Does Google show accurate info on you and your practice? Google very recently announced a new feature in their knowledge panels that allows you to verify, add, or change the information shown in the "Knowledge Panel" patients see when they google your practice.
What is a knowledge panel?
Whenever someone googles a business or person, such as a practice or a particular physician, Google does its best to show a "knowledge panel" on the right side of the search results, providing a concise and helpful source of information for the searcher. The "knowledge panel" may contain information about when a company or practice was founded, as well as an address phone number, website, and photos.
However, Google can only display information that it knows. If you have a strong web presence already, Google might have an accurate knowledge panel for you or your practice already. Thankfully, it's easy to create a knowledge panel, or update one if it already exists, and there are great benefits to doing so.
There are two types of knowledge panels: local, and branded/personal. Your practice is more likely to already have a local panel than a branded or personal panel. We often see inaccurate or incorrect data in "local" knowledge panels for practices, and "branded/personal" knowledge panels for physicians or medical groups are often non-existent.
Why should we care about knowledge panels?
Maintaining accurate and verified knowledge panels helps patients find you and your practice, and improves your website's SEO and ranking.
Often when googling a practice or physician, the knowledge panel shown immediately draws the attention of the searcher, so you want the information to be accurate.
Because knowledge panels are so good at grabbing attention, they are a very effective way to ensure you and your practice stand out in google search results.
How do you create or update your practice's knowledge panel?
At the end of the day, Google's algorithms will decide whether a knowledge panel is shown for a particular searcher and search term. However, here is how you can ensure everything is prepared for optimal visibility:
Local Practice Search Results
The first and most important step is to ensure that your practice has a Google My Business account. With that in place, you'll be able to verify with Google that you are the owner of the practice. With that in place, you can ensure that all the information about your practice is displayed accurately, including address, phone, fax, website, hours, and photos.
Your "local" knowledge panel will very likely be shown whenever a patient who lives near your practice googles your practice.
Linking your local knowledge panel to your website is a great way to indicate to Google that your website truly represents your practice, and thus is the most relevant search result (which causes Google to put it at the top of the search results).
Branded/personal Search Results
Unlike local business/practice knowledge panels, Google decides whether to create a knowledge panel for a particular brand or name search term, rather than being able to create one yourself.
If your practice or personal brand has enough authority and information on the web in the eyes of Google, a knowledge panel will be created.
How to verify your knowledge panel
If you or your practice has enough notoriety to warrent a brand/personal knowledge panel, it's a great idea to verify it to ensure no one on the web can misrepresent you in the knowledge panel. Verifying is simple. Just follow the steps covered in this article from Google.
Once you're verified, you can make sure the knowledge panel shown for your practice or personal brand accurately represents you.
Maintaining accurate information with Google is becoming more and more necessary for the modern medical practice. These days, patients see your practice long before your practice sees them. Ensuring that patients can easily find accurate information is critical to maintaining your online reputation, and ulimately growing your practice.