Google+: Does It Have an Impact on SEO? What’s Next?

By: Glenn Judah

When Google+ launched in June of 2011, the SEO industry stood up and took notice.

Google+Logo

Google announced this new social network on its blog saying, “We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project.”

It made sense to invest time and energy creating content for this platform run by the largest search engine. Businesses and brands actively using Google+ saw improvements in search rankings. Google+ even developed features for authors to provide increased visibility in search results for their content.
But almost five years later, Google+ has not lived up to the hype leaving it to be stripped for parts.

Is it still worth spending effort on Google+ for SEO?

No.

Success Magazine explains bluntly, “The platform will never have the amount of impact it was purported to one day achieve, and if you continue to invest time and money into Google+ as a major element of your SEO campaign, you will continue to see declining returns.”

Google shut down authorship in 2014, ending Google+’s main SEO impact.

What is next for Google+?

Google has not abandoned the social network. Instead, it is slicing up Google+’s best features and repacking them in new products. The Social Times believes Google+ “will live on in the form of better, more intuitive products.” Products such as Google My Business and Places do play an important role in SEO.

A new Google+ related product, tentatively named Google Posts, is currently being tested by select local businesses. Local search expert, Mike Blumenthal, states “Google appears to have a new post/stream oriented publishing platform waiting in the wings to replace Plus. Unlike Plus it is currently being given broad front page exposure on keyword searches.”

Google describes Posts as an experiment “with a new way for users to hear directly from select entities they’re searching for on Google….Creating content is fast and simple, and once published, posts will appear instantly in search results related to the publisher. Each post can also be shared on popular social networks.”

Google Posts is currently invite-only, but you can join the waiting list.

Will Google Posts be the new Google+? The only thing true is Google’s promise to test, experiment and improve its products.

How to Update Location Information in Google

By: Kelly Bodell

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Note: If you are a hospital, contact our team to update your location information in Google. 

Google is a wonderful tool, and if used correctly, it will help patients find your practice, call to make an appointment and it may even direct them right to your practice’s door. However, if your practice’s information is incorrect in Google it can create havoc.

If your phone number is incorrect you could be losing appointments, if your address is incorrect patients may get lost on their way to your location, and neither of those are a good ways to start of your patient relationship and experience with your practice.

That is why we always recommend you check your Google listing at least once a month to make sure the information about your practice is correct. If you check your listing and notice you need to make changes, follow the below steps.

>> Situation 1: If your listing is claimed and verified in your Google My Business account, you can make changes by following the below steps.

  1. Log into your Google My Business Account by visiting google.com/business and logging in.
  2. Once you are in your Google My Business dashboard, click Manage Location.GoogBlog_1
  3. Once you are in the listing, you can click the Edit Info link (the middle tab in the top blue bar) or you can click the red Edit button that is in the top right corner of your listing.GoogBlog_2
  4. When you are done typing your changes, click the Done editing button on the bottom.

 

>> Situation 2: If your listing is not claimed and/or verified, you can make changes by following the below steps. (*Please note you need to have a Gmail account in order to track your edits to a business listing.)

  1. Search your listing in Google Search or Google Maps. If you search through Google Search, a Google My Business listing may pop up on the right-hand side of the window. If you search through Google Maps, the listing will appear under the search bar on the left.
  2. Click on Suggest an edit link toward the bottom of the listing.Google Search:                                              
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    Google Maps:      

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  1. If you are working in Google Search, click on the edit pencil on the right side of the section you need to edit. If you are working in Google Maps, click on the text area that you want to edit and a new text box will appear where you can type in your edit. Once you are finished, click Submit.Google Search:
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    Google Maps:

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  1. Once your edits are in, monitor your Gmail account for confirmation that your edits were indeed made. If your edits were not approved or published, contact Google Support.

Please note that we recommend you claim any unclaimed listings for your practice that exist on Google. This will allow you to edit the information in the future and remove the listing if it is a duplicate listing for your practice. If there is an unclaimed listing for your practice and you have not been through Promote My Practice Couse 100 or need help claiming it, please contact the Online Marketing Team.

Reputation Management Tips for the New Year: Update Social Links in M3-Advocate

By: Jael Teme

This is the second post in a four-part Reputation Management Tips for the New Year series dedicated to tips that can help you manage / improve your online reputation in the new year. Our first tip was Ask Patients to Leave Positive Reviews.

