The Omni Advantage

The Omni Advantage is simple – we provide the services our clients want, nothing more and nothing less. Not every market is the same, not every medical practice, bariatric surgeon, plastic surgeon, otolaryngologist, etc. is the same. Why should online marketing companies only offer you one package without understanding your needs and desires?

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SEO

Is your medical website part of a link wheel?

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For many of you, your first question will be “What is a link wheel?”

In short, a link wheel is to create a pattern of links which flow from one website to another which would finally link to a targeted website for the benefit of promotion.  That is to say that building quality links can be a time consuming task, and by building out a link wheel consisting of sites you control, it’s essentially taking a short-cut.  What’s astonishing is that most medical practices don’t know that their medical marketing firm is even adding these pages to their site for the purpose of link-building.

Google has said time and time again that building link wheels will hurt your own online marketing efforts in regards to SEO.  While passing a link from your site to another may be a good thing if you are referring or recommending another practice or company, doing so for the sole purpose of gaining higher rankings could significantly impact your rankings in a negative way, if and when Google catches on ( and they will).  It’s also important to note, that if you don’t know the page is there and a potential patient finds it, what links will they actually find?  Will they find links to your competitors?  While it seems hard to believe, this actually happens more often than you would think.

How do I know if my site is part of a link wheel?

For some it may be easy; we found a large number of plastic surgeon websites designed and built with a page called “resources” . For these sites you can usually enter your URL this way to land on this page. “sampleplasticsurgeonwebsitedesign.com/RESOURCES”. Once you find this page, you’ll be able to see a number of outbound links to other medical practices and related websites.  For others we need to do a little more digging to find these pages that are often buried within the site structure. At no cost, we can research this for you to see if there is a hidden page on your site that you may not even know about.   Just shoot us an email with your website name and we will let you know the results (contact@omnimedicalmarketing.com).

What can I do if my website is part of a link wheel ?

First, ask your provider to take the page down and request in writing an agreement that they will not link to any other websites without your permission. For some, your provider may have included permissions in your contract for them to add links. This will obviously make removing links difficult and you may have to wait till your agreement expires in order to remove the links.

There is a right way and a wrong way to optimize a website for rankings. Easy come, easy go applies. We have witnessed many of our competitor’s client sites drop significantly in the rankings over the last year, mostly due to Google’s SEO updates. If a medical practice SEO company is using spammy links or links wheels, someone is going to get burned.  In these cases it is always the clients and not the SEO company.

Call 800-549-0170.

Are your medical website visits up? Do you know why?

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In the medical marketing field, it’s easy to ignore your website when your traffic is up significantly.  While we spend most of our time addressing our site when traffic is performing below expectation, it can be equally important to focus on your site’s productivity during the good times.  What have you done recently to make traffic go up?  Have you tried a new SEO strategy?  Are you just coming out of the holidays when traffic generally slumps?  These are all important questions to ask when enjoying a spike in traffic volume.

I know, you spend so much time on your site to improve it, you just want to put it on the back-burner for a while and enjoy the current success.  Here are 3 reasons why it’s so important to know why your traffic is up, just as you want to know why your traffic is down.

SEO Updates Take Time to Manifest

If you’re heading up your own search engine optimization, making changes to the site will take time to manifest in results.  If you’ve made changes recently, take some time to let the changes take hold within the search engine index.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is panicking and making a ton of changes to your site to improve ranking.  Now that your traffic is up, how do you know which strategy was effective?  In a competitive medical marketing strategy, it’s easy to make a significant amount of changes to your website all at once in hope of improving traffic dramatically.  Controlled changes will give you the ability to assess what worked, and what didn’t.  During the positive increases in search traffic, you’ll actually be able to identify what it was that helped move your medical practice up the rankings.  While we all want our medical websites to rank for hundreds of keywords as quickly as possible, not knowing how you got there can lead to a lot of questions down the road.

Search Engine Algorithm Updates Can Be Confusing

One of the major additions to the search engine landscape has been the Panda and Penguin updates from Google.  If your SEO strategy depends heavily on buying links and “black-hat seo” techniques, these updates can cripple any progress you’ve made.  A punishment from one of these updates can cause your traffic to plummet, literally overnight.  So if you see a sharp increase in traffic from buying back-links, or you suspect your medical marketing firm may be doing the same, knowing the reason for a Google penalty will go a long way.  While it may be fun riding the wave of an increase in search engine traffic, an algorithm will quickly bring your party to an end.  Understanding how to avoid these updates, and in many cases benefit from them, understanding why you’re seeing an increase in traffic is a good place to start.

