So, how can your therapy practice optimize its presence and stand out among the rest? Let’s start at the beginning:
Google My Business is a program interface that allows local owners to take control of how their business is displayed across all of Google’s platforms and products. Google My Business is an invaluable tool for psychology therapists, and many other client-based industries, looking to make the most of their practice’s visibility and potential for growth.
It provides opportunity, like getting your practice recognized in local online searches and informing potential clients of your company’s specialized services, business hours, methods of accepted payment/insurance providers, and so on. It also highlights individual members of your staff (if applicable), underlining their individual performances and leaving windows for users to provide constructive feedback.
Google My Business offers helpful analytics and insight into who is searching for your business—and at what time of day and from where are they coming.
Claim your Google My Business listing
In order to get Google My Business on your side, you first need to claim your business listing.
This is an incredible opportunity for you to stand out among the competition. When users in need of psychology or counseling enter the broad term (as most do when researching a service for the first time), having your practice appear at the top of the local search results is key to building your client list.
In the eyes of Google, to be considered a business you must be in personal contact with your clients (or customers) during the listed operating hours of your practice. Then you need to set up a Google email account—creating a single username and password grants you access to all of Google’s products.
- Visit www.gybo.com/business
- Tap the “View My Listing” button and enter the name of your business or practice
- Google will begin searching and let you know whether or not your business is found in its system. There are three possible outcomes:
- “Nice job. You’re on the map”
- “Your business info might be incorrect”
- “Your business isn’t on the map”
- If your business does NOT show up in this list, click the option: “Let me enter the full business details.”
- Enter all information about your business, paying close attention to grammar and spelling
- Then select a business category. It must be a category that already exists in Google. If you cannot find a category that matches your business type exactly, select something as close as possible
Create your Google My Business listing
Now that you have proved to Google that your business actually exists, you are ready to create a listing. But first, you need to provide a key distinction: Is your business a “practice”, or are you just a “practitioner”?
Practice Listing is a Google listing representing a practice, which houses all of the business’s important information (name, address, phone)
Practitioner Listing represents an individual practitioner—a public-facing professional with his or her own customer or client base. Counselors, psychologists, dentists, lawyers, financial planners and real estate agents are all examples of individual practitioners.
Some additional rules about practitioner listings:
- Practitioners need to be contactable at the confirmed location during listed business hours
- A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of their specializations
- Practitioner listings are not considered duplicates of a practice listing, and Google will not merge or remove them
- If a review has been left on a practitioner listing, Google will not migrate it over to the practice listing
Solo Practitioner Listing
If your office has only one counselor or therapist, then Google would have the practice and practitioner share a single listing.
In order to create an effective solo practitioner listing, the naming format should be as follows:
Brand/company: practitioner name
Primary phone number
This is very beneficial for trained professionals like counselors or therapists because it allows for patients/clients to search for either the practitioner name or the practice name in order to discover all of the necessary information on a single page.
Multiple Practitioners Listing
If your office features multiple counselors or therapists at the one location, Google would suggest that only one practice listing be used to represent the business as a whole, separated from the practitioner listings. This listing would feature the business name only (i.e. “Knob Hill Psychology Clinic”).
Chances are, if you hire a therapy practitioner to join your practice, they will have left another practice in order to come work for yours. If a listing already exists for a practitioner, it is difficult to have them removed from an old one as Google does not allow for individual listings to be deleted. It is, however, possible to have the practitioner migrate his or her listing to your multi-practitioner listing.
Regarding a counseling or therapy practice, it is common for practitioners working in a multi-practitioner office to have their own listing because they specialize in specific areas of rehabilitation. For example:
Practice listing: Knob Hill Psychology Clinic
Practitioner listing #1: Dr. Mary Smith, Clinical Psychologist
Practitioner listing #2: Dr. Tim Burns, PTSD Specialist
How to remove a practitioner from your multi-practitioner listing
As time goes by, employees may leave your practice. Having their name removed from the multi-practitioner listing can prove challenging as, technically, the person owns their own listing, not the company. Google will typically suggest that you mark their individual listing as closed, but this can create confusion as some searchers may interpret it as your entire practice has closed.
Still confused? One of the many benefits of Google My Business is gaining access to a fantastic client support team. As user-friendly as the initial setup may seem, Google provides additional assistance for any and all questions you may have regarding your listing.
Using Google My Business to Gain New Clients
Google My Business is an incredibly handy tool for reaching new clients. Without a steady client base, businesses fail. So it is important always to be looking for methods of growth. Here are some of the benefits to using Google My Business to gain new clients:
There really is no better tool for creating visibility. Google is the most popular search engine. When users Google a broad term/item (i.e. pizza, dentist, skateboard), they are usually met with three local business listings options which specialize in that selling that item. These results are populated with Google My Business listings. The more searches for your practice, the higher your position will rise over time.
Know where you are
By adding the exact address and location of your business, new users are better able to find you—in person.
Share the details
With Google My Business, you can also include additional features of your business (photos, service descriptions) that are compatible with searches. For example, by including your practice’s hours of operation in your listings, users can not only find your location, but determine how much time they have to schedule a first appointment before you close for the day.
Using the Insights section of Google My Business provides valuable statistics about who is searching for you, when, from where, how often, etc. Visibility, audience and engagement are the main sections of this feature—and by utilizing this data, you can better understand your existing customer base and potential customers, too.
Gain online exposure at absolutely no cost. As mentioned above, it’s easy to create a listing, but it needs to be optimized in order for it to sit at the top of local listing search results.
Whether you like it or not, clients are going to review your business. Google My Business not only makes leaving feedback simple for your audience, but it allows you to engage with them. Always respond to feedback—whether the reviews are positive or negative.
- Sign in to your Google My Business account
- Select “Reviews” from the menu (note: your business needs to be verified in order to respond to reviews)
- Tap “Respond” to answer a client review
- Compose a response, and click “Submit”
Google My Business reviews are populated on a single listing. If someone leaves the review on the practice listing, it stays with the practice listing until the user deletes it, or closes their Google account. Additionally, if someone leaves a review on the practitioner listing, it stays with the practitioner listing regardless of the clinic/location the review is associated with. Unless the review features language or messaging deemed inappropriate, it is likely there to stay—which is why it is important to address your audience’s feedback. In the end, they (including the negative reviewers) will appreciate the personalized response.
There are many factors to consider when starting a business of any kind. But one thing is certain: if you want to reach as many clients as possible, you must consider searching with the best. Google My Business—for your business—is the best.