Claim Your Doctor or Medical Practice Google My Business Listing
Only editors and managers can edit a Google My Business profile. And in order to become an owner or manager, you must first claim your Google My Business ownership. If a Google My Business profile does not already exist for you or your medical practice, you must create it from scratch.
The above image highlights the three most common Google My Business scenarios for doctors.
Single Practitioner Practice:
If you are the sole doctor of a medical practice, then you only need one Google My Business listing. In this instance, you could create a single listing, named using the following format: [medical practice]: [doctor name]. Example: “Advanced Orthopedics: John Smith, M.D.”
According to Google best practices, an individual doctor should create his or her own dedicated listing if:
- He or she operates in a public-facing role. Note that nurse practitioners and physical therapists are allowed to have their own listings.
- He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours.
A doctor should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specialties. Remember that the title should only include the name of the doctor. Both the MD or Dr. designation are acceptable. The title should not include the name of the hospital or medical practice.
Good Title: John A. Smith, M.D.
Bad Title: Dr. John A. Smith, M.D. – Advanced Orthopedics
The organization should create a listing for each location, separate from that of the practitioner. If your medical practice has five doctors and two locations, then you will want seven separate listings in total.
Multi-Practitioner & Multi-Location Practices:
Google allows separate Google My Business listings for each doctor and location. For example, if a doctor sees patients at a three office locations, he/she in theory could have three doctor listings. However, we at rater8 discourage this. Why? Because of review and rating dilution. Instead, we recommend one listing per doctor.
To claim ownership, a postcard will be sent by Google to the business address within 3-5 business days. This postcard contains a verification code. Please note that Google My Business does not allow PO boxes. Once your listing is claimed, then you can begin editing and optimizing your profile. For complete verification instructions, visit here.
Add Consistent NAP
It’s important to have a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) within your Google My Business profile. Make sure this information is up-to-date and consistent on all platforms, websites, and directories (not just Google My Business). Having an inconsistent NAP will mislead or confuse users and you risk losing their business. Furthermore, it may hurt your SEO rankings. You’re allowed to input two phone numbers (mobile and landline). You cannot enter your fax number.
Upload high quality, professional photos to your Google My Business profiles, particularly if the listing is for a doctor. Headshots are great. You can also include the practice’s logo or images of the building/facilities. One recommendation is to avoid stock photos. Stock photos are acceptable on the website, but they do not belong in your Google My Business profile. Learn more about adding photos for Google My Business.
After you upload photos, consider adding videos to your profile. Very few practices (or businesses in general) take advantage of this feature. If you choose to add a video, it will set you and your practice apart from other listings. The process of adding videos to your Google My Business profile is similar to photos: within the main dashboard, navigate to the Photos tap and select “Video” from the top toolbar.
Potential (and existing) patients want to know when you’re open for business. Listing the hours helps visitors know when they can and cannot contact you. Google My Business also allows to update your hours for holidays using the “special hours” feature.
Google allows you to categorize your business. It’s important to select your categories carefully – they should be specific and relevant to your specialty. Don’t simply say “Doctor.” Instead be more specific (i.e., “Orthopedic Surgeon”). Google allows you to type in your own category, but it’s in your best interest to use the auto-complete categories. Avoid repeats or basic phrase variation. For example, the service “eye surgery” and “eye surgeon” are too similar and a waste of a category. You’re allowed to choose up to 10 categories. The first category you enter will be considered your primary category so this one carries more weight than others.
Add a Compelling Business Description
This is your opportunity to shine. Tell potential patients what sets you apart from other doctors or medical practices. Do not include URLs or HTML code. The business description is cut off at 750 characters so be sure not to exceed this length. Lastly, avoid keyword stuffing, but be sure to target relevant and important terms.
Add Your Practice’s Website URL
The URL should direct users to the practice’s website. Do not direct users to a social media profile like Facebook or LinkedIn. Similar to NAP, the URL you use should be consistent and up to date.
Grow Your Google Reviews and Ratings
rater8 can help. After all, this is our specialty. We help you build strong Google reviews consistently and organically overtime. This will boost your medical practice’s visibility in the local 3-pack, drive more visitors to your website, and increase your practice’s profitability. Upon checking out, patients provide fast, easy feedback in our intuitive software on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Happy patients are automatically redirected to the doctor’s Google My Business profile. The patients are thanked for their feedback and are encouraged to share their (positive) thoughts with others online. Unhappy patients will not be re-directed to the review sites so they don’t tarnish your online reputation.
Should you ever buy Google reviews? Absolutely not. Google is too smart. They have advanced algorithms which detect fraudulent reviews. If caught, your account will be flagged and you jeopardize your profile. It also lowers the integrity of the review platform so it’s best to go the authentic route.
Google My Business Insights
Google My Business comes with robust reporting capabilities called Google My Business Insights. To monitor your progress, you’ll want to click on your Insights tab within the Google My Business dashboard. The three most important metrics that you want to monitor are the “Website visits”, “Call you”, and “Ask directions.” You can adjust your time window. However, within Google My Business, you can only look back at the last quarter. For more robust web analytics, you should have Google Analytics installed. This will allow you to analyze more historical data and it will also offer insights into how people interact with your practice’s website once landed.