Google My Business, Analytics, Ads, Search Console – here’s why you need to control those accounts
Google provides lots of useful free tools to help business owners monitor, maintain and promote their websites. The main ones are explained below and as we’ll see later in this article, it’s essential that you retain control of these important assets rather than hand over the responsibility for them, to a marketing company.
So what are the main Google assets that you will likely encounter as a website owner at some point?
Google My Business
This is not a website tool itself but is more a page on Google where you can add your main business information such as a short description, category, photographs, location and opening hours. Aside from your website, this is the main library of information which Google uses to reference your business and integrate it with the maps listing and results which show in local searches. You need to claim your business listing and ensure that the information recorded there is consistent with the information on your website, blog or any other digital platforms you use. This consistency is important to ensure that you are best placed to take advantage of Google local searches and to receive reviews – hopefully positive ones!
Your Google My Business page is a fundamental piece in the dental marketing jigsaw and it pays to take time to set up your information correctly and to maintain it regularly.
Analytics is an excellent free tool which Google provides to allow you to record huge amounts of data about the activity on your website. You can use this in conjunction with other tools to see how your website is performing, to see how effective marketing campaigns are and much more. We’ve covered some of this in more detail elsewhere in this blog but suffice to say here, that Analytics is a “must have” tool to allow you to manage your website effectively. Install it as soon as your website goes live and data will start accruing almost immediately.
This is another free Google tool which is really useful for measuring and managing website performance. It has a few features which are similar to Analytics but also a range of data which shows how well your site is performing in the search index, errors that arise, number of pages indexed, search terms used to locate your site and more. Typically used in conjunction with Analytics, Search Console provides many of the insights you need to ensure optimum performance from your website. Like Analytics, it pays to set up Search Console as soon as your website is published so you can be accruing performance data from day one.
Formerly call ‘AdWords’, Google Ads allows you to advertise your dental practice website in the search results in prominent positions, i.e. no reliance on the free organic listings. Of course you need to have a realistic click budget to use this technique, but in capable hands, Google Ads can yield very good returns. A credible marketer will typical integrate the Google Ads administration console with the Analytics console (and possibly even the visual reporting suite, Data Studio) to make best use of all of the data available. For example, importing Analytics conversion goals into Google Ads can be used to good effect to optimise bidding strategies.
Why you need to retain control of your Google properties
We regularly take over marketing for dentists from agencies which have either failed or simply become too expensive for the dentist to justify. One of the main issues we find, is that the accounts mentioned above are frequently set up using the credentials of the marketing company rather than the credentials of the dental business i.e. the marketing company controls the account and the data within it. In almost all cases like this, the marketing company refuses to release the account data and you have no option to set up again from scratch.
Other than the inconvenience, all of the historical data is lost and there is no performance comparison available, for example when a new website is launched or advertising campaign commenced.
Whilst these issues can be overcome with new accounts for Analytics, Search Console and Ads, it’s far from ideal. However, even worse is where the agency has claimed a Google My Business page on your behalf and refuses to give up the login credentials. Anyone who has tried to recover an account in this circumstance will know just how frustrating it can be!
Whilst it can be tempting to simply hand over all of your marketing and website assets to an external agency, there are some which you really should keep under your direct control. You can provide management access to anyone you authorise, but ultimately you need to maintain management control and be able to allow/disallow access to YOUR accounts. Failure to maintain control can easily result in you losing your data or even your main Google business page if you decide to move on from your marketing agency in future.
Any bona fide dental marketing company will respect your decision to have all accounts registered using your details and should be prepared to relinquish access at any point you request. If not, then don’t sign up!
If you need any help with understanding the range of Google tools which are available to support your business or simply need help setting up, then the web team at Dental Media will be pleased to help. Simply call through on 01332 672548 for impartial, experienced advice.Google+