Chances are, you’ve searched for a local business on Google before—whether that be a restaurant or a healthcare provider. If so, then you’ve probably seen the Google Maps local pack, which looks a little something like this:

map search resultsThis map shows you all of the local businesses with a Google My Business page—and with 97% of consumers searching for local businesses online, it’s absolutely essential for every PT practice to have a Google My Business page. Not only will it let patients know where you are, but it’ll also help drive them directly to your practice.

Your Google My Business Account

If you haven’t created a Google My Business page, I recommend clicking here and creating one immediately. It won’t take more than 30 minutes. Once you create and fully optimize your Google My Business page, your practice will show up organically within the Google Maps local pack. The higher you rank, the easier it is for potential patients to find you. Ideally, you’ll want to be in the top three results on the local map, but getting there could take some time. (That said, using a tool like WebPT Local—which helps you automate this process by increasing your clinic’s number of positive online reviews—will help you rank higher, quicker.)

Looking to get to the top of those rankings right away? Here’s a cheat code: Google Maps advertising. When you advertise on Google Maps, your practice location will display at the very top of the search results. Here’s an example of what an ad looks like:

map markerIn many industries—physical therapy included—this type of advertising is still relatively untapped. In other words, if you take advantage of advertising on Google Maps, it gives you an immense opportunity to outrank your competition—as well as drive more appointment bookings over the phone and visits to your website.

However, there is one major caveat: in order to use Google Maps ads, you will need to set up Google Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) for your clinic. Once your Google Ads account is set up, you can link your Google My Business listing and start ranking at the top of your local pack for the keywords of your choice (e.g., back pain relief, physical therapist near me, etc.). Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to link your Google Ads and Google My Business profiles:

Setting Up Google Maps Advertising

Navigate to your account and click into a campaign. From there, select “Ads & extensions.” In the menu that appears below that, you’ll see “Extensions.” Click on that.

Google Ads consoleOnce you’re in the extensions section, click on the blue plus sign (“+”), which will pull up your available extensions. Select “Location extension.”

Google AdsOnce you’re in the location extension section, simply follow the steps that Google has laid out for you. It should take no longer than five minutes to set this up.

Google Ads consolePro tip: Make sure you create and verify a Google My Business account for each clinic location. If you have multiple locations, you can link all of your Google My Business accounts to a single Google Ads account.

Once your location extensions are set up and verified, begin rolling out your ads slowly. Turn on your location extensions for the specific keywords you would like to target on your Google Maps local pack. Then, run a few test searches, see which keywords your competition is showing up for, and target those keywords.

With so many people using Google’s search engine, this is a great way to increase your clinic’s online visibility. Plus, Google Maps gives you the flexibility to spend whatever amount is most comfortable to you. Not sure you have the budget? Try putting aside 1% of your total revenue each month for six months. Then, put that savings toward testing Google Maps advertising for a month or two to see what kind of results you can achieve.

Additional Benefits of Advertising on Google Maps

Of course, being at the top of Google Maps helps you stick out to anyone who searches for physical therapy services in your area—especially if you optimize your listing and take the time to get reviews. But if you advertise on Google Maps, you’ll enjoy a few other perks, including:

Promoting Your Pin

After you link your Google Ads and Google My Business accounts, you’re able to promote a pin, too. If someone clicks on the map to enlarge the area, your clinic’s pin will stick out and be a different color than the standard red pin.

Google Ad promoted pinReaching People in Need

If a potential patient is experiencing pain, and that patient is looking for immediate help, being at the top of a local search can result in an immediate call.

Generating More Direct Phone Calls Right From the Listing

Searchers have the option to call you right from your ad, eliminating a hurdle that could otherwise cause them to put off scheduling an appointment—or worse, never schedule one at all.

Hopefully, I’ve opened your mind to the possibility of advertising on Google Maps. After all, a small investment now can pay off big time later on—perhaps even sooner than you think. Have any questions? Feel free to drop them in the comment section below, and we’ll be happy to answer them.

Josh Golden, WebPT’s Digital Marketing Manager, grew up as a beach bum in Rhode Island. An avid New England sports fan, Josh now spends his free time with his wife, Emily, and their pups, Ellie and Franklin. Josh enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and riding his bike to local breweries.