Updated Google Guidelines for Practitioners & Departments

Linda Buquet

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Google recently did a minor update to the Google Places Quality Guidelines. Here is Jade's post from the Google and your Business forum.

Quality Guideline Update - for practitioners and departments

We are updating the Google Places Quality guidelines (Google Places quality guidelines) with regards to practitioners and departments within businesses and wanted to let you know.

Here?s the relevant updated text:

Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.

Individual practitioners may be listed individually as long as those practitioners are public-facing within their parent organization. Common examples of such practitioners are doctors, dentists, lawyers, and real estate agents. The practitioner should be directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours. A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specializations.

Departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government buildings may be listed separately. These departments must be publicly distinct as entities or groups within their parent organization, and ideally will have separate phone numbers and/or customer entrances.

Make sure to take a look at the rest of the guidelines, too!
More details and a good discussion going over at Mike's.
<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2013/02/14/google-local-quality-guideline-update-allows-for-multiple-departments/">Google+ Local Quality Guideline Update Allows for Multiple Departments</a>
 

djbaxter

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Thanks, Linda! Good to know. Planning to add another psychotherapist to my own location very soon.
 

Linda Buquet

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Oh I didn't know David. Congrats on your growth!

FYI for a long time you've been able to add listings for each practitioner, so that part is NOT new.

Be advised though that practitioner listings USUALLY hurt ranking for the main practice listing. OR if if your current listing is under YOUR name, adding a listing for him could hurt.

So be sure to read these 2 posts to learn about 1) the problem. 2) the solution.

Google Places DUPLICATES – Have Doctor, Dentist or Lawyer DUPES? You NEED to Read This - Google Places Optimization Blog

Overcoming New Google Places Duplicate Listing Problems for Dentists, Doctors, Attorneys - Google Places Optimization Blog
 

djbaxter

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It's actually for my future daughter-in-law :)

And my client base is pretty strong by now so I haven't done much with local search for myself. What I would do is add her name at the same address and start promoting her to help her expand her own client base.

Still working on my fiancee's sites at the moment but once I start trying to promote both in Local I imagine I'm going to have a lot of questions and need all the expertise in this forum a LOT. :)
 

Jo Shaer

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Hi Guys

My brain is tying itself in knots over this conundrum.

I have two therapists who work out of the same room within a medical centre . I believe the rules now say that I can do a separate listing for each of them providing they list the exact hours that they are actually at the centre with a different phone number for each. I could then link each listing to a separate About Therapist page on the website.

But how do I identify that room to make it different from the rest of the medical centre so that the two new listings do not merge with their main page? Previously, we used to add a Suite or Room #. Is that still allowed? Or can I put Therapist @ Medical Centre - which I have also seen?

To add to the confusion, they will be representing a franchise.

I did think that I might use the franchise name instead of the therapist name but then I have two different listings for the same franchise at the same address with two different phone numbers covering different time frames.

And the added problem that there is always the possibility that the therapist might leave but the franchise stay and I don't want to have to go through the 'this business has closed' option from back in June 2012 - I couldn't see whether this solution has since been updated.

It's making my head hurt so I suspect that Google will just throw up its hands and throw out the listings immediately.

Anyone care to get their grey matter around this?
 

Linda Buquet

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Based on what I "THINK" you are describing, this seems pretty straight forward to me.

Let me start with more straight forward example: A medical office. 3 Drs. 1 listing has practice name. Each Dr. listing should be THEIR name only. They don't need diff suites or rooms or anything. They are all part of the same office.

In your case seems like it's the same. Listings should be practitioner name only, then if they move to different office they won't have to change name or mark old listing as closed or anything.
 

Jo Shaer

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Hey Linda
Ta muchly but one fly in the ointment - the franchise part. The franchise do not own the medical centre so there will be other therapists from other businesses operating out of there and the franchise are keen to have their name on the listing....
 

Linda Buquet

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Not sure about that type of hybrid situation. Let's see if one our Map Maker experts see this thread and have feedback.
 

Jo Shaer

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Remember, we don't have MapMaker here in the UK so I won't be able to use a solution that involves tweaking a listing there :(
 

Linda Buquet

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Ya I know, but I was thinking they know how complicated situations that that would be handled here and about complicated naming rules and what's allowed and what isn't. So I was not suggesting they would edit in MM just advise what best naming protocol would be.
 
