Google My Business For Doctors And Lawyers

Google my business for doctors and lawyers

How is Google My Business unique for Doctors and Lawyers? According to Google policy, doctors and lawyers are allowed to have their individual practitioner listings with the same address and phone number as the business page of the clinic or law firm that they work with.

This is because doctors and lawyers are often associated with multiple clinics or firms and Google wants to allow users the option to review the practitioners instead of the clinic or firm. Such practitioner listings are not considered duplicate listings by Google. 

Google Policy on this is:

Multiple Practitioners At One Location

If the practitioner is one of the several public-facing practitioners at this location:

  • The organization should create a listing for this location, separate from that of the practitioner.
  • The title of the listing for the practitioner should include only the name of the practitioner, and shouldn’t include the name of the organization

Solo Practitioners That Belong To Branded Organizations

If a practitioner is the only public-facing practitioner at a location and represents a branded organization, it’s best for the practitioner to share a listing with the organization. Create a single listing, named using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].

Acceptable: “Allstate: Joe Miller” (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)

This post addresses practitioner listings when multiple practitioners work at one location and we cover what happens when:

  1. A practitioner works at multiple locations
  2. The practitioner stops working at a location
  3. A practitioner moves to a different city/country

We will also conclude with some of our personal thoughts on why this is not a perfect system and how it can be improved.

When A Practitioner Works At Multiple Locations

If a practitioner works at multiple clinics/law firms, then the practitioner should have a separate Google Business listing for each of the locations. The hours of operation will need to be different for each listing. E.g:

  1. John Miller, MMD; 111 A Street, City, State, Zipcode; 666-666-6666; Mon-Fri 9 am to 11 am; X Clinics Website
  2. John Miller, MMD; 222 B Street, City, State, Zipcode; 777-777-7777; Mon-Fri 1 pm to 3 pm; Y Clinics Website
  3. John Miller; MMD; 333 C Street, City, State, Zipcode; 888-888-8888; Mon-Fri 4 pm to 6 pm; Z Clinics Website

This allows users to search for the practitioner’s name and find his/her information in the knowledge graph. It enables a user to leave a review for the practitioner instead of the clinic/law firm.

Note: The name of the practitioner should not include the clinic/law firm’s name. E.g. do not put the name as X Clinic: John Miller, MMD or John Miller, MMD: X Clinic.

Also Note: Practitioner listings should be owned and controlled by the practitioner and not the organization that he/she is working at. It is best for a practitioner to claim all his/her listings with the same email address. This way, when he/she logs in to business.google.com, all the listings will be visible on one dashboard as shown below –

google my business screenshot

When A Practitioner Stops Working At A Location

If a practitioner stops working at a particular clinic/law firm, then he/she should mark the listing with that location’s address as ‘Permanently Closed’. To do so, he/she would log in to business.google.com and select ‘Manage Location’ for the location that he/she quit.

Google my business map screenshot

 

Then, select ‘Info’ from the left column and choose ‘Close or remove this listing’. This is where they can choose to ‘Mark as Permanently Closed’.

Note: The other option within ‘Close or remove this listing’ is to ‘Remove Listing’. This option simply undoes the verification of the page. It takes away your ability to manage that page, respond to reviews and also lets anyone (yes, anyone) claim that page to be their own (requiring verification).

When A Practitioner Moves To A Different City/Country

When A Practitioner Moves To A Different City Within The Same Country

If a practitioner moves his/her residence, he/she may start working at a new location/locations and quit the clinics/law firms he/she was working at previously.

In this case, the practitioner can create newly verified listings for the locations he/she is working at now and get them verified. Then he/she can request Google to mark the old listings as ‘Moved to a New Location’ and punch in the details of the new location. By doing so, the review strength of the practitioner will be passed over to the new listing.

When A Practitioner Moves To A New Country

If the practitioner moves to a new country, then the old listing cannot be ‘moved to the new location’. In this case, the old listing will need to be marked as ‘permanently closed’. Remember, this does not remove the listing from the Google database. However, it does eventually delete the listing when there is no engagement with the listing. But this can take 1-2 years and there is nothing that can be done to speed up the process.

Why Can This Get Complex?

From a local search optimization point of view, NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency is the elusive goal that we are constantly chasing. When one address gets associated with multiple listings, it can be a recipe for disaster.

There is a high probability that many business directories pull information about local businesses from Google. So we may be dealing with one instance of a John Miller, MMD Google Business profile right now but in the future, there could be several other listings with John Miller’s name that can pop up on the Internet that show the address of the clinics/law firms that John worked at.

