Google has been making some bold leaps into social media and while they cannot compare with the likes of Twitter and Facebook, they do have one distinct advantage. Google operates the most widely used search engine globally. If you do not want to use their products, then your presence on their website will ultimately be affected. And at a time when all business is good business, you need maximum exposure on Google – if not for major search terms then at least for local searches.
While in the past it was still an option to utilize Google Plus, it is gradually becoming a necessity. If you do not have a Google Plus business page for your practice, clinic or pharmacy website then you had better do so as soon as possible. Your Google Plus Page should not be left to your website developer. It is very easy to setup even if you do not have much IT skills. But it is important to first understand the difference between a Google Plus Profile and Page, and also look at how these options can impact on search engine rankings.
Google Plus Profile for Medical Professionals
As the title above states, a Google Plus Profile is for a person. In this case you as a medical professional. It has to contain your real name and a profile picture. Although Google may accept a nickname (not a pseudonym), as a medical professional your name is your brand so it best to use a name that your patients know you by. Actually Google may attempt to verify this name if they suspect that a profile is false. Never set your Google Plus Profile name to your clinic or business name. You run the risk of having your Profile banned by Google.
So what should your Google Plus Profile contain. You actually do not need to put any information on your profile if you do not wish to do so. You do not even need to upload a picture. But if you want your profile associated with your website articles on Google’s search engine, then it is necessary to have a comprehensive Google Plus Profile. Never allow a website developer to create, own and manage your Google Plus Profile. At most you can get advice from them but ensure that your profile is in your hands entirely.
Google Plus Page for Medical Businesses
Your Google Plus Page is for your business – your private practice, group practice, clinic or pharmacy. You can establish yourself as a local business, institution or brand. In fact your Google Plus Page can be on you as an individual if you are your brand. But the same flexibility is not afforded to your Google Plus Profile. However, before you set up your Google Plus Page (Google gives you many options), you first need a Google Plus Profile.
Fortunately your Profile does not have to be associated with the Page. In other words, visitors and followers of your Google+ Page will never know who created the Page, manages the Page or even posts on the Page if you so wish. Google Plus allows you that level of anonymity when maintaining a Google+ Page. The main function of your Google+ Page is to create awareness about your business. It can link with Google Maps, verify ownership of your website, list your contact details and update your followers on latest developments in your business.
It is best to look at your Google Plus Page as a central point where Google can ensure that you meet with the standards they have defined and direct visitors to your other properties on the Internet.
Medical Author and Publisher Ranks
So why is this all so important now? In the past most businesses focused on a Google Plus Page when they wanted to rank higher in Google’s search results for local search terms and be featured on Google Maps. But now the playing field is changing a little. Google is starting to weigh the authority of websites and even individual articles based on the publisher or author reputability. Simply, your personal profile can be used for authorship while your page verifies you as a publisher.
The move towards author and publisher authority is more than just having your profile picture visible on Google next to the articles you have written. It is a way of ensuring that websites owned by reputable publishers and articles written by competent authors gets the exposure it deserves on Google. It will also alter the search results that is seen by each person.Yes, Google is tailoring search results for the individual and not just giving the same big websites the most amount of exposure for every search.
To put it really simply, if you follow Google’s guidelines with regards to your personal profile and business page, chances are that your patients who follow you will see your articles higher up on search results when looking for specific medical information. Finally your articles will outrank the big medical websites for your patients and even their associates who use Google Plus thereby securing your authority as a medical professional. No need to always be outshone by the Mayo Clinic team or Dr. Oz. The small town doctor now can get the exposure they need within their target market.
Read more on why you need to be cautious about allowing authorship rank for your website articles to many different writers.