by Joy Hawkins
Included in this Guide
⭐What are practitioner listings?
✨What business types are allowed practitioner listings?
💫How do solo practitioners differ from multi-practitioner listings?
🌟What if the practitioner no longer works there?
Public-Facing professionals (doctors, lawyers, dentists, realtors, etc.) are allowed their own listings separate from the office they work for. If you’re wondering if a person is allowed a practitioner listing, ask yourself if they do the following:
- Have a direct relationship with customers where customers would request them by name (such as a hairdresser).
- Have schedules that sometimes vary from the normal hours of the business they work for.
- Have a business category in GMB that accurately describes what they do.
- Have their own prices set.
- Sometimes work out of different locations.
The following are business types that are [generally] allowed practitioner listings:
- Doctors – any type such as physicians, dentists, chiropractors, therapists, etc.
- Hairdressers (note: Google also said it’s fine for them to work out of their houses).
- Insurance Agents/Brokers
- Mortgage Brokers
- Music instructors
- Personal trainers
- Soft medicine practitioners such as massage therapists, dental hygienists, and registered nurses
- Tattoo artists
Google recommends that solo practitioners have 1 listing that combines the name of the practice with the name of the practitioner. For example, “Allstate Insurance: Bob Smith”. However, it’s not actually a violation of the guidelines for a solo practitioner to have a separate listing for themself as well as a separate one for their practice. A scenario where you might want to consider having 2 listings is if there are multiple categories that apply to your business type.
If the business has multiple practitioners, you are not able to get these listings removed or merged provided the practitioner still works there.
Sometimes it is a good idea to create listings for practitioners. Generally, this is a good idea when there are multiple GMB categories that apply to a business. Instead of only focusing on the main listing and trying to downplay the practitioner listings, a better strategy would be working towards getting all listings ranking for different keywords. This typically only works if you have practitioners that specialize in different things. Since the landing page impacts ranking, you can also use this to your advantage.
Let’s say your client is a chiropractor who also has a massage therapist at their office. The massage therapist’s listing could link to a page on the site that ranks high for massage therapy and the chiropractor could rank to the page that ranks highest organically for chiropractic terms. This is a great way to make the pages more visible instead of competing.
Another example would be a law firm. You could have the main listing for the law firm optimized for things like “law firm” and then have 1 lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and another lawyer who specializes in criminal law. This would allow you to take advantage of the organic ranking for several different keywords.
Keep in mind that if your goal is to have 3 of your listings all rank for the exact same keyword on Google, thus monopolizing the entire 3-pack, this is an unrealistic strategy. Google has filters that stop the same website from appearing too many times in the results and unless you’re in a really niche industry or market, it’s almost impossible to accomplish this. Below is an example of how we were able to get a dermatologist ranked for more keywords as a result of strategically utilizing practitioner listings.
If a practitioner no longer works for you, what you can do with the listing often comes down to who has control of the listing.
If the brand/company controls the listing, they are able to get the listing deleted from Google if they specifically request it. I have found GMB support often has a hard time understanding these requests so if you run into difficulty getting a listing deleted, I would suggest posting about it over at the Google My Business forum.
If the practitioner is the one that controls the listing, they have the ability to update the listing to list the details of the new place they work. This can cause a lot of headaches for the business they no longer work for which is why it is essential to find and claim all the listings for practitioners that work for you. Often when we do audits for SMBs we find practitioner listings they had no clue existed.