Increase your physical therapy practice visibility with Google’s local business listings: Part 1

This is part 1 of a 2-part interview I did with PTPN’s marketing director Stephen Moore.

This issue features a Part 1 of a Q&A with David Straight, PT, DPT, founder of E-rehab, an online marketing company and PTPN Preferred Vendor, about Google+ Local.

[note_box]Q. What is Google+ Local?
A. Google+ Local is Google’s version of an online geographic business directory for local businesses, including therapy practices. It’s the new name for Google Places. Businesses can be listed there at no cost, with details like business name, address, contact information and website. In Google search results, they’re the listings you see that are marked A, B, C, and so on. To see an example, go to google.com and type in “physical therapy” along with the name of your city, and look for the area of the results page with those markers.[/note_box]

[note_box]Q. What are the differences between Google+ Local search results and other Google search results?
A. A Google search results page has three areas that can drive traffic to your website: At the top of the page, in most cases, are Google Adwords results, which are paid advertising. The Google+ Local geographic results are usually listed next, and the third area is the natural or organic listings, which are the search results based on Google’s algorithms that examine web page content, descriptions, etc.[/note_box]

[note_box]Q. How important is it for a private practice to be listed in Google+ Local?
A. It’s important to be listed on Google because people are using online research in a number of ways – not just searching for a nearby physical therapist, but also to do research on a specific therapy office when they’ve been referred to that office. And it’s not just patients; we did a survey of physicians, and two-thirds of them told us that if they didn’t know where to refer a patient, they would use Google to search for a practice that’s geographically convenient for the patient. About 80 percent of all online searches for physical therapy practices are done with Google, so it’s crucial to be in Google’s local business listings.[/note_box]

[note_box]Q. How do I get my practice listed in Google+ Local?
A. The first step is to claim your free Google+ Local listing, which you can do at www.google.com/places. Then you can do a number of things to get a higher “relevance” score from Google and increase your visibility…[/note_box]