At a Glance
- Having an optimized Google Business Profile is essential for driving traffic to your website and acquiring new patients, as 60% of patients click on a website that has a Google Business Profile listing.
- Claiming and managing your Google Business Profile allows you to control what information is displayed and prevent incorrect details from confusing potential patients. Consistent and accurate information improves your chances of ranking well.
- Optimizing your profile entails adding photos, linking to online scheduling, encouraging reviews, and more. This engagement signals to Google that patients find your listing useful.
Patients quickly look at other local providers and practices when they see an incomplete or ineffective Google business listing. This Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) for doctors guide has been created to ensure you improve your Google presence.
According to Invoca research, 60% of patients look online regularly to seek information about doctors or medical care. For the majority of searchers, Google is the search engine of choice.
Google Business Profiles have high visibility in local search rankings. Thus, your Google Business Profile can introduce your business to potential patients in your area.
More than bringing attention to your website, having an optimized profile can help drive website traffic and new patient appointments. According to Repugen, 60% of patients click on a website with a local Google Business Profile listing.
Keep reading to better understand what Google Business Profile is, why it’s an important acquisition tool for your practice, and how to optimize your profile.
Why does your medical practice need a Google Business Profile page?
Google Business Profile can help drive awareness of your practice in your local area. Online searchers easily have access to quick information about your practice, such as an address, phone number, and business hours. Even if you don’t think you need a Google Business Profile page, chances are that you already have one.
“If you don’t take ownership of your Google Business Profile, you risk confusing potential customers with misinformation. ”
If you don’t take ownership of your Google Business Profile, you risk confusing potential customers with misinformation. Additionally, if your practice has multiple locations, you will need a Google Business Profile page for each one.
Not having a (or claiming your) Google Business Profile also affects your online reputation. Online reviews are extremely important to potential customers. In fact, Tech Target’s survey found that 72% of patients said they were most likely to read online reviews on Google when choosing a provider.
Having a presence on Google also helps you keep a pulse on the scores of patient satisfaction surveys for your office.
Healthcare practices and discovery searches
A discovery search is when a consumer searches for a category, product, or service. In contrast, a direct search is when potential patients search directly for your practice name.
In healthcare, potential patients may use discovery search terms, such as the ones listed below, to find a specialty or specialist:
- [best pediatrician near me]
- [OB-GYN 90401]
- [podiatry Chicago]
Or, they will run a discovery search for a particular service in their area:
- [flu vaccine near me now]
- [invisalign 10016]
- [physician accepting new patients Nashville]
Patients seek the care you offer. Therefore, to appear in local search rankings and attract patients in your area, your practice needs an online presence that is clear, descriptive, and highly visible.
Google and other search engines connect an online searcher with the company or companies that best meet their inquiry and needs.
With that in mind, the details you provide online about your practice are critical. A correct office address and phone number are as important as a description of the services your practice offers.
Google and other business listings are essential for medical practices to get found online
Without a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, it’s impossible to rank well in search results and be found online by interested patients. An SEO strategy is about more than just adding the right words and phrases to your website; it must also include optimization of the dozens of existing web profiles for your practice.
Any business or healthcare listing website (such as Facebook, Yelp, or WebMD) can include a profile of your practice and providers. Finding, claiming, and refining your information on each of those sites ensures patients can find and connect with your practice.
“Of all the websites that include business listings, Google is the most visible and most important to your practice. ”
Just as important, by doing this, you’re also sharing consistent, accurate information with search engines, telling them your practice details are correct and ready for inquiring patients.
If your listing profiles include incorrect information, you’re unintentionally pushing new patients away. For instance, if a patient calls an outdated phone number and does not receive the expected response, you’ve lost them for good.
If Google finds inconsistent or conflicting information about your practice, it won’t work on your behalf to assume which profile is correct. It simply won’t provide any results.
Of all the websites that include business listings, Google is the most visible and most important to your practice.
The dominance of Google
You have to focus on Google to get yourself, your practice, and your providers into the local search rankings. Why? Because they’re the most dominant search force, by far.
Google has roughly 85% of the search engine market in the US, according to HubSpot. More impressive than that, it garners 95% of all mobile traffic. Google’s volume is unparalleled. According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes approximately 1.2 trillion search queries each year.
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) for doctors
Google Business Profile is a set of tools that helps local businesses showcase who they are and what they do. This benefits businesses like yours and helps Google select the correct results for the right people in the specific geographic location.
