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Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:16 by admin

Over here in SEO world, we’ve been anticipating the launch of Google’s Mobile Index and the time has finally arrived! We’ve started to receive confirmations through the Google Search Console on behalf of many of our client website owners that their sites have been added to the mobile index.

What does this mean exactly? 

Due to the astronomical popularity of mobile search, we’ve been preaching for years that it’s essential to have a mobile optimized website - and so has Google. This is yet another major step in putting mobile into the driver’s seat when it comes to search.

It’s no longer that Google is just rewarding mobile-friendly sites with improved ranking, but now if your site is not up to par, you will be missing the boat.  According to Google, mobile-first indexing means that they will now primarily be using the mobile signals of the site, rather than the desktop signals, for indexing and ranking. Until now, the desktop version of all sites’ content were used to evaluate the search relevance to a query. Now as the majority of users are searching from mobile devices, the mobile data will become the primary source of content.  Google’s claim is that this is to assist the majority of mobile users in finding what they are looking for, as the desktop version can often cause issues for mobile searches when the content is different from the mobile site. Right now, there are two indexes, one for mobile and one for desktop, both will send out crawl bots to the website and take in data for their own index, and the mobile index will be prioritized.

So far it seems that the index has not resulted in any significant changes in ranking - your site ranking will likely be the same as it is on the desktop index. Google is merely going through sites and selecting which sites to add to the mobile-first index. Those that are added, however will likely see a small increase in mobile traffic.

Where there may be an advantage for sites that are added to the index is in cases where the competition is not in the mobile index or has not yet been added. In these cases, your site might bump up a notch or two in the mobile index, so people searching from a mobile device will find you first.  Alternatively, if your site is not in the index, you will be left out of the mobile search ranking index, which gives your competitors the edge.

Don’t worry if your mobile-optimized site has not been moved over yet. They are taking this transition slowly to ensure a smooth transition for site owners and users and they are carefully assessing the readiness of each site before moving it over.  At this point, we have yet to find a way to submit to the mobile index, or a way to force a crawl by Google so, it remains out of our hands.

If your site is mobile-friendly, there is nothing to do at this point, other than being aware that your efforts are keeping your site up to date with the trends of digital marketing. You can check whether your site is mobile-friendly here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

EyeCarePro clients should be aware that all of our sites are mobile-optimized and that since we manage your Google console we will be getting the notification when it is added. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your web manager.  

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Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 10:55 by admin

I am on my way back from Vision Expo East and I find myself browsing through the airline magazine tucked into the pocket in front of me. It was just there and I was not in a position to take out my computer, so I spent my take-off time flipping through the pages. A discount on the shuttle service I use (rrrrip). A promo on men's shirt's (rrrip). Hey, that looks like a unique gift for my wife (rrrip). Three great ideas. I realized I was the recipient of traditional marketing!

What is traditional marketing?

We often use the term traditional to give a sense of time, specifically, time honored, long lasting, and that's true for traditional marketing as well.  Traditional marketing has been around for the last 70 to 90 years and it's longevity is a testament to its value and success. Traditional marketing includes magazine ads (like the ones I fell prey to), newspaper ads, radio ads, brochures and passive materials, business cards (yes, that's marketing), in-office events and so much more. People have made a choice between either digital marketing (websites, pay-per-click ads, Facebook, etc.) or traditional marketing techniques. But here's what we know.  THERE IS NO CHOICE! The secret formula for marketing success is digital marketing AND traditional marketing. 

Why traditional marketing?

Great marketing has one very important ingredient... repetition. Great marketing has one very important ingredient... repetition. (Not a typo but an example of great marketing.) That phrase will stick with you now and if you see it a third and a fourth time, you will be sold. If you are only using digital marketing, then you limit the number of exposures to your messaging. 

Check out our ebook and learn the many, many opportunities that exist within traditional marketing (I mean A LOT!). Coordinate your traditional marketing with digital support and watch the appointments roll in.  Don't listen to the pundits who are telling you to just do digital marketing, or my favorite bit of advice, "Just do Facebook!". Sheesh!

We have a lot more tips on creating a fantastic, results-based marketing program for your practice. Check out our library of how-to ebooks. They are designed to give you all the information you need to do this yourself, but... you don't have to. The EyeCarePro team is poised on the edge of their seats waiting for your call.  We are here to let you get back to what you do so well - seeing patients. Contact me for more information at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 10:54 by admin

Are you haunted by old reviews, especially bad ones? Many clients turn to us asking if and how they can be deleted.  In some cases, ODs have taken over an office and want to disassociate from the reviews of the old owners. Given the importance of reviews (which you can learn more about in our recent ebook on the topic), many of our clients would do anything to wipe the slate clean. Well, unfortunately that is usually not an option (except for a special circumstance that I will discuss below), but there are effective ways to handle undesirable reviews and reduce the impact they have on your reputation.

