August 2013 CEATUS Chronicles: Lest the Google Crown Fall
Will the search king continue to reign?
In the world of search, Google has been running the show for years, leaving many capable Internet marketers nonplussed as they try to keep pace with the search giant’s ever-changing algorithms. Just when we think we are ahead of the game, Google alters its algorithm again. Will all of these changes catch up to Google at some point?
Near the end of 2012, Google enacted a change that provoked ire across a broad spectrum of industries. Just before the holiday shopping season, Google applied a new “pay-to-rank” system to its shopping site. Previously, a shopper’s search results had been based on Google’s search algorithm. With the launch of the pay-to-rank system, these “earned” results were replaced with “pay-to-rank” listings. This change caused shoppers to mistake Google’s pay-to-rank results for honest search results. Capitalizing on the unpopularity of the change, Google’s main competitor, Bing, began referring to this as being “Scroogled.”
We believe Google was testing the waters. The company will continue replacing organic listings with pay-to-rank programs, particularly on the Google+ Local pages. As Google cleverly entices more consumers to use Google+ Local pages for reviews and social media, the pay-to-rank program will become much more attractive for revenue growth. As a result, medical practices that now generate considerable website and prospective-patient traffic through Google+ Local pages will likely need to consider paying for traffic that they currently receive for free.
The Smart Phone Market
Google’s shift toward pay-to-rank programs may soon encompass the mobile market as well.
Smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are changing the way we do everything, including how we search for information online. Sensing this trend in the early days of so-called “smart” devices, Google developed the Android operating system and offered it for free to mobile phone companies. This allowed Google to get a foothold in the mobile market.
But many studies suggest that pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, Google’s lucrative method of generating revenue from desktop search engine users, has not translated well to the mobile market. Mobile users find PPC ads offensive because they take up too much room on a display with limited space.
To overcome the declining value of PPCs for mobile devices, Google+ Local pages that show up on mobile devices will most likely become pay-to-rank programs. Charging practices for phone calls generated from mobile devices is also a likely scenario. This would be easy for Google to implement because, currently, phone numbers of businesses appearing in the Google search results on your mobile device are not displayed. Instead, the word “Call” appears.
Of course, the big problem with all of these changes is that, in practical terms, medical and dental practices are not purely local businesses. Patients often travel 60 to 90 minutes to see a surgeon or cosmetic dentist.
Clearly, searching for a surgeon or dentist online is not the same as looking for a hardware store or making dinner reservations — patients don’t decide to have LASIK, a facelift or porcelain veneers on the spur of the moment. Yet health care practices are being treated the same as all local businesses by the Google search algorithm.
If Google continues to treat health care practices as truly “local” businesses, potential patients who are only served up local listings when they are attempting to learn about procedures, surgeons or dentists will soon find other means to obtain this information. Then, the search engine’s influence over health care Internet marketing strategies will diminish in importance.
Ironfire Capital analyst Eric Jackson recently suggested on CNBC that changes in the marketplace could make Google irrelevant in the near future. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that experts are beginning to wonder if Google’s days as king of the Internet world are numbered.
For now, Google visibility must be the focus of any Internet marketing strategy. But will Google continue to reign? All of our eyes are peeled.
Ask the experts
Q The recent increase in Facebook’s stock price has made me wonder about advertising my practice on the site. Is Facebook advertising worthwhile?
A Our tests have shown that Facebook traffic is low quality. After clicking on the ads in Facebook, most visitors stay on the destination site less than 10 seconds. We are not recommending Facebook advertising for elective health care practitioners at this time.
CEATUS Case Study of the Month
Dr. Ashkan Ghavami
Traffic to plastic surgeon’s new website doubling every three months
Challenge: Dr. Ghavami is a board certified plastic surgeon whose primary focus is rhinoplasty. He wanted to brand himself and create more visibility as a rhinoplasty expert in the Beverly Hills market and nationally.
Solution: Ceatus created a separate procedure-specific website focusing on rhinoplasty for Dr. Ghavami. The project began last fall and the site was launched in December 2012. Ceatus designed Dr. Ghavami’s new site to position him as one of the top rhinoplasty surgeons in the country. In addition to creating an aesthetically attractive design, Ceatus paid specific attention to highlighting rhinoplasty before and after photos and patient testimonials on the home page. An extensive rhinoplasty gallery was created where Dr. Ghavami could display his work. Detailed content was developed to cover not only the basics of the rhinoplasty procedure, but also ethnic rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, specific rhinoplasty procedures for different parts of the nose and other topics.
