A Google My Business (GMB) account allows businesses to manage their online presence by providing a way for people in the community to find them on search engines and establish trust. A GMB listing also helps you get more leads from potential new patients who may be searching on Google for nearby practitioners when looking for care. GMB pages are a free, easy way to create and maintain an online presence as a healthcare practitioner. Make sure you’re found locally, even though you work at a clinic.
Many doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and other allied healthcare professionals don’t have a GMB page because they simply don’t know how to set one up or aren’t aware of its importance.
In cases where a practitioner has a great reputation, it’s important they have their own GMB listing because it provides them with the opportunity to show patients that they are an established practitioner, display contact details, operating hours and more.
- Create your own GMB and show you are a professional, established healthcare practitioner in your community.
- Get found by potential new patients who may be searching on Google for nearby practitioners when looking for care
- Help people find you so they can get quick access to the health services they need.
In this article, we’re going to explore whether the practitioner should also have their own GMB page, best practices for setting up a GMB page, and what happens if they outrank your clinic.
Let’s get stuck into it.
What is a practitioner listing?
To start with, what is a practitioner listing? According to Google:
A practitioner listing is an individual practitioner in a public facing professional, typically with his or her own customer base.
These would be practitioners like doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors etc…
According to the Google regulations, every practitioner should create their own business profile if:
- They operate in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own Business Profiles.
- They can be contacted directly at the verified location during stated hours.
A practitioner should not have multiple GMB listings that cover all their specialties. However, A practitioner can have multiple GMB listings with separate locations, which we further discuss below.
Why a practitioner should have their own GMB page?
In general a GMB is Google’s platform for managing your company’s online presence. However, as a practitioner, it is possible to have your own GMB page.
You should create a GMB practitioner listing if:
- Your clinic doesn’t appear in the Google search results when you search your name
- You want to have greater control over the content on the profile
- Your clinic has many locations and you want to rank for “Practice Name + Your Name”
- You are practising in more than one clinic and want to have control over your reputation and gather your own reviews.
- You have aspirations of owning your own clinic, it’s a good way to start building your reputation online.
How do you create your GMB page?
Head over to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have a business profile, click ‘Create’ and fill out the basic information. After creating your GMB page: Fill out all other relevant fields with as much accurate information about yourself as possible.
In order to create an individual practitioner listing, you would need to have the following information:
GMB Title: Business Profile names should only include the name of the practitioner.
The title of the Business Profile for the practitioner should include only the name of the practitioner, and shouldn’t include the name of the practice.
When a practitioner is the only public-facing presence at an address, they should create a Business Profile to represent their business. If the practitioner solely represents the businesses, it is best to create one Business Profile and use this naming format: [brand name]: [practitioner name].
According to Google, this is Acceptable: “Allstate: Joe Miller” (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)
GMB Address: A GMB practitioner can have multiple listings with separate locations.
Practice Address should include the full address of where you practice.
However, what if the Practitioner works at multiple locations?
You could have two practitioner listings. As an example say you work at a Physio in South Yarra 3 days a week, and then a GP clinic once a week. You would have two separate GMB listings. And each listing will have separate locations.
GMB Phone Number
This would be a personal preference, but it would be best practice to include the phone number of your practice. That way, if your clinic has a receptionist there is always someone to answer the phone. As you may be treating patients throughout the day, and might not be able to answer your phone.
If you have a personal website such as a blog you could include that. But make sure you have a clear call to action which links to your clinic website so the user can make a booking. Otherwise, include the link to your clinic website. This would be the main homepage, otherwise, if you have a dedicated staff page, this is also acceptable to link to. Just make sure you have a “book now” button on this page if your clinic has an online booking platform.
Hours of Operation: Yes! Include business hours of your operation.
Services Provided: list services that you provide at the practice. GMB categories will place importance on how Google rank your page. Some common services, for example, Physio Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Medical Services. List what is most important in these areas first! Otherwise you may not rank as high within that category. If you’re not sure which category to use, there’s a great Chrome Extension called GMBspy Chrome Extension that will let you know what a competitor category is.
