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The Ultimate Guide to Practitioner Listings on Google My Business [2021]

Included in this Guide

What are practitioner listings?
What business types are allowed practitioner listings?
How do solo practitioners differ from multi-practitioner listings?
What if the practitioner no longer works there?

What are practitioner listings?

Public-Facing professionals (doctors, lawyers, dentists, realtors, etc.) are allowed their own listings separate from the office they work for.  If you’re wondering if a person is allowed a practitioner listing, ask yourself if they do the following:

  1. Have a direct relationship with customers where customers would request them by name (such as a hairdresser).
  2. Have schedules that sometimes vary from the normal hours of the business they work for.
  3. Have a business category in GMB that accurately describes what they do.
  4. Have their own prices set.
  5. Sometimes work out of different locations.

What types of businesses are allowed practitioner listings?

The following are business types that are [generally] allowed practitioner listings:

  • Attorneys
  • Doctors – any type such as physicians, dentists, chiropractors, therapists, etc.
  • Hairdressers (note: Google also said it’s fine for them to work out of their houses).
  • Insurance Agents/Brokers
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Music instructors
  • Personal trainers
  • Realtors
  • Soft medicine practitioners such as massage therapists, dental hygienists, and registered nurses
  • Tattoo artists
  • Tutors

How do solo practitioners differ from multi-practitioner listings?

Solo Practitioners

Google recommends that solo practitioners have 1 listing that combines the name of the practice with the name of the practitioner.  For example, “Allstate Insurance: Bob Smith”.  However, it’s not actually a violation of the guidelines for a solo practitioner to have a separate listing for themself as well as a separate one for their practice.  A scenario where you might want to consider having 2 listings is if there are multiple categories that apply to your business type.

Multiple Practitioners

If the business has multiple practitioners, you are not able to get these listings removed or merged provided the practitioner still works there.


Should I create practitioner listings?

Sometimes it is a good idea to create listings for practitioners.  Generally, this is a good idea when there are multiple GMB categories that apply to a business. Instead of only focusing on the main listing and trying to downplay the practitioner listings, a better strategy would be working towards getting all listings ranking for different keywords. This typically only works if you have practitioners that specialize in different things. Since the landing page impacts ranking, you can also use this to your advantage.

Let’s say your client is a chiropractor who also has a massage therapist at their office. The massage therapist’s listing could link to a page on the site that ranks high for massage therapy and the chiropractor could rank to the page that ranks highest organically for chiropractic terms. This is a great way to make the pages more visible instead of competing.

Another example would be a law firm. You could have the main listing for the law firm optimized for things like “law firm” and then have 1 lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and another lawyer who specializes in criminal law. This would allow you to take advantage of the organic ranking for several different keywords.

practitioner listings

Keep in mind that if your goal is to have 3 of your listings all rank for the exact same keyword on Google, thus monopolizing the entire 3-pack, this is an unrealistic strategy. Google has filters that stop the same website from appearing too many times in the results and unless you’re in a really niche industry or market, it’s almost impossible to accomplish this.  Below is an example of how we were able to get a dermatologist ranked for more keywords as a result of strategically utilizing practitioner listings.

What if the practitioner no longer works there?

If a practitioner no longer works for you, what you can do with the listing often comes down to who has control of the listing.

If the brand/company controls the listing, they are able to get the listing deleted from Google if they specifically request it.  I have found GMB support often has a hard time understanding these requests so if you run into difficulty getting a listing deleted, I would suggest posting about it over at the Google My Business support community.

If the practitioner is the one that controls the listing, they have the ability to update the listing to list the details of the new place they work. This can cause a lot of headaches for the business they no longer work for which is why it is essential to find and claim all the listings for practitioners that work for you.  Often when we do audits for SMBs we find practitioner listings they had no clue existed.

You can also check out our article and get advice on local SEO for dentists.


Want more local SEO tips?
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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. This is a good guide – thanks joy 🙂 Doing a ‘practitioner audit’ is one of things I’m going to implement – in my case it could be done two or three times a year.

  2. Any advice for multiple practitioners (Insurance agents) who work remotely, ie in different states? They are in fact employees of the central office but they do fall under the guidelines listed above for practitioners, and we want to give them more exposure in their home territories. They have no office but they travel to meet clients in person. I attempted to add them in GMB following their advised format, ‘MAIN COMPANY NAME – AGENT NAME’ They have a separate web page within the name main domain and phone number. GMB rejected it for quality.

    Also it seems there is no category for ‘Insurance Agent’ just Insurance Broker, which is what the main company is, so the agent can’t be differentiated per your suggestion.

    1. Hey Lee,

      There are different categories that fall under insurance for the specific types (auto, home etc). You should be able to list them as service area businesses as long as the addresses are cleared on the listing (not visible) and you’re using the home addresses.

  3. Hi Joy,

    I have a client who is a mortgage lending agent working at a larger firm. Each agent in the firm competes with one another for business and to help generate more leads directly to himself he has created his own website. The firm has a GMB, however my client would like to create his own GMB. Can my client create his own GMB using the same address as the firm? What is the best way to establish himself online and not violate GMB policies?

  4. This is a very helpful guide, Joy. Thank you. I’m still wondering, however, if the pros of differentiation/specialization outweigh the cons of distributing reviews across multiple profiles for law firms/attorneys. First, distributing them would seem to hurt the visibility/search performance of the firm profile. This seems like a potential liability especially if the attorney leaves the firm and takes the practitioner GBP with them (or at least has it removed). That said, it could work in the firm’s favor if the attorney had gotten more than an average number of negative reviews. Do you think the pros of practitioner listings outweigh the cons? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Hey Matt,
      I would suggest creating listings for the attorneys you think are the least likely to leave. In looking at your site, I do think it would be advisable for you guys because there are several categories for a family lawyer and then completely different categories for criminal law. I’d probably suggest creating one or two to start for the named partners.

    1. The practitioner listing would have to get reviews on it as well if you were to create one so that is always something to consider. It’s perfectly fine to have someone review a practitioner + a practice listing but obviously, you would have to ask the client to do more compared to before (review 2 listings instead of one).

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