How do you get your business on the map?

Should you care about Google+? What is Google My Business? And then what about Google Places and Google Local? I know, it is quite confusing. Especially because Google has made so many changes in the past few years to how things work in Google world. If you haven’t been keeping up with the changes you may have been left in the dust.

Let’s go back in time a few years. To get your business listed in local Google searches you would create a listing in Google Places for Business. This would put you on the map and let people find your business location in Google searches as well – given that you successfully verified your listing.

Then Google+ came along and people got totally confused. “What happened to the old listings? Do I need a Google+ now?” Many people created new Google+ pages only to find out that Google automatically upgraded Google Places listings to Google Local listings… and left many businesses with multiple listings and pages. Which we know is not a great thing as it can not only hurt your search ranking but it can also confuse your clients or patients (and even your staff). You may have reviews on one page and updates and other shared content on the other page; talk about a nightmare. While there isn’t a simple way to merge these different listings into one, there is a workaround way by transferring information from a Google Local page to a Google brand page and then deleting the local page and upgrading the brand page to a verified local page. Or you could just contact Google and ask them to help you with the problem.

I know, now you are wondering what a brand page is. There are three different types of Google+ pages:

  1. Google+ Personal Page: This is the page that you create with your own personal information when you sign up for a Google account. It lists your name and other info you decide to share with the public. You use this account to create and manage Google+ pages for your business (similar to Facebook).
  2. Local Business Page: This is the page of a local business. You include the correct address for your business so your customers can find you. Once verified, this listing will also appear on Google maps and in Google search results. Given the fact that you need a valid address for maps, PO Boxes do not qualify as valid local address.
  3. Brand Page: These pages do not have local addresses listed and will not appear on Google maps. Usually brands, artists, institutions, public figures, organizations or other groups create these pages who use them to keep in contact with fans or followers but do not wish to have physical contact with them (e.g. see them at their offices or stores).

As a dental professional, you want to make sure that the page you have is a verified local page as you want patients to be able to find your location on maps. You may know that the web presence of a business has many different components. Having a beautiful and functional website is one component. Having a verified local listing on Google is another one. While the two are connected and are related they will not necessarily have the same ranking in search results. When searching for your practice your website may come up on first page of Google search results but your local listing may not come up on first page of Google maps search results. Again, the two are connected but are not the same. This is a question that we hear quite often: “Ok, my website is on first page but why am I not listed on the map?” Well, because map search results are driven by different factors that I will talk about in a minute.

I can hear your next question already: “So then what on earth is Google My Business? Is it the same as Google+?” Well, yes and no. It is more than just Google+. Think about it as a dashboard: you input your business information and the different Google services will pull data from it and also submit data to it. Once you complete and verify your information it will be populated to your Google+ business page, your Google maps listing, you can track data related to your Google+ account, see information on your related Google Analytics account and YouTube channels, AdWords campaign, etc. It really makes life much easier not having to log into all these different Google services separately. Convenient, isn’t it?

You won’t be surprised to hear that Google has very strict guidelines for representing your business on Google. Following these guidelines as closely as possible will help improve your Google Local search results. Some of the requirements are pretty simple and self-explanatory, others are not so obvious. To have a local Google+ page your business must have a valid address where you make personal contact with clients or patients during your stated business hours. The name of the business should be the same that is used everywhere when you conduct business and it cannot include a tagline or other unnecessary information. For example your dental office can be listed as “Smith Family Dental” but not as “Smith Family Dental – The Best Dentistry in Town”. However, individual practitioners such as dental professionals may list their title or degree certifications as part of their names (e.g. Dr., DDS, DMD, etc.). List your real website URL and not one that forwards to another page or a landing page. Also, it is best to use a real phone number that is associated with your business elsewhere online (such as your website or directories) and not a forwarding number or a 800 number. Selecting the closest category that best describes your business is also very important. Do not use categories as keywords or categories that are only related to your main activity. If you cannot find the exact category, use something that is more general. For example if you are a dental specialist and your specialty is not an available category, it is best to use the “Dentist” category. An individual practitioner should create a dedicated page if he or she operates in a public-facing role and is available at the location during the stated business hours. Support staff should not create their own pages for the same business. Also, a practitioner should not create multiple pages to cover all his or her specialties. What about practices with more than one doctor? In this case the practice should create a page for the organization separately, such as “Smith Family Dental”. The individual doctors may create separate pages for themselves with only their name listed and not the practice name. In the case when a single doctor owns the practice the page should be named as the following: “Smith Family Dental: John F. Smith, DDS”. The doctor should not create a separate page for himself only.