Reviews (& AHPRA)
Reviews are important for SEO ranking factor as it’s a strong signal to Google that people are not only engaging with your listing, but also leaving positive (or negative) feedback. If you haven’t been reviewed yet on any platforms start asking patients nicely if they can leave reviews after visits during their next visit. This is also one way to collect feedback from current clients.
However, according to AHPRA Advertising Hub reviews cannot be displayed on your website, and you can not respond to reviews.
AHPRA is an Australian accreditation service, on their website is information for advertisers about laws and other guidance which acknowledges that advertising can help health providers get more people to see them. However, the advertisement has to be accurate. You should not try to trick people into coming to your office.
The AHPRA advertising hub has information for advertisers and the public. For advertisers, they have laws and other guidance about how to advertise, resources to help them understand their obligations, and ways to check that their advertising is correct. For the public, there is information about how to make a complaint and our process for managing complaints.
If you’ve had experience in dealings with AHPRA we would love to hear from you!
Pros and cons of having your own practitioner GMB page
Cons: GMB is not the only way people find you (SEO). You don’t want to end up in GMB limbo! Avoid manual review processes or any other promotional efforts that could lead to getting removed from GMB or even fines from AHPRA altogether. Another con could be that you may even outrank your clinic. Read more below.
Pros: Connect with your patients and community. Display your areas of expertise, credentials, certifications. Build trust by establishing a personal connection. Provide quick access to your contact info, personal operating hours for potential clients. You can also include the link to your booking platform to make it easier and quicker for patients to make an online booking.
One of the benefits of having a practitioner page on GMB is that it’s mobile-friendly and gives an opportunity for more exposure than just SEO rankings alone provide. But because so many practitioners have created their own pages there can be some drawbacks. Mainly that your personal practitioner GMB page could compete with your clinic GMB page.
What if your practitioner GMB page is outranking your clinic page?
We’re going to assume that you want to have the clinic page rank higher (and sorry, we’re going to get a little SEO technical here).
In order to figure how to get your clinic to rank higher, you’re going to have to conduct a competitive audit between the clinic and your practitioners GMB listing. You should set up a spreadsheet so that the metrics of both entities can be compared.
We want to look at keywords in titles for businesses, domain authority (DA) score on GMB landing page websites, review count per GMB listing as well as rating or sentiment reading if provided by reviews from customers.
You can find out the domain authority score by visiting Moz and entering your site into their “domain authority” section. To find out the title tag of a page, hover your mouse over the tab in your browser. If you’re into Chrome extensions then we recommend SEO Meta in 1 click.
Compare these with the number of citations, accuracy and spread across different directories online. You can do this with a free 14 day trial with Bright Local search audit. If citation errors exist then it’s possible that there might have been some confusion caused during the link building campaigns. The wrong details could easily result in low DA scores along with the risk of being penalised by Google algorithms due to less than perfect links pointing towards the website which would not provide sufficient trust signals needed for ranking higher within SERPs.
Other great free online Local SEO audits are:
- Moz Local. Moz Local is a free SEO tool offered by Moz which can help you identify how Google is ranking your website content in the SERPs and it gives various suggestions to help improve rankings.
- Bright Local Local Google My Business Tool: This will help you audit, optimize and track Google My Business to boost local rankings. Free 14-day trial.
- Bing Places Auditor Tool located at bingplacesauditor.com
- All Local Web Site Analyzer – Amazon Alexa Free Keyword Rank and Traffic Tracking Website Analysis Tools. Still, in its infancy, it might not have data on your site just yet.
- MajesticSeo Webmaster Tools is a great tool to check on-page optimization and backlink research.
- Whitespark’s Citation Finder (you’ll need to sign up for a free account) and you can compare your citations against the sites that are ranking well in search engine results pages. This is a great way to not only find potential citation errors but also help you do a comparison between your clinic listing and your practitioners listing.
Free tools are fantastic if your business does not have the budget for an SEO consultant or agency. There are also many low cost paid online services which offer various plans that can help with your audit.
