Google My Business Changes How They Deal With Practitioner Listings
Posted by Joy Hawkins
In May of 2019, Google My Business support changed the process of how they handle practitioner listings. For businesses that qualify for practitioner listings such as medical professionals, insurance agents, or lawyers this is helpful information to have.
There are many examples of businesses that have multiple practitioners, a dentist office with multiple dentists for example. These can have a fantastic impact for your business as seen in our latest case study. When one of these practitioners leaves and no longer works for the business it is important to update your Google My Business listing. There are 3 different scenarios Google My Business uses to describe why that person is now gone and how to update the information through GMB support.
The practitioner retired
The process for this scenario has changed. Previously, if you had a practitioner that retired, the default response you’d get from Google My Business (GMB) support would be to mark the listing as closed. This was a horrible experience for the business and confusing for their clients/patients, since they would search for a business see the closed listing and think the entire business was closed. Google will now entirely remove the listing from Google Maps if you specifically request that.
The practitioner is deceased
Similar to the above scenario, Google My Business would default to marking the listing as permanently closed. I personally find this messaging even more terrible and insensitive for someone who is dead. No one wants to see that. In these cases, Google will now entirely remove the listing from Google Maps if you specifically request that.
The practitioner now works elsewhere
Nothing has changed for this scenario. The correct action here is still to update the listing with the new location’s information. Not exactly ideal for the business but Google My Business considers the true owner of a practitioner listing the person it names, not the business they work for.
We often run into scenarios with dentists and insurance agents where a business will purchase another business that was run by a solo-practitioner. For example, this State Farm Insurance agent took over for another State Farm agent and kept the same customers and often the same phone number or address. In these cases, Google My Business won’t update the listing for you (they can’t change a practitioner listing to another practitioner) and their default response was just to mark the listing for the old practitioner as closed. This is particularly troublesome for solo-practitioners considering they often only have 1 listing total so there isn’t a separate practice listing that they can get control of.
In these cases, Google will now entirely remove the listing from Google Maps if you specifically request that.
If you’re bringing these cases to the Google My Business support team, be aware that since this is a new process there is a possibility that they might tell you that they have to mark it closed. Feel free to reference this article if that’s the case – I’ve already had several of these successfully completed.
Personally, I’m very happy about this change and give a big kudos to the individuals over at Google that helped make it happen. And if you’re a local business that needs help ranking on Google in either the 3-pack or organically, at Sterling Sky we can help. We offer SEO audits, consulting, or monthly local SEO services. Contact our office today for more information.
Check out what Kayla had to say about our local SEO services on Google.
“Everyone I have talked to and worked with at Sterling are amazing! They are great at problem-solving and always come up with straight forward solutions to any problems I’m running into. I would recommend them to any local business I know.”
January 22, 2021