As I mentioned above, search results on your usual Google search page and on Google Local or Google Maps can be different. A practice can be found very easily using a general search term such as “dentist in Winnetka” but if you try the same search term on Google Maps you may not see the same practice right away. Search results on Google Maps also have rankings and there may be several pages of results for the same search term. The business marker on the map may not show up until you get to the page with the practice listed. You may be wondering why this is. The reason is that Google ranks local results differently from regular search results. Local results are ranked based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. Your listing for the search above is relevant if it is located in Winnetka and it is categorized as a “Dentist”. Business description is also important because even if you are categorized as a dentist but describe your business as a spa, Google may deem you to be irrelevant to the search and rank you much lower. Distance is understandably important because even if your dental office is categorized properly and you used great description, you will not be at the top of the search if you are located miles away from Winnetka. Prominence is a bit harder to measure and this is where the overall web presence comes into play. If Google can find you listed in directories, you are mentioned on web sites, you wrote articles or keep a blog, people refer to you in their social media posts or share your content, you have a lot of reviews, etc. it is likely that Google will think that your business is prominent and should be ranked higher in local searches. Google is very secretive about how their search algorithms work and they keep changing them periodically to make it hard for people to figure them out and “try to cheat the system”.

You may feel that all these Google rules and requirements are simply overwhelming and you do not have time to piece the puzzle together. Don’t let an incorrectly set up Google page hurt your search results and ranking! Contact Clue Dental Marketing today and our SEO experts will take the burden off your shoulders.

Is your website ready for #Mobilegeddon?

In a previous blog post a few months ago we already talked about Google testing icons that would differentiate mobile-friendly and non-mobile friendly websites and why it is important to have a responsive site. You may have even noticed in your search results recently that some websites are marked as “Mobile-friendly” while others are not. The icons did not stay but the differentiation did.

Google made the announcement back in February that on April 21st, 2015 significant changes will take effect in Google search algorithms to promote sites in mobile searches that are mobile friendly or responsive. The date has been cleverly named #Mobilegeddon.

But what exactly are responsive websites? These sites recognize the size of the browser screen and automatically adjust the way the content is displayed. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense in an age, when more people own smartphones than toothbrushes, and the number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices is growing every day. You can do pretty much anything on a smartphone and many people don’t even start up their PCs anymore unless they really have to. But if the fonts are too small and you have to keep zooming in and out, if the site is using technology that is not supported by mobile devices (such as Flash), the experience can be more frustrating than useful. Google knows this and wants to make our lives even more convenient by ranking sites that will be easier to use on a mobile device higher in mobile searches. Companies that don’t have mobile friendly websites will soon start feeling the pain. Starting on April 21st, a site’s mobile-friendliness will have a significant impact on search results.

So the question remains: is your website ready for Mobilegeddon? There are a couple of different ways to determine this. The easiest thing is to shrink the browser window on your PC or Mac and see if the content is displayed differently as the size of the window is getting smaller. There is also a Mobile-Friendly Test provided by Google.

If you are still not sure, feel free to give us a call or email us. Responsive dental web design is what we at Clue Dental Marketing specialize in! The clock is ticking but it is not too late, yet!

Professional Practice Portraits on a Budget!

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Many of our projects here at Clue Dental Marketing call for photographs of our clients and their staff. Read on to learn how to take professional portraits yourself that look great and don’t break the bank!

1: Find the best camera in your practice!
Most dental offices have digital cameras for patient photos, intraoral photos or before and after photos. This same camera may be used! If you do not have a digital camera, someone’s cell phone may be used. The newer, higher end cell phones tend to have better cameras.

2: Find the best location in your practice!
Find a large, flat wall with a solid color, a light background works best. Remove any photos, decorations or any clutter from the wall.

3: Keep it Simple
Do not include any objects, pets or children. The photo should be of only you.

4: Dress Professionally
Make sure your photo depicts you in a manner that is appropriate for dentistry. Typically, this would be a dress shirt or blouse, a shirt and tie, or even a suit. Choose solid dark colors like blue or black. Avoid white or light colors! Avoid strapless dresses or strapless tops. Always avoid too much makeup or jewelry.

5: Stand about 10 feet away.
It’s important to have some distance so that there is enough area around you to crop and resize later in Photoshop.

6: Strike a pose!
Be sure to turn slightly to the right (your left shoulder would be closer to the camera) as opposed to taking the photo straight on (where both shoulders would be the same distance to the camera).

