Updated: Jul 7, 2021
A Google My Business account lets you show up in search results when people are looking for you online. It’s free, which makes it an affordable marketing tool for the healthcare industry.
Not sure if you need a Google My Business account?
You will already be aware of the benefits of an online presence via social media or even a professional Linkedin profile, but have you considered 'Google My Business' as an online tool? Google is the most popular of the big three search engines, owning more than 80% of the total search volume worldwide. Your patients will typically start their search for your surgery or services on google, so it's beneficial to you and your patients to have an active Google My Business account.
Over time, Google has made many changes to how it displays search results for patients looking for information about health related conditions, injuries, and treatments giving preference to healthcare providers located closest to the searcher’s physical location.
A Google My Business account ensures that when someone looks your healthcare service up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Once they do, your listing shows searches where and how to visit your healthcare service.
Google My Business accounts also improve your local SEO. So when someone searches for you, you show up on page one—not page two or worse. Even if you already have a web presence, a Google business account ensures you get top results. Accounts also provide access to analytics, allowing you to fine tune your paid and organic advertising strategies.
Most Searches Are Local
In order to determine a healthcare provider’s proximity to a patient searching for healthcare information, Google relies on the data in a verified Google My Business profile for the practice and or provider.
Make sure that when someone searches for your business, they find legitimate information, straight from the source. This means if a patient types “The Chapel Medical Centre” into Google and you have a Google My Business account, your practice has an opportunity to appear as a top listing. If you do not have a verified Google My Business profile, chances are you will not appear.
Your Google My Business listing includes contact information, business hours, and other essential details. You can post updates to share that you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened (an especially useful feature during emergency situations like the current Lockdown).
Google business accounts have strong local SEO, so the information you share will rank above other sites. This is particularly useful fo informing patients on current updates or services such as Covid-19 updates. A GMB account lets you keep patients informed on alerts, opening times and also new services, leading to better patient experiences all round and saving the patient calling into the surgery.
Registering with Google My Business is how you optimise your practice getting found in those critical local searches. According to Google’s research, businesses that maintain a full profile on GMB get 5x the views than those that haven’t claimed their profile.
One of most influential factors in local search rankings are Google reviews which affect Google’s local 3-pack which is their way of listing local businesses in search results. The 3-pack only shows the top three businesses. In the past you could rank lower and still have your business displayed. The 3-pack also initially only displays your company name, number of Google reviews, the average rating of your reviews, and link to your website
Boost Patient Confidence
Having a verified Google My Business profile for you and your practice is one of the keys to success online. Sixty percent of patients will click on your profile if you show up in Google’s local search results, and your Google My Business page plays a key role in your ranking. Another study found that healthcare services with completed listings on Google are twice as likely to earn trust from patients.
Trust is a key factor when it comes to making decisions. The more confident a patient feels, the more likely they are to stay with your services or even sign up. Credibility gained from Google is enough to sway people to be 38% more likely to visit your surgery, and 29% more likely to enrol in other services.
The most complete, and the richest listing is often the difference between obtaining that 3rd spot on the local results for a patient searching for services on the opposite side of town (or county). It’s also the difference between ranking 4th or 5th on the top 20 results, as you’ll soon find that some competitors are not aware of, and doing the things necessary to be listed highly in Google search results. This means that you can still outrank your competitors, even if they are in closer proximity to the searcher.
Google My Business reviews help build trust, too. Research by Think With Google finds that 88% of patients trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Online reviews, especially on your Google My Business profile is another indicator to Google that your presence online is authentic, and that you are genuinely interested in engaging with patients online.
With a registered and completed profile, you can continually earn reviews on your Google My Business profile which is a great way to ensure you are listed ahead of competitors in local search results. As you continue to collect more reviews over time, you’re further protecting your placement in local search results, making it more difficult for you to lose your placement.