Howard Speaks: Mapping the Results by Dr. Howard Farran

Howard Speaks: Mapping the Results 

by Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, publisher, Dentaltown magazine


In this issue of Dentaltown, one of our editorial advisory board members, Dr. David A. Wank, shares a CE course designed to help readers understand the changes they might need to make to their websites before Google turns off its current analytics system July 1 and transitions to a new system, Google Analytics 4. If you haven’t heard about this yet, the gist is: Without some changes, your website will still function but you won’t have access to back-end tools that let you see analytics through Google—and that information is essential if you’re trying to determine return on investment for promotions, social media and ad campaigns.

All this discussion about Google and practice websites made me think about how many dentists still haven’t updated or curated their practice profile and information on Google My Business, which is a huge mistake. If someone moves to your neighborhood and searches “dentists near me,” you need your practice to show up on the map of search results, and you want the information associated with that result to be clear, accurate and inviting to whoever’s searching for you.


Look at it a different way
For a long time, dentists have thought about where their practice appears in search results in list context only; entire SEO campaigns have been waged to ensure a business ends up “on the first page of results.” But nowadays, more people are performing their searches on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and opting to search by location on a map. You’ve probably done something similar when looking for a restaurant to try in a particular neighborhood, and patients are doing it to find practices close to their houses, their offices or their children’s schools.

Google maps dental listing
Fig. 1
Fig. 1 shows the current profile that shows up if someone clicks on Today’s Dental on Google Maps. Remember, this isn’t someone who searched “Today’s Dental” and clicked through to the website—this is someone who searched an intersection on Google Maps, clicked on the icon for a business they saw and was greeted by a sidebar filled with information.


Zero cost, huge payoff
If you searched your practice right now, what would come up? Do the opening hours reflect your current schedule? What sort of photos show up? If you specialize in family dentistry or are known for a particularly minimally invasive approach, does that information appear in the Overview section? If the practice is owned by a woman, a Black person and/or a veteran, or is LGBTQ+ friendly, that information can appear on the business profile so readers can learn more about your business.

There is no charge to add these details to your business profile—it’s literally free marketing for your practice! Take charge of your business page and take control of what’s presented there to ensure your practice is portrayed in the best possible light. And then, once you’ve set up the back end properly too, you’ll be able to track the visitors who found your practice through search results (and other campaigns).

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