Here’s the bottom line: your medical practice needs to be showing up on Google.
90% of all internet searches are done through Google, so if you want your practice to get as much search traffic as possible, the first page of Google search results is the place to be.
The problem is, Google My Business can be really tricky for medical practices once you start adding profiles for doctors.
Keep reading to see our do’s and don’ts on how to set up a Google My Business profile to get your practice and your practitioners showing up in searches.
For more on marketing your practice online, check out our tips for using social media in healthcare marketing.
Starting from Scratch
DO add the following criteria to your profile:
- Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)
- High Quality Photos and videos that portray your practice positively while also complying with HIPAA regulations
- Hours of Operation
- Business Website URL
- Carefully selected categories that accurately match the type of services your practice offers
- Thorough and unique description to accurately depict your goals and make your medical practice stand out amidst competitors
DON’T follow these practices:
- Leaving sections of your profile incomplete. This will lower your overall performance score and lead to lower ranking.
- Posting low quality photos or videos or those that violate HIPAA
- Lazy category selection or description. These will lower your relevance and your overall performance.
The Local 3-Pack
The “Local 3-Pack” is a very large piece of search engine results page (SERP) real estate. Ending up in this exclusive area is all about relevance, distance, and prominence. Refining these aspects of your Google My Business profile can greatly increase your ranking and land you in the Local 3-Pack.
DO optimize any content you put on your profile for:
Make sure the copy you put into your description and other text fields is relevant to what your potential patients will be searching for.
Make sure your location information is up to date and completely correct so the users’ locations will be useful to determine their proximity to your practice.
Make sure your business is well known! Getting high ratings and positive reviews are great ways to get your practice’s name out there.
DON’T forget to do your research
Google is all about the keywords. If you do a quick search to see what your competitors’ search results copy looks like, you will have a better idea of the right terminology to use in your own text fields.
Single Practitioner Practices
If you’re a practice with just a single practitioner, you’ve got it easy! You only need one listing, and you can put the practice name and the practitioner name all in the same place.
DO create a single listing with your medical practice name, followed by a colon (:) and the practitioner’s name and medical designation.
DON’T create any listings in any other variations of practice or practitioner information. Doing so will get your profile flagged and will require further maintenance before it can become fully functional.
Multiple Practitioner Practices
If you’re a private practice with a single location and multiple doctors, things start to get a little bit more dicey.
DO create an individual practitioner listing if the doctor, nurse practitioner, or physical therapist is public-facing and/or the practitioner can be contacted at your location listing phone number during regular operational hours.
DON’T include multiple listings for a single practitioner (even if they are specialists in multiple fields). Practitioner listings should also only include the practitioner’s name and medical designation, not the location or any other specifications.
Multiple Practitioners and Multiple Locations:
This scenario is where you’ll want to be especially careful with your listings.
DO create listings for each doctor and each location. If you had a doctor practicing at multiple locations, they could have a practitioner listing at each location, but it is better practice to keep it to one listing per doctor.
DON’T duplicate information for any of your practitioners on single location listings. Having duplicate information on any of your listings will get your account flagged and likely suspended until you fix the problem.
When you have multiple location listings, Google will send a verification code in the mail that will need to be redeemed on your account to confirm your listing’s address.
DO make sure to respond to positive reviews thanking the individual for their kind words. Positive engagement with happy patients leads to a stronger, trusting relationship between patients and providers, which will make them much more likely to return to your practice or even recommend you to people they know!
It is also important to respond to negative reviews in a constructive way that shows your drive to try and alleviate any issues and turn a bad experience into a good one.
DON’T respond to any comments with negativity or harassment. This will not only leave a bad impression on that particular user, but it will also be visible to anyone else who reads your reviews. Remaining positive and being as helpful as possible will portray your practice in a much better light.
But, here’s your worst case scenario: one of your business listings gets suspended or you get locked out of your account and you lose all your positive reviews.
What do you do now?
DO stay calm and make sure your information is in order so you can take care of the issue.
DON’T panic. There’s an appeal process.
If there was just a mistake on with your Google My Business profile, all you have to do is fix the issue if possible, and then submit an appeal, and a Google representative will get back to you about reinstating your now-compliant account.
If the issue is something you cannot fix, call Google My Business Customer Service at 1-844-491-9665 and explain your issue to a representative.
For more answers to questions you may have about the guidelines for a Google My Business profile, check out the Google My Business Help Center.