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Hey Linda
Ta muchly but one fly in the ointment - the franchise part. The franchise do not own the medical centre so there will be other therapists from other businesses operating out of there and the franchise are keen to have their name on the listing....
So describe the medical centre? Is it one building where people rent their own space inside? Do these two professionals have their own room or are they located inside another medical office? From the way you are describing it, it sounds like the franchise is trying to game the system. But I could be wrong and hopefully if you describe the building layout, how the professionals book their work, who controls the space they're working out of etc it would be helpful. Context is important.
 

rossicone

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Hello!

Possible new Google Guidelines regarding doctors?

I called and spoke with Google support this morning and was told that per Google Guidelines, a doctor cannot practice at two different locations. I asked about a scenario where a doctor practices at one location Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and a different location on Tuesday and Thursday (which is true for a lot of our clients). His response was that Google Guidelines say that doctors cannot practice at multiple locations.

I asked if this was the same for practice listings, and was told that multiple practice listings are only allowed if there multiple doctors and a different doctor practices at each location.

The Google support person then deleted our client's doctor listing for his main location, transferred the reviews to the practice listing, and left the doctor listing for the secondary office. I called twice and spoke with two different representatives, and both had the same response (during the second phone call, the representative even conferred with the first). One of them also said, ?I just found this out yesterday,? when referring to the Google Guidelines.

Does anyone know anything more about this??

This doesn't seem right because it is not how a business works in the real world. A doctor can indeed work at multiple locations. I am wondering if this was an individual case due to the Google support person I talked to, or if this is going to start rolling out more in the future :confused:
 

Linda Buquet

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Rachel we had a discussion with Google management about this and they told us Drs. attys could have listings at different practices as long as the hours showed when they are there.

I think there was maybe a public post about it. I'll see if I can find it, otherwise alert Google to this thread and see if they can clarify.
 

rossicone

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Hi Linda,

I will definitely call Google support back and point them to this thread. Thanks for your advice!

Say a doctor has two offices that are both open with office staff available Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm. Obviously the doctor cannot be at both locations at the same time, but the actual office is open. For our client's with multiple locations, they drive between offices depending on when appointments were scheduled. Is it okay to put the hours of operation for both of their doctor listings (one at each location) as Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm?

Thanks!
 

Linda Buquet

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I can only quote what is publicly stated in the guidelines and they say "The practitioner should be directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours." Which in the past I believe was designed to reflect the real world scenario of Doctors that practice at different offices at different times. But it sounds like support was telling you something different.

"Say a doctor has two offices that are both open with office staff available Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm. Obviously the doctor cannot be at both locations at the same time, but the actual office is open. For our client's with multiple locations, they drive between offices depending on when appointments were scheduled."

But that is what the PRACTICE listing is for. They each show that location is open full-time. Why do you need the doctor listings to as well?

So I'm curious. Why are you even concerned with the practitioner listings? Normally I recommend minimizing those so they don't conflict with the practice listing and knock it out of blended. Normally I don't even recommend claiming the Dr listings at all.

Do your clients pay you extra to optimize every Dr listing or why would you want to set them up? Just curious what you are trying to achieve, because I can see some rare cases where you would want to do what I sounds like you are trying to do. But typically I think it's counter-productive, although every case is different, so am wondering about yours.
 

djbaxter

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I can perhaps speak to that, Linda:

These days I have one office for seeing my patients and a second where I do some consulting for a government office. Today, I am only interested in promoting my own (single) office location.

However, in the not too distant past, there was a time where I provided services at as many as 3 locations. If I had wanted to hire Rachel to promote me in Local Search back then, my goal would be to promote ME, not the group practices where I provided services. And in that case, the scenario where I would be listed at different locations on different days would be exactly the situation.

Perhaps this is the situation with Rachel's clients?
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes that's a good scenario David and totally makes sense in that situation where the Dr is paying the consultant and does not own the practices he's working at.

I didn't get the sense that was the case with Rachel. She said:

"Say a doctor has two offices that are both open with office staff available Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm. Obviously the doctor cannot be at both locations at the same time, but the actual office is open."

So that made me think Dr Smith owns 2 practices and additionally wants 2 listings for himself personally. But maybe I'm wrong, so asked for more details.
 

djbaxter

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Yes good points. I was speed reading, i.e., reading with Merlot. Vacation mode. :eek:
 

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