By David Straight
For small businesses, showing up on the first page of Google is a must – showing up in the Google 3-pack, local stack, or snack pack can be the difference between significant new business and merely surviving.
For example, one client of mine Metro Physical Therapy, used to show up for the search physical therapy Garden City . They reported that during some months a significant percentage of their business came from patients finding their listing on Google, seeing the great reviews, and then calling them. Unfortunately, with recent changes to the Google algorithm, their rankings in the local stack have slipped.
SEO is a Fluid Process – Google is Always Changing
All Google services change as Google finds ways to make search better and, yes, to make more money.
As such, they are always updating their search algorithm that determines which position your website ranks at for a given search phrase. Over the years, there have been names given to their algorithm updates – Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Opossum (hence the animals in the graphic above 🙂
There are a handful of factors that Google uses to decide which physical therapy websites to show when a person searches for “physical therapy town name” (e.g. physical therapy in Garden City).
While we have previously shared our thoughts on reviews, today I want to talk about the keystone of local search engine listings – a Google My Business Page (GMB page).
There’s a lot of recent news about the GMB page and its disassociation with Google+, but for now GMB page data is still vital information that feeds to Google Maps and even in some of the experimental versions of the results that people see in the on a live search results page. Components of a GMB page, such as ratings and reviews, will continue to be important and a ranking factor.
The presence of the Google Maps data, also in mobile searches, makes GMB page data increasingly important for most local physical therapy practices. I have a client in 60% of their current traffic on mobile devices such as iPhones and Android phones.
Make no mistake about it. The combination of Google My Business data and the number of patients that do mobile search can have a significant impact on your practice. Survey companies like ComScore recently reported that 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an immediate offline purchase.
There’s little chance of showing up for local searches unless you claim and optimize your GMB page first.
A little Google My Business housekeeping
There’s a pretty good chance that you have a Google My Business page that already exists in the Google My Business database of local businesses.
- If you aren’t sure if you have a Google My Business page you can go here to check it out https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?hl=en
- Another issue you might want to work through is that some practices have inadvertently set up duplicate GMB pages and have created their own problem that needs to be cleaned up. – Here’s a tool to check if you have multiple pages http://www.michaelcottam.com/google-business-page-finder/
- If you find that you have multiple listings, you may be able to combine them by following these directions found over at Google Support – https://support.google.com/business/answer/4669139?hl=en
- Even if you have a GMB page, some of my clients have determined that a past employee set it up. If that’s the case for you, then there is a way for you to recover it. Follow these instructions here. https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566671?hl=en
- Last but not least, believe it or not, we’ve found that one way (sometimes only) way to interact with Google My Business is via Twitter – that’s right – put your questions and requests in here: https://twitter.com/GoogleSmallBiz
Now that we’ve discussed a few housekeeping points (some people do have a number of duplicates), let’s get to the optimization process.
Optimizing Your Physical Therapy Google My Business Page
So, you found your page and now you are ready to make it as good as possible to improve your chances of ranking as well as provide appropriate data for Google Maps and most important, for prospective patients that are looking for you.
Here are some things you should consider:
- Are Name, Address, and Phone the same (exactly) as you have on your website?
- Is the category precise – i.e., Physical Therapy Clinic, Physical Therapist, etc.
- Have you written a keyword rich description?
- Is your website listed in the profile?
- Have you added relevant images of the outside of your business, inside, and some action photos?
Here are some cool ideas to set up your Google My Business page up the way they suggest.
Some more advanced options
Beyond the points stated above, there are some other specific ways that you can optimize your GMB page. Before you dive into these, make sure that you have the basics in place as noted above.
- Consider adding a Google Street View Tour of your business. Google is pushing this as it adds an incredible verification and trust element for them. Here’s an example of one we did for a local vet clinic – it’s on their home page.
- Update images with fresh, hi-resolution images. Google will compress them as needed, but they will look much better. You can and should feature hi-res logo, exterior shots, interior shots, staff and behind the scenes work. Here’s a detailed guide to images from Google.
Are you too busy to take the time to figure all of this out yourself?
Do you have questions about your specific practice? If need some help fixing your online GMB page, you might consider one of our packages here. For an extra fee, we can sort everything out for you.
The basics of SEO often aren’t that complex, but sometimes it makes sense to get a pro involved. After all, optimizing directory profiles over treating patients usually isn’t the best use of a PT’s time.
Either way, if you keep up your local SEO efforts and implement our tips along the way, pretty soon when someone searches for physical therapy in your neighborhood, they’ll find your practice.