Another issue is when a practitioner moves to a different country. Since Google cannot move the listing to a new country, the old listing will need to be marked as ‘permanently closed’. We don’t like this because it means there will be a permanently closed listing floating around on the Internet with the clinics’ address for a year or more.

Alternative (Proposed) Solution:

Practitioners should not be expected to create their own listings. Instead, only the clinics/law firms should have their listings. But these clinics/law firm listings should be able to mention the names and basic details of the practitioners that work there.

When a patient/client wants to leave a review, Google can ask if the review is for the organization or for the practitioner. If the user chooses practitioner, he/she should be able to choose from the list of practitioners that work at that location and leave a review for the particular individual.

Such a practice will reduce the number of listings that are to be created and managed and thus make the Internet slightly less congested. It will also leave the administrative responsibilities in the hands of the firms rather than having the doctors/lawyers worry about such things.

This alternative solution is a personal opinion shared by the local search experts at ElementIQ who are not looking to be hired by Google to lead such an initiative (unless they are extended an offer they can’t refuse!) 

Why Dentists Should Blog

How to make money blogging

Blogging is an important element in an effective strategy to grow a business online. It’s the practise of communicating stories and information to your audience about or related to your business.

Blogging might sound really informal and not something a dentist would want to do – but put simply, this is all about creating content to answer questions your clients and potential clients would be interested in.

The field of dentistry is unique. At the click of a button, one can find information about solutions for any kind of mouth-related ailment or symptom.

Consider this search for “How to treat sensitive teeth”. how to treat sensitive teeth google search

Notice that Google Answers has a pull-out of quick information from the Mayo Clinic? Google has determined the Mayo Clinic to be a reputable source that can provide a near-perfect answer to the query. This is thanks to them fulfilling many of Google’s 200 ranking factors, which we’ll talk about later in this post.

The first organic listing is from Colgate. Both Mayo Clinic and Colgate are reputable in Google’s eyes and they have another big thing in common: They both blog regularly! You’ll soon find out that publishing content regularly is critical to doing well in search engines.

I’ve done a lot of blogging and content marketing work for dentists. Heck, our entire ElementIQ team has! We know that dental blogging works and we know HOW it should work.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about why dentists should blog and what kind of benefits you’ll see if you invest enough time.

Patients Research Before Making Decisions

Patients rely on their family dentist for sound dental advice. Think about the process: If there’s a problem, the dentist diagnoses it. They suggest options to fix the problem and communicate these options with the patient.

Now, that hasn’t changed over time. BUT, who people get information from and how they do it has varied. These days, when you need a dental implant, patients do their research. They type their question into Google and dig deep for some answers.

Dental practices should educate with their blog-writing. That’s the goal. Your dentists and associates already do this in-person. The next step is to use that advice and education as a marketing tool. One of the best ways to do this is with fleshed out, optimized-for-web, blog posts.

Pro-Tip: How To Know When A Patient Wants To Get Work Done On Their Teeth…

When someone wants information, they’ll type a keyword into Google. However, when someone wants a place to get a service done, they’ll type that same keyword and a location (city) beside it. (Example: dental implants Vancouver).cosmetic dentistry vancouver Google Search

Typing a location implies you want to find a place where a service is done or offered at.

Do People Still Read Blogs?

I’ve heard business owners question whether people read blogs anymore. The terms “blog” and “blog posts” are synonyms. Blogs are places for content and blog posts are the articles themselves.

That article you read on Huffington Post about the “Top Yogurt-Related Tweets” – that is a blog post. If you read a post on the “10 Things You Can Do With Bacon”, that too is a blog post.

So people may not go to a blog to get information but they do get information from blog posts.

Patients Like Hearing ‘Inside’ Knowledge (From Dentists)

How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last Burnaby Veneers
A blog post example from a dental practice.

Dentists should be personable, in-person and in writing. There’s value to this in your writing. People like receiving ‘inside’ knowledge. It’s as if the dentist is talking to you

Of course, no blog post is a substitute for a dentist appointment or for direct advice from a dentist. Blog posts should answer patient questions. Dentists can reveal uncommon information such as process and costs in their blog posts.

It’s clear that blogging has plenty of benefits for patients. So what’s in it for dentists and dental offices? For starters, it builds trust. Patients will see you as an authority when you answer their questions. People like receiving candid information.

Furthermore, blogging builds up your website authority in Google’s eyes.

Google Likes Blogging

As digital marketers, we know that Google loves publishers. It rewards fresh content and recognizes those who are authorities in any industry.

Google wants to serve people with the most relevant search results possible. They’ve determined what factors impact relevancy. How you rank in search results depends on over 200 factors!

For you publishing dentists out there, content freshness is high on the list. If you blog and blog well, you’ll get lots of organic visits to your website. This means people type in a query, a result from your website shows up and they click-through.