Diagnosing an Unexpected Drop in Ranking

The more you know about your websites successes, the better you’ll be able to understand where it may be coming up short.  If a keyword is delivering quality leads to your practice, it’s important to understand how you got there.  For example, if you rank for Rhinoplasty in Orange County and it’s delivering quality traffic to your site, how would you react if this keyword feel out of the rankings entirely?  Knowing why a keyword ranks highly for your site will give you a great starting point if it no longer happens to do so.  When diagnosing an unexpected drop in Google ranking, it’s important to look at the things you’ve done to achieve a quality ranking.  It’s not always a Google Update.  In some cases, your competition may just have changed their strategy to be more competitive for that specific keyword and dropped your ranking.  With a majority of search traffic going to the top 3-5 results, 1-2 spots can make a huge difference on the amount of traffic being delivered.

Not sure if you have the time to track your search engine results?

That’s okay.  Tracking negative results can be time consuming as it is, so it’s understandable to think you may not be able to also watch your site’s success.  SEO is a fluid system that has it’s ebbs and flows.  Hiring a medical marketing professional is a great alternative to constantly observing your site in the good times and the bad times.  Not to mention, additional experience in the field will help a professional know whether or not to panic.  It’s essentially the idea that they can stress out about your medical website, so you don’t have to.

If you’re a medical professional that sees more fluctuation in search engine ranking than you can possibly keep up with, Contact Omni Medical Marketing today.

If you want to speak to a trained medical marketing professional, give us a call now.

Call 800-549-0170.

3 Reasons Why Medical Practices Should Love Facebook’s New Graph Search

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As is the case with many of the changes Facebook has made of late, this is another change that will directly help business.  While those who clamor for the days when Facebook was an intimate site that connected friends and family may not like the change, medical practices should be thrilled with Facebook’s latest innovation.  As Facebook focuses more on attracting businesses to set up fan pages and invest in Facebook advertising, Facebook’s new Graph Search is another tool to help bolster local business.  While it certainly has it’s creepy sides, Facebook’s Graph Search takes referrals to another level.  Medical practices tend to rely on word of mouth marketing, and this new tool is essentially a word of mouth tool.  Instead of relying on people to share your fan page, or like your status updates, people will be able to directly search for a medical practice that their friends already “Like.”

So what does Facebook Graph Search actually do?

Simply put, it’s like Google, but only delivers results that relate to your network of friends.  While this does go a bit further by including some information from friends of friends, it is essentially a local search engine that only crawls specific data.  Anything that is marked private and only for “friends” will remain that way.  Facebook Graph Search essentially delivers information you could have found the hard way in a much easier to use search bar format.

  1. Referral Marketing: Facebook Graph Search makes it possible to see what your friends “Like” and “Recommend.”  For a simple search for “Dentists my friends like,” Graph Search will pull data pertaining to dentists that friends have publicly liked.  This serves as an instant referral and vote of confidence.  Now, having an active business fan page on Facebook is even more important.  The more people like your page, the more potential people you can reach with this new tool.
  2. Build a new fan page much more quickly: In the past, medical practices have had to rely on people sharing posts on their personal wall to reach their friends.  Now, medical practices can be discovered much more quickly after even just 1 “Like.”  By continuing to be active on Facebook, your practice will be able to get much more exposure with this new search tool.
  3. Captive Audience: Millions of advertising dollars are spent every year trying to capture the Facebook user.  Given the frequency that people check their Facebook page, and the amount of time spent reading their News Feeds, reaching potential patients on social media has become a goal for most medical practices.  Now, you have to worry less about a crazy viral post to expose your practice, people looking for a qualified medical professional can now find you in Graph Search.  The social media audience is a captive one, and drawing potential leads to your practice tends to lead to higher than average conversion rates.

Running a successful social media marketing program is still going to be important, but graph search has the potential to make things even better for medical practices on Facebook.  While the new addition was just announced recently, and Beta testing is rolling out gradually, Graph Search appears to be the next great Medical Marketing tool in the arsenal.  If the initial Beta testing goes well, you will be able to build your audience, build your brand, and extend your reach with Facebook Graph Search.

If you are considering a revamped social media marketing campaign, or if you are interested in taking your medical practice to the next level, Call us at 800-549-0170.

