It is very likely that the spread of COVID-19 affected your dental practice. It is also very likely that you either had to close your office temporarily and/or adjust your hours significantly.
As a local business, it is imperative that you update your Google My Business (GMB) listing so your patients are up to date on what’s happening with the practice. If you are not sure what a GMB listing is or if you have one, read this post first… This text opens a new tab to a blog post about Google My Business….
There are a number of things you can do within your Google My Business… This text opens a new tab to Google My Business information… listing to help reach, educate, and inform your audience of what’s going on.
Now that many practices across the nation are either already reopening or are planning to do so in the near future, here are three things we recommend you do right now to advise your patients of your status during the COVID-19 situation.
Update your business hours
A few weeks ago, Google announced that both Google Search… This text opens a new tab to more info about Google Search… and Google Maps… This text opens a new tab to more info about Google Maps … would start showing whether a business was temporarily closed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.
If you made use of that function, make sure you or your agency edits your listing to let prospective patients know you are going to be open once again.
If you are going to be operating under special hours or on a limited basis, use the “Special Hours” tab instead of changing your normal operating hours.
Create meaningful Google posts
Although many functions of Google My Business were limited in their response to the Coronavirus, posting updates have not been.
Creating a meaningful post to update and educate your viewers… This text opens a new tab to a video about connecting with your community through content … can have far-reaching effects. It can also help to increase your branding and your visibility.
Be sure to share any relevant “need-to-know” information regarding new procedures for patients (such as waiting in the car, calling the office on arrival, wearing a mask, etc.).
You’ll also want to regularly post content outlining what your practice is doing to keep your patients and team safe.
To create a post, click on the Posts tab in the left menu. Here you will notice there is a new option that is not normally there, that being the COVID-19 update tab.
After you click on the COVID-19 update tab, simply add in your text, and if desired, add a call-to-action like “Call Us,” etc. Then preview your post and if everything looks good hit Publish.
Add custom services
Another brand new feature that has been enabled for healthcare listings and doctor/medical listings is the option to add in custom services.
For example, if you offer teledentistry and it is not a default service listed, you can now add that to your listing, and prospective patients will be able to view it.
Google themselves released this statement on their support page:… This text opens a new tab to Google’s support page… “You can choose what to offer from suggested types of services. If the type of service isn’t listed, you can add your own custom services, like ‘telemedicine,’ ‘telehealth,’ ‘video visits,’ or ‘house calls.'”
There have also been two new link sections added where you can directly point patients to your COVID-19 updates page, and your virtual healthcare page if you have one.
Other Google platforms to help your brand
In addition to Google My Business, you can also make use of display campaigns within Google Ads… This text opens a new tab to more info about Google ads… to help solidify your business branding.
Simple display campaigns are very affordable and carry a massive ROI, even in times of economic distress. If you would like to learn more about how to use pay-per-click… This text opens a new tab to information about PPC… advertising to your advantage, ask us for a free marketing analysis… This text opens a new tab to a special offer for a marketing analysis….
Google My Business functions back up and currently working
As mentioned, because of Google’s response to Coronavirus, there were some functions that were not working and/or were limited. You can read more about the limitations in detail on Google’s Support… This text opens a new tab to a Google support page… page. Some of the functions that have been restarted at this time include:
Large business information updates
Approving smaller non-essential edits for businesses pertaining to hours of operation, etc.
Google has announced that reviews are now available again. So make sure to start asking for those reviews when you start seeing patients again.
Google My Business functions currently still out of service
New Google My Business listings and verifications
At this time all new listings will not be approved unless they are deemed critical health-related industries. Even those will have to be manually reviewed. Google warns they will prioritize these critical services, and to expect a delay when it comes to all other new listings, claims, and verifications for non-critical businesses to Google Search and Maps.
Question and Answer sections
This section of listings still remains shut down. No business may add, edit, or answer any questions, nor can users post or ask questions on listings.