If you’re a dentist and you’re not blogging or blogging, you’re missing out. You’re missing out on improving keyword rankings for your business. You’re missing out on increasing organic visits to your website. Most of all, you’re missing out on opportunities to get new patients.

Starting (Your Dental Blog) Is The Hardest Part

If you’re a business owner or marketer and you’ve decided to start blogging, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? I’ve found that it’s “what do I write about?”

Here’s my first piece advice: Don’t think about the topics before you think about your customers and what they care about.

Good blogging starts with knowing what your patients and customers are curious about. In your dental office, it’ll be important to have whoever handles content strategy and writing to communicate with the dentists, associates, and dental assistants. These 3 groups of people will be your library for topics.

Above all? Patients ask you questions every day! So note down what you’re constantly asked, and start from there.

Got any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

6 Dental Marketing Ideas For Your Dental Practice

Dental Marketing: It’s the one thing that every dentist knows they need to do for their dental practice. Every dental practice wants more patients. But how do you go about getting them? Many like to toss an advertisement in the local newspaper or put a 30-second spot on the radio. It’s how things WERE done and still are to a certain extent with dental practices.
Get more patients into your dental practice with proper dental marketing
But we’re in a new digital age where a website is a must and digital marketing campaigns are necessary to reach all areas of your community. This post gives you 6 specific, sales-proliferating dental marketing ideas to increase the amount of patients coming to your clinic.

1. Have A Website For Your Dental Practice!

Simply having a website might put you ahead of other dentists but in my experience, very very few dentists actually have decent websites.
We’re currently doing a website redesign for a local dentist in South Surrey/White Rock. We’ve done a few in the past for dentists and these projects typically involve the following people: Web Designers, Web Developers, Information Architecture Experts, Conversion Rate Optimizers, Search Engine Optimizers, Sales Copywriters, and Content Writers. Not many agencies have this all in-house. Having them in-house likely means a better turnaround time for the site redesign.
While website redesigns, from start to end, are a long process, it’s worthwhile. The end result is you’ll have a site design that tells the visitor who you are and what you do within 5 seconds of someone seeing your site. They should be able to tell that you’re a dentist and where your dental practice is located. They should be able to easily navigate to various areas of your site to consume the information they need before they fill out a form or call your office.
Potential patients will come to your website to make sure your dental practice offers the service they are looking for (orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, preventative dentistry, etc.) and that they will have a positive experience at your dental clinic. Generally speaking, people do not enjoy going to the dentist, so make sure your website is as inviting and friendly as possible. Avoid grizzly “before & after” photos on the homepage, instead, opt for professional photos of your clinic. Highlight any amenities you may have (pillows, televisions, recovery room, etc.) You want to make sure that your website portrays your office as inviting as possible.
People use websites to evaluate possible dental practices they might use long-term. If a website is their first impression of your dental practice, you better make it good!

2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising For Dentists

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, as I’ve advocated for before, ought to be in every digital marketing strategy . It gets you traffic and leads (patients). But it shouldn’t be the end all be all channel for success in growing your business online. Nevertheless, PPC provides you with the opportunity to get onto the first page of Google for keywords profitable for your business.
In bidding for keywords that you want your business’ ads to show up for on the first page of Google, you can get loads of qualified traffic that you control. Remember, 94% of clicks happen on the first page of results. That means roughly only 6% of searchers click on a 2nd page result and onwards.
With PPC, you can target users based on demographics, geography, interests and more. You can display text ads, image ads and video ads. You can also display ads to visitors returning to your site through remarketing . Just because you didn’t turn a visitor into a patient the first time, doesn’t mean you can’t try again to get them to convert.
Dentists, be aware that PPC provides you with near instant traffic. It’s very possible to be the first thing searchers see on the results pages (above the organic listings) once you start. Team up a full-fledged AdWords account with impressive landing pages that will convert your average Joe visitors into actual appointments.