Medical Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing

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So you’ve decided that your medical practice could use a boost in 2013.  Maybe you’re doing enough to get by, but your vision for your practice is not quite fulfilled.  It’s easy to say that your work will speak for itself, and if you’re good enough at what you do, patients will come.  While there is definitely truth to that, it is certainly not the whole truth.  For example, plastic surgery practices rely heavily on referrals to increase consultations, as the best advertisement for your plastic surgery practice is the results that are produced within.  Each and every plastic surgery procedure you perform translates to a walking billboard of your success and skill.  So why do you even need Medical Marketing?  Medical marketing is really just taking control of your brand, and not always leaving it up to previous patients to spread the word for you.  Keep in mind, that while plastic surgery is a growing field, not everyone is going to run home and tell their friends that they had work done.  So how do you reach potential patients that may not have a close friend or family member telling them how great you are?  While I won’t argue that the early days of SEO didn’t necessarily focus on the quality of a medical practice, Google Updates in 2012 have drastically changed the industry for the better.

The SEO industry has changed so much over the last year, that many SEO professionals have been forced to learn how to rank websites based upon creating actual quality.  This means that there is more focus on quality content, user-friendly medical website design, social media marketing, and actual PR.  The days of buying links to your site to rank for terms you don’t necessarily deserve are over.  Now is the time to implement realistic medical marketing plans to increase your online visibility.  After all, that’s exactly what SEO originally was intended to do.  Let’s put it in perspective by examining some of the older forms of marketing and advertising that medical practices relied upon.  Let’s use the Yellow Pages as an example.  Did you settle for the free listing that was listed alphabetically along with all of your competitors, or did you make an investment for a half-page or full-page layout?  The best way to look at medical marketing is to relate it to buying a full-page advertisement in your local phone book.  Do you want the full-page to be in color to get people’s attention?  Do you include a “call to action” to increase conversion?  Do you clearly offer the services provided at your practice?

Yellow Pages

Does Word of Mouth Marketing Still Have Value?

Of course it does!  Just as other forms of marketing have value (i.e. radio, print and television), so too does word of mouth marketing.  There is no doubt that word of mouth marketing is a great way to grow your medical practice and has the highest conversion rate.  Just as you might diversify your stock portfolio, a diversified marketing strategy will also yield the best long-term results.  While Medical Marketing focuses on your online presence, the oldest form of marketing, word of mouth marketing, will always play a large role in the success of your medical practice.  To see how word of mouth marketing and medical marketing might work together, you need to look no further than a strong social media presence.  Since social media plays a large role in how society communicates and fosters relationships it makes sense to utilize a “fan page” to make social sharing simpler.

Developing Your Brand with Medical Marketing

Take out a full page ad for your medical practice!  Remember, medical marketing is designed to highlight the best parts of your practice and increase your online visibility.  There’s a certain amount of people who believe online medical marketing isn’t a fair practice because it can elevate a practice in Google rankings allowing for more leads.  But if you develop a well-known and visible brand through marketing, you’re reaching potential patients that are looking for you.  Also, it should be looked at no differently than taking out a full page in the Yellow Pages.  You’re simply putting your medical practice in a position to succeed in a competitive market.  With recent studies showing that 80% of those surveyed have used the internet to search for healthcare information, take stock of your current medical marketing plan in 2013.  Do you have a full page ad, or are you just another name in the long list of your competitors?

To see how many more leads Omni Medical Marketing can get for you, give us a call.

Call 800-549-0170.

Sudden Drop in Google Ranking Have You Questioning Your Medical Marketing Company?

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As is often the case, a recent update to the Google Algorithm has shaken the medical marketing community.  While Google does not specifically say that an update occurred on December 13th, simply looking at the search engine results pages will show you a large fluctuation in the top 10 results for varying keywords. The SEO “MozCast”  actually states that there was more fluctuation on this day than on some of the larger well-known updates to hit in previous months.  So how did your medical practice website do?  Anytime one of these large algorithm updates hits, it’s important to hold your medical marketing company accountable for the negative impact.  While the exact targets of the most recent update are unknown, one thing is certain, many medical practices saw a sharp decline in Google ranking.

In an earlier blog, I discussed how Google updates can actually help your medical practice.  By taking a long-term approach to your medical marketing and SEO strategy, this most recent update should have been a positive for your practice.  Again, if we assume that Google is trying to deliver relevant results, the question you should be asking yourself is, “What have I done to make my medical website more relevant for my target audience?”  If you keep this in mind, staying ahead of the Google curve can be quite simple.

So why did you see your ranking fall?

Chances are, you’re probably guilty of more “black-hat SEO” techniques than you may have thought.  Now this may not be something you’re intentionally doing, but in a desire to please clients with immediate results, it’s not unheard of for medical marketing companies to use these frowned-upon techniques.  While the exact factors that go into search engine optimization are largely a mystery, Google has made no secret of the techniques that they are targeting that may deliver irrelevant and poor quality websites.  Here’s the catch… You can absolutely get away with doing them, at least for a time.  You can see your site skyrocket in ranking in a matter of weeks, but at what cost?  If I told you that I could get you ranked in the top 3 results for high-traffic keywords, but it would only last a month, would it really be worth the investment?

