Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 08 Local Business Listings 1

Online business listings, and why dentists should claim them

Aug. 11, 2016
It's important for dentists to keep track of their online listings on Google and other search engines. Incorrect information can mean lost patients, so take the time to check what's on the web about your practice.

It's important for dentists to keep track of their online listings on Google and other search engines. Incorrect information can mean lost patients, so take the time to check what's on the web about your practice.

Online, local business listings for your dental practice are something that should be part of your online marketing strategy. They promote web exposure, generate traffic, provide convenient business information, and build a positive reputation. This means people discover you, see your ratings and reviews, find your website, get a phone number or address, and much more.

Local business listings have a lot to offer. Claiming your business and your business listings is very important. If any existing information in Google or other search engine databases is inaccurate, it can affect your reputation and practice. By claiming your dental website or business, you'll be able to edit information, ensure accuracy, and generate more qualified traffic. You may not be listed yet, but most of the time there is already information about you stored in cyberspace.

The local listing increases web exposure

If you’ve ever done a keywords search in Google for a local business or particular service, you’re familiar with local listings or what is referred to as the Google Local Map Pack. It is also called the Google Local Pack and Google Local 3-Pack.

For businesses that are not featured in these top three listings, the user can click on "More Places" to call up a longer list of local businesses and a map that displays them. Google Maps also indexes local businesses and pulls them up in a list and on its local map, but may differ from the search engine listings in both total listings and businesses. Other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing have their own business listings format, but they are similar in many ways.

Local business listings contain categories and reviews, which are both very important elements. Therefore, be sure to claim your local listing in all the top search engines to increase traffic and build your reputation.

Here is some helpful information on claiming your dental business listings.

Claiming your business on Google and other search engines

Managing business listings on Google and other websites starts with managing the business. For Google, this is done through Google My Business. It must be created or claimed by the owner and be properly set up before the company is displayed in searches, Google+, and Maps. Before you've claimed the business, Google displays a link to claim it within the business listing, if the company is indexed and capable of being listed.

By claiming your dental practice online, you verify that you’re the owner and have the authority to maintain the website and operate the business. If you don't claim your online, local business, your website might not be displayed in Google's Local 3-Pack or standard searches, or the information may not be accurate.

Choose the right categories for business listings
When setting up your local listing, it is very important that you select the categories that are most relevant to your business. In the Google Map Pack example, you’ll see “Dentist” and “Cosmetic Dentist” categories, but you can select a few if desired. Just make sure you choose your main category as the first one.

Verify business information
Once you’ve claimed your business on Google or other search engines, you need to verify your identity and ownership. There are several methods, such as instant verification, mail, phone, and bulk verification for owners of 10 or more locations (Google).

In establishing your dental office details, you’ve already verified your identity and company information with Google. However, the next step includes confirming accuracy on Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, and other search engine websites. It involves adding details such as pictures, other contacts, hours of operation, and more. Now that you have access to your business details, you can make the necessary adjustments to get your business listings in the Google Local Pack listings or other search directories.

Improve local SEO with reviews and ratings
Reviews and ratings are very important to your online marketing strategies, but this is the one element you will not be able to add on your own. Encourage your patients to submit reviews. Reviews drive the decision making process and build trust with searchers before they land on your website. Having reviews appear in the search results page and Map Pack will boost the click-through-rate (CTR) on your website.

You may not be able to control the reviews and ratings that your dental patients post, but you can reply to them. Be sure to stay on top of your ratings and respond to every submission, whether good or bad.

Validate name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the web

NAP is an important part of local SEO marketing for your dental office because inaccuracies can lead to incorrect listings and business information on the web. A lot of search engines scrape the web for business data and might display incorrect information. This can lead to disappointed customers and the loss of future patients.

You may have already established accurate business listings through Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yellow Pages, and more. But be sure to search the web for other sources and follow the necessary steps to correct the information in their business listings. You won't be able to find every single listing, so stick to the top sources and keep them up to date.

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Jeremy Ferguson is the owner of PixelPoynt, a full service digital marketing agency that is highly focused on local businesses, including a specific focus that helps dental practices. Contact them and get a free website audit today.