How Medical Practices Can Take Advantage of the Latest Google My Business Updates

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Google My Business has long been a valuable tool for healthcare practices. Now, a new update will allow providers to take advantage of additional branding and promotional features.

If there’s one place on the internet where your healthcare practice should be in 2019 — besides, of course, your own website — it’s Google My Business. A recent report shows that about 7 percent of all Google searches are health-related, which is equal to one billion per day. 

More than ever, most patient journeys are starting with a quick Google search, and medical practices that are able to attract patients’ attention right in their search results have an edge over the competition. Luckily, new features announced by Google at the end of June promise to make it even easier for healthcare practices to build their GMB presence and draw in new patients.

Breaking Down the New Google My Business Features

Many of the new GMB features are designed to encourage more robust branding and promotions. For example, businesses will now be able to add a logo to the upper right corner of their GMB profile. In addition, businesses will be able to choose a cover photo that appears when users pull up their profile, and Google promises that a dynamic new slide show model — with the ability to add captions — is on its way.

One of the most exciting new features is the rollout of short URLs. Currently, GMB URLs consist of a long string of numbers and characters. The new update will allow businesses to create a short, custom name, which can be used to search on Google Maps or input into the search bar to visit a specific GMB page.

In terms of promotions, Google will now allow businesses to send an exclusive offer or promotion to prospects who “follow” the business on GMB. In addition, Google is launching its own merchandise site where companies can create and order stickers, framed posters, and other promotional assets highlighting their best Google reviews.

Finally, the most significant — and most mysterious — new feature is what Google is calling a “Local Favorites” badge. Though it’s not entirely clear what the badge will look like or how its recipients will be determined, Google has said that the honor will be awarded to the top 5% of local businesses in a particular category. 

What the New Updates Mean for Medical Practices

Like many GMB updates, these new features offer medical practices new opportunities to interact with patients and patient leads, from the top of the funnel to the very bottom. The potential competitive twist of the “Local Favorites” badge makes this update especially notable.

While Google’s criteria for this badge isn’t clear, it’s likely that the platform will favor businesses who actively update their GMB profile and frequently use it to engage with customers. It’s always good practice to respond to customer reviews and keep your GMB profile current, but with rankings on the line, it’s even more important. 

Fortunately, the new features will offer even more opportunities to keep your GMB looking fresh and your patient base engaged. Practices that follow these guidelines are likely to see results in the form of a shiny new profile badge and an influx of new patients.

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