Omni Medical Marketing had EVERY client see improvement in ranking after December 13th

 

So why did Omni Medical Marketing’s Clients see such an improvement?

The answer here is really two-fold.  First, our SEO strategy has been fine-tuned specifically for medical-practices with a huge focus on quality medical website design and focused content.  This strategy has helped to grow plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, dental practices, orthodontist practices, and other medical websites.  Second, our clients moved up, when other medical practices saw sharp declines.  After all, the easiest way to move up in ranking is to have everyone else around you fall.

While every medical marketing company wants to be able to tell you that they don’t use “black-hat SEO” techniques to increase your rankings, the proof is in the results.  While Google is certainly not immune from indiscriminately lowering the rankings of quality sites, the long-term results show a dedication towards returning relevant results.  If you saw a dramatic decline in Google rankings recently, you should consider whether your medical website is prepared for the next update, or the one after that.  With hundreds of updates occurring each year, how many updates can your medical website suffer through?

What is your medical marketing strategy for 2013?

As of the writing of this blog, the world hasn’t ended.  Assuming we make it through the entire day, what is your medical marketing strategy for 2013?  If you would like to speak to one of our trained SEO professionals to see what you can do differently to avoid a sudden drop in Google ranking after the next update, give Omni Medical Marketing a call today.  Our trained SEO professionals will explain the difference between an honest medical marketing strategy, and one that will lead to long-term failure.  You can’t afford to continue to lose ranking due to Google updates, and Omni Medical Marketing has proven to have a strategy that will do just the opposite.

Call 800-549-0170 to see what Omni can do for you in 2013.

 

Why Google Algorithm Updates are Actually Good for Your Medical Practice

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Okay, so this won’t get me many friends in the SEO and Medical Marketing community, but there is no doubt that the incredible number of Google Updates in 2012 has improved the user experience.  Every time Google updates their algorithm, you may see wild and seemingly unwarranted shifts in your Google rankings.  Don’t worry, Bing and Yahoo have been busy themselves in 2012, and keeping up with the changes has caused many Medical Marketing and Medical Practice SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firms to lose their minds.  One day, you’re ranked #1 for a target keyword, and the next day, you can’t find your business anywhere.  With adorable names like the Google Penguin Update or the Google Panda Update, can you really be all that upset?

Medical Marketing | Google Panda Update

Of course you can.  After all, losing a ranking in Google can translate to fewer visits and leads to your medical practice.  But after spending a few days pulling out my own hair trying to keep up with these large updates, one thing became clear.  The user experience when searching within Google was greatly improved.  Results were significantly more relevant to search terms, and the delivered websites actually delivered the information you were looking for.  While this is always the goal of the search engine, certain Medical Practice SEO techniques can actually hurt a search engine’s ability to return relevant results.  You may or may not have heard the term, “Black Hat SEO.”  These tactics work to get your medical practice ranked for keywords that you simply don’t deserve to be ranked for.  When these techniques are used, it becomes more difficult to find relevant information in a search.  And while the traffic to your site may increase dramatically, there’s an improved chance that someone visited your site for information inadvertently and quickly clicked away when they didn’t find what they’re looking for.  This doesn’t help anyone.

So How Do These Updates Help Your Medical Practice?

First of all, a Long-Term SEO Strategy will rarely have to deal with dramatic declines in ranking coming from an algorithm update.  In essence, you have a great ranking because you’ve earned it.  By not using these techniques, you can rank well, deserve it, and keep it.  Better yet, if your competition is using these tactics to get ranked prematurely, they’ll lose their place on the first page, making more room for you on top of Google search rankings.  Also, since the search results are more relevant, you have an increased chance of getting quality visits from visitors actually interested in your medical practice.  Getting an increase in traffic is one thing, getting quality traffic is another.

Medical Marketing Changed in 2012… For the Better

Imagine a world where your medical website can rank well in search for having quality content, a great Medical Website Design, social media popularity, PR, and website maturity.  Admittedly, some of the tactics to rank poor quality sites are still viable, but each update takes us one step closer to making this a reality.  By combining the efforts of our medical marketing team and our medical website design and development teams, we are building medical websites for the future.  By ignoring quick fixes and “Black Hat SEO” techniques of the past, we create an honest and reliable medical marketing plan that can make your medical practice website virtually immune from algorithm updates.

