Is Google+ relevant? Some are predicting that Google+ will either disappear or become irrelevant for medical practices. We’ve discussed this issue in detail at PUMC. Greg Washington, PUMC President, has been at the forefront on Internet changes since its inception. He’s collaborated with industry leaders to correctly predict coming online moves. Below is our prediction and the thought process that leads us to predict this path forward.
Is Google+ Relevant?
We believe that Google+ will continue to be an important part of a doctor’s SEO strategy. Not because of the social interaction—most doctors see very little, if any, engagement. Google+ is important because that’s where the local listing information that appears in Google search results resides. That’s where the pictures that show in Google’s Knowledge Graph are stored. Google reviews, YouTube and Google maps connect to this information. Think of this as your online house where information that connects to your business lives.
Let’s take a step back to look at the path your listing information has taken. Following this path can help bring perspective to the importance of our local listing information.
- 2004 – Google Local was launched so that people could find businesses online. Within a few months, business owners could claim their listing. After claiming, the owner could change and add information.
- 2006 – Google Local was merged into Google Maps. Local listings were feeding map results in addition to being available online.
- 2010 – Google Local became Google Places, a site where it was easy for people to locate information about a business or medical practice. It continued to interface with Google maps.
- 2012 – Google Places became Google+ Local. Google said their intention was to make it easier to find and share local information. It definitely began affecting your SEO as information became more intertwined with Google search results.
- 2014 – Google+ My Business debuted. It was promoted as a one-stop shop for local businesses to manage online listings and improve visibility in Google search results and maps. YouTube videos, photos, posts, etc. are connected here.
- 2015 – Google+ offers photo categories, insights on website click thrus, search result views, number of phone calls generated and more to help increase online visibility.
Is Google+ relevant? Looking at the history, we can see that the underlying infrastructure has changed several times. Each time, your business information was migrated to the new format. If you had robust information, it was moved to the new site. If you hadn’t bothered to claim and populate your page, your skeleton information (typically, business name, address, phone number and URL) migrated.
Will Google+ My Business change again? Google has a history of changing the interface, so yes, we believe Google+ My Business will continue to change. Each transition adds more depth and linkage to Google search results in some manner. Thus, the information that resides in Google+ will continue to be essential because it feeds Google searches and Google maps.
The time spent adding information and building a robust Google+ today will put you in a better online position…..today and in the future. It doesn’t make sense to play catch up when you can keep your medical practice listing at the top. Managing your Google+ business information and website SEO helps you stay where you want to be—on the first page of Google search results.
Is Google+ Relevant Today? Yes!
If you have questions about Google+, other social media or best practices in SEO, call PUMC. Our marketing experts always enjoy talking to new people and taking on new challenges.