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Facebook and Google+: Can They Help You Get New Dental Patients?

Facebook and Google+: Can They Help You Get New Dental Patients?

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Posted on 07-12-2011

Google+ vs FacebookYou may have heard that Bing partnered with Facebook in May 2011 to improve Bing's search results based on the websites that users are interacting with on Facebook. After the Facebook social search feature was rolled out, websites that were "Liked" on Facebook appear to climb the ranks in Bing's search results, without making any other changes. This has huge implications for dental business owners who want to maximize their results and minimize their time spent focusing on web marketing. If creating a buzz on Facebook can help your website show up higher in the Bing search engine rankings, then Facebook seems like a great place to invest time with your online marketing strategy. However, trying to interact with patients and attract new business on Facebook has been hit or miss for many dentists, where some experience huge successes on Facebook while others feel only frustration. Even though interacting on Facebook may help your website show up on Bing, it is important to note that Bing is still much smaller than Google. While Bing has been gaining ground on Google since its inception, Google still took about 64% of the search volume compared to Bing's 32% of the searches in May 2011 (Credit: Compete). That means that Google gets about twice as many searches as Bing. So what can a dentist do to improve their search results and optimize their websites for Google?

Google has recently released its own version of the Facebook "Like" which is known as the Google "+1." It can get a bit awkward to talk about multiple Google +1's, so let's get the terminology out in the open. If a website gets two or three Google +1's, they will now have +2 or +3.

After the release of the +1, SEO professionals have been trying to figure out what the purpose of this new tool will be for search engine marketing. Then Google changed the playing field. Less than two weeks ago, Google surprised the world by releasing Google+ (pronounced "Google Plus"). Google+ is a new take on social interaction on the internet and in many ways is like other social networks such as Facebook. However, there are some major differences, such as using Google +1's instead of Facebook Likes.

Even though the +1 feature has only been around a short while, preliminary tests already indicate that websites which have received +1's tend to show up higher in Google's search results. This is just like how Facebook Likes seem to help websites show up higher in Bing. The fact that +1's can help a dental website show up higher in Google search results is a big deal for web marketing, since this is a brand new way to improve a website's Google search rankings. Some SEO experts even feel that dentists may get more bang for their buck focusing on getting Google +1's over Facebook Likes.

So what does this mean to you, the busy dentist? Should you be worrying about Google+ and +1's? Chances are, you may have to wait to decide because Google+ is currently in a limited field trial, which means that registration was opened to the public for a short while, and then closed again while Google continues to test and refine the Google+ interface. However, +1's are available to everyone and because the +1 helps websites do better in the Google search results, there are some strong incentives for dental website owners to try to get +1's for their website now, and then try to get a Google+ account when it's officially released.

The most important take away from this article is that social media hubs such as Facebook and Google+ are making a huge impact on the web marketing landscape. Right now, Facebook has a much higher adoption rate while Google+ is still in a closed trial, but Google +1's may possibly be more effective at improving search engine results than Facebook Likes. Chances are, the best results will be achieved by taking a web marketing strategy that utilizes both Facebook Likes and Google +1's. If you would like help creating or marketing your dental website, don't hesitate to contact DentalMatrix today!

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