Zero-Click Searches and Your Physician Practice

google search zero click on computer

Why Google My Business matters for healthcare providers.

Physician practices tend to be a bit…behind on marketing trends compared to other industries. But trust us, there is one emerging trend you don’t want to sleep on: zero-click searches.

Honestly, we won’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it; it’s a trend that’s only recently becoming more important in the search space. Of course, this means it’s a perfect opportunity for you to jump on it now and gain a competitive advantage. But first, we’re going to get you up to speed on what exactly a zero-click search is and why it’s vital for healthcare practices to give time and attention to owning it.

Google My Business & Zero-Click Searches

You’re likely at least familiar with Google My Business, the feature that creates a little mini online profile which shows up in the search results.

zero click search google example

For the longest time, your Google My Business profile was hardly anything more than a straightforward business listing showing standard details such as address, phone number and reviews. Over the last few years, however, Google has been slowly showcasing more and more of a local business’s information on the search results page.

The idea is to make it easier for users to find business information, especially on mobile, without having to click into a website. You’re still getting found in search, but Google is giving away enough information that they may not need to go to your website. In fact, about 50% of all Google searches now end without a click, and that number is even higher for mobile users.

The growing adoption of zero-click search among web users means that you’ll want to get in on this trend sooner rather than later—or at least before the other practices in your area do.

What Zero-Click Search Means for Healthcare Providers

Now to the big question: what does it all mean for your physician practice? It’s not so much a big change as it is a shift in perspective about user (and practice) goals when it comes to online search.

1. Your website traffic may go down (but it’s ok).

Because your Google My Business profile shows a lot of the key information about your practice, you may see your website views go down. Don’t panic—if you’re still seeing a steady flow of patients coming in, then your Google profile is simply doing some heavy lifting for you.

By the way: That’s why you never want to rely on just website data to tell the story of your practice’s success or opportunities on the web.

2. You need to beef up your GMB profile.

GMB has steadily added more and more features that can help your healthcare practice reach the right patients with the right information. In addition to basics like your phone number and location, you can include other helpful details such as:

  • Link to book online appointments
  • Link to virtual care
  • Health services offered, like house calls, diagnostics and procedures
  • Insurance accepted
  • Attributes such as WIFI or wheelchair accessibility

enhanced GMB profile

Optimizing your web presence here also means making an effort to increase your reviews through Google. A steady push for reviews should be baked into your follow-up efforts with patients.

3. You still need paid media.

The rise of zero-click search doesn’t mean you should drop all your paid SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) efforts. Paid media still play a huge role in generating awareness, increase your practice’s exposure and providing valuable information. And, your website is still very important as a means of connecting with, educating and ultimately converting new patients.

4. Your website is still important.

Zero-click search is not a replacement for your website. Nor is it an excuse to invest less in your website maintenance and updates. Even if a GMB profile can show many important details about your practice, it will never be able to replace the brand story and experience your website provides, especially for new patients researching providers. The colors, the look and feel, the images, the copy—all of this communicates something intangible about your practice and who you are as a provider. And that intangible feeling could be the deciding factor for a new patient.

We spend a lot of time talking about how the patient experience begins with their very first impression of your practice. And that impression isn’t always your website. The fact is, 77% of patients conduct an online search before making an appointment with a physician. For healthcare practices to thrive in competitive markets and specialties, you have to do everything you can to win the search game. And right now, that means embracing zero-click search.

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