Google Business Profile offers therapists a shortcut to the top of search engine results. Clients still use Google to find counseling, so it's worth setting up, even if you're getting patients through referrals.
Before diving into how to set up your profile and rank higher in local searches, one critical point is understanding how people use search.
Does SEO even matter to therapy practices?
Search Engine Optimization, usually abbreviated as SEO, describes the process of getting found online through search. When a potential client types in "therapist near me" in their browser search bar, SEO gets your practice ranking on the first page.
SEO is crucial for therapy practices (and patients too). It involves optimizing your web presence for search engines to rank higher in search engine results. SEO improves patient experience, builds credibility, and attracts more potential clients.
Lastly, SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy. Once you've optimized your website for search engines, you can continue to see traffic and leads without spending money on ads or other forms of promotion.
Sounds like a hassle, right? But there's a powerful SEO shortcut: Google Business Profile.
The information people want for a better patient experience
The entire point of getting your therapy practice online and registered with Google Business Profile is, first and foremost, to make sure that patients can quickly and easily access important information about your business. It's simple, but the info most searchers want to know about you is:
- Phone number
- Hours of business
A Google Business Profile gets this info displayed quickly in Google searches, so patients and potential patients can access your details quickly. So even if you don't care about SEO, you should still set up your profile on Google.
Google Business Profile helps you rank in searches
While a website requires frequent updates, impeccable site structure, and quick load speeds to rank in search results, there's still no guarantee Google will glean the correct info from your site. To ensure Google does know the most critical information about your therapy practice, like specialization, location, hours of operation, phone, and email, take a little time to set up your profile.
When Google knows what you do, who you serve, and where you are, they can make sure potential patients find you online when searching for you or therapy and counseling in their area.
Get your practice on the map
The first benefit to setting up your profile is getting on Google Maps when people search for therapy in their area. And if you have an up-to-date profile, some reviews, and the occasional post, you might even rank at the very top.
This puts your practice at the top of search results, only below paid ads. That's the essence of leveraging SEO to rank higher in search results and get found by more clients.
How to set up your Google Business Profile
Head on over to Google Business Profile to sign up. Then, it's simply a matter of following the steps below. It takes about 10 minutes to set up fully. Once you've verified your profile with a text message confirmation, you'll start appearing immediately.
1. Add your therapy practice name
Tip: Add your full business name - for example, "Providence Therapy & Family Counseling." Using your full business name helps people find you and helps Google better understand your practice through keywords.
2. Select your business type
This choice can be confusing for a therapy practice that does telehealth and in-person counseling. Choose both "local store" and "service business."
3. Enter your business category
Pick the primary category that suits you. Later, you can add multiple categories.
4. Add address, phone and business hours
Next up, you'll add your business details. You can skip these steps or edit them later, so don't get hung up on deciding your availability just yet.
Google offers the option to add messaging but be wary about patients sharing PHI. While Google can sign a BAA, it's better to communicate with clients through HIPAA compliant email. It's unclear whether their BAA covers their Google Business Profile messaging.
6. Add your business description
You can edit your description anytime, but use this space to share what makes your therapy practice unique.
7. Add photos
Add photos of yourself, your team, and your office. It might seem inconsequential, but the more content you add to your profile, the better your practice appears. Google loves showing images, and it may even help your therapy practice rank higher.
8. Edit anytime
Just visit Google Business Profile to edit your profile and click the manage button. A shortcut to finding your business profile is actually to search for yourself on Google. You'll see the editing tools at the top of the search results.
A few other reasons to set up your Google Business Profile
Clients can leave reviews on your Google Business Profile, helping to establish trust in your therapy practice. While there are some ethical (and sometimes even legal) concerns with asking patients for reviews, there's still the possibility for unsolicited but valuable reviews.
Google also provides insights into how people find and interact with your business profile, which can help you make informed decisions about your online presence.
And it's free to create and manage a Google Business Profile, so there's no cost to you.
Overall, a Google Business Profile is a valuable tool for your business, helps your patients get up-to-date information, and boosts your search engine rankings.