It is important to note that SEO is far from dead.  It’s simply changing.  Frankly, it’s becoming more difficult and requiring a more extensive background in content writing, PR, and Social Media Marketing.  The team at Omni Medical Marketing is built to meet the changing face of SEO head-on to deliver more leads from your medical practice website now, and into the future.  Change can be scary, but in this case, it can also be very good.

What Does This Mean For Medical Marketing in 2013?

Assuming the Mayans were wrong, 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Medical Marketing.  With more algorithm updates undoubtedly coming down the pipeline in 2013, the question every medical practice should ask themselves is, “Is your medical practice website ready for what’s next?”  There is no doubt that search engines will continue to work towards delivering the most relevant and beneficial material to their users, and a successful medical marketing plan involves providing just that.

To speak with a Medical Marketing professional about the current state of your medical practice website:

Call 800-549-0170.

 

5 Key Elements of Medical Practice Website Design and Development

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In any good Medical Marketing plan, website design and development should not be overlooked.  Medical Website Design and Development can play a key role in SEO and the overall marketing for your website.  Take a minute to read through the 5 key elements of Medical Practice Website Design and Development below to ensure that you are seeing the results that you deserve from your hard work.

 

  1. Looks Matter
    • Too much or too little; if your website looks like it is part of the Vegas Strip or Times Square, it can quickly turn people off. The first 3 seconds matters. Three seconds will buy you 30 seconds, and those 30 seconds will buy you three minutes. Yes, your site needs to be pleasing to the eye, however, most people do not want to feel like they are being sold or advertised to. Remember what attracted people to your website to begin with. It was the content, not over the top graphics and a sales pitch. Yes, the internet has turned into the number one source of marketing, but it’s not necessarily what people are actually looking for.
    • Having a dated website, that looks like it was built ten years ago by the kid who lives next door, will give the impression that you are out of touch.  Some of the most cutting edge websites out there are simple, clean and yet elegant. A Chrysler 300 may appear to have the elegance of a Bentley.  That is until a Bentley pulls up next to one.  Both cars have very similar lines; however, a 300 will never match the class of a Bentley aesthetically. You can keep it simple and have all the class in the world.
  2. Navigation
    • Keep the overall navigation simple throughout all pages. Using top navigation on one page, left on other and right on the next will turn people off.
    • Make sure there are easy to find buttons/links to your photo galleries.
    • Phone number/address: Many sites we review make it very difficult to find the phone number of the medical practice on their website. Make sure it is clear and visible on every page. This alone will increase conversion.
  3. Content, content, content
    • Give people what they want and need right away.  Navigation should quickly allow your audience to find out who you are, what field you are in, what services you offer, what hours you keep, and how to contact you. When navigation is done correctly, people will never question what services you or your medical practice provide.
    • Consider offering downloadable content, like brochures that people can share at the dinner table. Not only will this provide the user with the information they want right away, it will give them something to look at time and time again. Allow people to email these brochures to their friends and family. Get creative with the message that you want people to receive.
  4. Make sure people can find you.
    • We made our name providing medical practices and plastic surgeons with top notch SEO. We certainly recommend you working with a reputable SEO, that specializes in medical practice websites. However, there are a few simple tricks you can to do help.
    • Name all of your photos relative to what they are. If you are a plastic surgeon in New Jersey each one of your photos should be named something like FaceliftNewJersey-01.jpg . This will let Google know what the photo is and provide you with a better chance of being ranked for that term.
    • Find more ideas on the SEO section of our blog: Medical Marketing | SEO
  5. Use Social media for your medical practice.
    • Being active on social media gives people the opportunity to provide you with more referrals. Each time your post is shared, your reach multiplies greatly. Because these shared posts are coming from friends, the value of the post is very high.
    • Consider using software to limit the time you need to invest, while actually increasing the amount of social posts being pushed out. We offer our Social Media Software with a free trial period.  This allows you to see the results with no risks.
    • Post messages that matter. Blogs, useful health tips, and interesting news stories will demand more attention. If people find value in your message, they will keep coming back and will be more likely to share this information.
    • Post on the weekends. People log into Facebook daily, but actually spend the most amount of time there during weekends. Posting during that time is highly recommended. This is also a time where your competition is most likely not posting. It’s Win-Win.

Are Exact Match Domains Helping or Hurting Your Medical Practice

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One of the most hotly contested attributes in the SEO community is whether or not exact match domains are the way to go when searching for a medical practice domain.  An Exact Match Domain, or EMD is a domain that is keyword heavy, and generally ranks well for 1-3 keywords automatically.  While there are some tricks of the trade that can make a difference in search engine ranking, there is no doubt that Google has identified EMD’s as a potential problem when identifying issues preventing relevant search returns.  Extremely common in the medical community, buying a domain that directly targets potential searches has altered relevant search results, and not always for the better.

