Practitioner listings - to claim or not to claim

Martin Briggs

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Hey everyone,

I've been following Joy's advice by generally not claiming individual practitioner pages and, instead, focusing efforts on the company page (unless circumstances dictate otherwise).

However, I've now got one client with multiple practitioner Google My Business pages (all unclaimed) which use the incorrect format (Company name: Practitioner name) as it's not a single practitioner business.

Does this change anything? Is it worth claiming these to simply update the name? With the "Company name: Practitioner name" format, are they more likely to be seen as duplicates of the company listing (not just on Google, but across the whole local ecosystem)?

Ultimately, the business listing is ranking in local search - it's a small town with little competition so probably any action or inaction isn't going to change much.

But, if this issue crops up again, what would people advise?

Thanks!

Martin
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Martin,

I would not claim. That would just give them more power to displace the practice listing.

You can edit right on the listing without claiming. Change name and remove website if listed.

Here is a lot more info for you:
<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-duplicates-merges/864-overcoming-google-practitioner-duplicate-listing-problems-dentists-attorneys.html">Overcoming Google Practitioner Duplicate Listing Problems for Dentists, Attorneys</a>
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hi Martin,

Make the edits to the unclaimed practitioner listings in Google Maps or Google Map Maker. Post links to the listings here, or PM me if you want to keep them private.
 
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I disagree with Linda's logic as to why not to verify them.

Google "knows" of their existence and will typically not let you delete them. As such claiming them in and of itself will not impact the ranking of your main listing one way or the other.

Claiming them does give you more control over the visual aspects of the
Listing and thus you can make it more appealing.

Google has developed a pretty good understanding of "sub" entities and their relation to primary entities. And will show one or the other based on their internal logic. In some markets we see the doctor listing as being the prominent one. And making sure that the URL is correct the strength can be passed up and down the line.

The real question for me is not whether you should verified and gain control which has little cost associated with it but whether you should take the time to build out citations and prominence for the other listings.
 

JoyHawkins

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Hey Martin,

Just wanted to jump in and clarify. I'm guessing you were referring to this article.

So just to be clear, I definitely would not make an absolute statement that you should never verify practitioner listings. I actually listed lots of examples of cases where you would want to verify them. In your case, if the information is wrong and you can't easily get it corrected, verifying would be a great option. You can still easily minimize the listing by removing the website field. Note: you actually can't do that unless you verify the listing so if anything, sometimes verifying is better for that reason alone. If you tried to edit the listing on MapMaker and remove the URL, the edit would get denied. Do this same thing in GMB and it would go through just fine!

The one thing I did mention that I pretty much hardly ever do is create/verify a listing for a practitioner that doesn't already have one. HOWEVER, I'm about to publish my next Search Engine Land article on a chiropractor case I took on recently where the doctor that left his office is actually hurting because she doesn't have a page at her new practice.

So in a nutshell, it always depends on weighing the pros and cons. Like Mike said, verifying a listing doesn't help its ranking power. At least not that I've seen any time recently.
 
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I think that while it is possible that you might want to remove the URLs from practitioner listings it is equally possible that you might want to add a practitioner URL to the listing.

The reason for this is that these sub entities can actually add strength the the practice listing itself.

There isn't, as Joy pointed out, a simple single answer to this.

But if the individual listings are in Maps, then minimally verifying them and IF YOU HAVE the budget consider if there is a benefit to promoting them or if not enough budget possibly (though URL minimizing) demoting them.

In some markets and in some specialties Google is showing a strong preference for the indvidual practitioner.

Also if one of the practitioners is well known and has a strong internet presence (perhaps he has spoken at conferences etc) by adding his URL it might actually help the main listings.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Joy, what is the appropriate naming sequence for a single practitioner listings vs multiple practitioner listings?

Is it single = "New York Dental Associates: Jack Smith DDS"

And multiple simply = "Jack Smith DDS"?
 
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You got it. Google explicitly addresses this question in their guide lines: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en

Multiple practitioners at one location

If the practitioner is one of several public-facing practitioners at this location:

The organization should create a listing for this location, separate from that of the practitioner.
The title of the listing for the practitioner should include only the name of the practitioner, and shouldn?t include the name of the organization.
Solo practitioners that belong to branded organizations

If a practitioner is the only public-facing practitioner at a location and represents a branded organization, it's best for the practitioner to share a listing with the organization. Create a single listing, named using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].

Acceptable: "Allstate: Joe Miller" (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)
 

JoshuaMackens

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You got it. Google explicitly addresses this question in their guide lines: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en

Multiple practitioners at one location

If the practitioner is one of several public-facing practitioners at this location:

The organization should create a listing for this location, separate from that of the practitioner.
The title of the listing for the practitioner should include only the name of the practitioner, and shouldn’t include the name of the organization.
Solo practitioners that belong to branded organizations

If a practitioner is the only public-facing practitioner at a location and represents a branded organization, it's best for the practitioner to share a listing with the organization. Create a single listing, named using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].

Acceptable: "Allstate: Joe Miller" (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)
Thanks Mike.

I'm surprised that they recommend having a listing for a solo practitioner. Last time I checked they said the profile should be removed. In fact, Google phone support about 2 months ago told me the same thing and I told them I'd call back if I needed to so I could stall them from removing the doctor's profile. I went to Twitter support and they said the same thing. That the single practitioner should be merged with the company profile.

Am I missing something here?
 

JoyHawkins

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Yes if there are 2 listings for a solo practitioner - one for the practice and a different one for the practitioner, they will marge them and use the formatting Mike specified.

They don't delete one, they merge them. You can also have the reviews merged. I wrote about it here.
 

dank402

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Hoping for some advice...I have a doc that works at two separate locations/hospitals in two nearby cities. One listing is verified, the other is unverified but still appearing in maps/search/knowledge panel.

Would you recommend verifying the second listing? Unfortunately I don't own or manage the verified listing at this time, but all the information is correct.

thanks in advance!
 

JoyHawkins

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What's your goal? You want the one listing to show up instead of the other? That might not be possible.
 

dank402

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What's your goal? You want the one listing to show up instead of the other? That might not be possible.
According to Google's guidelines: "He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours." So I am assuming I will be OK to verify both if the hours and days are precise and accurate. He can't be in two places at once, right?

The cities I am dealing with are somewhat close (Omaha and Lincoln, NE), but ideally I want searchers in Omaha to get the Omaha listing and searchers in Lincoln to see the Lincoln listing.

I've been a big fan of leaving practitioner listings unverified and simply cleaning them up from MapMaker, but with the one listing already verified and out of my control, I am wondering how to best approach this other location.
 

JoyHawkins

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If the listings are in 2 different cities with different addresses and phone numbers, they wouldn't be competing with each other so I wouldn't worry.
 
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Claiming confers NO ADVANTAGE other than control of the photos (sort of) and control of the hours. Besides that there is no ranking advantage OR disadvantage. So there is no harm in verifying.
 

JoyHawkins

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Yep. I would verify unless you are worried about outranking the practice listing, which might happen even if you don't verify.
 

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