The more details Google has about your practice, the better your chance they’ll match you with patients who are:
- Searching in your area
- Looking for the type of services your practice offers
- Asking specific healthcare questions to which you have the answers
Just like other business and healthcare listing sites, Google will often share information about your practice even if you haven’t provided or confirmed it. You have to claim your Google business listing as yours to control what's displayed.
Three reasons you need to claim your Google business listing are to:
- Gain control of your own space and online presence.
- Prevent incorrect information from confusing potential patients.
- Improve the likelihood of showing up in search results.
This leads to our step-by-step walk-through of claiming, populating, and optimizing your Google business listing using Google Business Profile.
How to set up a Google business listing for your healthcare practice
If you’re setting up a Google business listing, simply follow these steps:
Step 1: Go to google.com/business. Choose “Manage now” to get started.
Step 2: Remember these 4 guidelines as you go through the process:
- Be consistent
- Provide details
- Say who you are, what you do, and why your practice is different
- Share patient-approved experiences with your practice
Step 3: The next screen urges you to “Provide a business name” or “Find and manage your business.” Enter your practice name here.
Keep your practice name consistent everywhere it is found. It should be the same one used in phone listings and elsewhere across the web.
Step 4: The next screen is “Choose your business type.” You will have 3 choices. Once you click “next,” you will now provide your primary business category. Begin by typing your specialty, which will produce a dropdown of options to choose from. The more specific your choice, the better. Don’t worry: Google knows that an orthopedic surgeon is also a doctor.
Step 5: On the “Add your services” screen, select the services that you provide at your practice, especially those unique to your market. It’s typical to enter about 5 to 7 services; however, you can choose to market just 1 or 2 services to align with your practice strategy.
Keep in mind this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of everything you offer. Focus on services or items you most want patients to find and be interested in. If you have a secondary revenue stream — if you’re a podiatrist with a medspa or a family doctor who sells supplements — include those in your services.
“Keep your practice name consistent everywhere it is found. ”
Step 6: Google asks, “Where do you serve your customers?” Although this is an optional field, it is in your best interest to complete it so people find you in local searches.
This is where you add your address. It will show up on Google Maps when customers are looking for your business. If you run a practice with multiple locations, creating a profile for each location is essential.
Step 7: The next screen asks, “Do you also serve customers outside this location?” If you’re a mobile physician or provider who makes house calls, you may want to choose “Yes” as your answer.
Step 8: Google then asks for contact details. Although Google says this information is optional, you should consider it mandatory to maximize every possible connection point for patients to reach you. Enter a phone number, and share your practice website URL.
You’re just about done with the basics! Before moving on to some advanced optimizations, you’ll need to verify the business you just listed as yours.
There are a few ways you can do this. If you have a brand-new practice with a new phone number, that verification will probably come from Google by way of a postcard. If you’ve never verified your business but have an existing listing you’re now trying to claim, you may get an option to verify by phone.
If you’ve had your own practice website for a while and have verified that site via the Google Search Console, you may not need to provide additional verification. As a partner with Google, Tebra has a mechanism to make this more seamless and easier for practices.
Optimizing your Google business profile
After you have a verified Google business profile, you’re ready to optimize it. Remember to log in to Google using the same email account you claimed your business listing.
We recommend you take advantage of several key features. Here’s a summary of those features:
- Add a photo album to your profile. Include optimized images of your providers and staff, as well as your office interior and exterior.
- Add an “appointments” link that takes patients directly to your website’s online scheduling functionality. This gives patients an opportunity to book an appointment without having to navigate away from where they found your profile.
- Use the “questions & answers” feature by providing both the inquiry and the reply. Ask and answer the questions you’re most likely to hear from patients.
- Encourage feedback from patients. This is a way to increase your chances of getting reviews added to your listing. Google will respond to a practice that people engage with more often, and reviews are a key indicator of that engagement.
- Add Google Posts as promotional and informational mini-billboards. Ensure each one clicks through to your website.
Take a closer look: Unlock provider profiles to manage your online reputation
Claim your Google Business Profile to gain more traction
Whether patients are seeking care via a discovery search or entering your name into a search query, you must establish and maintain an excellent first impression on Google. It’s a critical component of any medical marketing strategy.
By starting with the basics — claiming your Google Business Profile and filling out consistent details — and then adding flavor and specificity, you’ll position your practice to look great in local search rankings.
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75% of people look online to find a doctor. Patients take a critical look at web presence, online business profiles, and reviews when they decide to pick a health provider. Learn where your practice should be online in the 2023 Patient Perspectives report.