Google My Business for Doctors: Visibility, Authority, & SEO
April 14th, 2016 by
One of the first steps in improving your searchability with Google is to claim or create a Google My Business listing. With Google My Business, you can manage your information in Google Maps and Google Plus. Since My Business is owned by Google itself, the links gained from these profiles are highly valuable and authoritative.
However, if you’ve ever tried to claim your Google My Business listing, you may have seen how complex it can be, especially for businesses like medical practices. You may have had questions like: “How do I represent multiple locations for my practice” or “What if I want patients to be able to find their doctors in addition to my practice?” Well, today we’ll go through how to establish your Google My Business presence with exactly those questions in mind, and more!
First, let’s dive a little deeper into the world of Google My Business. Google My Business is essentially the dashboard in which you can maintain your information with Google directly. This means that by creating a listing in Google My Business, you’re also creating a Google Plus page and, if establishing a local presence, a Google Maps listing as well. By doing so, you’re telling and verifying with Google, “Hey, I’m a real business, and here’s my real information!” By maintaining that information and posting to your Plus page, you’re proving to Google that you’re the authority on your business and that your business is a valuable resource for users to find.
Sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want an in with Google? For many businesses, this can be as simple as claiming and verifying a single business listing. But for medical practices, it can get pretty complicated.
Claiming Your Google My Business Local Listing(s)
To begin, claim and verify your practice’s primary local business listing. If you are a multi-location business, go ahead and claim the local listings for each of your addresses. Each local listing will need to be verified by either phone or postcard, and no edits can be made until then. Once that’s done, check out these tips and guidelines for building your practice’s Google My Business presence:
- Single Practitioner Practices
For practices with just one public-facing doctor, you’ll need to decide whether or not to use that doctor’s name instead of the business name. This is wholly a personal decision, but do not create Google My Business pages for both.
- Multi-Practitioner Practices
For practices with multiple public-facing doctors, it is acceptable to create local pages for each doctor, in addition to the practice’s local page. If this is the case, do not include your business name in the name of the practitioners’ pages. And try to differentiate between these pages with either a different phone number or suite number for each doctor, when possible.
- Multi-Practitioner and Multi-Location Practices
For doctors who work at multiple locations, it is acceptable to create separate local pages for each doctor for each location, according to Google’s guidelines. However, it’s even more important that you’re able to differentiate between these pages with separate phone numbers and/or suite numbers. The practical likelihood that Google will flag these as duplicates is higher so proceed with caution! If your goal is to make sure clients can find their doctor’s contact information for each of their locations, then this is a solid practice. Otherwise, if you’re trying to get all of your doctor’s to rank for general searches you’ll need to do more than just add them to Google My Business.
As mentioned before, Google My Business is two pronged; it lets you manage both your local presence via Google Maps and your social presence via Google Plus. If you’re a multi-location practice, consider creating a Google Plus Brand page in addition to your local pages to consolidate your social presence. Brand pages are not linked to Google Maps in any way. Instead, they are purely social platforms for you to manage…you guessed it, your brand! So rather than doing so on each of your local pages, you can post to your one Brand page and gather the same clout with Google.
That wasn’t so bad, right? Remember to keep these pages updated and treat your primary Google Plus page as a social media profile, like Facebook or Twitter. By doing so, Google will be able to better recognize you as a trustworthy and authoritative source.
Now that all your pages are claimed, verified, and updated, you’re one step closer to a solid SEO presence!