To put it simply, Google has pretty much become (and has been for some time now) king of the Internet. Forbes listed Google as the third most valuable brand in the world, only falling short to Apple and Microsoft. At the end of the day, Google has become a ubiquitous part of how we use computers, tablets, smartphones and other technology. Simply consider the fact that you’ve likely heard someone use the word Google as a verb, as a means of describing that they intend to conduct a web search. In fact, maybe you have done this yourself. You want to know how much peanut butter is consumed in the U.S. annually? You Google it.
So it should be no surprise that Google is an extremely valuable tool for therapy providers. However, making the most of Google can be a challenge considering the company’s clandestine search practices. What’s most important to remember is that Google is remarkably user-oriented, and that reflects in the way its search engine generates organic search results. Of course, that means there are a number of ways to optimize your online presence utilizing this platform. In the following guide, you’ll be introduced to the general benefits of Google+, setting up your Google+ account, and how to become an active user of Google+ .
“Google is an extremely valuable tool for therapy providers.”
What is Google+?
Google+ is an online social networking platform that works within the larger Internet universe of Google services. It is the world’s second largest social networking forum, falling second only to Facebook, although in many ways it is more diverse. This is partially because Google+ can be synced with other services from the company such as Gmail and YouTube. Some of the important features of Google+ include Circles, Stream and Hangouts.
For therapy providers, the importance of creating a Google+ business page cannot be emphasized enough. As your clinic builds a reputable online presence, Google+ is a key tool in developing your ranking in the Google search engine. According to the SEO consulting firm Tasty Placement, gaining followers and +1s on Google do more to boost organic search rankings in Google’s search engine than Facebook and Twitter.
How to set up a Google+ account
There are over 300 million active Google+ users. As you begin your journey to becoming one of them, make sure to fill out every portion of your business page as you set up the account. Include all relevant business resources such as the name and address of your clinic and contact information. Add a few pictures that showcase your clinic, as well. Once you’ve filled out your page in its entirety, make sure to add a Google badge, as well as follow, share and +1 buttons to your website as you develop your account.
Similar to Yelp, there is a distinct difference between creating a business page and a personal profile. To learn more about the specifics of setting up your Google+ business page, here is a comprehensive partner playbook provided by the company.
What should I post on Google+?
Your Google+ business page is a fantastic platform for sharing a wide range of content that interests other users. Therefore, your page is a good location for sharing breaking industry news, business promotions (without spamming), information that may interest your patients and content that demonstrates thought leadership. Again, remember first and foremost that Google+ is social networking platform, and building an audience relies on sharing content regularly and avoiding being overtly solicitous.
Posting regularly is imperative, and this is one of the reasons having a marketing strategy in place can be beneficial. Before creating an account, ensure your clinic has a plan that details who will be responsible for contributing and posting content, and also create a rough content calendar. If you don’t post often, you’ll likely lose your audience and this will weaken your overall online presence.
Furthermore, you can use Circles and Google Hangouts to drive more engagement with other users. These two features of Google+ allow you to develop stronger relationships with those in your network. Specifically, businesses can use Hangouts, which is Google’s video chat service, for running webinars, workshops and other web events. For businesses, using Communities, another networking Google feature, may also be helpful in branching out in your local area.
+1s can have a major impact on your Google search rankings.
Making the most of Google+ posts
One of the wonderful things about sharing content on Google+ is that there is a lot of freedom in the formatting. Whereas Facebook and Twitter have a more limited posting structure, you can make your Google+ posts much more aesthetically pleasing. Here are several formatting options to consider:
Bold and italics: Although adding bold, strikethrough and italics to your Google+ posts takes a little extra formatting, it can easily make your post stand out and appear more finely crafted. Moreover, this will allow you to put emphasis on the most important phrases in your post.
Links: Sharing links to content around the Web shows that your business is up-to-date on the latest news and wants to spread awareness. Post links that are informative and engaging, rather than clickbait – misleading content that lures in users.
Images: When you add links, many of them will come with an accompanying image. However, you can also add your own images to Google+ posts to complement your written content.
Hashtags: Hashtags are a great way to categorize your content. Unless you are working to create a unique hashtag, it’s advisable to use hashtags recommended by Google+ that will appear once you’ve hit the # sign and begun typing. The recommended hashtags are generally more popular and will do a better job of ensuring that users see your post.
Mentions: Do you have customers, friends, colleagues or other acquaintances who may find a post particularly interesting? If they are also on Google+, consider mentioning them in your post so that they are alerted of the content you are sharing.
Stay tuned for a more specific guide on the types of content to post on online platforms in general.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.