Google, Google+ and +1, Google+ Local for Dental Marketing

Google has oodles of opportunities for dental practice marketing success. But how’s a dentist (a dentist’s wife, office manager, or even consultant) supposed to understand it all? Google owns YouTube, dominates the search engine market by owning a whopping 93%, and has cool tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to make SEO easy to track. You will be happy to know, as a dentist, you don’t need to understand all of this. Let me tell you what you do need to know…

1. GOOGLE: Google is the biggest, baddest search engine in the world — and in your town. If you want to succeed online, meaning you want your dental website to rank  high on Google so that new patients will fill your schedule, you have to play the Google game, as I like to say. Your website company should know exactly what this means in terms of keyword integration, content marketing, and social networking integration. What you need to understand is, you need to please Google. The how, why, when, where, and who are up to your website designers, developers, and SEO technicians. If you need help on that front, call MDPM at 972-781-8861.

2. Google+ and +1: Google+ and +1 are not the same. Think of Google+ as Google’s equivalent to Facebook. It’s a social networking platform where you can share photos, find friends, post videos, and share updates. Google+ does have some advantages over Facebook when it comes to video conferencing and organizing contacts, but all in all, it’s not that important. What you need to know is, you don’t have to have a Google+ account to benefit from Google’s other tools. However, if you do create and maintain a personal and business Google+ page, you’re playing the Google game.

Have you seen the little g+1 button on websites? It’s often next to the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest icons. When someone +1’s a webpage, article, or media, they’re saying “I like this” to their Google+ pals. You DO NOT have to have a Google+ account to install a +1 button on your website, blog, articles, etc. However, if you want to see the +1 button in search results (next to each result that shows up), you have to be logged in to a Google+ account.

The big question is, do dentists need a +1 account? The answer is, only if said dentist is going to maintain interaction with the account, solicit friends, and be active. Oftentimes, a dentist simply cannot commit to this type of social engagement, and that’s fine. If you don’t want to have a Google+ account, at least get the +1 button on your website and blog so that people who do have Google+ accounts can talk about your awesome dental office.

3. Google+ Local: In ancient times (last week), we had Google Places. Long before that, we rode digital dinosaurs and found directions on Google Maps. Fast forward to today, and we have Google+ Local. If you have claimed your Google Places page, you may have noticed that it looks different than it did last week. Without much (any) notice, Google “sunsetted” Google Places and initiated Google+ Local in its place. The good news is, now people can review your dental office and share the information  with their Google+ pals. The bad news is, you can’t put videos on your Google+ Local page, and if you want to benefit from the page, you should probably go ahead and get a Google+ personal and business profile.

Google is rapidly becoming a humongous monster. No one knows if there’s a baby monster out there who will grow up and gobble up grandpa Google, but if history repeats itself… In the mean time, dentists need to get on board with social marketing — but they have to be smart about it. For help with dental marketing, call Jill, CEO at MDPM, at 972-781-8861.

MDPM is making an announcement this summer that will transform the way Internet-savvy dental offices market online. Are you ready? Stay tuned!