Are you listed in Google My Business (formerly Google Places for Business)? If not, you're missing an opportunity to be found when someone searches for a mental health professional in your geographical area. Most local searches on Google display a map at or near the top of the search results.
For example, here's the map that shows up in the search results for psychologist in my zip code.
Each marker on the map (my office is B) represents a psychologist. In larger metropolitan areas the density of markers is higher. However, next to the map, in the main search results area, is a list of all the names and addresses corresponding to the markers.
This means that if you are listed on the map, your business name and address will appear on the first page of the search results - even if you don't have a website or blog!
Google My Business is designed for small businesses, and is free. Read their terms of service before signing up. (See our recent post, Terms of Service: Know What You're Agreeing To)
Beyond Google business listing
Google is the most popular search engines, but many people use Bing, which is owned by Microsoft, and is the default search engine for Internet Explorer. Bing also has a business map listing - Bing Places. Sign up there as well. While you won't get quite as much exposure as on Google, fewer professionals think to register on Bing. Therefore, your listing will be more prominent.
Tips for setting up your profile
- On both Google My Business and Bing Places, fill out your profile as completely as possible. If you have a website, be sure to include a link to it.
- Include a photo.
- In the description of your business, include keywords that prospective clients and referral sources might be typing into search engines.