research study

The power of local search is undeniable. In fact, nearly half of all Google searches are looking for local information. For medical providers, this surfaces the inevitable need to appear to searchers with accurate, up-to-date listings. For providers that work in multiple locations on different days and hours of the week, this can become a challenge to manage and effectively maintain multiple listings. If these providers are unable to appear in different geographic areas and accurately showcase when they are at each of their locations, they run the risk of losing business to another provider. 

Additionally, if the provider’s multiple locations show the same hours, they run the high risk of Google marking these listings as duplicates and being removed from local search results. Each location where a provider practices must have a unique address and phone number. They also must display accurate hours at the specified location and have no overlap with other locations.

To better prove the power of multi-provider listings, and their impact on consumer reach with Google My Business (GMB) Search, we conducted a controlled study with four different providers, which saw patients at multiple locations. While GMB was the primary platform used to evaluate the performance and effect of multi-provider listings, each provider’s primary practice was submitted to data aggregator partners, such as Localeze, Infogroup, and Factual.  

The following are the counts of listings between each provider: 

  • Provider one –  4 listings
  • Provider two – 2 listings
  • Provider three – 3 listings
  • Provider four – 2 listings

In the study, we conducted an 11-week pre-test measurement, before we optimized each listing, focusing on:

  • Drafting a unique description, including any popular search terms that better highlight the provider’s area of expertise and geographical area of practice
  • Adding multiple hi-resolution images for each location that highlighted the provider’s location
  • Publishing hours that followed the doctor’s schedule for each location
  • Optimizing GMB categories based on the provider’s primary expertise and added secondary categories to bolster secondary expertises 

We allowed for an 11-week incubation for these new listings to become visible and trafficked following our 11-week pre-test assessment period. After the incubation period concluded, we then took measurement for our post-test assessment for an additional 11-week period, totaling 33 weeks of analysis. We did a statistical analysis and compared the impressions and enablements (clicks) from GMB Map Pack Insights between the pre-test period to the post-test period to determine if there was a significant difference.  

What We Saw

Based on the results from the pre-test and post-test periods, we found that there was a significant difference between pre- and post-views and engagements, for both impressions and enablements (clicks), across all four providers. 

Multi-provider listings pre and post tests

More specifically, the strength of the effect between views within Search and Maps was proved to be significant. The strength of the effect between enablements was found to have a moderate yet robust effect, as we observed enablements steadily showed an increase between the two test periods.

Map Pack Insights - Enablements

Map Pack Insights - Views

With the significant rise in views for these listings, it became evident that these multi-providers’ listings were being seen by more people than before, furthering the provider’s exposure in both Search and Maps. Consumers were also taking more action, such as clicking to call or clicking for driving directions, further solidifying the success of deploying multiple listings for all the locations they practice at, and optimizing the listings.

Listings Pilot Provider 1 Listings Pilot Provider 2 Listings Pilot Provider 3 Listings Pilot Provider 4

Based on these results, we found it to be extremely beneficial to publish additional listings for multi-providers. By adding these additional listings, multi-providers will be better able to:

  • Improve their visibility across the search ecosystem
  • Reach potential new patients seeking their services
  • Encourage searchers to take actions within their listings
  • Grow their practice as more patients see their listings
  • Expand their geographic footprint in search results

Search optimization is an ongoing effort that will extend well-past the post-test period for all four of these providers. Their listings will continue to be updated as needed, in any instance a phone number, hours, or business description changes to match the changing environment of where they may practice. 

Local listings management can be cumbersome for those that don’t have the time to dedicate or the experience. By working with a local marketing partner, providers that practice at multiple locations can ensure their listings aren’t flagged as duplicates, completely fill out all available fields, sustainably update listings on an ongoing basis, and provide expert recommendations for improvements that can be made to listings. 

Whether managed by a third-party or by the provider, the results from the study speak volumes for how multi-provider listings perform over an extended period of time when done correctly–and is something to consider for providers practicing at multiple locations to extend their reach.