Google is your best friend in web tools and web strategy. Below are Google things you should use, and the links to sign up for them. This assumes you have done your Search Strategy and Basic Search strategy. If you haven’t done these, you need to talk with your Emergent Design eBusiness person first. And whether you are doing all the work yourself, have hired us, or working with an agency or in-house assistance, you will want to do the Google strategy yourself, so you control your brand and presence. And did we mention all of these are free?
Google Accounts – if you don’t have any type of Gmail or Google applications, you need to sign up at http://www.google.com/accounts . Click the “Create an account now” link at the bottom right of the page and follow the instructions. Once you’ve gotten an account, it works for everything Google, plus YouTube.
Official Google Help File: http://www.google.com/support/accounts/ (Scroll down page to see help topics).
Google Profiles – Now that you have an account, set up a profile for yourself at http://www.google.com/profiles. We’ll come back to this and add things, but basically it guarantees you a listing on the first page of Google whenever you are searched for. It’s the bottom of the first page, but the first page nonetheless. Don’t answer the goofy questions, just the main ones. If you have a website, list it on this page – it will help with search and page rank. If you want to learn a little more about it, watch this video on YouTube: Setting up a Google Profile.
Official Google Help File: http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=14962
Google Maps – You’ve been here a thousand times, but never noticed the fourth link down. Go to http://www.google.com/maps and click the link “Put your business on Google Maps”. You will follow the instructions in order to create, or capture, those listings for your business addresses. We will use the Key Message you created before. If you haven’t done this, contact your Emergent Design eBusiness person for more information. The Google Maps listing takes a while; they send you a physical letter for you to validate your address. Many times you might be listed under various arrangements of your name: first name then last name, last then first, etc. Be sure to get all of these. You want to ensure that users see your name in the map listing, not just your competitors.
Official Google Help File: http://maps.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=143059
Google Analytics – You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Your website, if you have one or are building one, should use Google Analytics to track who visits your site, what search terms are working (or not) and give you a lot of insight. You can get this at http://www.google.com/analytics. Sign up for it, but unless you know coding, you won’t get much further. This is for inclusion in your website. You can also use your Google Analytics to track your eSurgeon site as well. Contact your Emergent Design eBusiness person for more detail.
Official Google Help File: http://google.com/support/analytics/
Google Webmaster Central – This is where you can really affect your position in Google. If you have a website, or are building one, you’ll want to ensure you sign up with Google Webmaster Central. Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters and sign in. This is not for the faint of heart, so we will gently guide you through it if we are building your site. If you are working internally, let your developer run things, but be sure to involve your Emergent Design eBusiness person to help you. This is where you can have Google re-crawl your site, upload site maps, see who is linking to you, and other tasks. If you are building a NEW site, you’ll definitely benefit from tools to help get your new site re- indexed and not lose old link traffic.
Official Google Help File: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/
Google AdWords – Whether you need to run a Google Ad Campaign or not, you’ll want to consider signing up with Google AdWords in order to use their keyword tools. This service is at http://www.google.com/adwords but proceed with caution; the default is to create an ad, which you might not be ready to do. Your Emergent Design eBusiness person will help you with this.
Official Google Help File: http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/?hl=en
Gmail, Google Calendars, Blogger, YouTube, etc. – There are many more Google Tools that may help you in your practice. Once your Emergent Design eBusiness professional has worked with you, we can help you identify other apps that might serve your practice and patients better.
For a peek at some of these, look at http://www.google.com/labs.