An eye surgeon’s quick guide to local search visibility on Google My Business

Have you ever been out and about and found yourself typing “Coffee shop near me” or “Best Italian restaurant in (your city)” in your search bar? Likewise, when thinking about your next meal, your next purchase or simply your next destination, the first step is often a Google Search.

According to a 2016 study, 97% of consumers rely on online search when it comes to finding services in their local area1https://www.comparehare.co.uk/97-of-consumers-search-for-local-businesses/ . This means, if you have a local business, you’ll want to show up on local search results. To maximise your local exposure, a well optimised Google My Business listing is your most valuable tool.

“When someone searches for a business or place near their location, they’ll find local results across Google, in places like Maps and Search.” (…) “To improve your business’s local ranking, use Google My Business to claim and update your business information2How to improve your local ranking on Google https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en-GB .”

Google aims to show the most relevant results possible to its users – while evaluating the distance and prominence of a business.

Users will see search results based on their search query, location, search history and device. The same happens when potential patients are looking for a healthcare provider online.

Google will favour business listings that are local to the searcher, relevant to what they are searching for and well-known in the area. If you want to maximise your local search exposure as a doctor, you’ll need to optimise your clinic’s Google Business listing for your customer avatar based on 1) relevance, 2) distance and 3) prominence.

If your clinic doesn’t have a Google My Business listing yet, we strongly recommend you add one. Click here to learn how.

How to optimise a Google My Business listing for relevance

The key to optimising a Google Business listing for relevance is to communicate to Google that your business is exactly what your target patients are looking for.

Start with adding as much business information as possible. Google will ask for your business name, the category of your business, your local address and a phone number associated with your business when you first add your listing. Complete every field.

But what else can you do to optimise your listing’s relevance in local searches? Here are some tips and tricks we’ve successfully used to maximise search visibility for our clients:

  • Utilize Google’s category function to add more than one category. For example, if your primary category is “Eyecare clinic”, add additional categories such as “LASIK surgeon”, “Optometrist”, “Ophthalmologist”, “Cataract surgeon”, or “Laser eye surgery clinic”.
  • Add links to your website and appointment booking page.
  • Add a business description that mentions your services and unique selling proposition. This should include your primary call to action.
  • Include relevant keyword phrases in your listing. If you want your business to show up for searches including “laser eye surgery” make sure you add this keyword within your listing name, description and services.
  • Add relevant posts to your Google My Business listing that share valuable information around your key treatments.
  • Add your logo and a custom header image to make it easily recognisable for prospective patients.

How to optimise a Google My Business listing for distance

Chances are, most patients won’t be open to travelling extensive distances for your services. But, don’t worry, it’s not your fault – it’s your patient’s tendency to favour convenience.

And while medical tourism indeed is a factor for countries that offer cheaper services than others – our clients’ data suggests that most of their revenue-generating patients live within a 1-hour driving radius of their chosen clinic. So what can you do to heighten your chances of being featured in Google’s local pack?

  • Match your address to be the exact same on all of your platforms. Even slight variations as “Street” and “St.” can seriously affect your search visibility.
  • If your clinic has multiple locations, make sure you add them in the location management section. Read more on best practices on how to use GMB for numerous sites here.
  • Make sure you verify all locations. While Google sometimes offers alternative ways to verify a business location, they will often ask you to verify your location via postcard. This process is free and easy. Here’s how.
  • Add a 360° virtual clinic tour and images of your clinic. Rename all photos to include your
    • business name
    • location, and
    • focus keyword phrase

before uploading them to your listing and adding custom geotags to your GMB images.

How to optimise a Google My Business listing for prominence

Remember the popular kids in school when you were a teenager? They were voted prom queen or king, “most likely to become famous”, and all teachers and students knew their names.

Of course, their popularity was not purely based on achievements. It was based on what others thought of them.

That’s how Google ranks business listings for prominence. The difference is, it’s not your peers deciding who wins the popularity game – it’s your patients. Here’s how to show Google that your business is well-known in your area:

  • Increase your Google reviews and ratings. Many Google reviews and an excellent average rating are essential if you want to be featured in local search results. In April 2021, Google launched the product review update making the content of reviews a ranking factor. This means that businesses with more quality, in-depth reviews are favoured3What creators should know about Google’s product reviews update https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2021/04/product-reviews-update.
  • Make sure to respond to positive and negative reviews and look out for questions submitted by patients through the Questions & Answers section.
  • Improve your Google website ranking by optimising for search engines. Learn how to use medical SEO for practice growth here.
  • Google will analyze your clinic’s online presence across different channels. Make sure your business appears consistently under the EXACT same name and link social media profiles where appropriate (e.g. in your website’s footer).

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

Keeping track of your Google My Business as a doctor

Once your Google My Business listing is optimised for local search, check it regularly for reviews and listing suggestions submitted by patients.

Keep your information up to date as your business changes to avoid frustration for your patients. Showing a broken phone number or inaccurate opening hours could stop your business from being featured in local search results.

You can monitor your progress in Google’s insight report and learn how, where and when patients are finding your business listing. This client’s data suggests that over 80% of people finding their business listing in the last quarter were searching for product or service related terms such as “laser eye surgery”:

Boost your search visibility with advertising

The quickest way to boost search visibility in your area remains by starting paid ads. While investing time in improving your organic search results is more sustainable, paid traffic can be turned on and off like a faucet and therefore provides more control.

Learn how to use paid traffic for your medical practice here. We recommend focusing on creating awareness through both organic search and paid ads for maximum exposure in Google’s search results.

In case you needed one more reason for claiming your Google My Business listing: A well-optimised GMB listing will benefit both your organic search visibility and your paid traffic results.

To us, it’s a no brainer. After all, you want your patients to be able to find you when they are starting their customer journey.

About the author

Elisa Friedl
Account Consultant

Elisa Friedl is one of LiveseySolar’s Account Consultants. As a Customer Value Optimisation specialist, Elisa has learned how to develop meaningful relationships with your customers and automate the customer acquisition process by designing strategies to utilise entry point offers to increase sales. She works as a junction between our clients’ desire for exponential growth and our teams’ eagerness to work towards this goal. As an Account Consultant, Elisa aims to raise her customers’ target market awareness by optimising organic and paid traffic to on-brand online appearances. Her involvement in website production, lead magnet implementation and follow-up strategies engage clients’ target markets and turns leads into conversions.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK