Googlocation: search engine optimization to help your practice grow

March 15, 2014

These days, many of your patients likely found your practice online through a Google search. Alan Glazier, OD, shared tips at SECO for improving your practice’s standing on a Google search to bring in more patients.

Atlanta, GA-These days, many of your patients likely found your practice online through a Google search. Alan Glazier, OD, shared tips at SECO for improving your practice’s standing on a Google search to bring in more patients.

“Your practice’s internet presence is an extension of your brick and mortar presence, and it really shouldn’t be thought of any differently,” says Dr. Glazier.

Dr. Glazier says even if you don’t think you have an online presence, Google still likely has some information about your practice, likely on the Google Maps page, where your prospective patients will be looking for you. But if you’re not active online, it may not be correct; Google may have an old address or the wrong phone number. And if Google has the wrong information, then your patients are getting the wrong information.

Google’s formula is extensive, but the more presence you have online, the more important Google thinks you are, says Dr. Glaizer. Google wants to provide the best search experience for its customers, so if your online presence validates your expertise, your practice will show up higher in the search.

Do you have a Twitter? Do you blog? Are you active on LinkedIn? Have you seen your reviews on Google and Yelp? Does your practice have a Facebook page? Have you posted anything on YouTube? Do you participate in the optometric community online? Have your patients checked-in at your office on Foursquare? All of this online activity factors into where your practice shows up in a Google search.

What about Google+? While the social media site’s community isn’t as active or as large as some of the others-Twitter, Facebook, etc.-it has a big impact on your Google ranking. Dr. Glazier says a Google+ business page is a must-have.

Dr. Glazier’s practice in Rockville, MD, is at the top of the Google search results for eyecare professionals in his area, a fact of which he is very proud. He puts about 30 minutes the day into maintaining that ranking through social media and other means, “but even if I took a long break, it would take 5 to 7 years for my competitors to catch up to me,” he says.

“I enjoy this. For me, the best part of practicing eye care is growing my practice. And anything that’s out there with my name on it, I want to have some control over it,” says Dr. Glazier.

Some quick tips to get started:

• If you struggle to find relevant things to say on social media sites, start by sharing interesting articles or videos relating to eye care.

• Make sure the basics about your practice-name, address, and phone number-are correct and consistent on all sites where it is featured.

• Make sure your practice Web site is easily navigated on a smartphone.

• You may think social media isn’t relevant to your practice, but your standing in a Google search will suffer without it.

• Don’t worry too much about a bad review. But if you have a patient who had a really great experience, it’s ok to politely suggest that he write a quick review of your practice if he is so inclined.