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Phil Rozek posted an interesting theory on getting scheduling in the knowledge panel, and how it might relate to ranking. The tl;dr version, is that it likely helps CTR and interaction, and is likely a trust factor in Google's eyes, but it's pretty hard to test something like that, so for now it's just a theory.

I have not tested this ? even to the extent you can ?test? anything in local search.
Rather, I?ve just observed a couple things:
1. Google seems to integrate online ?Make an appointment? software into local businesses? knowledge graphs more often than it used to.
2. Businesses with the ?Make an appointment? feature in their knowledge graphs often seem to outrank businesses without it.
(Click here to read the rest)

Phil gives a good overview too of different platforms that Google currently recognizes and that can get you that 'make an appointment' module in the knowledge panel. Anyone seen any good boost from getting a client set up with scheduling like this? What do you think about this being a ranking signal?
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for starting a discussion on this James. (I can tell you must be feeling better thank goodness!)

I've been chewing on this since I read it. Haven't decided either way but there is some good dialogue going on over at Phil's.
 

CodyBaird

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It makes sense to a certain extent in that scheduling an appointment best fulfills the intent of many queries.

However, it is short sighted.

All of my dental clients use demandforce, patientconnect, or one of these booking softwares.

All of my clients WILL NOT use this functionality becuase they don't want patients controlling their schedule.

Otherwise a non insured patient will schedule a Monday morning apt, or another popular time and then no show.

Patients won't group bookings to optimize staff schedule. And numerous other issues.

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Yep, finally feeling better linda! Sinus headaches are the worst.

That's an interesting point Cody, and you're right... I'm sure that online schedule systems wouldn't be ideal for many industries. Like Phil mentioned in the article though, this isn't for sure a ranking factor, but it'll definitely be something to keep an eye on. At the very least, it'll be important to arm clients with all the right information so they can make an informed decision about how to run their business. Same as naming a new business city + keyword... just because it helps from an SEO perspective (at the moment) doesn't mean that marketing considerations needs to be all that's running the ship.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Like most things, I wouldn't view it from the perspective of a SEO ranking factor. I would only use it (like Cody mentioned) if it makes sense for the business. If it has the potential to cause more issues than help, I would move on to another strategy. It would be cool to test, but only if the business is on board with it.
 

CodyBaird

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I convinced once of my dental clients in san antonio to test it for a 60 days and eat some xanax while the schedule gets a little crazy.

They already rank well. It will be interesting to see what happens with rankings. I have noticed clients with high conversion rates in GA seem to be possibly influenced in rankings. Can't tell if it is causation or correlation.

Google wants to see the users intent satisfied. To me, that's a phone call to book an appointment or to do it online.

I'll let share any findings. I'd love to hear if others play with online scheduling and their findings.

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