3. Search Engine Optimization And Content Marketing: Dental Marketing Necessities

The reason I said PPC shouldn’t be the only channel in your dental marketing strategy is because you want to dominate the first page of results. To master digital marketing, your dental practice will need a paid ad, a local map listing (more on that later) and an organic result showing up on the first page for any given keyword related to your business. That last part – the organic result – is what I’ll delve into here.
People trust organic results. Statistically, in a study by GroupM UK and Nielsen, 94% of searchers clicked on organic results instead of paid results. Naturally, people are more likely to choose an organic result over a paid one. If the organic result has a title and meta description that matches what the searcher is looking for, they’ll click on it.
So how do you get attain these high organic rankings on search engines? Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Have you heard of that term? It may have come up in a conference or two before. It involves optimizing your website for keywords (naturally), publishing content (blogging) and getting others to link to you (link building).
Google loves content. Those who provide and publish content consistently – and useful – for searchers generally have better rankings than those who don’t. So make sure you setup a blog on your website. Then:

  • Create a content strategy
  • Come up with relevant blog topics
  • Write those blog posts (or find someone that can write well to do them)
  • Put together a blogging calendar/schedule to post them

Here’s an example of a good dental blog post . This post also has Google Authorship setup. Google introduced Author Rank in 2011 where people could connect their Google+ profiles to a blog they contribute to and become an author in Google’s eyes. The benefit of this is that if Google Authorship has been setup correctly, your photo and byline will show up in search results, like this snippet (taken from Google Webmaster Tools):
Google Authorship For Dentists
Guest blogging on other websites is a great way to build quality backlinks (links to your website on other websites). Getting people to link to you naturally takes time. Guest blogging is a good way to get your name (and website link) on other sites. This will help you build your organic rankings for specific keywords profitable for your business – so long as your guest blog posts are properly optimized.
So to become successful with guest blogging (much like blogging on your own site), you’ll have to:

  • Apply the content strategy used for blogging to guest blogging
  • Contact prospective sites to write content for
  • Come up with topics that will be useful for audience on the prospective website
  • Write the guest blog posts (or find someone who can write well)
  • Organize your guest blogs posts with a tool like Buzzstream

4. Get Your Dental Practice Found With Local Search

How will prospective patients get to your dental practice? People need to know your address and get directions to your dental practice in some way. With a decline in the use of those big YellowPages books , Google Maps has become the go-to place for looking for geographical locations of, well, anything. Google Maps has over 150 million mobile users .
Dentistry is one of those industries where the majority of your patients will be local, meaning, it is highly important that your website appears on Google Maps and in the organic local 7-pack , which usually appear on the first page of Google for dental industry related keywords.
Here are some tips to help boost the local online presence for your dental practice:

  • Create (or claim) your Local Business Page
  • Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) are consistent on your Google+ Local Business page, your website, and other online directories
  • Encourage your patients to leave you reviews on your Google+ Local Business page
  • Create local content for your practice (blog about events, promotions, and seminars you may be having locally in your area)

The local aspect of dental marketing is probably the most seized upon marketing aspects – but not all listings are optimized with the above. Make sure yours are.

5. Dental Marketing Through Video

Intuitively, people are more likely to come to your dental practice, if they know what the experience is like and can see themselves going there. Video is a great way to showcase this experience.
There are a ton of statistics backing up the validity of using video to grow businesses. We’ve got a free e-book of video statistics , in fact.
Length and content of the video depend on what your goals are and what you want to convey. There are a number of types of videos – from testimonials to case studies to how-to’s to simple dental practice tours – that can be done.
As a first video, I recommend showcasing your dental practice with a business profile video. It can include one voice – presumably being the dentist. It could include shots of your office and potentially a couple staff members and the dentist ‘in action’. So long as it’s not too complicated and professionally done. Shorter videos are quicker and easier to consume. Try to keep your videos under 1 minute and no longer than 2.5 minutes.
Furthermore, people are more engaged with video. They like to see and associate other faces with your dental practice. Human movement does capture attention, especially when it’s meaningful. My additional recommendation is to make sure that you do your best to connect with prospective patients – whether it’s in the form of a special promotion or in just the way you speak.

6. Track Every Call Into Your Dental Practice

Finally, call-tracking is an essential tactic to implement for any business but particularly for dental practices. Dentists, make sure you have this. Essentially, good call-tracking assigns a specific number so that you can use it to see how many calls to your dental practice
I recommend getting a lot of different numbers so that you can attribute one number to every channel into your dental practice. For example, I would assign one number for the home page of your website, a different number for your social media profiles (if necessary), a different number for your newspaper ads, and so on.
With this, you’ll be able to see what channels, Inbound Marketing or Outbound Marketing, are working for your dental practice. This will allow you to increase and decrease how much you allocate to different channels accordingly. Proper dental marketing is traceable and measurable. Why wouldn’t you want to know where your patients are coming from?

Lastly…

In any dental marketing channel you invest in for your dental practice, you want the best possible return. As a dentist, you want leads. You want appointments. You want people coming in and out of your office with smiles – and bright smiles. Get them in your door at a measurable, cost-effective rate with digital marketing. Apply all the suggested dental marketing recommendations to your own practice – and if you’re unsure of anything, be sure to hire someone to get it done.
As the old saying goes – “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”
Leave a comment or question below and I’ll answer it!

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