GBP for Optometrists: Should I Get a Practitioner Listing?

GBP solo practitioner listing

Are you confused about Google Business Profiles (GBP)? You may have seen some cases on Google Maps where competitors appear to “double dip” by having a listing for their practice, and another listing for the principal optometrist. Should you be doing the same?

From increasing your SEO visibility on Google Maps to collecting and showcasing customer reviews, a well-managed GBP practitioner listing can potentially serve as a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. But it’s not without its challenges —managing multiple listings, ensuring consistent branding, and avoiding dilution of SEO ranking factors can all pose significant challenges.

Ready to unlock the full potential of your GBP practitioner listings? Let’s explore this option.

Understanding GBP Practitioner Listings for Optometry

A Google Business Profile is a specific feature of Google Maps that allows a business to add their contact details, business hours, relevant business information and collect customer reviews.

A Google Business Profile practitioner listing is the same thing, only the listing is focussed on the individual professional, rather than the business as a whole.

Here is an example of a Google Business Profile practitioner listing for “Vidimos Allison MD”, a dermatologist working at a practice called “Cleveland Clinic”.

Google defines a practitioner listing as one representing a public-facing professional who often serves their own client base.

This category includes professionals such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, and financial planners.

Support staff, for example, cannot create their own listing.

Each practitioner must be contactable at a verified location during specified business hours, typically necessitating a dedicated office or desk phone line at that location.

How Can I Create a Practitioner Listing?

To create a GBP practitioner listing, you will need to have a Google account. If you are already using an account for your main business, you’ll need a 2nd Google account to create your practitioner listing.

Watch the following video by Luc Durand from Ranking Academy for a step by step tutorial on creating a Google Business Profile.

Keep in mind that every GBP needs to be connected to your website. And for a practitioner listing, it’s best if you link it to a “team member” page, rather than to the home page.

For example, if your optometry practice main GBP is linked to:

https://my-optometry-practice.com

you’ll want your practitioner listing GBP for Dr John Doe linked to:

https://my-optometry-practice.com/team/dr-john-doe

What Are the Benefits of Practitioner Listings?

Creating individual listings for each practitioner can be beneficial, especially in environments where multiple GBP categories are relevant. Rather than concentrating solely on the main business listing, additional practitioner listings may be an opportunity to rank for multiple target keywords.

The primary category which you choose for your GBP is a major factor in whether it appears for a related search in Google organic search results (the Local Map 3 Pack) or on Google Maps itself.

The catch is that at present (2024) the variety of GBP categories for optometrists isn’t as granular as other professions. Unlike the legal profession, for example, where practitioners can choose specialization categories like “criminal law attorney”, “family law attorney”, “civil justice attorney”, the eye care industry is limited to the generic term “optometrist”.

If at some point Google adds additional categories of specialization for eye care professionals, that could make this a viable SEO opportunity. For example, if Google ever adds “dry eye clinic”, or “behavioural optometrist” as category options, that would be a good opportunity to leverage practitioners listings to target those keyword terms (NOTE: Google DOES have a category for “eye care center” but the search traffic is extremely minimal compared to the commonly search “optometrist”).

It’s not a good idea to have a practitioner listing in the same primary GBP category. You would only be competing against yourself, and diluting your SEO potential.

A full list of available categories is available HERE.

GBP Practitioner Listings

What Are the Drawbacks of Practitioner Listings?

Practitioner listings, while beneficial in potentially increasing SEO visibility and targeting specific services, come with certain drawbacks that can affect your practice negatively if not carefully managed.

One major issue is the potential dilution of patient reviews. When each practitioner has their own listing, reviews can become spread too thinly across multiple profiles rather than consolidating under a single practice listing. This scattering of feedback can lessen the impact of positive reviews and make it harder for potential patients to gauge the overall satisfaction of your services.

There’s also the risk of confusing your branding. Multiple listings mean that each practitioner’s profile needs to align closely with the practice’s overall branding message. Any inconsistency in how each listing presents the practice can lead to mixed messages about what your practice stands for and offers, potentially weakening your brand identity in the eyes of potential clients.

Conflict with Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) consistency is another issue. For SEO, maintaining identical NAP information across all listings is crucial. Variations or inaccuracies in these details can harm your search engine rankings. If each practitioner has a separate listing with slightly different details, it could lead to inconsistencies that confuse both search engines and patients.

In a multi-practitioner scenario, if an optometrist leaves your practice, managing their listing can become problematic. Even if you, as a practice owner, have direct control over all your practitioner listings, merging patient reviews when one of them leaves isn’t exactly straight forward.

It’s not a good idea to have a practitioner listing in the same primary GBP category. You would only be competing against yourself, and diluting your SEO potential.

Combining Sole Practitioner with Practice Names?

Google’s guidance is that solo practitioners can streamline their online presence by combining their personal name with that of their practice into a single Google Business Profile e.g. “Vision Plus Optometry: Dr John Doe (Optom).” This approach helps in maintaining clarity and consistency, making it easier for patients to find and recognize the practice.

However, this recommendation can create challenges for practices looking to expand. When a practice wants to grow by adding more optometrists, each new professional might need their own distinct presence to highlight their unique skills and specialties. In this scenario, having a solo practitioner listing can become restrictive. It limits the ability to showcase the diversity of services and specialties offered by new practitioners within the same practice.

Adapting from a solo practitioner listing to a general practice listing that allows each practitioner to have an individual profile under the umbrella of the practice might better serve the practice’s long-term growth and visibility goals. This adjustment would help potential patients understand the range of services and specialties offered, improving SEO and patient outreach by matching more specific search queries. But keep in mind that changing your GBP business name may trigger a new round of GBP verification which, in some circumstances, can prove burdensome, as Google now requires video verification. Some practices may experience trouble re-verifying their listing.

What Do I Recommend?

All things considered, in my opinion, it’s currently not worth the effort for optometrists to get separate practitioner listings. That position may change if Google introduces more granular GBP primary categories for optometrists in the future.

To summarize, creating separate practitioner listings risks:

  • Confusing patients
  • Diluting your reviews
  • Causing NAP (name/address/phone number) consistency issues
  • Additional work in maintaining and monitoring different accounts

All things considered, you are better off just maintaining and optimizing your main practice GBP.

If you’d like to learn more about Practitioner Listings, I highly recommend the following podcast episode from WhiteSpark SEO.

Conclusion

As we’ve explored, optometrists can indeed have separate practitioner listings from their main practice GBP listing, providing a unique opportunity to highlight individual specialties within a practice. However, until Google introduces more detailed primary GBP categories for eye care professionals, the SEO advantages of multiple practitioner listings remain somewhat limited. Managing several GBPs also introduces complexities such as potential brand confusion, review dilution, and issues with consistency across listings.

Given these considerations, my recommendation is to maintain a single, robust GBP for your practice. Focusing your efforts on optimizing this primary profile can yield significant benefits without the complications of managing multiple listings. This streamlined approach ensures that your practice’s branding remains clear and powerful, maximizing your online presence effectively.

If you’re unsure how to optimize your GBP or would like to ensure it’s fully leveraging its potential, Optics Digital Marketing is here to help. Contact us for a free GBP audit and let’s discuss how we can enhance your practice’s visibility and patient engagement. Let’s connect and take your online presence to the next level!

Need a plan to

GROW your OPTOMETRY BUSINESS?

Scroll to Top
Skip to content