What If the clinic judges that your practitioner listing is harming metrics like conversion and revenue, they will ask you to remove it.
The clinic may judge that the practitioners listing is outranking and is harming critical metrics like conversions or revenue, and ask you to minimize it. If this is the case, remove photos, remove hours of operation if possible, and update the GMB website link to your profile page on the clinic website (or team page).
With all the constant updates to Google’s algorithm and SEO changes, it’s important for clinics to stay on top of what is happening. However, ensure they stick to the basics and update the clinics content regularly so Google knows about any recent developments. Add photos as often as possible, schedule posts ahead of time using tools like Hootsuite or Bufferapp.
At the same time, if the clinic earns a few good new links for the landing page of the clinic, and showing a bit of extra love to the clinics listing can’t hurt. This will hopefully minimize the practitioner’s page and maximize the clinic page which should lead to positive results.
If you’re looking for a way to increase the visibility of your clinic’s website, then one strategy is link building. There are many ways to do this: by finding health-related links such as Google Scholar or PubMed (if any Doctors have written papers), contributing high-quality content about healthcare topics at sites like HealthLine and WebMD, inviting other practitioners who aren’t camera shy into video chats with each other via YouTube.
Here’s some inspiration
For Link building tactics, you sometimes think a lot closer to home. If you sponsor any community events, schools, sports club you could provide services to them that would be of interest to your target audience, and in exchange for those services, you could request links to your website. Supporting local charities is another way to get a link to your site, but of course, you want to be passionate about that organisation, not just to get the link.
Link building can benefit your website to:
- Increase your website’s visibility in search engine rankings.
- Build relationships with potential customers.
- Feel good about yourself and the company you represent
Building Citations For Practitioners
Firstly, let’s discuss what a citation is. Citations are a listing of your business’s name, address, phone number (NAP), opening hours etc., on various sites like Facebook, Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps etc… so that people who go to these directories will find you!
Citations are a great way to increase your visibility and credibility as a business. Citations can consist of many different things, including online directory listings or links from other websites that contain references about you.
If you have multiple locations you should have at least one citation for every clinic in which you do business because they offer much more than just a NAP – some allow users to post pictures of their experience with your company too!
It is important to not overload citations with too much unnecessary data in order for them to be effective at helping people find what they need without being overwhelmed by extraneous details; listing only key facts will help ensure this goal is met!
There are many online services that cost around $179USD per month if you want to do it yourself. The following are online services that can be used to build citations if you prefer not to do it yourself:
- Acxiom Corporation – For Healthcare Enterprise
- Whitespark Local Citation Builder – these guys go out and find mentions on the web about your company so that they can create a NAP citation.
- Bright Local – All in one Local SEO tool
Citations are important because they can affect your rankings on Google and Bing, as well as credibility as a practice. Some directories don’t have as much weight as others, so engaging with an agency like Local Health Marketing can help you not only determine the best listings but those that will drive the most benefits for your website.
Resources on how to get started with Google for practiotioners
Here we have outlined a few resources for extra reading on this topic:
- BrightLocal Academy
- How to use and understand your Citation Tracker report
- How is a Citation Builder campaign delivered?
- How to handle practitioner listings
- GMB listings for a medical practice with multiple doctors
- Guidelines for representing your business on Google – Individual practitioners (e.g. doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.)
- Why you cannot ignore practitioner listings on Google My Business (case study)
Many clinics have a GMB which is great. However, practitioners may not realise they also to are entitled to a GMB page. Practitioners should consider creating their own GMB page as it increases the number of potential clients they can reach. The benefits of having your own practitioner listing are that you get more exposure and leads for yourself.
There are times that you can take over as the primary clinic listing and outrank your main site altogether! If there’s any indication whatsoever that your individual GMB might be harming exposure to your clinic, they will ask you to remove your GMB page, but you don’t have to. You just have to make some tweaks to indicate to Google that your clinic is the GMB page that should get listed. With a few “SEO” tactics as described in this post that can be done.
If you need advice, feel free to get in touch with us, and we can guide you.