STUDY: Nearly Half of UK Private Practices are Missing Basic Online Data
One of the quickest and easiest steps for marketing your private practice online is to setup a “Google My Business” (GMB) listing. We conducted a study which suggests nearly 50% of private clinics have not done so.
Those who do not are exposing themselves (and patients) to scammers and rerouting potential clients to competitors.
In this post we’ll explain what a GMB is, why you should claim one and how you can claim one for your medical practice.
Some Background to Local Searches
With the announcement that Yellow Pages are to deliver their final printed directories in January 2019, there are now few who would argue that the internet is essential for locating and contacting local businesses, including healthcare clinics.
In fact, mobile search is more popular than ever. Four out of five adults in the UK now own a smartphone. Since 2015, more internet searches have been performed on mobile devices than on desktops.
Voice related search is growing in popularity too “Google voice search queries are up 35 times compared to 2008” according to Search Engine Watch and mobile voice searches are three times more likely to be local-based than text.
What does local search mean for independent practitioners?
If your practice serves the local community, then having your details quickly accessible is critical for reaching those people searching for your business on a mobile device.
A Google My Business listing allows patients to access key information about your practice without ever even needing to click through to your website. Google is increasingly moving in this direction, with 30% of searches now getting the answers they need from the search page itself.
We conducted a study of nearly 40 local clinics across Dorset, nearly half of them (47.9%) were either unable to be located on Google Maps or had failed to claim the business listing as their own. This figure is slightly higher than the estimated online average of 44%.
Follow Us for Help with Marketing Your Private Practice in the UK.
My practice is listed on Google Maps, but it says the business is unclaimed. What will happen if I do not claim it?
By claiming your business on Google, you are confirming that you are the owner. This enables you to confirm essential information such as the phone number, physical address and website of your practice in addition to receiving and responding to comments and reviews.
If you neglect to do this literally ANYBODY can edit your listing. This includes details such as:
- Saying that your practice has closed down or never even existed
- Changing the name of your practice
- Changing your address
- Changing the category of your business
- Your phone number
- Your opening hours
- Your website address
In addition to this, you won’t even receive any notification of the edits.
The impact from this can range from well meaning patients and relatives adjusting the listings in error, to scammers and spammers adjusting the listing to send prospective patients to their own website.
Even if these events do not occur, searchers are likely to notice that the listing is unclaimed. This makes it difficult for patients and may even impact their trust in you. You may find your receptionist or secretary will be spending more of their time answering basic queries and giving directions by phone or email that could have been answered with a simple online search.
Why health professionals should use Google My Business
Up to date contact details on your website and social media accounts are vitally important to make your services accessible to potential clients, but by not taking the extra step of submitting a comprehensive Google My Business listing, you are missing the opportunity to:
- be found by the 86% of people looking for a business location using Google Maps
- receive phone enquiries/appointments via your listing
- receive and respond to reviews (more on this subject in future blog posts)
- display opening times
- display interior and exterior photos of your clinic or even a “virtual tour” of the premises
- display pictures of your friendly, welcoming staff
- give people an idea of where your clinic is in relation to searchers’ locations, and allow people to work out how long their journey should take
- allow users to ask you questions and be able to respond
- upload brief introductory videos
- display promotions and latest news in Twitter style post updates
- allow searchers to save your clinic’s location as a favourite in order to revisit easily at a later date
- potentially book appointments online and be contacted by SMS text messaging (when this planned facility is rolled out by Google)
If your practice is unlisted, here is what you need to know…
Google’s aim is to provide searchers with the closest match available, so in cases where Google is unable to locate or recognise a business, searchers are presented instead with the details of other similar businesses in the local area or businesses of a similar name that have submitted their listing.
In other words, by not creating a comprehensive Google My Business Listing you are effectively redirecting your potential clients straight into the warm welcome of your competitors’ secretaries when they were originally searching for you.
How do I setup a Google My Business Listing for my medical practice?
The good news is that this is a facility you can set up and make use of quite easily.
To do so follow these guidelines as published by Google themselves.
Bear in mind, however, that this is just one example of a listing platform / directory, and there will be many others to consider – both general such as yell.com, Bing and Yelp as well as industry specific sites such as UK Private Healthcare, MyHealthSpecialist, Doctify, Web.MD, Realself.com, iwantgreatcare.org and others.
I Don’t Have Time For All This.
If this all sounds like too much hassle for you or your practice manager, SERP Health can help. We are able to offer practitioners a solution with SERP Health Local.
Our comprehensive package will identify any duplicate, inaccurate or incomplete listings. We can set up comprehensive business listings on all major directories (including Google My Business) as well as industry specific directories. We even document and sign them over to you upon completion.
To claim your Google My Business listing and make sure your practice is visible to people on mobile, call us on 0333 012 4632 or email [email protected].
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