In 1998, in Menlo Park, something was brewing. Eventually, in September, a company was born named Google. And the internet was never the same.
Before, it had just been a simple search engine, but now it has become a powerhouse with its own chatbot, maps feature, and more. With Google My Business, you can now easily reach your potential customers in your local area just by listing your healthcare practice and creating a profile.
With over 64% of people using Google My Business to search for local businesses, if you’re considering leveraging this tool, wait no more!
There may need to be more than just creating a Google Business profile to seek desired results. So what should you do?
In this guide, we’ll cover what you must do to optimize your local SEO on Google My Business to manage your medical listing and book more appointments.
Essential Local SEO for Google My Business
Basic local SEO for Google My Business (GMB) involves completing the essential steps to set up and optimize your GMB profile to improve your online visibility in local search results.
Here’s a checklist of the minimum tasks local business owners like yourself should complete:
Claim and Verify Your GMB Listing
- If you haven’t already, claim ownership of your GMB listing.
- Verify your business through the verification process, typically by receiving a text or call with a verification code.
Accurate Business Information
- Ensure that your business name, address, phone number (NAP), and website URL are accurate and consistent with what’s listed on your website and across other online platforms.
- Choose the most relevant primary category for your business. This helps Google understand your business type. (eg. “Medical Clinic” or “Dentist”).
- Add secondary categories if applicable. These can further specify your services. e.g., “Pediatric Dentistry” or “Orthopedic Clinic”.
- Write a concise and informative business description highlighting your products or services and including keywords in relevant searches. Keep it under 750 characters. For example, if you’re a therapist, you can write something like “State-accredited therapist, with over seven years of counseling experience, covering adolescents and adults.”
- Set and regularly update your business hours to reflect when you’re open to customers.
Images and Videos
- Upload high-quality images and videos that showcase your business, including exterior and interior photos, products, services, and staff. Ensure that they meet Google’s guidelines for size and quality.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile. Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, professionally and promptly.
Service Area (if applicable)
- Define your service area if your business serves customers at their location (e.g., a medical service).
- Keep your GMB profile up to date with any changes in business information, such as new addresses or phone numbers.
Google Maps Integration
- Ensure that your business location accurately appears on Google Maps. Correct any inaccuracies or issues with your location pin. While GMB is traditionally associated with physical locations, it can also be used by businesses that operate exclusively online. You can set up a service-area business on GMB, specifying the regions or countries where you provide services.
By completing these basic steps, you’ll have done the minimum required to establish a strong foundation for your local SEO on Google My Business.
However, remember that ongoing monitoring, engagement with customers, and regular updates are crucial for maintaining and improving your local search ranking.
Steps to Optimize Your Local SEO on Google My Business for Healthcare Practitioners
With local searches increasing more than 200%, getting your business on Google is only one slice of the whole cake.
When it comes to the optimization of Google business, you need to consider a few extra pointers to get the best out of this feature.
Ensure Accurate Business Information
- Double-check that your business name, address, phone number (NAP), and website URL are accurate and consistent with what’s listed on your website and across other online platforms. Some medical practices might be similar in name but different in area of service, so ensure you’ve got those covered.
High-Quality Images and Videos
Types of Images you can use:
Clean and Well-Maintained Facilities
- Showcase images of your practice’s clean and welcoming facilities, including reception areas, examination rooms, waiting rooms, and medical equipment. Ensure that these spaces are organized and uncluttered.
- Use images that depict patient-centered care, such as healthcare professionals engaging with patients in caring and compassionately. This can include doctors discussing treatment plans with patients or nurses providing comfort.
Telemedicine or Virtual Care
- If you offer telemedicine or virtual care services, use images that convey the concept of remote healthcare, such as patients on video calls with healthcare providers.
- Consider using infographics or diagrams to explain medical conditions, treatment options, or health tips. These can be useful for patient education.
Medical Equipment and Technology
- Highlight modern medical equipment and technology you use in your practice. These images can convey professionalism and the use of advanced tools for patient care.