This is helpful because most of the photos will be used on the right side of the document, website, or any other use and you will be facing “in” to the document.

7: Take several TYPES of photos
Try out using flash, no flash, standard exposure and/or HDR exposure. Take the photos in portrait mode (vertical) not landscape (horizontal). Take 3-5 versions of each TYPE of photo.

8: Compare all photos and choose the best TYPE of photo
Look at the photos you’ve taken and choose which type of photo seems best. For example, if you pick a photo with flash for one person, you should also use photos with flash for everyone else.

9: Choose the best photos from the same TYPE
Now, look only at the flash photos (or whichever type of photo you chose from earlier) and choose the best one to send to Clue’s designers and we will work them into your project!

The importance of effective patient education

We all can agree that especially in today’s age, when information is so readily available from so many sources, effective patient education is more important than ever. Patient education plays an essential role in helping patients understand and accept their diagnosis and the possible treatment options as well as the necessary behavioral or even lifestyle changes that will ultimately result in successful treatment.

Traditional patient education materials are often too long and detailed, written at a level too high for many patients to understand the content. Almost all patients prefer medical advice that is simple and easy to understand. Research shows that patients who are well informed and who take an active part in their dental treatment are more likely to have better results. Visual aids, multimedia technologies, and corresponding handouts can improve the patients’ understanding of their dental condition and the necessary treatment or therapy.

The dental patient education materials developed by Clue Dental Marketing were created with this very thought in mind. They are engaging, attractive, and present dental conditions and procedures in a way simple enough to understand even for someone with very basic dental knowledge.

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The MÜVI system features a growing library of meticulously scripted and rendered 3D patient education videos in stunning HD quality. MÜVI has been tested and verified to work on a wide range of devices, from mobile phones and tablets to laptops and desktops. It comes with your practice name, website and social media links applied to the navigation bar, so your patients are not distracted by third-party advertisement. The live search box makes finding the desired videos a breeze. Just start typing into the MÜVI search box and watch as the playlist displays the related videos in real-time.

You can add a MÜVI icon right to the home screen of your mobile device, allowing you to instantly access your education videos and to use them as part of your chairside patient education.

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Clue’s Treatment Presentation Aids summarize the most common treatment options in an easy to follow manner and compare key features of the procedures. They feature images from the education videos so they will look familiar to your patients. This gives you the opportunity to refer back to the videos and to recommend the course of treatment most suitable for your patient’s needs and circumstances. Treatment aids measure 11X17 inches and are printed on thick, high-gloss water-resistant paper. They are dry-erase marker compatible so you can present your recommendations in an even more impactful way. Then just wipe the marker off and use the aid again for the next patient.

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The same information can be given to your patients in a more compact, tri-fold brochure format that is printed on thick, high-gloss water-resistant paper and include your logo and practice information. This will give them the option to discuss their recommended treatment with their spouses or parents and to get answer to any additional questions they may have. It is also a good idea to refer them back to your website to allow them the opportunity to watch the education videos related to their condition one more time. And this is how Clue’s patient education comes full circle.

To find out more about our MÜVI Patient Education System be sure to visit our website and try a live demo. Our Treatment Presentation Aids and tri-fold brochures are featured in our Clue Store.

Love is in the air!

Or in our case, on the plate.

Valentine’s Day is all about sweets and sweetness so I wanted to find a yummy recipe that fits the occasion. But it has to be something healthy of course, especially because everyone in our office has been bit by the health bug – some more than others. Some of us sadly exclaim that our clothes don’t fit; we don’t understand why and we clearly have to do something about it, as we shove another cookie into our mouths. Some others of us are into counting and keeping track of calories. Calories are serious business and should be allocated wisely. Well, except on the weekend because honestly, the weekend is for relaxation and fun and calories, as I said, are serious business.

Anyhow, a healthy recipe that fits the holiday… But what exactly is healthy? It depends on who you ask. My general rule of thumb is if it’s natural, it can’t be very bad for you in moderation. And I think “moderation” is the key word just like with most things.

