Google is always adding new and innovative ways for people to interact with the brands they’re searching for on the web. It’s now possible to book appointments through Google, right from the search results page. Here’s why that’s potentially good news — and bad news — for your practice.
The Knowledge Graph
Whenever someone searches for a branded term, Google assumes that searcher already knows a thing or 2 about that brand. To improve the search experience, they’ve added what’s called the Knowledge Graph to the right-hand side of search results.
The Knowledge Graph is the place for more detailed information about the brand, which Google pulls from a variety of sources including Google My Business profile data, Google Maps, structured data on your website (more on that here), and online reviews.
The latest addition to the Knowledge Graph is the ability to book appointments, which Google makes possible through partnerships with these third-party platforms:
Here’s the Thing …
If you already have a pre-existing relationship with Zocdoc, Demandforce, or MyTime, this is great news for your practice, because potential clients now have one more way to request a consultation with you. But with HealthGrades, it’s a little more complicated.
HealthGrades clients are typically hospitals and medical centers, which need the added visibility of online appointment booking to fill the spots in their facility. If you have a long-standing relationship with a hospital or medical center, you might be listed on HealthGrades. That means potential clients could be booking through the service — and not finding their way to you. This is because, unless you are a HealthGrades client, leads from HealthGrades appointment bookings go to the hospital or medical center, not your practice.
How Do You Fix It?
Luckily, addressing this issue is pretty simple. First, head to Google and search for your practice name. Then examine the Knowledge Graph that appears on the right-hand side and search for an appointment booking widget. If there isn’t one, there’s no need to worry, but if you do see a widget, check the fine print beneath it to see if it’s powered by HealthGrades.
If HealthGrades is currently listed on your Knowledge Graph, the best way to fix it is to reach out to their customer support team. (Etna clients: We are doing this on your behalf.)