If you are responsible for your hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility’s online marketing or patient acquisition, you are likely trying to tick off those lagging to-do’s from 2016 as you prepare for the upcoming new year. And just as likely, getting your Google My Business listings up to spec is on that list.
Although usually in the “low-hanging fruit” category of easy but often overlooked tasks for online healthcare marketers, updating your Google My Business page (or pages) is a job that’s never done because there are often frequent changes and updates to what you can and cannot do. Here is a list of key changes and new features from 2016 that will help you prioritize your workflow in these final weeks of 2016 and develop your strategies for 2017.
Google My Business Description Can Only be Edited in Google+ (August 2016)
When patients and customers search online for local hospitals, doctors and clinics, they often rely upon the results from regular Google searches and Google Maps, which includes your:
• Contact Info
• Hours (including holiday hours!)
• Introduction (description)
Up until August 2016, you used to be able to manage introductions in your Google My Business administration panel, but now it may only be done in Google+. So, if you haven’t updated them in a while—or have tried to but found that you were unable to in the My Business admin panel—be prepared to do it a little different than you have in the past.
Get help: Visit Google’s “Edit your business listing on Google” page
Manage Multiple Google Listings Via Bulk Upload Spreadsheets (February 2016)
Although a relatively simple procedure, updating your healthcare facility’s Google listing can be tedious if you are managing multiple listings. This is particularly true for online healthcare marketers that manage hospitals with large campuses and have listings for specific departments or even multiple campuses. Likewise, the same applies if you are managing listings for multiple doctors or clinics.
However, in February, Google simplified the process by allowing you to make changes with a bulk upload spreadsheet. Then in April, they rolled out a new easy-to-use process for enabling all of your listings for download.
They continued to improve the process through the year by enabling bulk updates for:
• Logo, profile and cover images (March 2016)
• Spreadsheet change reviews (July 2016)
• Editing attributes (e.g., “has Wi-Fi”) (December 2016)
So, rather than having to go the the admin panel for each listing, finding the field that you want to change, and then having to enter updated information, you can now do it all from the convenience of a single spreadsheet that also lets you verify all information for all listings at a single glance!
Get help: Visit Google’s “Manage Google updates” page, “Create your bulk upload spreadsheet” page and “Enable listings for download” page
Manage Google Updates Automatically (August 2016)
The importance of this feature is that it helps resolve a problem that many online healthcare marketers might not know even exists!
The problem: Google can change or unpublish your listing if it discovers incorrect information in it from third-party sources or direct users. In such instances, your “Google Updates” status will indicate:
• If new data was added
• If data was removed
• If data was replaced
The solution: First, you’ll need to detect the change, which requires you to regularly monitor your listings. Second, after you’ve detected a change, you can manage the updates in bulk, using the aforementioned spreadsheet download/upload process.
Insights Now Available for Photos (December 2016)
Using analytical tools such as Google’s Insights is essential to any online healthcare marketing strategy because it enables you to not only learn how visitors found your healthcare facility’s listing and Website, but perhaps as importantly, what they do after they arrive at them.
Content is ultimately what is attracting and retaining those visitors, which too often is narrowly considered in terms of the text on a Web page. However, a solid healthcare content marketing strategy should also include analysis—insights—for other crucial engagement metrics, such as:
• Driving directions requests
• Phone calls from the listing (e.g., how many, what times)
As of this month, you can now capture and analyze performance metrics for your listings images—which means that if your listing doesn’t have any photos, getting some uploaded and making that part of your ongoing content strategy should become a priority.
Get help: Visit Google’s “View Insights from your business listing” page
Improved Local Search Ranking Guidance (March 2016)
Last but not least, in March, Google announced its “Improve your local ranking on Google” guidance. Although neither a new change nor a new feature, it is no less important, as it is a very simple yet powerful document that explains:
• What information is needed to maximize how often your healthcare facility’s local listing is found
• How Google determines local rankings
As Sequence Health’s Associate Director of Search Engine Marketing, Susan Gullion is one of our most knowledgeable resources for enhancing our healthcare clients’ search engine marketing strategies with SEO, PPC and social media.
Sequence Health’s patient acquisition solutions can make your healthcare facility’s patient acquisitions smarter every step of way. Contact us today to learn more about Sequence, our innovative patient engagement platform.