This content is provided by Brighter Vision, an affinity partner of AAMFT. This information is not necessarily the views of AAMFT and should not be interpreted as official policy.
A business listing on Google My Business is essentially the online equivalent of a business listing in the yellow pages. Its main purpose is to compliment your existing website by giving it a public identity/presence on Google so that potential customers can easily find you.
Here are a few more reasons why it pays to have a Google My Business listing:
- When a user searches for your business by name, your listing will prominently stand out on the top right-hand side of the search engine results page.
- When users perform a search from a mobile device, they instantly see all your details including your hours of operation, link to your website, and phone number & email address; both of which they can easily click on to contact you right away.
- Users will be able to easily find you on Google Maps; which is by far the most popular map app these days for people searching for directions to go somewhere. They will be able to click to get directions to you easily.
- You can easily manage your online reputation by responding to reviews and ratings. Fun fact: Reviews were one of the most prominent local SEO ranking factors in 2017 – view the full article at Search Engine Journal
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How to Sign up for Google My Business
To sign up for Google My Business, you’ll first need to have a Google account.
If you've already signed up for any other Google product - i.e. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Gmail, etc. - then you already have a Google account. If you do already have an existing Google account, it is best to use the same account so that all of your business accounts are connected. This helps Google better understand your business as a whole and will, therefore, help your SEO.
If you do not already have a Google account, you can create one here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp
Once you have a Google account, you’re ready to create a Google My Business listing.
Start out by following this link: https://www.google.com.au/business/sign-up/index.html to visit their signup page, which should look something like this:
From here, you will want to click the Continue button to be redirected to the Sign in page. This is where you will sign in using that Google account we mentioned earlier.
Once you are logged in, you will be asked a series of questions about your business that will be used for your business listing, including:
This can be your individual name or the name of your practice. However, if you have one, we recommend using the name of your practice here.
If you have a physical office location, use that here and click the Next button.
If you do not have a physical office location (i.e. you perform on-location services or phone/online services) use your home address here but then check the box labeled “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” Once you check this box, another box will appear below it labeled “Hide my address (it’s not a shop)” – check this box as well so potential customers don’t show up at your door unless that’s what you want of course, then click the Next button.
Make [Account] Connections
Be sure to give the full URL (including the https://) for your private practice website here and use the same phone number that is listed on your website.
Keeping the contact information consistent across all channels is very important to Google and will help show them that your business is legitimate, leading to higher rankings for your website.
Verify Your Connection to This Business
This is a very important step!
It’s how you confirm that you’re authorized to manage this business listing and it’s the only way you will be able to prove to Google that your business is real.
Without completing this step, you won't be able to:
- Have your business listing added to Google Maps or the Local Pack section of Google Search Results
- Respond to Reviews and Ratings for your business
- …and more
This last step – verifying your business listing – actually requires you to have a postcard sent to your address (the one you used earlier in this setup).
The postcard usually shows up within about a week and it will give you a verification code as well as instructions on how to complete your verification.
What if I don't have a physical office address because I provide telehealth / online therapy? How can I make sure this will still help my SEO?
If you strictly provide online therapy service, you'll remember using your home address when signing up for Google My Business.
Once you've received the postcard with your account's verification code and followed the instructions to complete the verification process, you can update your Google My Business account so that it's showing a service area instead of a physical street address.
For example, in the screenshot below, Heidi McBain has set up a service area for the state of Texas because she provides state-wide online counseling services in Texas:
Setting her Google My Business listing up with a service area like this is helping to improve her website's Google ranking for anyone searching for things like "online counselor in texas" and "online counseling in texas".
Here's a link to the Google support forum that will walk you through these steps:
Now that I have set up Google Analytics and created a Google My Business listing, how do I connect them?
As long as you used the same (full) URL for your private practice website in the account setup, the two will be connected automatically and you will be able to view your Google Analytics data for your website right from your Google My Business dashboard. However, this will only work if you used the exact same URL for both Google accounts.
For example, if your Google Analytics account was set up with https://yourwebsite.com/blog, but you’ve set up your Google My Business listing with https://yourwebsite.com, Google won’t be able to match your Analytics property with your listing and the two accounts will not be connected.
Should you need them, here are a couple of links that will help you update your business information:
- Google My Business Help – Edit your business listing on Google
- Google Analytics Help – Edit a property
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