I came across the recipe for Valentine’s Day Strawberry Love Muffins on getmecooking.com. How cute, love muffins. And it was claimed to be a healthy recipe, too. Bingo! It’s true that I used organic raw cane sugar instead of Stevia so I am not sure how much that took away from the healthiness of it. I just prefer the natural alternative. It goes without saying that you should always try to get the good ingredients. Free range, natural eggs, organic strawberries if possible. I am not one of those people who swear that absolutely everything has to be organic but when it comes to eggs and strawberries, it really is worth getting the good stuff. The recipe also calls for coconut oil. You can substitute this with sweet cream butter if you want. Coconut oil has become really popular in the past few years both in the kitchen and used in cosmetics as well. In fact there are so many different uses for it that people talk about it as the miracle oil. I don’t doubt it that it has wonderful qualities but recently my son pointed it out to me that coconut oil actually is mostly (about 90%) saturated fat. One tablespoon of it can account for 60% of your recommended daily saturated fat consumption. That made me think since I have been using coconut oil for cooking and always used it generously. There are many arguments pro and con coconut oil and of course not all saturated fats have been created equal but it is worth doing your own research. I guess “in moderation” works for coconut oil as well.

And finally, the recipe!

Valentine’s Day Strawberry Love Muffins

Ingredients 
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (100%, for a lighter texture use unbleached all-purpose )
1 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached, plus 2 tablespoons)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt (fine-grain)
1 lemon zest
½ cup extra virgin coconut oil (packed & measured solid) or sweet cream butter
2 cups stevia (or pure cane sugar)
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
12oz plain greek yogurt (or vanilla)
16oz strawberries (washed, thoroughly dried, hulled, and chopped into bite size pieces)

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. You can use non-stick muffin tins or add liners. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the flour (except the two tablespoons) baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer, cream coconut oil and stevia (or raw sugar) together until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the whole egg then the egg whites, one at a time, until well mixed. Drop the speed down to low and gently stir in the lemon juice.

4. Keeping the speed on low, slowly add the flour mixture then a bit of the yogurt, alternating between the two, until the mixture is just incorporated. BE SURE NOT TO OVER MIX. These muffins are dense enough as it is!

5. Coat the strawberries in the remaining 2 tbsp of flour then gently mix the berries into the batter. NOTE: THIS BATTER IS SUPER THICK. THAT’S HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.

6. Using a large cookie scoop or a large spoon, scoop the batter into the tins so they are about 90% full. These should yield about 18.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy! Make sure to share the love with friends, family, and coworkers as well!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?

Let’s be honest. When I think of Thanksgiving I can’t help but think of food. In fact, my stomach is growling already. I love thanksgiving dinner! The family is together finally (men watching football, ladies in the kitchen), the turkey smells so good, I don’t even know what I should dig into first. The turkey or the mashed potatoes? The sweet potatoes (I like mine baked with cinnamon butter on top) or the cranberry sauce? No, wait! My absolute favorite thing is the stuffing. I make it all from scratch and it is so good! In fact it is like a whole dinner in one dish.

I do not buy the bagged stuffing mix but rather make my own. I get a couple of loaves of Italian bread (or one big one), try to get the kind that doesn’t have very hard crust. If they do, I trim off the crust. Next I cut the bread into very small cubes. I set the oven to low temperature and toast them a little bit so they get somewhat crunchy. Tada! Home made croutons. There’s no need to season them now because I do that later. So let’s get to the recipe! I usually just improvise but this recipe I found on Food Network is a very good recipe to start with. I made a few alterations according to my taste.

Ingredients

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh (or slightly less dried) chopped sage
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups croutons
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups chicken stock, plus extra as needed
2 tablespoons fresh (or slightly less dried) chopped thyme
Salt and pepper

You can omit the pecans if you are concerned about food allergies and I also like to add chopped baby bella mushrooms.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling sausage with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Discard sausage fat in pan. Add butter, onions, mushrooms, and celery to skillet and saute until tender,  about 10 to15 minutes. Add to sausage, along with herbs and croutons, mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, mix allspice, maple syrup, cranberries, pecans, and chicken stock. Add to crouton mixture. The mixture should be moist, but not soggy. You can always add more chicken broth if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer stuffing to a lightly buttered (or sprayed) baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Don’t forget to stuff the inside of the turkey as well, it makes a huge difference in the taste of your turkey. I also like to put an apple inside the bird; this used to be my mom’s special touch.

And that’s it! I guarantee you, everyone will love your stuffing and ask you for the recipe. Be sure to tell them you found it on our Clue Blog!

 

Clue Dental Marketing Patient Education Center

There are so many exciting things going on at Clue right now! One of the things we are most proud of is the official launch of the Clue Dental Marketing Patient Education Center.  We have been working very hard on this project and it’s finally looking amazing.

