Promote Your Eye Care Practice with Google Places

Local independent eye care providers are the backbone of consumer focused optical care.  Eye care providers (known in the industry as ECPs) provide consumers access to eye care diagnostic screening and prescribe corrective optical contact lenses and glasses. This post discusses how a local ECP may use Google Places to make it easy for desktop and mobile Internet users to connect to their services.

Google Places – the new “Yellow Pages”

According to statistics from Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Even if the actual number were only half of that, being well presented in Google is as important as the yellow page phone directory used to be. Practically speaking, Google has replaced the yellow pages as the directory of choice for consumers.

Get found with Google Places

Google Places for business is a free local marketing platform from Google. When you sign up with Google Places and add information about your business, Google will display rich detailed information on your business when local users enter location specific searches for your services or search specifically for your practice.

Help your business stand out

With Google Places you may add photos, videos, and offers (coupons and promotions!) and even a virtual tour to show customers why they’ll want to choose your practice over your competitors. You may offer first-time and returning customer promotions and post updates anytime.

Use Google Places to actively manage your reputation

Google allows users to leave reviews on any business with a phone number and address. With Google Places you will be able to ‘claim’ your business… your practice… and actively respond to any negative comments and show good faith in resolving issues. Even better, you may encourage satisfied customers to leave feedback on Google Places for you. Even a few positive reviews go a long way in helping you stand out above your competitors.

Get usage metrics from Google Places

Free reports in Google Places will help you understand what keywords people interested in your business are searching for and where the users are located. This data may help you make decisions on the scope of your services and possible areas for office expansion.

If you haven’t already, should now claim your eye care practice’s record on Google Places. Even if you have an existing Google Places account, it is important to review and update your profile regularly.

Here is the link to Google Places
Google Places Merchant Center

Cost Effective Local Search Marketing for Eye Care Providers

Local independent eye care providers are a vital link the chain of optical care.  In this post we will describe how local eye care professionals can cost-effectively use search engine marketing to attract new patients and retain existing ones.

Keyword Search Engine Marketing – Contextual Search Ads

Small text ads woven into the search results pages on Google, Bing and Yahoo are a fact of life for every Internet user.  This type of advertising is called ‘contextual search advertising.’ The short text ads are ‘contextual’ because they are served up to search users based on the relevance of the ad to the search terms (the ‘context’) the user enters into the search box on the search engine. Those little ads in one form or another account for over 90% of Google’s revenue.  They are also very important in driving customers to millions of businesses worldwide.  A local eye care professional will set up an account with Google (or Microsoft Adcenter which feeds ads to Bing and Yahoo) and pay per click for each user that visits their website from one of their ads on the search engines.

Each advertiser creates a set of simple text ads and they enter a series of keywords that they want their ads to be displayed with when searched for. Google analyzes the advertisers text ads, the keywords they’ve chosen, the amount the advertiser is willing to pay for a given keyword, the content and quality of the advertiser’s landing page and the interest that search users have in the ads over time. All this analysis goes into a ‘quality score’ (from 1 to 10) that Google assigns to each keyword in the advertisers’ set of target search terms.

The higher the quality score and the higher the bid for a search term results in a higher number of views of the ad and equates to a higher number of referrals (clicks) to the advertiser’s website.

Local Search Marketing

What not everyone knows is that Google, Bing and Yahoo make an effort to serve users ads that are relevant to their physical location.

This localization of paid search results is done in primarily two ways:

  1. Advertiser geo-targeting. Advertisers may elect to have their ads served only to users that are searching from a specific location. These ads may be targeted to single or multiple country, state/province and metropolitan locales. The major search engines attempt to locate their users geographically. If you are a mobile user you may be located to within a few feet of your current location. If you are a computer user you may be geo-located to a continent, country, province or city.
  2. Local keywords added by a user to the search phrase. When an advertiser sets up a text or display ad campaign on a search engine, they select the search terms they want their ads to appear on and how much per click they are willing to pay for each visitor. A best practice in choosing your keywords is to add location modifiers to all keywords. For example, instead of bidding on searches where a user types in “best eye doctors”, an eye care provider in Bellevue, WA may bid on terms such as, “best eye doctors in bellevue wa”, “best eye doctors in factoria”, “lake sammamish eye doctors”, “eye doctors in downtown bellevue”, etc.

By combining the two concepts above, the local eye care provider will drive highly qualified leads to their website and increase the number of phone calls to their offices. In summary, the best practice for local keyword search engine advertising is to: a) geo-target your search campaigns to your local practice areas, and b) bid high on a wide variety of highly relevant search terms that include your practice locations.

For more information:

Google Adwords Express for Local Businesses

Bing and Yahoo Advertising for Local Businesses

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