I moved closer to work at the beginning of last month, and needed to make an appointment with a new eye doctor. As AVID’s unofficial Google guru, of course the first thing I did was hit the search engines.
Even as someone who understands that there are more qualifications to look for in an ophthalmologist than “eye doctor in Norcross”, I (like many patients) was in a rush. I made an appointment with the first highly rated practice on the list, but on the day of my appointment, I showed up to an empty building.
I googled the practice again, called the number listed, but didn’t get an answer. A little angry for having wasted my time, I drove back to the office when the practice manager called my cell. The information on Google’s listing was incorrect, she explained. Would I like to reschedule? I decided that no, I would not like to reschedule. I ended up driving back across town to visit my old doctor instead.
This exact situation is happening to many hospitals, healthcare systems and physician practices across the country—sometimes totally unnoticed by the practice managers or marketing departments. As someone who works closely with Google, I totally understood that my potential ophthalmologist’s office had nothing to do with the incorrect listing. However, subconsciously the inconvenience was what determined my physician choice. This error caused the practice to lose a patient. How many others, I wondered, do they lose in a day? A month? A year?
Go Ahead, Check Yourself Out
Coincidentally enough, we have numerous clients using our digital strategy services at AVID Design for this exact issue. For a range of academic medical centers, hospitals and physician practices, we have embarked on an adventure to correct all of their Google listings. And that has been no easy feat — Google My Business is a two-headed beast!
- Google My Business is not optional – How will your patients find you if not through Google? Your patients are most undoubtedly searching for you, and results are popping up. Managing those results is unquestionably important.
- Google My Business is Not for the Faint of Heart – Representatives at Google have been very open that the Business platform was designed for just that—traditional retail businesses. The issues we experience with GMB are unique to healthcare, which is an unfamiliar area to the Google team. We are tackling that beast at AVID Design!
Keep in mind: Google My Business is still a new approach – with kinks and missing functionality that will all improve with time, but it is complicated by Google’s tendency is to shy away from healthcare endeavors. Defining a strategic approach to healthcare locations is beyond perplexing — and one that is tough to tackle alone.
The best way to figure out where you stand on Google’s radar is to search for your organization – down as many paths as possible. Search for your hospital name, your brand name, your physician names, practice names and so on. If you find pages for your organization, you should claim them as your own—especially if the information is incorrect.
What We’ve Learned
During our Google My Business initiation by fire over time, the most important lesson learned is that while this technology may still be emerging and imperfect, it has a very real, instant impact on healthcare organizations due to poor user experiences. Taking action sooner than later is always a good idea, but keep in mind that as with any other new online tool or functionality, flexibility is critical. The process may change direction quickly and is definitely a moving target! Be open to evolving your strategy, updating your goals and managing expectations.
Need help determining if you’ve got a Google beast on your hands? Give us a call and we can check out your page standings and see what information is being shared with your current or prospective patients.
AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePoint, Web design, SEO and PPC content development and assessment, online video and rich media, analytics and measurement, content management systems and more.
Whitney Stuart | Web Content Manager | AVID Design
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