“We have looked at the rankings and weights that we give to keyword domains and some people have complained that we’re giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains. And so we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm so that given two different domains, it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.– Matt Cutts- Google Engineer”

The idea behind exact match domains is that you can get ranked quickly for 1-3 good keywords immediately, without actually focusing on content or website design.  While Google has rewarded this in the past, the most recent set of updates shows that they are beginning to target domains that don’t deserve higher rankings.  While some SEO professionals still believe it’s worth the risk, the .6% of exact match domains that were affected by the most recent updates might say otherwise.  So that begs the question, “How do you capitalize off of a great domain name and avoid search engine ranking purgatory?”

Which Exact Match Domains are Likely Affected?

As Matt Cutts explained in the above quote, it’s not the exact match domains that are specifically being punished, it’s the domains that tend to rank for keywords that they don’t particularly deserve.  When compared to another site that may have more relevant content, exact match domains should be the difference-maker.  A well-planned Medical Marketing strategy generally begins by getting a medical practice ranked for local searches.  By targeting the immediate audience in the local area, it’s the quickest way to see results.  Once the local traffic has been captured, the marketing strategy expands outward to surrounding cities, and eventually the state.  For example, an exact match that targets a specific city will fare much better than a site that starts by targeting the state.  Some example domains could be www.”Plastic Surgery Procedure”Denver.com versus www.”PlasticSurgeryProcedure”Colorado.com.  Since Colorado will be much more competitive in search engine rankings, getting an immediate ranking in the state because of your domain name can cause a lot of controversy among the practices that are attempting the reach top ranking as well.  Essentially, rewarding a practice for having a keyword friendly domain name might be in the Google cross-hairs.

Since medical practices saw an initial response, domains started getting longer and even started including dashes.  If www.”PlasticSurgeryProcedure”Colorado.com was taken, the next strategy was to begin buying .net or .org domains to be able to capitalize on the benefits of EMD’s.  All of a sudden, www.”Plastic-Surgery-Procedure”-Colorado.net was ranking well just because the domain was keyword friendly.  This is where the battle in the SEO community heats up.  If you are trying to capitalize on the 43% of users who click on the first result on a given Google search result page, learning that one of these sites may be out-ranking your much more informative site can be troubling.  Let the battle begin!

While there is no doubt that a great domain name can have a significant impact on search engine ranking, choose your domain wisely, and don’t count on it being the final solution to SEO.

Were you affected by an EMD update?

While very few sites were impacted by the last EMD update, there is no doubt that Google will continue to focus on potentially bogus search results.  So what do you do if your site seemed to have completely lost ranking overnight?  First, take a deep breath.  While any algorithm update that seems to cause your site to fall in search engine ranking seems like a punishement, take it for what it is.  It’s actually Google just telling you that your original SEO strategy just isn’t good enough.  Where you may have been ranking in top slots for very broad keywords, this recent update is telling you that you probably didn’t deserve the ranking to begin with.  It’s time to take your medical marketing strategy to the next level.  Look at the sites that are ranking well for specific keywords.  Are they more informative?  Are they more popular on social sites like Facebook and Twitter?  Re-examine your strategy and start attacking.  Any Google ranking that is worth having is worth fighting for.  Start by improving your on-site SEO (Title, Description, Keywords, Internal Linking Structure), and then expand out.  While the turn-around may not be immediate, and your ranking for these broad keywords may take some time to recover, re-focusing your attention on executing a successful medical marketing strategy can and will pay off.

If you currently own a site that you think may have an Exact Match Domain that could negatively impact your site, keep working on improving your Search Engine Optimization.  Again, Google isn’t going after sites for having a keyword specific domain, it’s re-evaluating whether the domain name alone has delivered you search engine rankings that you perhaps weren’t ready for.  As search engines grow in popularity, and more practices are taking advantage of SEO to increase their traffic, it’s tempting to do anything and everything to get to the top.  Just remember, taking these risks may lead to temporary success, but they should not be considered long term marketing strategies.

 If you’re not constantly improving, your probably losing

A proper Medical Marketing strategy should never rely on just one method to improve practice to the site.  If you’re relying exclusively on an exact match domain to drive you more traffic, these Google Algorithm updates can be crippling to the success of your practice.  If you take a step back and ask yourself, “What is the end-game for Google?”, you reach the same conclusion.  No, not world-dominance.  Rather, Google has made its name off of constantly evolving and improving, in order to deliver the most relevant search results.  85-90% of internet searches occur on Google for a reason.  Users believe they can trust the results that are delivered by Google and continue to value the search engine as a source of relevant and ever-expanding information.

