The Coffey Blog

How to improve your healthcare organization's Google business listings

Posted on: Monday, February 11, 2019

Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor
Melissa Welling, Editor

Search for any hospital or clinic on Google, and chances are your eye heads straight to a feature known as a Business Profile. It's part of the search engine's free Google My Business service, and nowadays, it's integral to your healthcare organization's search strategy.

In fact, your Business Profile may be as far as many potential customers ever go in their search for healthcare information—skipping your website entirely. So it's worthwhile to understand how profiles work—and how to make them work even better for you.

What's a Google My Business (GMB) profile?

A GMB Profile quickly answers common questions people have about a business's services, like: Where are they located? When are they open? And how do I contact them? Here's a mobile view of Coffey's Business Profile:

GMB profiles are also interactive. They feature questions and reviews from the online community. So just like your social media properties, managing your Business Profiles has to be part of your reputation management strategy.

Notice we said "profiles" plural? If you're part of a health system, chances are you won't have just one Business Profile. You'll have several—one for each facility in your system. And each profile needs your attention.

Missing or incorrect info in your Business Profile—or an unresponsive attitude to customer feedback—can mean missed connections with people who want to use your services.

The good news? You can make their experience better by joining the conversation. Use our checklist below to start improving your Business Profiles today.

6 steps to stronger Google business listings for your healthcare organization

Step 1: Start with a comprehensive list of your hospitals, clinics and service lines.

One by one, Google each entity to check if a Business Profile already exists. You might see:

  • A standard profile box. It may be off to the right (on desktop), below any ads (on mobile) or in the Google Maps search results.
  • A local pack (a map with a selection of several Business Profiles that could fit your search term).
  • Duplicate profiles. Depending on the reason for the duplicates, you may need to take steps to correct, claim or merge profiles.
  • No profile. In this case, you can create one at google.com/business.

Step 2: Claim and verify your profile.

This gives you the ability to modify the content, answer questions as the business and respond to reviews. Look for the "Own this business?" or "Claim this business" link in an unclaimed profile. Then log into GMB to claim and verify the profile by phone or postcard.

Don't see those links? It means the listing has already been claimed. If you need to transfer control from someone else, you can request ownership.

Step 3: Fill out the profile completely and accurately.

Some important areas to check:

  • Confirm the business name. It should match the official name on your signage and website—and not include extra descriptive info. See Google's naming guidelines for more details about what is and isn't allowed.
  • Confirm the business category. Best practices include using the most specific category available and making sure that different locations that offer similar services use the same category. Read more category tips from Google.
  • Check the website link. If possible, link to a landing page specifically dedicated to the appropriate service or location, rather than your homepage.
  • Confirm the address, hours and phone number. This is a good time for a mini-audit of your website as well. Is this information accurate and easy to find in both places?

Once you've completed these steps, you can check the profile marker at the top of your GMB dashboard to see if your profile is complete. If not, you may want to consider adding finishing touches, like a thoughtful and succinct introduction statement.

Step 4: Review your profile photos.

If you haven't provided any, the only images people see might be photos from Google Street View cameras, which may not show off your facilities at their best. You can include logos, indoor and outdoor shots, and even videos (think virtual tours). See Google's image and video guidelines.

Step 5: Look at the questions people are asking—and provide authoritative answers.

Members of the public can answer each other's questions here, but that information may not be accurate or represent your hospital well, so it's worth jumping in. And you can up-vote your own answers to help give them priority. You might even want to add frequently asked questions here—and answer them yourself.

One more note: If people are using the questions to make complaints, take the opportunity to respond thoughtfully about how you're resolving the situation.

Step 6: Respond to reviews.

Along with answering questions, this takes ongoing effort. But it's worthwhile. To make sure you're receiving notifications, confirm the email address GMB has on file for each profile. Then respond in a timely and empathetic way.

Short on time?

Depending on how many locations your healthcare organization has, a Business Profile audit can be a lot of work. Let Coffey help. We can provide a customized list of action points to help improve your Business Profiles as part of a comprehensive website audit. Call 888.805.9101 or email us to get the ball rolling.

Recommended reading

Your healthcare website needs a content audit: Here's why
How to earn featured snippets for healthcare SEO
Healthcare SEO: 5 tips for writing content that ranks