Posted: December 13, 20107

Google’s New “Book Appointment” and “Posts” Features Give Hospitals More Control in Search Results

Book Appointment
In a recent update, Google rolled out the ability for healthcare organizations to add a book-an-appointment link that will be displayed in search results. The link appears in the Knowledge Graph Panel and Google Maps, both prime real estate opportunities in local search results.

While this appointment link does not support direct booking within the Knowledge Panel, it provides an easy and direct path to an appointment page on your website. This presents a key opportunity to engage consumers directly in the search results and connect in a “ready to buy” moment.

book-appointment-link

Measuring the Impact
This new feature provides you a great way to glean actionable insights about the consumer journey as they move from prospect to patient. Add an extra dimension of search traffic insights to ongoing campaigns by keeping an eye on traffic coming to your appointment request landing page. Create tracking URLs or location-specific landing pages so that conversion data can easily be measured.

Integrated Google Posts
Yet another way to reach consumers directly is the recently-launched Google Posts. Our Reputation Management partners can now leverage Google Posts right from their Digital Presence Management dashboard to deliver the latest updates, promotions, and news your organization has to offer. Immediate visibility and traffic for specific content and promotions? No paid ads required? Yes, please!

What’s in a Google Post?
• Image – Google recommends an image size of 720x720 which displays fully when the post is opened. In search results it is cropped to 405x305.
• Text – At 100-300 words these are meant to be short and digestible. Get straight to the point for the greatest impact!
• Call-to-action – 5 options are currently offered and match well to a variety of content types: Learn More, Reserve, Sign Up, Buy, and Get Offer.
• Expiration date – Posts expire after 7 days automatically. However, you can have a longer term production plan and set events to expire when the event ends.
• Carousel – Google Posts are presented in a carousel format with 10 Posts displayed at a time.

google-posts-example

Be Strategic
Google Posts will only show for branded, location-specific search queries, meaning that your most connected customers will be seeing the card carousel. In this context, it’s helpful to think about Posts like you do all other social media. Leverage personas and current campaigns to hone your targeting and win high-converting traffic. Whether the viewer is someone who’s scheduled a first office visit or is a loyal customer, there are endless, compelling content opportunities for health systems to make use of this Google feature.

Want more personalized insight into how your healthcare organization can perform better in search? Request a free healthcare marketing assessment.