In today’s digital world, healthcare SEO plays an integral role in ensuring the online visibility of medical websites. Most of the potential patients now use Internet to obtain medical information or review a physician/practice before booking an appointment. Google receives more than one billion health care searches every day. Therefore having an optimized and functional website is essential for physicians to enhance their online visibility.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business listing tool that allows you to manage your online presence across Google, including maps and search. It increases a business’s chances of being found online in local patient searches by optimizing their GMB listing.
New COVID-19 and Telehealth GMB links for healthcare providers
Since the outbreak of Corona virus, Google has been rolling out COVID 19 updates and advice targeting healthcare professionals. A Search Engine Land article published earlier this month reported on two links introduced in the Google My Business dashboard to improve access to health information during this Public Health Emergency.
The new GMB links provide information relating to COVID-19 and telehealth. They are expected to make accurate and reliable COVID 19 related information available to patients in a timely manner.
- Dedicated GMB instructions: A new GMB link provides healthcare and medical professionals with specific instructions on adding details about services like telemedicine and personalizing their Business Profiles on Google Search and Maps. Using their verified GMB account, practice owners and administrators can communicate with and update current patients, as well as attract potential new patients. A new COVID-19 info link takes users directly to relevant information. Although it was introduced to support providers during the COVID 19 pandemic, the telemedicine support service is likely to continue post COVID 19.
- Best Practices Guide: Google has also released a best practices guide for healthcare providers so that they can make COVID 19 based information more accessible to the public. The search engine giant also set up a technical support group for healthcare organizations.
Providers can take advantage of these useful resources to navigate these challenging times by signing up for Google My Business.
Creating a Google My Business listing
- To create a GMB listing, click on the link “Own this Business” in the Knowledge panel when search for your medical practice online. Once you have claimed and verified your listing, provide accurate and complete information. Make sure to give the accurate name, address and contact number of your practice. Add a link to your practice’s website homepage under the primary category and your contact page or appointment calendar under the appointment URL. Mention a full list of medical services that you offer and use this field to provide a searcher with quick insight to your practice, what medical services you offer, and why they should visit you for an appointment. Providing accurate basic information like your name and medical specialty, your address, and your phone number help you to get on the map.
Key strategies to use Google My Business for your medical practice
- Optimize your GMB page for location, relevance, and authority by filling out the fields asked for, choose your specialties and services accurately and link it to your website if you have one. If you have two practices, then create a page for each one separately.
- Include additional information such as working hours and add photos of your practice. You can also include reviews and Q/A sections, or information to show staff are respectful to all patients.
- Get a steady stream of positive reviews to help GMB establish your brand and reputation. Positive reviews increases ranking and it also helps build trust confidence among people and potential patients see you as a best-fit choice.
- Place Google Ads to broadcast your positive medical reputation. Reach a broader market of your most preferred potential patients.
- Be aware of new features as they become available through GMB pages.
Optimizing your GMB profile will have a greater impact on your overall SEO results than optimizing any other site profile. It also improve your ranking and the higher your website ranks the more your website is visited, the longer the visitor stay on the it. So, in general, if own a medical practice or business, it is important to have healthcare SEO optimized website to gain more visibility, traffic and better ranking and also have an updated Google My Business Profile. A professional medical SEO service helps you to implement local SEO based your business and your target audience.
Google introduced the new links to focus on better serving healthcare providers during a period of reduced support staffing for marketers (www.searchengineland.com). As a result, many Google My Business updates are being delayed and take longer to appear. Businesses should also note that reviews have been temporarily disabled.