If you want to know how to improve your overall search results, keep this in mind.  If you’re attacking search engine ranking from different aspects, it’s highly unlikely that any of Google’s algorithmic updates will ever cripple your site.  Exact match domains are a great supplemental tool, but they should never be the only tool.

Call Omni Medical Marketing today to see if exact match domains could potentially negatively impact your practice.

Call 800-549-0170.

Medical Mobile Website Marketing for Tablets and Smart Phones

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Now that you have seen the Benefits of Responsive Design for mobile sites, let’s discuss the differences between mobile website marketing and traditional website marketing when it comes to user intent.  While Responsive Design is a fantastic option for mobile websites, understanding user intent is equally important to effectively marketing your site for mobile users.  As targeting search traffic can often include understanding intent, Medical Mobile Website Marketing has to understand why visitors are using mobile devices to visit your site in the first place.  With an estimated 25% of healthcare related searches coming from mobile devices, understanding user intent can help to attract the 25% of potential patients that your practice may be missing out on.  Also, with the explosion of tablet sales in recent years, understanding the use of a tablet in a home can also have a large impact on your site’s design, functionality, and content.

Stop and think to yourself, when do you use your mobile device for search, and what is your intent when you begin your search.  While this answer will be different for Smart Phones and Tablets, there is no doubt that the intent will be different than when a search is conducted at a desktop or laptop computer.  With the sale of tablets reaching 40 million units sold in 3 years (It took Smart Phones 9 years to reach that mark), there is no doubt that every medical practice website design should consider a mobile website marketing plan to capture this audience.  Some reports even show up to 25% of all internet users worldwide depend upon mobile devices to access the internet, as they either rarely or never use a desktop computer.

Mobile Device Adoption Rate Post Introduction

Mobile Device Adoption Rate Post Introduction

Mobile Website Marketing: “Facebook-itis”

The fairly recent story concerning Facebook’s IPO plummeting focused around one main topic.  Mobile Website Marketing became a huge problem for Facebook, as more users accessed their social media site through a mobile device.  Since their mobile platform did not support advertising, the plan for revenue growth was greatly flawed.  In this circumstance, one of the largest internet companies in the world ignored the increasing trend of mobile users.  Do not make that same mistake.  Part of any good Medical Marketing plan should be to focus on the future.  What is happening, and what will most likely happen?  By looking ahead in your Medical Marketing plan, you’ll be able to attract potential patients that your competition may be missing out on.  It’s never too soon to start thinking about the future, and with the exponential growth in Smart Phone and Tablet ownership, the writing is one the wall.  If you want to capture each and every person who may be searching for a qualified surgeon, general practitioner, plastic surgeon, or dentist, having a focus on mobile marketing will be a key to your success moving forward.

What is Mobile User Intent?

Mobile user intent evaluates why a user is using a mobile device for search.  In other words, what are the circumstances that lead a potential patient to search for a medical practice on a mobile device?  While there is a percentage of people who rely on mobile devices exclusively for internet access, evaluating why users are using a smart phone versus a tablet might also cause you to reconsider the design of your mobile site.

For tablets, more families are becoming two screen homes.  That is to say that more families keep a tablet nearby when watching television.  Often, it’s a television commercial that drives them to pick up the tablet to learn more about a specific practice or procedure.  A tablet user doesn’t typically have their tablet all day, and it often acts as a “laptop substitute” for quick informational searches.  While a tablet is a mobile device, most tablet owners will not take their tablet everywhere with them, and it’s not always the best choice for people who are on-the-go.

Smart Phones are a different animal entirely.  While a Smart Phone can also double as a “second screen” for individuals watching television, a Smart Phone user is much more likely to always have their phone on them.  Mobile Website Marketing should account for this added benefit by catering to people who are in-transit, or on-the-go.  While mobile Smart Phone devices will be used less seldom for information gathering, it is common for searches to take place for basic information.  That is why a mobile medical website should feature contact information, location, and phone number clearly displayed on the home page, or be easily found in navigation.  Doing so will ensure that the information someone may be looking for is readily available and requires minimal navigation.  Since Smart Phones don’t typically have the same navigation ability that the larger tablet does, having pertinent information on the home page of a medical website will cater to this group of Smart Phone users.

How Does This Impact Your Mobile Website Marketing Plan?

