Much like the chicken and the egg, it can be challenging to determine which comes first in your Google My Business (GMB) search optimization strategy, the practice or the practitioner. GMB allows individual practitioners to have their own listing separate from the practice itself when you’re a dentist. But does this actually help optimization or hurt it?
The answer depends on your own unique situation.
How It Works
For clients who are either doing a Full SEO Setup or Ongoing SEO with GDW, you may have heard us mention practitioner listings and practice listings, especially regarding Google My Business.
In medical fields such as dentistry, knowing the difference between these two is very important. Quickly, these two types of listings can be defined as:
- Practice Listing: an online listing that represents a practice, which houses all of the business’s unique NAP (name, address, and phone number) information.
- Practitioner Listing: an online listing that represents an individual practitioner. Google defines an individual practitioner as a public-facing professional that typically has his or her own customer base. In the case of dentistry, this would mean a dentist is considered an individual practitioner, but the hygienist would not be. Find more about Google’s specific guidelines for individual practitioners here.
How Does GDW Handle These Listings?
In 2018, Google changed the way that they wanted these two listings handled and became more specific in the way the listings are formatted.
Within the field of dentistry, the difference comes down to whether the dental practice is a multi-practitioner office or a solo-practitioner office.
Before we break these down, it’s important to note that every SEO campaign is different so the strategy might vary slightly for each practice. Your team at GDW works closely with you to determine the best SEO strategies for your GMB listings and your ongoing monthly SEO campaign so you don’t have to worry about the details.
If the office has only one dentist, Google prefers that the practice and practitioner share a single listing. They provide a specific format they want us to follow, which is [brand/company]: [practitioner name]. An example of this formatting would be, “Gladnick Dentistry: Jeff Gladnick, DDS.”
This works well for dentists because it makes it easier for patients to search for either the practice name or practitioner name to find all of the information they are looking for on a single listing. Additionally, it becomes easier for dentists to collect online reviews when there is just one listing.
If the practice has multiple dentists at one location, Google suggests that only one practice listing is used to represent the business that is separate from the practitioner listings. This listing will simply be titled with the business’s name.
The next obvious question will be - does each practitioner at this office get their own listing? This is where things get slightly more complicated and will vary for each campaign. When the SEO team is assessing this situation, we first look to see if any practitioner listings already exist on Google and if they are ranking in search results.
We want to avoid situations where there are several practitioner listings that are almost identical, as they may end up competing with each other on Google’s search results. If listings do exist for practitioners, there often isn’t much we can do to get them removed. Because Google doesn’t allow for these to be deleted, we make sure they are claimed and optimized, and the URL is sent to the individual dentist’s bio page. If they don’t exist, we very likely will not create them unless specifically requested or we have a very compelling reason to create one.
However, sometimes we work with a multi-practitioner office where each practitioner does have a listing because they specialize in various areas, such as an orthodontist and a general dentist. An example of this would be:
Practice Listing: Gladnick Dentistry, categorized as “Dental Clinic”
Practitioner Listing 1: Dr. Jon Gladnick, who is a general dentist, categorized as a “Dentist”
Practitioner Listing 2. Dr. Jane Gladnick, who is an orthodontist, categorized as an “Orthodontist”
In a perfect world for marketers, all practices with multiple practitioners would be set up like this. Using categories that are all different will reduce the likelihood that these listings compete with each other in search results, or even worse, filter each other out.
How to Set Up Your Practitioner Listing on Your Own
As a Solo Business Owner:
The essential information you need on your GMB profile is as follows:
- Company name
- Location address
- Company’s main phone number
- Website URL (Home or location page)
- Business category or main area of practice – for example, General Dentist
If you’re using your name as your practice name, it might benefit you to create a separate practitioner listing.
As an Affiliate of a Larger Organization or Franchise
In this case, you’ll start to format the company name like this: (Brand or franchise name): (Practitioner’s name).
Then you’ll provide all of the same information listed above.
As a Practice With Multiple Practitioners
When your practice employs multiple practitioners, it may be a good idea for each practitioner to create their own listing, especially if they have specialties. Including specialty information can generate leads for different types of keywords that could bring more traffic to your website.
Specialized practitioner listings could include this information:
- Practitioner’s name
- The location they practice from
- Phone number if it’s different from the main phone line
- Practitioner’s URL that links to bio page or service page about their specialty
- A category with a description of their specialty – this should be different from the main practice’s description
Still Confused About Your Situation? You Don’t Have to Go It Alone!
At Great Dental Websites, we have worked with every kind of dental practice and have several strategies for optimizing your business on Google. If you are interested in learning more, contact us, and we can go over your marketing options.