October 4, 2012
I’m pleased to have the following blog post from my guest author, Jody Pugh. Jody is the host of the Doctors of the USA show that I mentioned in my blog post Cutting Edge Strategies to Market Your Practice. I have talked with a lot of doctors and practice managers lately who either have a new practice and want marketing ideas or have existing practices and want ideas on how to improve their Google rankings. I am pleased to find that Jody has experience in this area and was willing to share his expertise with my audience. Please enjoy the post.
Today’s world of technology, social media and instant communication has created a new set of “things” a medical practice needs to consider. “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO), “Reputation Management”, “Social Media” are all relatively new, but very important aspects of how patients/potential patients view a doctor. My wife Melanie is a private practice dentist and we know many people today find their dentist via web searches (ex: dentist bonita springs) , AND many people RESEARCH (dr. melanie pugh) a dentist before scheduling an appointment. Managing what they see is very important to her, as it should be to any healthcare provider today.
Google is the search engine of choice for most people. Recently Google launched Google+, their version of a social media platform. When it was first launched many of us in the marketing profession thought we were seeing Google+’s answer to Facebook. We created our account, spent a few moments trying to get comfortable with the platform, then decided it wasn’t worth our time to utilize as a tool for our clients. Where so many of us missed the point is that Google+ is not trying to be the next Facebook, where we “live socially online”. To me Google is more interested in becoming more like Microsoft where we “live AND WORK online.”
Google started as a search engine and eventually became the one most of us use. Then it added cool additions like Google Maps and Google Documents. As Google expands its mix of services and apps it is doing so in ways that will keep consumers and business professionals stay on/in the Google platform more. We now use our Gmail accounts for communication, share our work though Google Docs, get our directions via Google Maps, and more. Google+ now has a tool called Hangout for video conferencing, and more VERY usable products are coming. Just like SO MANY of us have LIVED in Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the last 20 years, Google wants us all to live in a Google cloud in the future. While your typical healthcare provider or Practice Administrator may not need to use most of Google’s products, there is a very important reason why you need to care about Google+.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the activity of getting your business to rank in the search engines when people search for your business category online. My wife Melanie wants people to see her on the first page of Google when they search ‘dentist Bonita Springs’. When using geographical terms like this in the search Google Maps also show up with 10 locations listed on the map. This map populates from Google+ Local.
You need to be on Google+ so you can claim your Google Local listing and thoroughly complete the information in your profile/page/Local listing. Your Google Local listing is VERY important to SEO AND ONLINE REPUTATION. There are seven steps to this process.
1. Go to maps, check if listing exists. If it exist proceed to step 4.
2. If the listing doesn’t exist, register to Google Places and complete your business information.
3. Verify your listing. Verify through phone for faster way.
4. Register to Google+ if you don’t have a profile there.
5. Create a Google+ page.
6. Complete your business information and make sure all information is public.
7. Then verify via postcard. Enter the pin once you receive it.
Google is important and you need to make it your “friend.” Starting here will help you start to take control of how Google affects YOUR practice.
About Jody Pugh
Jody Pugh MBA is the Client Marketing Director for eMediaStars, a marketing firm based in Bonita Springs, Florida that focuses on social media and reputation for medical and dental practices, small businesses and personalities. He is also the host of The Doctors of the USA Show and is married to, and shares an office with, Dr. Melanie Pugh, a respected family and cosmetic dentist.
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