What do you do when you’re searching for a new restaurant to try, need a quick route to the nearest gas station, or looking for a local healthcare provider? Most likely, you pull out your smartphone and open a map application like Google Maps or Apple Maps. But these apps have evolved far beyond their original purpose of simply pointing us in the right direction. They’ve become essential tools for discovering businesses, serving a critical role in local SEO, and significantly influencing how we discover and interact with businesses.
When it comes to search, 72% of internet users rely on Google Maps to find local businesses, including healthcare providers. Apple Maps, on the other hand, despite its slower entrance into the scene, is rapidly gaining ground. With billions of users worldwide and numerous updates, it’s emerging as a viable alternative to Google Maps.
Faced with these statistics, you may find yourself wondering where to focus your local SEO efforts. Should you concentrate on Google Maps because of its wider use, or turn to Apple Maps with its growing popularity?
The answer, quite simply, is both.
In the competitive landscape of healthcare, every opportunity to engage with potential patients is vital. Given that users may prefer either of the two apps, maintaining an active and accurate presence on both platforms helps capture as much patient attention as possible.
When it comes to maximizing your visibility and driving traffic to your healthcare organization, it’s not about choosing one over the other. It’s about using the strengths of both Google Maps and Apple Maps to reach a broader audience, ultimately leading to increased patient engagement and satisfaction.
Drive More Traffic with Listings in Local Search
When patients look for services that your healthcare organization provides, you want them to find you quickly and easily. Listings in local search help you show up in targeted searches within your area, which ultimately boosts your accessibility but also significantly enhances your visibility.
Far from being mere digital placeholders, local listings are powerful tools for driving traffic and fostering connections with patients. Given that they often generate more traffic than websites, they are an indispensable asset for your healthcare organization.
But why are local listings so effective? When a patient uses Google Maps and Apple Maps to find you, they’re not just searching for the nearest clinic or hospital. They’re evaluating your overall rating, analyzing reviews, looking at the hours of operation, and even studying photos of your facility. In other words, your online listing is often the first impression prospective patients have of your organization. This can greatly influence their decision, either convincing them to choose you as their provider or making them consider alternatives.
In this context, an up-to-date, well-maintained listing becomes a powerful patient acquisition and retention tool, so if your healthcare organization is absent or underrepresented, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity.
Apart from boosting your visibility, local listings also help you build trust with potential patients. 84% of people rely on online reviews as much as personal recommendations and a lack of reviews or a low overall rating can serve as a significant deterrent for potential patients, even if you’re merely a few blocks away.
How to Optimize Your Listings on Google Maps and Apple Maps
Given the importance and potential impact of local listings on both Google Maps and Apple Maps, it’s critical that you not only establish but also optimize your presence on these platforms. Properly optimized listings don’t merely exist — they actively engage potential patients, increase your accessibility, and ultimately make your healthcare organization more attractive to the individuals who need your services. Here are some key steps to achieve this:
Comprehensive and Up-To-Date Profiles
Accuracy is the basis of effective local listings and incomplete or outdated information can confuse potential patients as well as negatively impact your rankings in search results. So, it’s crucial that your profiles on both Google Maps and Apple Maps are comprehensive and up-to-date.
Start by double-checking the basics — your healthcare organization’s name, address, and contact information and make sure these are consistently represented across both platforms. If your organization has multiple locations, each should have its own separate listing.
Next, take a close look at your operating hours. These should accurately reflect when you’re available to see patients. If hours at your healthcare organization vary by department or provider, consider including this information in your listing as well.
Your listing should also include a brief but thorough description of the services you provide. Use this space to communicate your organization’s values, specialties, and unique offerings. This is your chance to make a strong first impression, so make every word count.
Finally, remember that maintaining accurate and comprehensive profiles is an ongoing commitment. Make regular check-ins part of your routine, particularly if there are changes in your services, staff, or operating hours.