The new site was created from the ground up to be search-engine friendly.
Results: Google and other search engines quickly recognized Dr. Ghavami’s new site as a valuable consumer resource for rhinoplasty information. The site now ranks highly for a wide range of key search terms, and traffic is doubling every few months; from May to July, the number of monthly visitors grew from 500 to 1,000. The aesthetic design, photos, testimonials and content, combined with the rapidly growing traffic, have created an online brand for Dr. Ghavami, adding to his reputation as a leading expert on rhinoplasty.
Events: Maximize Your Internet Strategy
Come by the Ceatus booth for a FREE website evalution!
San Francisco, CA
We here at Ceatus can’t wait to attend CDA Presents in the beautiful city of San Francisco! The CDA Presents Fall meeting brings dental experts, top industry vendors and dynamic speakers together to unveil new dental technologies and procedures. Stop by Booth 720 to learn how to keep your practice at the forefront of Internet marketing and your industry!
Santa Fe Convention Center
Santa Fe, NM
Meet us in Santa Fe for the Breast Surgery & Body Contouring Symposium. For 28 years, this ASPS/ASAPS event has remained the premier meeting for aesthetic and reconstructive surgeons interested in expanding their knowledge while networking with other top surgeons. Join us for a free website review!
All You Need is Apps
These days, everyone’s singing the praises of their favorite apps. Allow us to chime in and help you get by with a little help from your apps – see our recommendations for food, drinks, productivity, golf and more.
You might not be able to find Lucy in the Sky, but you should be able to locate Orion and other constellations with Sky Map. This amazing app turns your phone into a window to the summer night sky. All you have to do is point your device at the sky and the Sky Map will tell you exactly what you are looking at. Displays stars, planets, moon phases, constellations, messier objects and meteor showers.
Become that Day Tripper you’ve always wanted to be and get peace of mind while traveling with Tripit, which lets you store all your plans in one place. No more frantic searching for confirmation emails in your inbox – or worse yet – hunting down that pesky manila folder. TripIt is an easier way to organize and share travel. TripIt takes all your trip details and creates one truly helpful itinerary that’s sync’d with your calendar, and online at tripit.com. TripIt instantly recognizes reservations for cruises, restaurants, concerts and more from 3,000+ booking sites.
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world… That’s exactly what they’re doing with Charity Miles, which lets you earn corporate sponsorships for every mile that you walk, run, or bike. It’s simple to use: Just choose one of the app’s many charities and press start. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to the initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.
Come Together! GrillTime is a timer and grilling guide that makes barbecuing easier and less stressful. Select your meat, thickness, and level of doneness and then GrillTime automatically recommends the perfect grilling time and temperature. No need to hang around the grill — GrillTime notifies you when it’s time to flip and when it’s finished.
It’s been a Hard Day’s Night, but luckily Mixologist is there to help you fix a cocktail. This bartending app is exactly what you want it to be: a pocketable, inexhaustible list of cocktails that can be searched in a variety ways. Have limited supplies? Enter them into the app and it’ll tell you what to make. Need more booze? Search for local liquor stores.
You say you want a revolution… then go out and get the Lift app! Achieve your objectives and transform your life through goal tracking with community support to hold you accountable and cheer you on. Track and accomplish goals with a single tap. See your progress visualized with Lift’s tracking and display graphs that show how many times the habit was performed over the past weeks / months.
Say the word and you’ll be free — with SpellTower! A blend of Tetris and word search puzzles, this app is extremely addictive. Letters on tiles fall from the top of the screen and you have to find words to clear them away. The longer the words you find, and the more difficult the letters you use, the more tiles you’ll eliminate. The aim is simple: stop the letters from reaching the top of the screen.
Help! It’s on the way … from Medscape. One of the Apple Store’s most downloaded medical apps, Medscape can retrieve news articles from 34 different health fields. It also includes a very useful clinical reference section that contains safety guidelines on drugs, video tutorials on various procedures and education activities for students.
Here Comes the Sun for your day of golf — and with it a great app! The most advanced golf GPS in the world, TOURCaddie was born from the detailed yardage books used by the professionals. This app includes an array of PRO Features, including 3D previews, precision-mapped greens, hazards and targets across 40,000 courses worldwide — not to mention expert club recommendations on each hole and the ability to keep detailed course notes. TOURCaddie brings you the experience of playing with a professional caddie at your side.