The Clue Patient Education Center is now available to our clients! Patients can browse the searchable movie library and watch our beautiful, 3D education videos about the most common dental procedures and topics. The library keeps growing as we are adding more and more engaging movies. Be sure to check back periodically to see the latest movie additions.

Now you can turn your website into a resource for your patients so they visit often and stay on your site! Contact us today to find out how you can add the Clue Dental Marketing Patient Education Movies to your own website!

See our live, sample Patient Education Center demo here:
http://pec.gp.cluedentalmarketing.com

Is your website mobile-responsive?

Google is in the process of testing a couple of new icons that appear in search results and identify websites that are or that are not optimized for mobile devices. One of the notification icons is a mobile smartphone representing that the website is optimized for mobile devices. The other one is a smartphone with a slash through the phone representing the opposite.

The icons appear next to the website address in search results. The feature currently works with Android and iOS devices but results may vary based on your location. Google has not disclosed yet when they will officially launch the feature or which icon they will continue to use.

Below are a couple of examples of the spotted icons:

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What is a responsive website?

Websites built on a responsive platform automatically recognize the device they are being viewed on and adjust their layout to optimize user experience. In other words, they respond to their environment. With this new technology there is no need for two separate websites for full-size computers and mobile devices.

 What does this mean for you?

  • If your website is responsive, you do not need to do anything; your website will not be negatively affected by either one of the Google icons.
  • If your website is not responsive, we highly recommend upgrading to a responsive platform so current and potential new patients will not be discouraged from visiting your website on their mobile devices. There are two ways to upgrade:
  1.   If you are happy with your current Clue website, we can simply transfer it to a responsive platform for you. The website design will not change significantly, but there may be minor differences due to the nature of the responsive sites. Please ask us about pricing details.
  2. If you have been considering refreshing your current design, then this is the perfect time to pick one of our responsive website packages and we will design a completely new site for you. There are several different options available; contact us today to discuss which package would suit your needs the best!

Clue Launches Patient Education Videos

We are excited to announce that we are launching our first set of Patient Education Videos this month!

All TOD clients will have access to our dental movie licensing program, free of charge.
The first 3 movies launching in February are Dental Implants, Root Canals, and Periodontal Disease. Please take a moment to view the sample clips from these videos below. Please note that these are just partial samples. The full movies are in between 1-3 minutes:

Root Canals

Dental Implants

Periodontal Disease

TOD Clients: Please inquire on Basecamp if you are interested in the movies and we will upload our Licensing Agreement.

If you are not currently enrolled in TOD but have interest in the movies, please leave a note on Basecamp and we can discuss options for using the movies on your website.

Kind Regards,
Brian

Does your dental website need a makeover?

Is your website scaring away potential patients? Check out these 4 reasons why patients may be heading to your competitors after seeing your website!

Poor Color Choices

The first and most obvious sign of an poorly designed dental website is lousy color choice. There are so many things that can go wrong with colors: colors that are too bright, generic computer default colors, overly saturated colors, too many bold colors at once, too many colors in general, font colors, or just plain ugly colors.

A simple Google search of “websites with bad color” will show you a pattern of what you want to avoid. Use color with caution, limit your palette and chose colors that match your brand.

Too Much Text

Another common mistake on your dental website is the use of too much text. If visitors see too many long paragraphs, they assume they will have to do a lot of reading to find the information they’re looking for. When using text on your website, use smaller paragraphs or bullet lists. Divide text in to different sections and think about breaking it up with relevant photos or graphics only if that makes sense with the content. If you have something to say that does warrant writing more, try using a headline and a partial paragraph with a link to read more if they choose.

Music and/or Video on Autoplay

Do you have music or a video that is set to autoplay when a person visits your site? We hope not! However, if you do, you are certainly not the only one to make this mistake. You probably thought the sound or video you chose to autoplay was pretty good or else you wouldn’t have chosen it. Well, not everyone has the same taste as you. I’m sure you’ve experienced pulling up a web page that had awful music or a loud video that you couldn’t turn off fast enough. Even if it wasn’t the worst music in the world, maybe you we’re just confused on where the sound was coming from and wanted to listen to the news instead. Don’t be that website.

Hidden Contact Information

Finally, be sure your contact info is easy to find! You want visitors to look at your site then decide that your practice seems relevant to them and proceed to call you to set up an appointment. If it’s not easy to find your contact info, this is a problem. If it’s buried in clutter or your site has poor navigation, you should address these problems and try to make your website as clean and easy to navigate as possible. You should be sure that there is a contact button in an obvious location such as the main navigation tabs.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment and let us know what website features bother you the most!