You know those little boxes that appear in Google search results listing company names, addresses and hours of operation?That is Google My Business. Google My Business boosts visibility in search, map searches, and Google+. As far as SEO goes, if you’re not on Google My Business, then you have no business.
Google My Places
Google My Business is a free service that complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and presence on Google. The information you provide about your business can appear on Google Search, Maps, and Google+.
Getting medical practice listed on Google My Business is as simple as visiting Google’s dedicated site and signing in to claim or add your business address.
You then go through a simple verification process of sending a postcard back to Google or, in some cases, verifying by phone or through instant verification. A full explanation of how to get your business on Google My Business is available on Google’s support page, however, we have included the most important steps below.
Once your listing is approved, make sure you optimize it with a lot of photos that include keyword-rich descriptions that let visitors know what your firm is all about.
Update: January 2016 Google recently made updates to how their local business listings appear in search (replacing a listing of 7 with a listing of 3 GMBs), and they gave their Google My Business dashboard a facelift, too.
Some likely scenarios in setting up a GMB listing or listings
Single location – one doctor
If you are the only public-facing doctor at a given location, and you are looking for more presence online, it is advisable that you create a unique GMB page which is dedicated to you and the practice as one. Users searching for you will find the office information and users searching for the office or its services will find you as the primary contact. Google suggests this format: “Create a single listing, named using the following format:
[brand/company]: [practitioner name].” (source: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177)
Single location – multiple doctors
A typical scenario is for multiple doctors to be hosted under a single location, in which case the practice should create a separate local page with a verified address, phone number, and any additional information. Practitioners who work for the practice can create individual pages which contain the contact details of the practice but it is important that the business name of the page is that of the practitioner and does not include the practice name.
Single location – multiple practices
Often a single practice provides a variety of medical services that are sometimes not entirely related. For example, you could be the owner of a clinic with departments specializing in gastroenterology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, pediatrics and immunizations. These departments can have different hours of operation and specifications, and it is advisable that they have their separate pages.
Multiple locations – multiple doctors
Particular caution is advisable if your practice involves a constant change of locations and multiple practitioners. Setting up a GMB page, in this case, can prove to be challenging as there are some factors to consider. Will each practitioner have their separate page? If so, what will be the address listed? It is not rare that practitioners leave practices and move to other physician groups or hospitals so it is worth thinking about this possibility and the potential impact this will have on your practice. It is important to follow Google’s guidelines on managing a Google My Business page in this circumstance.
Step-by-Step Process to get on Google My Places
Registering your medical practice on Google is a quick and easy step-by-step process. All you need is a Gmail account, a phone number and address.
Go to www.google.com/business and click on the Start Now.
Once you sign in, you will see a map. In the search box (refer to below screenshot), you can search for your business.
If you are not logged into your Gmail account, you will be prompted to do so at this point. Once have logged in, a map of the United States will appear, and on the left you will see a form asking for your business name and address. This is the start of the registration process for your medical business or individual page listing, this form also ensures that your medical practice business or name isn’t already listed.
Occasionally your business will already be listed with Google. If it is, you want to capture that listing and claim it as your own.
If you have not registered your office or name previously, Google shouldn’t be able to find any search results. At this point the form will have a drop down button saying “None of these match. Add your business.” Click this button to continue.
Once you click on ‘Add your business’, you will be taken to new window where another form will pop-up, asking for your business’s name, country/region, address, main business phone number and category (meaning what type of medical practice is it). Finally, you have to answer if your business delivers goods and services, here you will check “no.” Once all these fields are complete click “Continue.”
A tip on “categories” … you can select “doctor”, but there are some that may be more accurate and helpful, such as “cardiologist,” “medical center,” and “pain management physician”
After clicking continue, the next page will show a map with an arrow above your practice address. Additionally, a form will appear with your Medical business’s name, address and phone number. Below that information will be a check box, asking you if you are authorized to manage this business and that you agree to the Terms of Service. Check the box and hit continue.
The final step in the process is to get a verification code from Google. As a safety precaution, Google will not let your business appear until you verify that your business is legitimate. Google will mail your verification code to you on a postcard within one week. Once you have the card you will return to your Google business account at ww.google.com/business/ and type in the code. Once completed your business will appear on Google.
Once your office is verified, you can edit your My Business page to reflect your Medical practice’s brand. You can add a description, keywords and images to make your profile match your website.
For more information – including screen shots of the above – on how to optimize your wesbite for Local SEO, please download out free ebook:
Local SEO for Doctors: A Physician’s Guide to Understanding Local Search Engine Optimization.
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