For the second installment of the series, we are covering how to update your social links in M3- Advocate to potentially increase the number of online reviews.

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Tip #2: Increase Positive Reviews by Updating Social Links in M3-Advocate

While some patients might rush to their phone or computer to express their opinion, others will be more inclined to share with their families and friends instead of writing a review. That’s why MedicalGPS is a powerful tool.

After patients receive their MedicalGPS survey and submit it, a follow-up email is sent to the patient inviting them to leave a review in one of the practice’s social sites. For patients to be able to do that, the social profiles in Google+ or Vitals should be linked to your M3 Advocate account. The social media team has updated all Google and Vitals links for all practices and physicians who participated in Course 100.  If a physician has joined your practice and you would like to add their claimed Vitals profile link to M3 Advocate or if you’d like to update any existing link within M3, follow these steps:

  1. Login to M3-Patient Experience® and click “M3-Advocate Pilot“. The M3-Advocate system will open to the “Manage Providers” page.
  1. Click “Edit Social Links” to make changes.

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  1. Copy and paste your URL for your Vitals or Google My Business

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  1. Click on “Save Changes to Social Links”.

You are finished!

If you need assistance locating your practice’s Google+ or Vitals links, feel free to reach out to the reputation management team. For other questions regarding MedicalGPS, you can also use the M3 support resource.

Google Game Changers

By: Kelly Bodell

Google made two big announcements in the past week that will change your Google game. This post gives you a quick summary of the updates for each, and will share how they impact you and your practice.

Google Maps Goes Offline

Google Maps’ users will now be able to navigate to their destinations offline. Typically, Google Maps’ directions are only accessible with an Internet connection, which can be spotty, unreliable and even non-existent in certain areas.

With Google’s new download feature, a user can download an area, city, county or even country they live in or travel to, and once downloaded, the user’s phone will switch into offline mode whenever they encounter low connectivity areas.

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Image originally appeared on the Google Maps announcement on googleblog.blogspot.com.

Being able to access the directions, contact information and operation hours offline means that your Google listing will always direct patients to your practice, as well as provide them with any additional information they may need, wherever they are and despite any connectivity issues.

Google+ Update Emphasizes Online Health Community

The tech giant also announced updates to Google+, its social networking site that is linked to the Gmail and Google listing you created in Course 100. The new Google+ puts more emphasis on interests and sports in a more simplistic, mobile-friendly design.

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Image originally appeared on the Google+ announcement on googleblog.blogspot.com.

So, what does this update mean for your practice? Google+ is now focusing on the Communities and Collections, two user-driven experiences that feature topics and interests.

For example, one popular community called Health and Happiness has more than 100,000 members who have joined the community to either share information on health-related topics or to learn from articles, quotes and tips that others post. These groups provide a place for you to get involved in an online health community in order to share research or thought leadership articles from your providers, as well as to find content to post on other social sites, such as Facebook.

Both of these Google updates present more opportunities for practices to reach patients, and for patients to reach you. Thank goodness for Google.

Google Maps’ offline feature and the Google+ updates are rolling out soon. For more information about these updates, visit googleblog.blogspot.com.

Removing Duplicate Profiles in 3 Easy Steps: Google, Yelp & Vitals

Online review sites like Google My Business (formerly Google+ Local), Yelp and Vitals are valuable marketing tools for businesses. Part of this value stems from the quality of information provided about a business, such as the correct hours, address and contact information. Taking ownership of profiles on these sites for your practice and providers is only part of the solution. You must also clean up extra, or duplicate, profiles that exist now and any that are created in the future.

duplicate profile is an unclaimed profile that represents a practice or provider with a claimed profile. In order to ensure the accuracy of information online, all duplicate profiles need to be reported to the site for removal. Note, any provider profiles on Google and Yelp should be reported as duplicates of your practice’s claimed profile.*

Profiles are periodically generated on these sites based on information found online and in various databases. Be proactive about addressing duplicate profiles by searching for your practice and providers on each site once a month.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below for how to report duplicate profiles on Google, Yelp and Vitals.

