SEO is an ongoing process. The O in SEO—that’s optimization—is the fuel, the most important part of making your brand visible online.
Optimization is the process of making changes, some big and some small, to your content to increase the likelihood that it will rank highly on search engines. This is something you do to your home care website, and it’s something you should be doing to your Google Business Profile.
Here’s why that’s so important for your agency, and how to get it done.
What is a Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile is basic information about your home care agency that shows up on a search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for your business or for terms related to what you do.
You might recognize it by its old names: Google My Business, Google Places for Business, and Google Listings. Google Business Profile has replaced them all.
It doesn’t replace your agency’s website, but it does help users find your website faster.
One of the best parts about the Business Profile tool is that it’s free!
Why should I optimize my Google Business Profile?
According to Google, customers are nearly three times more likely to consider a business reputable if they can find a completed Business Profile, and they’re 70% more likely to visit and 50% more likely to consider becoming a customer.
And Profiles are especially valuable for businesses that depend on a local market, like a home care agency.
An optimized Business Profile can put your agency in front of people who don’t know your name yet. For instance, when someone googles senior care near me, Google uses Business Profiles to pull in relevant results.
And for those who come looking for you specifically, having an optimized Google Business Profile means they can find and contact you easily. Let’s say someone told me about a great ice cream shop in my neighborhood called Scoop. I go to Google to find out where it is, and right there, I get all the info I need: hours, location, website, phone number, and even photos of the place.
It’s a mighty little feature of your SEO strategy. It’s what users see when they search your business by name, and it’s information Google uses to display your business when users search in your category.
3 steps to set up your Google Business Profile
1. Create your profile
To start your Business Profile, you’ll have to create a Google account first. On this account creation page, click the blue button that reads “to manage a business.”
If you already have a Google account, visit this page and make sure you’re signed in to your agency’s account by clicking the profile picture in the top right corner.
- You can also start at Google Maps, then tap your profile icon in the top right corner and select “Your Business Profile.”
- To start at Google Search, google the name of your business or search “my business”—the first result should be the Google Business Profile platform.
2. Verify your business listing
The next step is to verify your business, which you can do here. Verification gives you the ability to update the business listing, and helps protect it from imposters trying to claim it.
3. Provide basic information about your senior care agency or senior care home
Start with the basics: Provide your business’s name (more on that below), phone number, website URL, and service area (very important for home care agencies!).
Rules about your business’s name
Google wants you to use your “real-world” name in your profile, the one people would recognize you by. This is sometimes called a “doing-business-as” name, or d/b/a.
Sometimes it’s the same as your business’s legal name, but not always. Your agency’s legal name might be Seneca Residential Services LLC, but your public-facing name is Seneca Senior Living. Use the public-facing name.
Rules for service providers, like home care agencies
Here are a few important rules for businesses that don’t have a storefront that customers can visit:
- You’re required to hide your business address (you don’t want potential clients showing up at your offices if you can’t help them there).
- If you serve a large metro area, you can create only one profile per actual location. Google can suspend businesses that have created more than one.
Now, let’s optimize.
Google Business Profile optimization checklist
To optimize your Business Profile, give Google the most relevant and accurate information you can.
1. Make sure your basic information is correct and filled out
Before you optimize, make sure you’ve covered the basics: business name, phone number, website, and service area. Check out important tips above about your business’s name and address.
Add your agency’s hours as well. This is the hours your office team can be reached by phone, not necessarily the hours your caregivers work (which might be 24/7). Google lets you select holiday hours too.
2. Add links to your social channels
Provide links to your active social media profiles. If you haven’t updated them in a while or don’t have the plans to keep them fresh, skip this. It looks bad to send potential clients to atrophied accounts.
3. Add keywords to your business description
If you have an SEO strategy, you already have a list of keywords relevant to your business. When you write your business description, pick a handful of the most important ones and include these as naturally as you can. Don’t jam them in if the language feels awkward.
Yours might read something like this. (We’ve highlighted some keywords and descriptive terms that are helpful to both Google and potential clients.)
Culver City Care is a senior care provider specializing in in-home Alzheimer’s and memory care and senior transport services. For fifteen years, we’ve served the greater Los Angeles area. Our founders, Fernanda and Laura Gomez started Culver City Care to meet their own need—safe and compassionate care for their mother after a stroke. All of our caregivers are licensed CNAs and many are registered nurses. We also offer companionship, meal prep, medication reminders, and light housekeeping services. Visit our website or give us a call to discuss your care needs.
A warning about optimizing the business description
Don’t succumb to the temptation to jam the description with keywords, a practice called keyword stuffing that is a red flag to both Google and to human users. It doesn’t look good, and there’s no evidence that it helps your Google presence in any way.
Adding keywords that aren’t part of your legal name or d/b/a name can also get you penalized by Google.
4. Add business attributes
In the attributes section, you’ll find more categories than you will need. Many of them are relevant to retailers and restaurants, so you can skip those. Some of the most important ones are:
- Business category: Pick three or four words that best describe your care business. This will appear right under your name. Yours might be: Assisted Living Home in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Services offered: This is one of the most important parts of Google Business Profile optimization. Your services offered can help you show up in related keyword searches. Don’t overdo it, though. Just choose a few of your top services and add an appropriate description.
- Languages spoken: Capture all possible leads by listing languages your home care team can speak fluently.
- Book online / schedule online: Give interested leads a way to easily set up a call with your client care team.
- Offers online appointments: Check this one if you provide telehealth services.
- Identity: Google lets you self-identify demographic and allyship features about your business. For instance, you might call out the fact that your agency is Asian-owned or Veteran-owned.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with Google’s rules for representing your business so your profile doesn’t get suspended.
5. Add photos and videos
Senior care and home healthcare is such a personal matter. Potential clients may not feel comfortable contacting a faceless group to invite into their home or to care for their loved one. Adding original, high-quality images can humanize your agency and increase click-through to your profile and website.
6. Build your Q&A
There is an option for those who view your profile to ask questions that can be viewed publically. Try to answer them promptly. You can also ask your own questions if you'd like. A handful will do. You might want to include questions like: Do you provide in-home services? Or, do you provide occupational therapy for people on the autism spectrum? Answer these questions succinctly, in a sentence or two, starting with a clear yes or no.
7. Enable messaging
Potential clients have the option to message businesses through their profiles if the profile owner allows it.
Enable messaging only if you know you’ll be able to respond in a timely manner. You can also set up text message alerts to help you keep on top of it. If you don’t have the time or resources to monitor this, skip this step. It’s best for a real person to respond within 24 hours. You also have the option to set up FAQs and a custom welcome message.
8. Ask clients to review your senior care agency, and make sure you respond
Client reviews are another extremely valuable part of optimizing your Google Business Profile. Consider this: 75% of healthcare consumers read online reviews when choosing a provider, and 65% expect providers to publicly respond to reviews.
Negative reviews can hurt a business, that’s for sure. But you can mitigate that damage by responding in a compassionate way. Respond to both positive and negative reviews so you can show potential clients that you’re 1) responsive and active, and 2) concerned with client satisfaction.
9. Share updates on your senior care business
With your Google Business Profile, you can share updates about your agency, like new services offered and events. An up-to-date profile is a sign that your agency is active and engaged.
Get started with optimizing your Google Business Profile
Part of Home Care Marketing Pros' Marketing In A Box suite of services can include getting your Google Business Profile optimized so it can get you the leads your agency needs to grow! Find out more and get started here!