Using Google Business Profile to Boost Rankings for Healthcare Practices

May 16, 2024   |   Clock Icon 6 min read
Image depicting hallway of healthcare facility with various people walking or standing.

You’re looking to increase leads to drive new patients to your practice. Although streamlining your patient acquisition process is a primary motive, you must prioritize the patient experience. Consumers now have an unprecedented ability to compare providers and use a combination of methods to select a healthcare provider.

According to the CDC, 59% of adults use the Internet to look for medical or health information. It is important to appear where your prospective patients are looking - and they are using Google to find the best healthcare practice for their needs.

The patient journey usually starts with a Google Search and your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing is often the first thing they see.

What is a Google Business Profile listing?

Claiming and managing a Google My Business listing increases your visibility on Google Search and Maps and provides a better experience for potential prospects. Because the majority of healthcare searches deal with local practices, claiming and maintaining your listing allows your practice to remain competitive in local search engine results.

Why are Google Business Profile Listings Important for Local SEO?

Google’s support page for local listings lists three primary ranking factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. Relevance focuses on how well the listing matches what the user is searching for. To do this, make sure your listing is completed and provides details about your services.

Distance refers to how far each search result is from the location term used in the search. For example, if a patient is searching for a dentist in Richmond, they don’t want to see results from Virginia Beach.

The third aspect, prominence, refers to how well-known a business is or how much information Google has about your business. For example, positive patient reviews and ratings can improve how Google ranks your listings.

Creating and using Google Business Profile can help you with these three local SEO ranking factors and, in turn, bring in more patients to your medical practice.

How Do I Verify My Business Listing Online?

Google relies on data provided by practices, such as yours, to provide its users with relevant information. it is important to set up your profile on your own.

Google Business Profile is a free resource that enables businesses to manage their presence on different properties. Verifying your business is the first step and is a quick process. Once that’s done, it’s time to start optimizing your page.

Screenshot of form you see to start building your Google Business Profile.

Uniformity is Key

No matter how many locations you have, it’s important to have a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) across your website and Google Business Profile listings. This practice should also extend beyond Google to include all directories and platforms.

It’s also important to put a face to a name. Including high-quality, professional headshots of doctors can humanize your listing. Additionally, practice logos and photographs of your facilities can further legitimize your listing.

How Do I Improve the Local SEO of a Multi-location Healthcare Business?

For healthcare businesses with multiple locations, it’s important to have a Google Business Profile for each doctor, practitioner, and location. As a rule of thumb, if you operate in a public-facing role, you should have your own listing.

While claiming your listing, include your name, address, phone number, and qualifiers (such as MD or Dr.), but not your title. For example, if you’re an orthopedic surgeon, your specialty should be listed as a category instead of the title of your Google Business Profile listing, such as this example below:

Example of a specialty listing in Google Business Profile.

A doctor should never create multiple listings for each of their specialties. Perhaps more importantly, your practice should manage a single listing for each location—which should exist as a separate entity from each practitioner’s individual listing. For example, a practice with seven doctors and three locations should have 10 total listings.

Example of a Google Business Profile hospital listing with several locations.
Example of a practitioner listing in Google Business Profile that operates out of a specific Google Business Profile location.

As you can tell in the examples above, both the practice and the nurse practitioner have separate listings. Although the NP operates out of Bon Secours Canal Crossing Internal Medicine, they have an individual profile. And, true to form, the address and hours are consistent across both Google Business Profile listings.

Making the Most of Your Google Business Profile Listing

Making the most of Google Business Profile takes more than just setting and forgetting your listings. An effective listing makes the most of the many options offered by Google.

For starters, Google Business Profile posts allow practices to share useful content. For example, a practice can share promotional offers, push out newsletters and events, and answer relevant questions. These posts can engage patients, and they can even boost the local organic performance of healthcare providers.

Another overlooked component of Google Business Profile is the Q&A feature, which allows practices to directly interact with their patients. Much like reviews, Q&As are crowdsourced by real people asking real questions. And they deserve real answers. Taking the time to thoughtfully engage with your patients not only improves your profile, but it builds rapport with current and future patients.

Finally, patient reviews can help sway the public perception of your local listings. Reviews are a central component to the success of your practice’s SEO efforts. Review signals are an important local search ranking factor —especially when paired with optimized Google Business Profile listings.

Maintaining your Google Business Profile listings enables your practice to increase its visibility across organic search. It provides a better experience for potential patients by giving them relevant content and answers. It also ensures that third-party listings that rely on Google for data are accurate.

Get Started with Local SEO

Not sure where to begin? Check out our on-demand webinar about ensuring you keep patient information confidential while still gaining meaningful insights from your marketing work. Workshop Digital offers Local SEO services personalized to your healthcare practice. Contact us today to get started.

This blog post was originally published on March 25, 2019, and was updated and republished on May 16, 2024.

Portrait of Trenton Reed

Trenton Reed