or “veterinary clinic + my area” for example, they’ll get a Local Pack of vet practices in their area listed right at the top of the first page of Google. Of course, with that kind of visibility, your business will reach more potential local customers.
Of course, to get a place in the Local Pack, your profile does have to be optimized, but we’ll show you how to do that below.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of claiming your GBP.
The benefits of GBP for veterinarians:
1) A completed Google Business Profile is more likely to be clicked on
Some of this is, of course, due to the added visibility you get from appearing in the Local Pack, but a properly optimized profile increases trust in your business. With complete information, including quality images of your clinic, potential customers will find your business more trustworthy.
This is so important for any veterinary practice. Animal lovers aren’t interested in just finding any old veterinarian. They want one they can trust completely to take care of their pets.
2) An optimized Google Business Profile increases your local rankings
With a full profile that’s properly optimized, you’re teaching Google everything they need to know about your veterinary practice, including what search terms you match when a potential client is searching for you within the local markets you service. This increases your web presence on both Google Maps and Google Search.
3) A claimed Google Business Profiles makes it easy to communicate with new & current customers
You can message back and forth, ask for reviews and respond to them right on your Google Business Profile and add FAQs to your profile.
You become highly responsive to your potential customers, which gives them a great customer experience before they’ve even met you.
4) A Google Business Profile gives more visibility to your special offers and updates
You can create posts on your profile and share any discounts, voucher codes, and promotions you might have, such as two for one on flea treatments or dry cat food.
You can also talk about any business updates, share your news, and talk about any new services you might be offering.
This is really useful to customers, both existing and potential, and helps to build a relationship with them.
5) A Google Business Profile provides everything a potential new customer needs to know in one place
Your customer can visit your website from your profile if they need to, but the main information they need is right at their fingertips, including what services you offer, your opening hours, and how to contact you.
You can even offer a way to book an appointment and allow customers to call you right from your profile.
That’s convenient and it’s easy for customers to choose you over a practice that doesn’t provide all that great information.
6) A claimed + optimized Google Business Profile helps get your business more customers
With all the features available on your profile, and the boost to your rankings, you will be seen by more potential customers and have more of a chance to convert them to buyers.
Mastering Your Google Business Profile’s Features
In this section, you’ll see how to optimize your business profile to gain all those benefits we’ve listed above. You’ll become more visible online to your ideal customers that are searching on Google Search and Maps for a nearby veterinary clinic.
1) Business Information
Your business information must not only be accurate, but it must also match any other listings for your business, both on your website and in online business directories. It’s really important that you list every part of your contact details in exactly the same way. If, for example, you list your business hours as 7 am to 6 pm on Google, but on Yelp your hours aren’t updated and instead display 8 am to 4 pm. This not only creates confusion in Google’s mind but also in your customers. And that erodes trust in your business. The smallest details really do have to be accurate and consistent everywhere online.
Include your opening hours on your profile. This is really helpful for potential customers and it saves you from answering phone calls asking if you’re open at the moment. The other benefit is that voice search from devices, such as Alexa, can bring up your listing if someone asks for a veterinarian that is open now.
Fill in every possible space on your GBP to maximize the information you’re sharing with the search engines and your customers. Make sure that your most important keywords are very early on in your business description, as Google only shows a shortened description initially.
Choose your categories wisely. There are many different categories available now, allowing you to be clear about what your business does and who it is for. It’s important that you’re seen as an animal hospital, for example, and not one for people.
2) Service Area
If you have more than one practice, or you provide home visits, you can add your service area to your Google Business Profile, as well as your address. Again, this helps you get found in the search results and it’s helpful for your customers as they can see if you cover their location at a glance.
3) Services list
There is a separate area where you can list all of your services. Take advantage of this, because your services will stand out more there than they will if you only list them in your business description. Though do list them in your business description, too.
Reviews are so important now, and reviews on Google are even more so. Customers do look to see how you are performing before they’ll consider booking an appointment. Many customers won’t even consider booking with a clinic that has less than four stars. People think of their pets as family and so they want to give them the best care possible. You need to use your reviews to show them that you are trustworthy.
You can ask for reviews on your profile, and it’s important to send your customers to Google to write a review over and above anywhere else so that searchers can see them.
You can also reply to reviews in your profile and it’s really important to reply to both positive and negative reviews. People want to see how you react both to praise and to criticism and they do take notice if you handle a poor review well.
5) Photos & Videos
You can add photos of the interior and the exterior of your clinic to show customers what the atmosphere is like inside. It’s good to show photos of smiling staff and cute pets to attract animal lovers and make them want to book with you.
Your exterior photographs can also act as landmarks when new customers are trying to find you for the first time.
Video is hugely popular right now and many customers prefer to watch rather than read. Show off your beautiful, clean, friendly, and welcoming clinic with videos that let people get a glimpse of what it’s like to have an appointment with you.
6) Questions & Answers
You can answer your frequently asked questions on your GBP and save yourself phone calls from people asking the same things repeatedly. Of course, that’s really helpful and reassuring for customers too.
Don’t forget to include good keywords and phrases in your Q&As to maximize the chances of you being found.
Don’t worry if you don’t really have a list of questions that people ask. You can simply create your own questions based on what you think people will want to know and then answer them.
Your posts are another great place to showcase the uniqueness of your business. You need to write conversational, easy-to-read copy, and not copy which is not overstuffed with keywords.
You can post about anything you like on your GBP, just like you can on your website. You can talk about your services, give advice, talk about how to look after pets, and answer any questions that need a fuller response.
Think about what your customers would want to know and create content that is helpful, answers their questions, and creates an excellent first impression.
This is also a good place to show off your news, new services, staff profiles, a day in the life of, and other posts that people will want to read. And you can post about your latest offers, sales, and discounts.
You could also keep your customers updated with information such as different opening times on major holidays.
You don’t have to write everything from scratch, though. You can use existing content from your blog and your social media.
Control Your Google Business Profile with the Leading All-In-One Marketing Intelligence Platform
So now you’ve claimed your Google Business Profile and optimized it to the hilt, we hope you’ve enjoyed our Google Business Profile tips for veterinarians.
If you’d like some help with updating your GBP and with the rest of your marketing, why not attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo?
Surefire Local offers the leading software platform for any local business looking to attract more local customers.
Our all-in-one platform allows you to manage all Google Business Profile features in one place, along with your website, reviews, directory listings, email marketing, social media, content marketing, digital advertising, and more.
The platform empowers you to work from anywhere, with desktop and mobile apps and it really can save you a great deal of time and effort.
Why not book a demo today and see how we can help?