Health and Wellness
- Use images that promote overall health and wellness. These can include images of healthy lifestyles, nutrition, exercise, and preventive care.
Before-and-After Photos (with Consent)
- If applicable to your practice, use before-and-after photos of patient outcomes, but only with the explicit written consent of the patients and without revealing their identities. Ensure that these photos are used for educational purposes and not for advertising or promotional purposes without consent.
Add also videos, such as virtual tours or informational clips about your services.
Patient Reviews and Ratings
- Encourage satisfied patients to leave reviews on your GMB profile. Respond to reviews professionally and promptly.
Aim for a high rating and regularly monitor and manage your online reputation.
Questions and Answers
- Monitor and respond to patient questions in the Q&A section of your GMB listing. Provide accurate and helpful answers. Also, ensure to remain impartial when patients mention the names of other doctors or request sensitive information.
Include Your Social Media Profile
- Social media can be invaluable for reaching and engaging with potential clients. And with Google newly introducing this feature, you can add your social profile on your Google My Business.
- Share regular updates, health tips, announcements, and promotions using Google Posts. This keeps your Google business listing active and engaging.
Attributes and Amenities
- Select relevant attributes, such as “Accepts insurance” or “Free parking,” to provide additional information to potential patients.
Appointment Booking with EHR
- Electronic Health Record (EHR) or Practice Management Software:
Many EHR and practice management systems have integrated appointment scheduling features. If you’re already using such software, check if it offers online booking capabilities.
Common EHR options with online booking features include Epic, Cerner, and Athenahealth.
Healthcare Provider Profiles
- Create individual profiles for each practitioner within your GMB listing if your practice has multiple healthcare providers. This is only the case where you own a clinic and employ other healthcare providers under your wing.
- Ensure that any patient information shared in posts, responses, or images adheres to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines for patient privacy.
Obtain Patient Consent:
- Before sharing any patient-related content, obtain written consent from the patient. This consent should clearly state what information will be shared, how it will be used, and where it will be posted.
De-identify Patient Information
- Remove or de-identify any patient-specific information that could lead to the identification of the individual. This includes names, addresses, birthdates, and other identifiable details.
Use Aggregated Data
- When sharing patient success stories or statistics, use aggregated data that doesn’t identify individual patients. Ensure that the data is generalized and doesn’t reveal specific patient details.
Avoid Direct Patient Testimonials
- Avoid sharing direct patient testimonials or endorsements, even with consent, as these can inadvertently reveal personal health information. Instead, summarize the feedback in a way that doesn’t identify the patient.
Implement Social Media Policies
- Develop and enforce clear social media policies and guidelines within your healthcare practice. These policies should outline what can and cannot be shared on social media.
Use Secure Channels
- When communicating with patients or discussing their cases, use secure and encrypted communication channels to protect patient information. Avoid discussing patient cases on public or unsecured platforms.
Monitor and Moderate Comments
- Regularly monitor and moderate comments on your social media posts. Remove any comments that contain patient-specific information or violate HIPAA regulations.
- Utilize the insights provided by GMB to analyze user interactions with your listing. Adjust your strategy based on the data. For example, if you notice that certain search queries are driving traffic to your listing, you can tailor your content and keywords accordingly. Or if you see a surge in direction requests during specific times, you can adjust your office hours to accommodate patient needs.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing with Kiwi Health
When it comes to search engines, Google is known to be the most powerful. Hence, effective online presence management is crucial for healthcare practitioners, ensuring that they connect with patients and uphold the highest standards of patient care. potent
Kiwi Health offers comprehensive solutions to assist you in managing your Google My Business (GMB) listing, enabling you to optimize local searches, maintain HIPAA compliance, and engage with patients effectively.
Moreover, Kiwi Health can help diversify your online presence by expanding your listings on other popular channels like Zocdoc and WebMD.
This holistic approach ensures that you reach a broader audience, enhance your reputation, and provide accessible healthcare services to those in need.
Trust Kiwi Health to streamline your online presence, allowing you to focus on what truly matters—providing excellent healthcare to your patients.