Google Practitioner Listings: Understanding the Basics
Recently there has been a lot of noise about online business listings in the veterinary digital marketing world, especially when it comes to duplicate listings.
If you’ve used the Moz Local tools to check for duplicate listings, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a listing for not only for your main practice, but for the individual doctors at your practice as well. While instinct tells us that those listings shouldn’t be there and that they’re getting in the way of your official business listing, the truth is, Google made those listings on purpose. They’re called practitioner listings, and they work a bit differently than Google’s other business listings. Here are some of the basics of how to handle these listings.
Who Owns Google Practioner Listings?
Practitioner listings, in Google’s eyes, don’t belong to the hospital or clinic, but rather to the practitioner. This means that it is the responsibility of the doctor to claim, update, and maintain that listing. Most of the time, however, vets don’t know about, or don’t have time to take care of, that listing on their own. so they sit unclaimed on Google.
This isn’t really a problem until the doctor moves to a different location – this leaves an out-of-date listing at their old work address. This can become a bit confusing for potential customers looking at the Google map – they’ll see a bunch of practitioner listings, and not all of them will be up to date.
What to Do About Veterinarians Who Are No Longer With Your Practice
Unless you are the doctor named in the listing, the listing does not belong to you. That means that, as a practice / practice manager, you shouldn’t go through the process of claiming and updating the listing without the express permission of the vet.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to get this listing right! You have the option to suggest an edit by clicking into the listing and clicking the pencil icon. Your best bet to get that changed is to look up where that doctor is working now, and enter that address in instead. If that doesn’t work (it might take Google at least a week to publish the changes), you can also mark it as permanently closed.
If it’s an option, you can also contact the doctor and have them claim and update their listing so that they can move it to the correct location. This benefits them as well since it makes their practitioner listing more accurate, too.
Managing Listings for Current Vets
Make all the doctors at your practice claim and update their Google practitioner listings. Keeping those listings up-to-date and looking pretty not only helps the practitioner, but the business’s online appearance as well. Having all the business information consistent across all listings makes for the best user experience – no one will get frustrated looking at all the listings and finding different hours or phone numbers.
Having control of their listings works out really well for the doctor as well; if they ever move or switch practices, they can update the listings on their own to benefit both their old practice and their new one.
Manage Your Online Reputation
Google practitioner listings play an important role for individual doctors – it gives them a tool to be seen as their own professional, while still being associated with their current practice. While it may seem like these listings can muddy the search results water, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that all information out there related to your business is accurate and presentable. This makes for the best user experience possible and goes a long way in helping your online reputation flourish.