Make Visuals Work for You
Photos are compelling communication tools that can give people a real sense of your healthcare organization’s environment and culture. This makes them an essential component of your listings on Google Maps and Apple Maps.
Photos of your facilities, your friendly and caring team, the interior and exterior of your healthcare organization, and any unique aspects of your practice can all help to engage potential patients and make your listing stand out. At the same time, don’t forget that quality is key. Poorly lit, grainy, or unappealing photos can leave a negative impression or even deter potential patients.
Also, make sure the photos you upload are kept up-to-date. Just as with the information in your profile, changes to your facilities or team should be reflected in your visuals. This way, potential patients always get an accurate and enticing preview of what to expect when they choose your healthcare organization.
Build Trust with Patient Reviews
Reviews are an integral part of local listings, often serving as key decision-making factors for potential patients. They reflect the experiences of those who have interacted with your healthcare organization and provide invaluable insights to others.
With this in mind, it’s critical that you proactively encourage patients to leave reviews and automated review requests make it easy for them to provide feedback about their experiences. Review requests should be sent to your patients within 24 hours of care, providing a direct link where they can leave a review on your Google Maps or Apple Maps listing. This significantly increases the likelihood of patients leaving feedback because the process is made convenient and immediate.
Also, make it a habit to respond to all reviews. For positive reviews, express gratitude to reinforce patients’ experiences and show appreciation for them writing the review. On the other hand, treat negative reviews as opportunities for improvement. Respond in a timely and professional manner, showing empathy and understanding. If necessary, offer to take the conversation offline and show that you value feedback and are committed to improving patient experiences.
Consistency Across Platforms
Consistency in your listings is a crucial element of your online presence that influences both your credibility with patients and your visibility in search engine rankings. When potential patients find different information about your healthcare organization across various platforms, it can cause confusion and mistrust. They might question the reliability of your services and end up considering other providers.
In addition to this, Google values consistency in business information and uses a variety of signals to determine the credibility of a business, and consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) data across the web is a key factor. On the other hand, inconsistent information can negatively impact your SEO rankings, making it harder for potential patients to find you.
Stay Proactive with Regular Monitoring
Maintaining optimized listings on Google Maps and Apple Maps isn’t a static process, it requires continuous attention and refinement. As the healthcare landscape evolves, patient needs change, and new opportunities for improvement emerge, regular monitoring becomes a crucial factor in sustaining a robust online presence.
Monitoring involves more than just keeping your information up-to-date. It means tracking your ratings and reviews to understand how patients perceive your services and recognizing trends in feedback to uncover areas for improvement. It also includes monitoring your SEO performance to ensure your listing stays prominent in local searches. With such proactive management, you can adapt to changes, handle your online reputation, and ultimately, provide a better healthcare experience.
Map Your Success
Google Maps and Apple Maps have evolved from being simple navigation tools to becoming powerful platforms for local search. A common mistake many providers make is focusing on only one of these platforms, but in reality, optimizing your presence on both Google Maps and Apple Maps is critical to increase visibility, and in turn, patient acquisition and retention.
However, maintaining an optimized and engaging presence on these platforms requires constant work, which can be challenging alongside the other demanding responsibilities of running a healthcare organization. As a healthcare marketing platform designed to simplify and enhance the way you manage your online presence, SocialClimb helps you transform this challenge into an opportunity.
Our easy-to-use features enable you to effectively manage and respond to patient reviews, boosting your healthcare organization’s reputation. At the same time, ensuring that your profiles on Google Maps and Apple Maps are always comprehensive, current, and compelling makes your organization stand out in local search results, drawing in more of the patients you seek. In addition to this, our automated review request system helps you encourage more patients to share their experiences, providing you with valuable insights for improvement while simultaneously building trust with prospective patients.
The result is an online presence that effectively attracts and retains patients, driving your organization’s growth and success, so you’re not just on the map — you’re at the top.