In short, you should always consider the intent of users when designing a mobile medical website.  If a potential patient is using a Smart Phone, chances are, they are looking for basic information about your practice.  On the other hand, a tablet user is much more likely to be looking for more content and information that can help in the decision process.  Responsive Website Design has the ability to cater to both types of mobile user, and even preserves your main site content for the Smart Phone user who may be looking for more information than just the medical practice’s phone number.

By considering the intent of mobile users, you can capture the additional 25% of users that are looking for your medical practice.  Medical Website Design, navigation functionality, and page content can all have an impact on your ability to succeed in the increasingly competitive mobile device market.  Taking the extra time to think about user intent could take your medical practice from being just one of the many options, to the clear choice winner in mobile search.

To learn more about Medical Mobile Website Marketing and Responsive Medical Website Design, contact Omni Medical Marketing to arrange a meeting with one of our mobile website marketing specialists.

Call 800-549-0170.

 

Google+ Local: A Brief FAQ Sheet

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With the recent transition from Google Places to Google+ Local, many practices are confused on just how to manage their local presence on Google, and what steps they need to follow so that they can properly control the new Google+ Local page, and ensure the accuracy of their listings, specials and user reviews.

I have to state that this recent migration from Google Places to Google+ Local seems like a rushed attempt to push Google+ into businesses and make the new social network more relevant, and it does seem to have some serious bugs that should have been worked out before launch.

That being said, we’ve tried to compile some tips on managing the new pages based on some of the Frequently Asked Questions we’ve received from clients about Google+ Local, and the former Google Places.

General Information About Google+ Local:

  • All Google Places listings were migrated to Google+ Local on May 30, 2012
  • Business owners and their representatives can, for the most part, manage their Google+ Local listings using the Google Places for Business dashboard (there are some issues at this time).   Likely this will migrate to a Google+ interface in the future.
  • Google+ Brand Pages, which existed before the Google+ Local migration, are still available as a separate product.  A Brand page represents the business entity while the Local page represents that business location.    So for example, The Gap might have a Brand page for the company as a whole and Local pages for each of it’s store locations.   We expect Google will link Brand pages to Local pages at some point in the near future, however this has not yet been established.
  • The transition to Google+ Local signals a shift in Google’s attitude from the search algorithm to the social network.   We expect that social activity around your Google+ Local page will eventually do more to boost it’s ranking than any other factor.    Soon businesses should be able to post status updates to their Local pages: already those pages include many opportunities for user input and offer business owners the ability to respond to user reviews.
  • The process for claiming a Google+ Local listing appears to be the same now as it was with Google Places, even making use of the same Google Places interface.   That process was already tied to your personal Google account and will likely make greater use of Google+ features in the near future.

Listing Issues with Google+ Local

  • A technical glitch related to the Google+ Local transition has caused some locations to become unavailable and to display the message “We Currently Do Not Support This Location.”   This problem can be fixed in some cases by recreating the business listing in Google MapMaker as described in this post on the Blumenthal blog.
  • The “Owner Verified” tag that was a prominent feature of Google Places does not appear in Google+ Local listings (for now) however, business owners and their representatives can still manage listings in the Google Places interface, either by going directly to Google Places for Business  or by clicking links in the Local listing such as “Is this your business? Manage this page” in the right-hand column of the main Local page for the business.

Google+ Local Reviews

Google+ Local listings now feature the more detailed Zagat ratings instead of star ratings.  This applies to all types of businesses, not just retaurants.  (Google acquired Zagat in 2011, and now features the Zagat 30 point scale, instead of the traditional 5 star rating.

Google describes the Zagat scoring system breakdown as follows:

Individual user scores are based on a 0-to-3 point scale.

3               Excellent

2               Very good

1               Good

0               Poor to fair

The averaged scores are calculated on a 30-point scale based on user reviews.

The 30-point scores breaks downs in the following manner:

26-30     Extraordinary to perfection

21-25     Very good to excellent

16-20     Good to very good

11-15     Fair to good

0-10        Poor to fair

Reviews are now limited to Google users only.  Existing reviews will be attributed to “A Google User” unless the user has linked their Google+ identity to their reviews.  This should help to drive more people to the Google+ platform, and ensures that reviews will not be posted anonomously.

Aside from the inherent bugs that are currently present in Google+ Local / Google Places, this should be a good opportunity for business owners to refresh their local presence on Google, add images, specials, more descriptive text, and share their company events, blog posts and other information in a more social manner.

If your practice is struggling with the new format, hopefully these tips can help.  If you need more assistance, please contact us and our local marketing experts will analyze your current situation and provide a suggested plan of attack to help you get these listings working correctly for your practice.

Call 800-549-0170