Google continues to provide local SEO support for businesses by rolling out a variety of features to help users get services through digital channels. Recently, Google has uniquely supported healthcare providers, such as hospitals, primary care offices, and urgent care centers, by rolling out virtual visit conversions and COVID-19 info fields on Google My Business.
Julie Black, the Director of Product Management at Google Health, explained via the Keyword blog that telehealth and telemedicine interest has rose considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many patients may continue to aggressively self-quarantine, which means that a virtual visit can help patients get the care they need. The major changes are as follows:
“Healthcare providers like hospitals, doctors, and mental health professionals can now enter a virtual care offering in their Business Profile, so that people searching for their local provider, for instance, might see a “get online care” link on Search and Maps,” Black explained. “Clicking this link will take people to that provider’s virtual care website where they can find more information, and in many cases, schedule a virtual healthcare visit with a provider.”
“The pandemic has affected many healthcare providers’ operating hours and walk-in visit policies,” Black continued. “To help communicate changes that might affect someone’s visit, we’re automatically surfacing a link directly to health providers’ COVID-19 information page on Search and Maps, and we’ve assembled best practices on how healthcare providers can update their websites and provide COVID-19 information on Google My Business.”
Telemedicine, according to HealthIT.gov and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the delivery of medical services to treat patients remotely, diagnose conditions, and coordinate care. Since many people continue to self-quarantine at home, it is likely that telemedicine is key to ensuring that patient counts remain steady.
Additionally, telemedicine can provide a crucial need for the healthcare industry: lowering the use of emergency rooms for conditions that don’t necessarily require emergency care. Instead of an ER visit, patients can instead get a telemedicine consult from a medical provider before deciding about care.
Get started on telemedicine capabilities via Google My Business
In my last BWM blog, I explained some of the major information updates on Google My Business for businesses that offer COVID-19 accessible options for services. Here is a quick breakdown on what to focus on:
- A COVID-19 Info URL to explain resources, policies, and new appointment channels for patients
- A telemedicine check-in link for healthcare providers that offer telemedicine and telehealth
- New updates and post types to alert patients about sudden operational changes.
Need to get started on these changes and not sure where to look? Contact our team today to optimize your local SEO pages, website, and GMB listing! We can help make your business sustainable during this pandemic.