It’s extremely likely that the next new patient to visit your plastic surgery practice or med spa will be local to your service area. To win in local search, it is important to understand what information is privileged by Google’s location-based algorithms and (most importantly) how that information is (or isn’t) presented to the consumer.
Enter: Google’s Map Pack
GrowthMed is your guide to the local search labyrinth. Let our resident tech-wizard and fearless founder, Steven Fruchter, point the way through the serpentine twists and turns of Google’s Map Pack.
What is Google’s Map Pack?
The Map Pack appears at the top of Google’s organic search results, just below the ads. It is a defined block of info listing the 3 nearest, most relevant and prominent businesses in your area which correspond to your query. The list appears below an insert of an interactive map displaying your location relative to a trio of pins marking the businesses’ locations.
Needless to say, because of the Map Pack’s high visibility and utility, services ranked there enjoy a supreme advantage over the competition.
How Do I Rank My Plastic Surgery Practice on the Map Pack?
Google’s local search results are ranked by its algorithms. They are coded to balance the intent of your search against your proximity to their most germane findings. There are three categories of data Google considers when it determines which lucky 3 businesses present the strongest case for inclusion in the Map Pack.
How Google Determines Local Ranking
- Relevance – your website and Google My Business listing must be optimized to a user’s search query
- Distance – your practice must be in close proximity to the user
- Prominence – your practice must be held in high esteem by other local users, e.g. positive reviews
We’ll discuss each of these factors in greater detail in the following sections.
Why is Local Search So Important?
Convenience is key. Google’s own data shows that “near me” searches for health-related services have doubled since 2015. This presents an opportunity for local practices to raise their visibility and get found by prospective patients. In 2017, a whopping 77% of smartphone users searched the Internet to find local health services. These micro-moments of intent-laden web searches are what convert prospects into leads.
Good SEO is all about relevance. At GrowthMed, we know how to put your practice’s best foot forward when the algorithms come crawling.
To even qualify for Map Pack placement, you must be listed in the Google My Business (GMB) index. Claiming, creating and maintaining your GMB listing requires that you first verify the physical existence of your practice. In order to validate the veracity of your address, Google will send you a snail mail postcard containing your verification code.
Just as GrowthMed’s SEO magicians make use of meta-tags, titles and keywords to give your website its online clout, there are similar fields in an optimized GMB listing.
Relevant Google My Business Fields
- Practice name
- Business category
- Address, phone number, office hours (i.e. NAP data)
Your proximity to an online searcher is out of your control. What you can control, however, is ensuring that your address info is accurate and optimized for search.
Google does not recognize P.O. Boxes. It only indexes a business’s legitimate, physical address on Google My Business. Though it is possible to verify multiple addresses if your practice is spread out across several locations.
Make sure that all of your locations are listed on a single website representing your practice.
The best way to gain local prominence is through an abundance of positive and well-managed reviews. Good reviews show that your practice is venerated by the community. And replying to all your reviews (even the bad ones) shows that yours is a responsive and responsible plastic surgery practice.
Tips For Getting Good Reviews
- Make it easy—create a custom GMB link to lubricate the review process
- Read and reply to reviews to build trust
Review snippets are showcased on Google’s Map Pack results along with your other GMB information. They play a notable role in consumer psychology and decision-making—97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
Google gets a wide variety of information about businesses from users. Its algorithms monitor recurring keywords and phrases in your reviews. Your practice’s profile is updated whenever someone engages with your GMB profile.
Go Big, Think Local
GrowthMed knows that convenience and closeness play a large role in acquiring new patients for your plastic surgery practice. So, if you want to go big, think local. Optimizing your online presence for relevance, proximity and prominence will help you rise through the ranks in the local search race.
Questions? Contact GrowthMed to learn more.
- Improve your local ranking on Google. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en
- Micro-Moments Guide: How Australians Find and Choose Health Services. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-aunz/marketing-resources/micro-moments/micro-moments-guide-how-australians-find-and-choose-health-services/
- How Google sources and displays business information – Computer. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://support.google.com/business/answer/2721884
- Read and reply to reviews – Android. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474050
- Get reviews on Google. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474122
- Create a link for customers to write reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://support.google.com/business/answer/7035772