It seems like every few months, the way people discover and interact with businesses online undergoes a new shift. From changes to search and social channels to new technology, evolving devices, and consumer habits, things are always in flux.
Search engines play a huge role in these changes.
Google continues to roll out new features aimed at helping small and local businesses bring more customers through the door. Their aim seems to be to establish themselves as a one-stop shop for finding and learning about SMBs anywhere in the world.
One relatively new feature that has gotten an overhaul is the addition of appointment booking links right into Google My Business listings.
Depending on the type of business you run, you can add customized links that allow users to take specific actions, like view a restaurant’s menu or book an appointment with a lawyer or doctor.
For appointment-based businesses, this is a great marketing opportunity that makes the process of booking an appointment seamless for customers and clients. If used properly, someone could do a search and then book an appointment right away — after making just one click.
This kind of convenience marks the future of consumer expectations and provides a way for savvy providers to set themselves apart from competitors.
The Case for Google My Business Appointment Links
It can sometimes be overwhelming to consider all the marketing activities you have to do to promote your business. And this may just seem like another “thing” to worry about.
But there are good reasons to take the time to set up an appointment link for your Google listing.
First and foremost, this should be a pain-free and incredibly simple move for most businesses. Even if the effects are small, it makes sense to add an appointment link to your listing in pretty much all cases.
But there’s actually evidence to support the fact that adding the appointment URL could boost overall traffic and drive additional inquiries.
Baker Labs conducted an experiment where they found that over a 90-day period, the appointment link drove about 20 percent of the clicks on a business listing.
So, five minutes of work could potentially lead to a 20 percent uptick in traffic from prospective customers or clients. Better yet, those clicks likely have extremely high intent. Searchers who click a link specifically marked for booking an appointment will likely convert into actual bookings at a higher rate than those who simply click onto the homepage.
Taken together, these factors make it clear that adding an appointment link to your Google business listing is worth doing.
It seems to be a clear win that requires minimal effort and has a great deal of potential upside.
Setting Up Your Appointment Link
So, how do you go about setting up your appointment link?
As already mentioned, this is a quick and simple process. It should only take five to 10 minutes, and all you need is the URL of your appointment-booking page (or if you don’t have one, your contact page).
Here are the steps:
- Sign into your Google My Business account.
- Choose the My Business listing that you want to edit.
- Click on the URLs section.
- It should show you fields for relevant links that you will want to add.
- Add the link into the correct field.
With that completed, you should be able to see the URL appear in your Google business listing within just a few minutes.
This is what it looks like in the search results:
This is a simple feature that’s easy to set up. But there are other considerations to take into account for optimizing the effectiveness of your appointment link in your Google business listing.
Optimizing the Appointment Link Experience
It probably goes without saying, but there are a number of factors that come into play when determining how effective this tactic will be for generating business.
There are a few steps you can take to try to maximize the value of your appointment link and generate more bookings from each search.
- Track clicks from this link
First of all, you may want to consider tracking the traffic that flows from this link separately in order to give you an understanding of how the appointment-setting process is working. You could do this in one of two ways.
One option would be to create a separate appointment booking page that is only accessed through this specific link placement (don’t link to this page anywhere else on your website). Then you can analyze traffic to this page independently to monitor its performance compared to visitors who click directly to the homepage or another page on your site.
Secondly, you could use UTM parameters to track clicks on this link from Google Analytics. This will give you the same kind of data (and may be easier to set up), but it will require you to sift through analytics to separate out the traffic.
The right answer here will likely depend on your level of knowledge and expertise with tools like GA and how comfortable you feel setting up separate landing pages or rolling out separate appointment pages.
- Streamline the appointment process
The second and most important step here is to streamline the process for appointment booking. Ideally, your website visitor should be able to book an appointment immediately after clicking the link. Using a service like Apptoto allows you to integrate a simple and seamless booking process that’s intuitive for users.
Keep in mind that as more businesses begin to add these appointment links to their Google business listings, users will expect a simple and efficient way to book.
If they click the link from a search result and then have to hunt for a way to book an appointment or call/email to book it, they will likely just hit the “Back” button and find another business that makes the process easier.
Don’t miss out on these potential clients or customers by having a cumbersome process for booking appointments.
- Measure engagement
This will really allow you to understand quickly and completely which actions your visitors are taking, where they may be getting stuck, and how you can improve your process in order to book more appointments.
While this step isn’t strictly necessary, you can gain valuable insights about how visitors are interacting with your website. That means you can expect to get more from your My Business appointment link — which means more bookings and more business.