Are you familiar with online local directories? If not, allow me to define them for you. Online directories are website submission services that allow you to input your practice information so that it will appear when potential patients search for dental practices. They are a simple way to market your practice and help get your name out there.
If you don’t claim your listing in local directories, you’re leaving some serious cash on the table for your competitors to easily grab. Claiming your listing is the foundation of your local online marketing.
Since there are several local business directories in which you can claim your local listings, the best place to start is to use a reputable online audit tool that will tell you exactly which ones you haven't claimed or that contain incorrect information.
The most important information to list is your practice’s name, address, and phone number, known as NAP. Information can also include your website link and pictures of your practice and staff.
When your local directory listings contain the correct NAP information, website address, and photos, it’s called an optimized listing. Google loves optimized listings and gives them authority credit toward ranking your Google+ Maps listing high in the search engine results.
Here are the top three reasons you need to add your practice to local directories.
1) Google looks at each listing as a vote to give your practice authority.
In the local online marketing world, listings are known as the new SEO because when claimed and optimized properly with the correct NAP, they are counted almost the same as a backlink in the traditional sense of SEO by Google.
Traditional SEO used to mean the more inbound links you had coming to your practice’s website, the more authority the website would have. Since Google has become such a localized search engine for small businesses, listings now have a lot of influence on how your site ranks. The downside is that Google will not count your local listings if your NAP information is wrong.
2) Listings will increase your practice’s exposure to potential patients who are searching.
Depending on how many people are searching for a dentist in your city, claiming your listing could put your Google+ Maps listing right in front of them. Can you imagine being listed on page one of the search engine results? What would that do for your practice’s profit potential? Most potential patients will not look beyond the first page of search results. This means that the dental offices that show up on the first page will get the most patient interest.
3) Directories will get your Google+ Maps listing ranked higher.
I’ve already explained that the more local listings that you claim and optimize, the more your Google+ Maps listing will be boosted in the search engines. Google currently displays only three Google+ Maps listings (called the “Pack 3”) in the search results, with a link underneath to display the remaining listings. Most potential patients will not bother to click on the link.
Directory listings give your practice a strong foundation on which to build the rest of your practice marketing, which will integrate together with a solid foundation (the local directory), thus increasing your ROI.
A word of warning: Just knowing about the importance of local directories won’t bring patients to your practice. That’s because you need to take action on what you’ve learned here before your competitors catch on. The sooner you claim your local listings, the sooner you should see an increase of potential patients calling your practice or visiting your website. Start now!