How changes to Google can change your healthcare business

Private healthcare facilities and services, clinics, and practices doctors and businesses are attracting more and more patients and customers through the web. So, when Google makes a change that could significantly affect how your practice or business is displayed in Google search results, you need to understand the impact and what you need to do to as a result.

At Private Healthcare UK, we’re experts in understanding search engine optimisation for your kind of business. Google doesn’t stand changes the way that it indexes web site content, it changes the way that it displays search results. We try to keep up with those changes so that our clients can benefit from our insight.

Google changes search results for location-based searches

Many patients and consumers conduct location based searches on Google. They type in a healthcare service and a location. One in five searches on Google is related to location (e.g. dentist London), which is why Google has been doing lots of work on making local search results better for searchers.

How it was before

The results page for a location based search previously featured a list of local results represented as pins on a map.

This appeared at the top of the page, above the normal search results:

The local search results were limited to a total of seven.

How it has changed

On the new Google results page, the pins and map are still present, but local results contain additional information such as contact details, a photo or a review and appear more like normal search results. The map has been moved to the right column and “floats” or scrolls down the page as users move down results.

For some searches, the majority of the page is taken up with local results. For example, try a Google search for “London physiotherapist”. People are likely to perform more and more local searches as they get used to the results, making it increasingly important for healthcare businesses to appear here.

How to ensure that your healthcare business or practice appears in the local search results

Google’s local search results are taken from Google’s Places directory - to get yourself listed, visit Google Places. You may already have a listing, and if this is the case, you’ll need to verify that you are who you say you are, in order to make any changes to it.

As well as your contact details, your Google Place page can also include:

  • Detailed information on your product and services
  • Photos
  • Opening hours
  • Live updates on special offers
  • Coupons customers can print out and use
  • Customer reviews

You can also get statistics on your Google Place page such as how many people have visited your page and what they searched for to get there.


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How changes to Google can change your healthcare business

About the author

Keith Pollard is Executive chairman of LaingBuisson International Limited, an online publisher in the healthcare sector that operates market-leading web portals such as Private Healthcare UK and LaingBuisson International Limited is also active in the online medical travel sector through Treatment Abroad, International Medical Travel Journal and DoctorInternet, the Arabic medical tourism portal. View for my full profile.

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