At a Glance
- Having an online presence and appointment-booking option is important, as 77% of patients search for doctors online.
- Since 40% of patients book appointments outside office hours, having an online booking system allows for more appointment flexibility.
- Building a strong presence on Google by optimizing your Google Business Profile and website SEO can increase appointment bookings through Google Search and Google Appointments.
Last year, Google added an appointment scheduling tool that allows patients to book an appointment directly from a Google search results page. Providers should take note — why? Seventy-seven percent of patients search for their doctors online, according to a recent report from Tebra. And 40% of patients book their appointments outside of office hours, according to a 2023 report on appointment scheduling from Zippia.
Patients can browse a doctor’s availability, locate open slots, and book directly through Search. This can be especially helpful for various predicaments patients find themselves in — ill but without a primary care physician, new to the area, or a parent searching for a last-minute appointment for their child, according to Forbes. In addition, patients are able to search for physicians who take their insurance or speak their preferred language.
“According to a recent report from Tebra, 77% of patients search for their doctors online. ”
By giving patients the ability to search for specific criteria and book online via Google Appointments, you can increase appointment requests and decrease the number of hours your staff spends on the phone.
How it works
Doctors can now add a link to their appointment calendar directly on Google's search results page.
Let's take a look at an example. JD Wellness, LLC added the appointment booking link, allowing their patients to click only once to book an appointment directly from their search results.
When a patient clicks the link next to Appointments, they get taken to JD Wellness, LLC’s provider profile page. From there, they can book an appointment that suits their schedule best.
Make your practice website rank highly
In addition, it’s important to understand how to stand out in the competitive environment of Google Search and make your practice website rank highly. JD Wellness, LLC followed a few steps to make their practice stand out on Google and have their “Google Card” appear in search results.
Here’s what to do:
- Include all key information: Make sure your Google Business profile includes everything Google looks for, including name, address, phone number, office location, office hours, specialty, and relevant images.
- Be consistent: Have all your profiles display the same information across all profiles. This means your name should always be consistent. JD Wellness, LLC displays their name as “JD Wellness, LLC" across all their profiles. This allows Google to build trust in your brand and rank it higher in search results.
- Do your keyword research: Follow basic SEO best practices. Use tools online to help you narrow down your keywords, and use them as you craft the content on your website to attract more visitors.
- Get 5-star reviews: Online reviews carry a lot of weight for prospective patients. The same Tebra survey found that 43% of people say the recency of the reviews is the most important consideration. Make leaving reviews very easy for your current patients through multiple channels like emails, texts, website links, and QR codes.
If you’re not taking advantage of Google to enhance your online patient scheduling, it’s time for a change. Follow these simple steps to increase your reach and allow patients to find you — for long-term practice success.
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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.