We don’t think Google+ (Google Plus) is a social network. There, we said it.
Sure, you can connect with your patients, share photos of your staff celebrations and amass a following of potential new patients; everything that a social network is supposed to help you do. But, Google+ isn’t Facebook. In fact, it’s so much more. Google+ isn’t merely a social network, but the quickly approaching future of Google, and thus, key to building a successful SEO strategy. Some SEO experts say that if you have no Google+ presence and the dentist down the street does, you may lose out on patients searching online to your competition.
Google is usually mysterious. They like to keep what they do (and why they do it) a secret. However, with Google+, they’ve decided to make their intentions somewhat known. Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra recently said that he sees Google+ as a social blanket that encompasses the entire Google experience, including integration with Gmail, Google docs, YouTube and the big one, Google search. He said, “Everything is being upgraded. We already have users. We’re now upgrading them to what we consider Google 2.0.” Well, there it is. Straight from the horse’s mouth.
The bottom line is there is a strong link between Google+ and Google search and it will probably only get stronger. So, if you want to get more patients searching for a dentist online (as you should), committing to a Google+ content strategy is going to be one of the most important things you will do for your online marketing. Here is everything a dentist should know about Google+:
What Goes in your Profile Matters
Your Google+ profile page is where it all starts and you need to be strategic about what you put on it if you want to reap the SEO ranking benefits. Here is what you should do:
- Link to your website home page
- Link to other social media accounts if you have them (Facebook, Twitter)
- Use keywords you want to rank for (dental implants, cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening, etc)
- Create your Google+ Profile with your primary Gmail account you wish to use for your business. Start with your personal profile (usually your name; ie – Dr. Steve Smith, DDS) and then create a local business page (usually your practice name; ie – Dallas Dental Designs.)NOTE: More on what to include in your local Google+ business page below.
Understand the Importance of Author Rank/Authorship
By now, you’re probably heard a little bit of buzz about the importance of something called, “author rank” or giving your blog posts and other content an “authorship.” Here’s a hint, if you’re doing it right, there will be a photo of you next to any content you post in a Google search. By doing a little behind the scenes marketing work, (which is too complicated to include in this blog post), you give any content you post something called authorship. Authorship lets Google know who the creator of a piece of content is and helps decide if it’s helpful and relevant to Google searchers. And…since relevant and consistent content coming from your website is a key component in Google’s page rank algorithm, you can see why author rank may be important. Here is the key: You need a Google+ profile for it to work.
Make sure you have a local Google+ Page
Local Google+ pages (or your business page) rank high in search results and also allow your patients to connect with your physical location. Additionally, Google Maps is strongly tied to your Google+ Local Business profile. Here are the most important parts of setting one up:
- Sign in using your current Google+ profile
- Make sure you select the Local Business or Place category
- Make sure the phone number you use to locate is your business phone, not your cell.
- Positive reviews of your practice mean positive social proof for your potential patients. Make sure people can post them on your local Google+ page. Also, include hours, maps and directions to your office.
A Google+ Page Helps with Mobile Search
By 2016, more people will be searching for a local business (dentists included) from their smart phone or tablet than their desktop computers. Your Google+ activity plays a huge role in helping Google search decide how to rank you when someone performs a search for a local dentist in your area. All the more reason to get ahead of the curve and start implementing a Google+ strategy for your practice.
Want to start implementing a social media marketing strategy (including Google+) but not sure how? Contact us today to find out more about our comprehensive social media marketing program.