For most dentists, keeping up with Google and ranking on Page One in local search are focal aspects of their marketing efforts for attracting new patients.
You know the drill. Claim your listing. Verify it with a PIN number. Follow Google’s guidelines to a T. Try to consolidate duplicates. Check back regularly to make sure things are in good standing. And, try like heck to encourage happy patients to submit reviews so you keep little gold stars next to your name.
This may seem like a lot of busy work, but the truth is that web searchers and potential patients perceive value in having gold stars next to your listing and are influenced by the reviews they read. Also, it’s the single greatest common denominator we’re seeing to help dentists “get found” on line. Let’s face it, Google reviews are your modern day “word of mouth referral from a friend.”
Well, Today The Game Changed Again. Introducing Google+ Local.
A better word might be “evolved.” If you checked out your Google Places page today, it may have looked a little different to you. This morning, Google announced that the merge of Google Places and Google + into the new Google+ Local.
But, don’t worry. Despite getting used to a new format, this next evolution of Google’s local program is considered to be an improvement by the early feedback of local search experts such as Linda Buquet and Mike Blumenthal. And, this is certain not to be the last trick that Google has up it’s sleeve so the game continues.
What we do know at this point is:
- You can still manage your information via your Places dashboard, verify your listing data and respond to reviews.
- You can still post offers the same way.
- You cannot upload videos to your Place page anymore.
- Instead of the scoring system of receiving 1-5 stars, Google has incorporated the more comprehensive 1-30 Zagat scoring system.
- Reviews from both Google and Zagat users will reside on your Google+ local page and will be attributed to either “A Google User” or “A Zagat user” until that user chooses to change it to their name.
- If you haven’t done so, consider setting up a Google+ business page.
- More updates will follow in the coming months.
We will continue to keep our clients updated on new advancements. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more you can read about Google+ Local in the Google Help Forum. For questions about your particular Google Places listing or setting up a Google+ Business Page, please contact APM at (952) 921-3360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.