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Put your practice on the map: Google’s latest local SEO updates

Google released updates to their SEO ranking factors -- we break them down ... and show why it's crucial to stay on top of Google's updates.

business on google

These days, 77% of patients use a search engine to find a physician prior to booking an appointment. And local search — driven by the growing popularity of mobile search — is the method almost 92% of internet users use to find a local service. It’s crucial that your practice ranks highly on local search results in order to get online visibility among prospective patients in your community.

Fortunately, local SEO best practices are no mystery.

Google uses three primary factors when ranking local search results.

1. Relevance

How well your organization matches what the searcher is seeking. Optimize your search engine performance by maintaining the most up-to-date information about your business as possible so Google’s search engine correctly identifies the type of practice, key personnel, hospital affiliations, services, and specialties.

2. Distance

Google weights practices in the vicinity of the searcher, so it’s critical that you list your business location(s) accurately. If you have more than one office, create a web page for each location. Differentiate separate offices and provide Name, Address, and Phone for each consistently across sites, listings and business directories.

3. Prominence

Medical organizations that are well-known rank more highly. Prominence is determined by a multitude of factors, including links, directory listings and mentions across the internet. Although Google doesn’t provide the exact details of how prominence is calculated, SEO best practices play a strong role. If you are not using organic link building, high quality content production, blogging and keyword research to optimize your site, these best practices will boost your online visibility when you finally implement them.

Google doesn’t disclose how to game their system, but it does offer reliable advice on how your business can remain competitive. It’s important that you update your online strategy with each Google update or you could see your practice drop in local search rankings.

Google my business Santa Monica

These 3 doctors utilized smart techniques to be in the top three local business results for location and specialty. (Incidentally, Dr. Bickman is a PatientPop customer.)

Google released their latest recommendations, so we’ll help you break down what they mean.

Use Google My Business as a portal

Google My Business is the one-stop portal to establish your practice online. Using Google My Business, you can verify the details of your practice — including name, address, phone, specialty, etc. — and these will be distributed to other Google platforms, including Google maps, Google Analytics, Adwords, and Google+. Because Google My Business is the most authoritative resource for your practice, you’ll need to verify your identity and select a Personal Identification Number (PIN), which you’ll use whenever you edit any submitted information.

Confirm your location

Double and triple check your business information, especially your address, on Google My Business. You might also be asked to verify your address through a postcard or phone call.

Verify hours of operation

Google tries to keep business details as accurate as possible, including hours of operation. If your hours change due to vacation, holidays, or management changes, use the Google My Business dashboard to alert potential clients.

Patient reviews

Responding to patients’ reviews is an important part of online business management. Almost 25% of Americans have visited a physician rating site, and it’s an increasingly popular part of the physician search process. Provide reviews from your patients because users have grown to expect them. Online reviews offer patient-generated insights into your organization which can stoke interest and strengthen your reputation. Third party validation – and, even, criticism – may be just what your practice needs to rise above the crowd.

Provide photos

Photos make the user experience more memorable, which Google strongly encourages, but they also serve as location guides. External shots of your office provide a visual point of reference for local searchers.

Positioning your practice atop the local search results page can take time and effort, especially if your business is new or unestablished, but it should produce a sizable return in new patients. Google’s latest recommendations, integrated with a strong local SEO strategy, ensure online visibility — the first step to practice growth.

PatientPop’s all-in-one practice growth platform handles all the above-mentioned SEO best practices for you, ensuring you’ll rise in local business results and consistently updating behind the scenes. If you’re interested in seeing how your business is faring online, get a practice scan below.

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PatientPop is the leader in practice growth with the only all-in-one solution that empowers healthcare providers to improve every digital touchpoint of the patient journey. As experts in the healthcare technology space, PatientPop makes it easy for providers to thrive in the consumerization of healthcare and promote their practice online, attract patients, and retain them for life.

The combined power of Kareo and PatientPop

As leaders in clinical, financial, and practice growth technology, Kareo and PatientPop have joined forces as Tebra to support the connected practice of the future and modernize every step of the patient journey.

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