Here’s a familiar story. You take the time to pull together your staff to create your 2013 marketing plan. It is filled with brilliant ideas you and your team are sure will step up your marketing game. Then January comes around, the first patient arrives and the next thing you know you’re back in your routine. A month goes by and you have yet to begin implementing your plan. This scenario is all too familiar – you may even remember a similar situation taking place last January. The last thing your practice needs is another year without a committed effort to marketing. No matter what your tactics are, the No. 1 thing to remember this year is to follow through with your marketing plan. If you put your marketing on the back burner, you results will be commensurate.
If you haven’t thought about your 2013 marketing plan yet, there is one thing that stands out as a must-have for every dental practice’s marketing mix: get friendly with Google.
You may know Google best as the popular search engine, but when it comes to online marketing, social media and SEO, Google is a serious powerhouse. Google purchased YouTube, the largest video-sharing site to date, and launched both Google+ and Google+ Local.
Why is this important for your practice? Patients are turning to the Internet to find health care providers now more than ever. They will most likely use Google when searching for a local dentist, so your goal is to have your practice appear in the top 3 search results.
How do you do this? Google uses specific algorithms that aren’t going to be decoded easily to determine their search results, but creating profiles on each of their social media sites is an easy way to help improve your rankings. Each of the profiles on the Google-affiliated sites will serve as incredible drivers of search engine optimization. From dentists who are social media mavens to those who are novices, it’s a no-brainer to add these social media profiles if it helps patients easily find and connect with your practice online.
Launched in fall 2011, Google+ has grown to more than 400 million users in just one year’s time. While it has yet to rival Facebook in terms of its reach, Google+ is growing fast. It’s a great tool for developing inbound links. Building your practice’s Google+ business page offers you many opportunities to feature videos, share photos and images, and create direct inbound links, all of which are incredibly important for search engine optimization.
Remember your Google Places profile? Google replaced Google Places with what is now known as Google+ Local. Not to be confused with Google+, your Google+ Local page is your practice’s business listing within Google. This profile provides the same opportunities for inbound links, images and video as Google+, and it also includes patient reviews that can have a huge impact on your word-of-mouth referrals. Google creates a Google+ Local page for every business in the country, but it’s up to the business owner to claim that profile and make sure it’s accurate. Being familiar with your Google+ Local page also enables you to monitor what patients are saying about your practice and to highlight these comments (at least the positive ones) through other social media platforms.
YouTube is now the Internet’s second-largest search engine. More than 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and more than 4 billion videos are viewed a day. Dentists around the globe are finding that including one- to two-minute videos on their practices’ websites and YouTube channels can be an effective part of an overall search engine optimization strategy. Video on your practice website can play into Google’s preference for fresh, relevant content and can help your practice rank higher in Google searches. And videos posted directly to YouTube drive search traffic to the practice website as well.
Google is synonymous with online search, and one of the easiest ways to make sure that Google’s algorithms continue to work in your favor is to create profiles for your practice on the Google-affiliated sites. You can reach and connect with patients while improving your search engine optimization.
It may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. A content calendar can simplify and strengthen your practice’s SEO marketing strategy. The key to Google’s algorithm is fresh content on a consistent basis. To get you started on the right foot this year, CREW Dental is offering a one-hour, no-cost Content Calendar Workshop January 8, 2013. Contact me or learn more by clicking here.