Google My Business in magnifying glass

How to Name Your Google My Business if You Have a Multi-Dentist Practice

Google My Business in magnifying glass

How to Name Your Google My Business if You Have a Multi-Dentist Practice

Google has communicated how important every dentist’s Google My Business (GMB) page is to his or her local ranking and how patients search for a dentist in their area.

In fact, Google states that “local results [that] appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location” are one of the most important factors in the search process. These results are shown in a number of places across Maps and Search.

For multi-dentist practices, how should you update your Google My Business Page so your practice shows up? Should you have a single practice page and just list your practice name? Should each dentist in the practice have his or her own page? Or, is it a combination of the two? Google has listed specific guidelines for single and multi-practitioner practices, but, even for the most seasoned marketing professionals, they are difficult to understand. So, if the experts differ on how to interpret these guidelines, how are you expected to know the best decision to make?  

Below, we have outlined the reason why your GMB page name matters, Google’s guidelines on how dentists should optimize their GMB pages, and our own interpretation of these guidelines.

Why Your GMB Page Matters to Your Practice

When a patient searches on Google for a dentist, a map and listing will be generated by Google to present a list of dentists. For example, a search for “Dentist Plain City Ohio” yielded the results below. These results are directly connected to each business’ Google My Business page.

Claiming and optimizing your practice GMB page is the first step in showing up when a patient searches for a dentist on Google.

But, optimizing your Google My Business page, can be a tricky step if you have a multi-dentist practice.

Google’s Guidelines

If you are the only dentist in your practice, Google’s instructions are pretty clear about how your name should appear on your Google My Business Page. The multiple practitioner instructions, however, are not as clear.

Google’s Policy is:

Individual practitioners (e.g. doctors, lawyers, real estate agents):

An individual practitioner is a public-facing professional, typically with his or her own customer base. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance or real estate agents are all individual practitioners. Listings for practitioners may include title or degree certification (e.g. Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA).

An individual practitioner should create his or her own dedicated listing if:

  • He or she operates in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own listings.
  • He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours.

A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specializations.

Multiple practitioners at one location:

If the practitioner is one of several public-facing practitioners at this location:

  • The organization should create a listing for this location, separate from that of the practitioner.
  • The title of the listing for the practitioner should include only the name of the practitioner, and shouldn’t include the name of the organization.

Solo practitioners that belong to branded organizations:

If a practitioner is the only public-facing practitioner at a location and represents a branded organization, it’s best for the practitioner to share a listing with the organization. Create a single listing, named using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].

Acceptable: “Allstate: Joe Miller” (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)

So, there are three possible situations here:

Our Interpretation of Google’s Guidelines: 

(A.K.A.  This is how we think multi-dentist practices should name their Google My Business Page)

In the past, if we searched for our client’s GMB pages and found multiple practice pages or individual doctor pages in addition to a practice page, our policy was to delete these individual pages. We made this decision because when we called Google several times about this question, Google representatives told us these pages were only a courtesy provided to individual practitioners who wanted them. We directed all leads to the practice page for two main of reasons:

  1. We wanted to drive traffic to one branded, optimized location, thus allowing the page to rank during a search.
  2. The more reviews the better, so we did not want to split reviews between a practice and practitioner.

Recently, we have been challenged, as Google is no longer allowing businesses to delete existing individual practitioner pages.

We have participated in several discussions with Google and on forums such as Local Search Forum, so we can fully understand the situation and create the best solution for our multi-dentist practices.

As of 10-15-2017, we recommend the strategy below when claiming, naming, and optimizing these GMB pages. Again, our analysis and recommendation are based on our conversations with Google representatives, Local Search Forum, and interactions with Google Top Contributor & Local Search Specialist, Linda Buquet.

If you have a multi-dentist practice, you should:

  • Name your practice page with the name only.  
    • For example: Happy Smile Dental Care.
      • Link this GMB page to your practice website URL (the home page or contact page).
      • Name the “category” of this page to the practice’s primary service. If this is a general dental practice, the category should be “Dentist.” If this practice is a periodontal specialist, the category should be “Periodontist.”
  • Do not create individual practitioner pages if one does not already exist.
    • For example: If Mary Bright DDS and Bob Smith DDS are both practitioners at Happy Smile Dental Care, but Mary Bright DDS does not have her own GMB page, and Bob Smith DDS does.
      • Do not create one for Mary.
  • If Google has already created individual practitioner pages, minimize the visibility of those pages.
    • For example: If Bob Smith DDS has an individual practitioner page.
      • Do not claim Dr. Smith’s page. Instead, prevent Dr. Smith’s page from competing with the Happy Smile Dental Care page by requesting that Google make an edit to Dr. Smith’s page.
      • Edit the link to go somewhere else other than the home page. Instead, link to an internal page that makes sense, such as Meet the Team or Dr. Smith’s bio.
      • Change the category to one that is relevant, but not the same as the practice page. For example, if the practice category is Dentist, suggest to Google that Dr. Smith’s page be categorized “Family Dentist,” “Dental Clinic,” or “Cosmetic Dentist.” If the practice page is Periodontist, suggest that Google edits Dr. Smith’s page to be “Dentist.”

How do you suggest an edit to Google for a page you do not own?

Simply click on the page’s “suggest an edit” button and adjust your edits from the options available.

Why do we recommend this approach to multi-dentist practices?

After talking with our sources and testing and refining our theories over time, we are making the above recommendation based on a few key reasons.

  • Competition and SEO
    • Showing up during a patient’s Google search query for a dentist is extremely competitive. Our goal is to optimize the most marketable page—the practice page—and drive all traffic to that page.
  • Reviews
    • It is difficult to get reviews on Google, but Google says reviews are one of the factors it looks at when deciding which dentists will show up during a search.  Quantity and not just quality contribute to this factor as well. Ultimately, we want to drive as many reviews to one page as possible. So, if we claim and optimize the practice page and all of the practitioner pages, where do the reviews go? If Google looks for the number of reviews, do we spread the reviews across all of the pages or just one? We think the answer is just one—the practice GMB page.

Google’s Ever-Changing Updates

While it is difficult to understand all of Google’s changes and their impact on your practice, it is necessary to learn how. We all want to rank higher on Google, and adhering to its policies will ensure the highest potential for being noticed and showing up on a search.

Contact us at with any questions about our recommendation or Google’s guidelines. We will also keep you posted if we believe our recommendation should change in any way.