*per HCA Web & Social Media Services Best Practices

Google My Business (Google+ Local)

You do not need to be signed into your Google account to report a duplicate profile. You will need to report each duplicate profile separately.

1. Go to Google+ Local and search for profiles by practice name and popular variations, address or phone number and provider names.

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2. Click on the duplicate profile you wish to report to view it. On the Google Business profile under Contact Information, click Edit details.
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3. On the next page, select Place is a duplicate of another place. Provide an explanation, include the URL of your claimed profile and click Submit.
google4Note: Sometimes Google does not remove profiles when they are reported as duplicates. It’s important to check periodically to ensure the reported profile is removed.

Yelp

You do not need to be signed into your Yelp account to report a duplicate profile. You can perform multiple searches and select multiple duplicate profiles at once.

1. Find the duplicate business page by searching for it on the Yelp Homepage.

2. Select the listing and click the Edit business info link.

13. Scroll down and check This is a duplicate of another business on Yelp box at the bottom.

4. Provide your email if you are not logged in to your user account.

5. In the Notes section, include the link to the claimed business page.

6. Click Submit.

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Vitals

You do not need to be signed into your Vitals account to report a duplicate profile. You can report all duplicates in one submission.

1. Go to the Vitals Contact Page and click on Contact Customer Care under Get Support.
vitals12. Fill in the required fields. Under Issue, select Remove data from the drop-down.
vitals23. In the Comments box, provider an explanation, include the provider’s full name, NPI, the duplicate profile URL, as well as the URL of your claimed profile and click Submit.
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If you have further questions about how to remove duplicate profiles, please contact your Account Manager.

Google My Business: New Name, Easier to Navigate

Google+ Local may have changed, but your information will stay the same.

The new Google My Business hopes to better connect your business page with potential customers. Whether customers are looking on Google Search, Maps or Google+, your Google My Business page has the opportunity to be a direct hit. Adding photos, correct information, engaging in customer reviews and posting content to your page will help ensure that you get the most out of what the new Google My Business has to offer.

google businessYou may also notice some changes while working on your Google My Business profile. When you log on to your account, click the business profile you wish to edit by selecting “Manage this page.”

new manage page

This will take you to a brand new dashboard! It won’t require any new information, but it will give some insights on the impact your business page is making on the web and let you share new information with ease.

fixed dashboard

The first panel on the new dashboard asks, “Share what’s new …” This gives you the opportunity to share news, post articles or inform your audience of what your practice has been up to lately.

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Below is the “Insights” panel. You can use this to see how well your page is doing and what kinds of impressions it’s making when customers search for businesses like yours.

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The third panel allows quick access to managing reviews. This is where you can view and reply to any reviews left on your page.

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There are two new features to make navigation easier. You can use the square in the top right corner to access your new dashboard, Reviews and Insights while browsing throughout your business account. On the left side, there is a drop down menu leading to your page, streams (posts) and your photos.

fixed up drop downThe Google My Business app is also available for smart phones for on-the-go page management.

Reach out to the Social Media Team with any further questions and we’d be happy to assist you.

New Review Snippets Featured in Google Knowledge Panel

You may be thinking: “What is the Google knowledge panel?” But, chances are you are more familiar with it than you realize. For example, when you conduct a  Google search for Jordan Family Health, you will see the screen pictured below.

Google Knowledge panel reviews

The panel on the right side of the screen that features the practice’s name, address and other useful “knowledge” is referred to as the knowledge panel. In Promote My Practice, practices work to optimize this listing by adding photos and acquiring new reviews.  You can see on Jordan Family Health’s knowledge panel that they have 14 Google reviews and a 5.0 star rating (Note the star rating next to their Google+ Local and Website listing as well!).

So, what’s new? Now, Google is steadily incorporating a new feature into the knowledge panel: review snippets.  The addition of these review snippets (pictured below) means that people searching for information about your practice online don’t even have to go past the first page of Google to read about what other people are saying.  In fact, it’s right under the star rating:

Theresa Robinson Knowledge Panel

This new addition to Google reflects their understanding of the impact that these reviews have on potential customers.  Catch the eye of potential patients and ensure that your practice’s Google knowledge panel really stands out by optimizing all of the information on your Google+ Local page (including photos!) and by asking patients to leave you reviews online.