Higher Google Maps Local SEO Rankings for Doctors & Dentists
How to rank higher on google maps for your medical practice? For your medical practice, your Google Maps listing is a pillar, if not the keystone, of your medical marketing plan for your business. This free listing will help you find new patients, generate more income, and allows you to stand out amongst your medical competitors.
Yes, you heard it right, this is a FREE listing! However, these positive and valuable attributes will only be available to you if people see your Google Maps listing. Just because you have a listing online and in the area someone is searching doesn’t automatically mean it will appear in searches.
While the distance between your medical practice and a potential patient is important, other factors determine your organic Google Map ranking. A filled-out profile is a must, and the detail you include must be relevant to a search someone is conducting. Like the content on your website, you need to have the right keywords and phrases included in your listing. This information also must be reflected on your website and match it.
Google maps rankings is a part of your local medical SEO and local dental SEO plan, see examples & learn more.
Question 1: Why do I want my medical practice to rank on Google Maps?
Google maps are the preferred mapping app for nearly 2/3’s of all cell phone and desktop computer users. Google Maps results are often the first thing someone sees when searching for a healthcare solution. If a potential patient sees an answer to their question or need on that map, a vast majority will not look at further organic results. Even if you are the #1 result for a search term, you also need to have a presence on Google Maps.
Showing up on a Google Maps needs to happen for not only when the name of your business is searched but also your top keyword and phrases. If your medical practice is named “Dr. Taylor’s Urgent Care,” you will want it to show up when someone searches that exact name on Google. However, it is even more important for nearby potential patients to see that result when they search “Urgent Care,” “Urgent Care Near Me,” or “Urgent Care in (city).” People are more likely to search keywords and phrases that include the services your medical practice instead of your actual medical practice.
Generally speaking, the higher you rank on Google Maps, the higher your search results will be. The actions you take to improve your medical practice’s overall Google Map ranking will also help its organic rankings. A business will rarely rank high on Google Maps, but not also rank high in organic search results for a search term. Whereas you can rank high in organic searches but do poorly in Google Map, your listing is not properly optimized.
Question 2: How do I get my medical practice to rank higher on Google Map results?
There are some practical, and in some cases required, steps to get your medical practiced a good Google Map ranking.
Add Your Medical Practice To Google Maps
“You can’t win if you don’t play.” If your medical practice does not have a listing with Google, you will not be listed on Google Maps. Fortunately, getting listed on Google is not an impossible task and is much easier now than in the past. Follow the steps below, and you will be online in no time.
Step 1. Create a free Google Business Account
Visit https://www.google.com/business/ and create a free account with Google. You can use your business email, but many owners use their Google account, so they do not need to sign in and out of different accounts online.
Step 2. Check to see if your business is already listed.
Anyone can add a business to Google Maps if they think it is missing. Now is the time to check to see if someone, be it a patient or someone else, has already added your business to Google Maps. You could do this yourself, but you need a Google Business account to claim this listing. If you find you are already listed, claim it. Be mindful you may have multiple or duplicate listings. These should be claimed and either merged or closed. Multiple listings will hurt your overall rankings and confuse patients.
Step 3. If there is no listing, create one for your medical practice
When you create your listing, you will want to accurately enter this information to match your website. Mismatched information will lower how authoritative this listing is, hurting your overall rankings. The information to enter should include:
• Business Name
• Phone Number
• Hours of Operation
On Google, you can also include:
• Business Categories
• Services Offered
• Amenities Offered
Step 4. Verify Your Google Business Listing Claim
Verification is the final and key part of this process. You must verify who you say you are, so a competitor cannot steal your listing and upload incorrect information. To verify your business with Google, you must request a postcard. This postcard will be mailed to the address in the listing with a code for you to enter into your Google Business profile. Once the code is entered, then your business is verified. Ensure you can receive mail at your business or have access to the mailboxes in the building where it is located before you request this postcard. While a postcard will generally arrive in a few business days, it can take up to 14 days to arrive. Do not request multiple postcards, as that could delay the verification process.
Question 3: What are some tips to ensure my business ranks well on Google Maps?
The most common issue medical practices have is inconsistent information on their Google Profile that does not match up with their website. The name and address need to be the same. For example, if a medical practice was named “Dr. Taylor’s Urgent Care,” these following names could lower ranking if used in a Google Business Profile.
• Dr. Taylor Urgent Care
• Doctor Taylor’s Urgent Care
• Dr. Taylor Urgent Care Center
• Dr. Taylor MD’s Urgent Care Center
• Dr. Taylor’s Urgent Care Center, LLC
Yes, all of those names are certainly very close, but it will hurt your organic ranking because they are not the same. For the address, it again needs to be the same. If the address on your website uses an abbreviation, it should be used in your Google Business Profile listing. If that abbreviation cannot be used, you need to change your website to match your Google Business profile. Once they match, any other listing on other websites, like Yelp, Bing, Facebook, or Foursquare, needs to have that same information to boost your rankings.
Avoid A Toll-Free Phone Number
A national brand that sells things all over the United States may have a national call center. Businesses like these benefit from having a toll-free number. A medical practice, however, is not likely to get patients from across the country. With that in mind, use a local number for your Google Business listing. Even if you get patients from a neighboring area code, that will still be better than a 1-800 or 1-877 number.
If you have multiple phone numbers to your medical practice, be sure to list them all. Google Maps will be able to match them up with your website boosting your overall rankings.
Keep Your Hours Of Operation Updated
Whenever you change the hours of your medical practice, immediately update your Google Business Profile. The hours listed on your website should match the hours listed in your profile. Google Business will also prompt you to confirm hours for national holidays to see if you have different hours or are maintaining them. Confirming your hours will tell Google your listing is up to date. If you do not confirm them, a small warning message will be displayed telling patients that your hours may differ on that day.
Many businesses updated their hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some took advantage of the “Temporarily Closed” feature that allowed you to mark a business as closed for an extended time without deleting it from Google. Updating your hours, noting any holiday hours, and marking any extended closing will help prevent patients from coming to your medical clinic to find out it is closed. This can result in negative reviews, which will hurt your overall organic rankings.
Describe Your Medical Practice & Categorize It
Unlike other directories, Google gives you room to write out exactly what you do at your medical practice. Whatever you write, there should include your top keywords, be on brand, and highlight why a potential patient would choose your business. It will help Google better understand your business, and it will be easier to associate it with your top keywords and phrases.
You will also want to put category labels onto your business. You can pick many healthcare labels from Google’s system, so pick the one that matches yours or comes as close as possible. If you offer multiple services, pick a main category, and then assign the others as secondary categories.
Tip: Boost Your Profile Ranking With Photos
Google Business profiles and Google Map listings love it when you add photos to your medical practice’s listing. It provides a livelier, filled out profile, and the Google search algorithms can now use its photo recognition technology to identify photos. These photos are now starting to be included in search results. Search engine users love looking at photos, and photos are very engaging. Google recognizes this and will give more weight to profiles with good, high quality and engaging pictures. On google, you can have categories for your photos including:
• Photos By Owner
• Photos By Customers (Patients)
• 360 Photos
• Interior Photos
• Exterior Photos
• At Work Photos
• Team & Staff Photos
• Identify (Brand) Photos
Tip: Having A Listing With Google Business Gets You On Google Map And… REVIEWS!
Patient reviews of a medical practice can make or break your organic rankings. Listings that have negative reviews or no reviews at all are going to be seen as less relevant in search results compared to listings with many positive reviews. By having a listing on Google Maps, this allows patients to leave reviews about the care they received at your medical practice.
However, waiting for reviews is hoping for rain for your garden. Sure, rain might come, but you might need to be a bit more proactive. For reviews, you do not need to do anything fancier than simply ask for them and respond to any that are left for your medical practice. Someone who has a negative experience at your practice is very motivated to complain about it online. Someone who has a very positive experience may need to be promoted to leave a positive review. Regardless of the review is positive, negative, or somewhere in between, you should respond to it. Responding to reviews will show first-time visitors to your profile that you take feedback seriously and will be attentive when they arrive.
When asking for reviews, make it as easy as possible. The more clicks it takes to finally leave a review, the more likely a patient will abandon the process and not leave a review at all.
Tip: Make Regular Posts On Your Business Listing
You can post to your Google Business profile, much like you can post updates on Facebook. You can even make posts with photos and a video. While these posts may not get the reach, they would work on other social media platforms, regular updating shows Google you are active in monitoring your listing and updating it. These signals play a role in your overall organic rankings.
Tip: Embed Google Maps With Your Location On Your Website
Most businesses embed a Google map on their “contact us” page that allows potential patients to see where they are and get directions. Embedding a map is just another signal to Google that verifies you are who you say you are, increasing your relevancy. Embedding a map onto your website is not difficult at all. All you have to do is click “Share” on the map and then select “Embed Map.” Copy and paste the HTML onto your website, and the map should appear.
Tip: Keep Up To Date With Features Being Offered By Google Maps & Google Business Listings
Much like your website, Google is always updating its maps and what you can do with Google Business Listings. One of the big features added in the last five or so years was providing public transit data on Google Maps. This information would be very important to those living in urban and suburban areas. Many medical practices, as a result, have added public transit data to their websites.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Google added additional places where businesses could put direct links. These direct links include:
• Making appointments for in-person care
• Making appointments for virtual telemedicine care
• More information regarding COVID-19
To market your medical practice effectively, a well written, filled out, Google Business Profile is needed. The experts at PatientGain.com can help you with your Google Business Profile to have a great organic ranking on Google Maps. Call our team today and let us show you what we have done for other clients!