A Case When You Can Delete Reviews 

If you are taking over a business you can delete old reviews and start fresh with proof of acquisition, but according to a response from a Google rep to one of our clients, this is not advised because it could negatively affect your SEO.  This of course is relative. While having no reviews is detrimental both to your new patient acquisition and to your SEO, having a number of bad reviews from an old practice that is no longer relevant, might do even more damage. You have to weigh out the situation based on the type of reviews and the importance and quality of your SEO.  Keep in mind that 9.8% of your visibility in local search engines is based on review signals such as the number and average rating of your reviews so a lot of great reviews can seriously help your website ranking.

The Alternative to Deleting Reviews

Perhaps the best advice when you have unwanted reviews it to drown them out with positive ones. If you have some bad comments it’s not the end of the world. Everyone has an opinion and it happens to be that dissatisfied customers are more likely to post a review than those that are happy with your services (studies show that while 35% of people review after a bad experience only 23% review after a good one).  So your job is to make a conscious effort to encourage and even outright ask your happy patients to do so.

How Many Reviews Do I Need?

The answer to this question largely depends on your local competition and where you are starting from. If your biggest competitor has 20 reviews, you want to shoot for 30. If they have 50, go for more, but it has to be reasonable.  Growing your reviews is an ongoing process that you should always be working at and it won’t happen overnight. If you are new to this, have a goal of 20 reviews and aim for a couple every month. Other practices may shoot for 5-10 reviews if. The point is that getting reviews is something you need to work at. Many happy customers just need a reminder (or two) to share their experience.

How Do I Get Reviews?

There are a lot of strategies for getting reviews, and we’ve written about this a bunch, but what’s most important is that your whole practice needs to rally around the goal. Getting reviews is a team effort.  You see a happy patient in the exam chair, ask for a review. The optician fits a happy customer, ask for a review. The office manager is scheduling a follow up visit, ask for a review. Making patients happy and asking for reviews must become part of the workflow with everyone on board.

Respond to Bad Reviews

The last important point that needs mentioning is that if you do get a bad review, don’t ignore it. While you don’t want to get personal, go into details or make excuses, you do want to express that you care about customer satisfaction and view this as a chance to improve. While keeping HIPAA in mind, it can help to offer to speak to the disgruntled party to rectify the situation. Other readers will see a professional response that shows good customer service as a positive sign and you never know, the unhappy client may change his mind and his review.

If you need some help upping your review game, we are here to help (we even have a new review app to assist!) Contact me at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:11 by admin

A wise man once said that when it comes to marketing, the key to success is repetition. In fact, this wise man (also known as Michael Pote, EyeCarePro’s COO and sales and marketing expert) says that every message you want to promote needs to be said at least six times. That’s right, I’m sorry to say it but the first five times you say something, most of your audience is not listening.

Why? Well according to the psychology of marketing, there are a number of reasons.

First of all, your audience is busy and distracted.  While you have optometry and eye care on your mind at least all of your workday, most people only think about it when they have an eye care need.  Therefore, they probably aren’t paying attention to your ad unless it is relevant, so much of your audience is missing your message completely.  

Additionally, they are being bombarded constantly with other messages that they have to filter through. So even if they do pay attention to your message, there’s a good chance that they will be distracted by something else before they are even able to follow up.

Further, even if your message is relevant, a potential patient will have to keep the message and information about your practice in mind until they are ready to act. If they don’t act immediately (which is why we need a really good Call-to-Action, right?) they may forget your name, lose your ad, delete your email or throw away your mailing even if it caught their attention at the time.  

Lastly, they may have not yet decided that you are the practitioner they choose to fulfill their eye care needs.

Clearly, your marketing message has a lot of hurdles to overcome. Repeating the same message over and over and across all marketing channels (email, social media, website, print, ads etc.) can be the answer to many of these obstacles.

Generating repetition creates familiarity with your name and your message, so you will be the recognized provider that comes to mind when that time comes that they think “eyecare”.  When you repeat it over multiple channels, you increase the chances they will see it. If the message is right, repetition, and the familiarity that it creates, can lead to trust and credibility.  

So if you are wondering why your first marketing promotion didn’t bring in as many appointments as you’d hoped, send it again, and then again and make sure that it is consistent for every potential touch point with your audience.  Eventually your message will penetrate through the noise of all the other communications vying for your audience’s attention and your persistence will pay off.

P.S. I told you repetition is the key to making yourself heard.  Why do you think I repeated myself so many times in this article ;-)"? So if you need some help being repetitive, clearly I’m an expert. Contact me at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 13:59 by admin

Google has recently made some exciting updates to the Google My Business Knowledge card and Maps search results that you want to know about. These updates can directly influence your business listing in Google Maps and search results, adding additional information about your practice and new ways to interact with users. 

Appointment Links

You can now put a link to book an appointment right on the local search results page. This means that wherever your Google Knowledge Card shows up in the local results, along with your name, address, phone number, hours and website url, there can be a link to your online appointment page (or any other page you set such as your contact us page).   

A quick note: The knowledge card is not generated in every search. It’s triggered by branded searches (such as a search for the practice name or doctor) or those close to a branded search (such as the address). As opposed to a standard organic search result listing, the knowledge card appears as a box on the top of the first page of the search results, that includes all of the major details of the business.  

So, what do you need to do to activate this appointment link? If your link has not appeared automatically, you can add it by signing into Google My Business. Select your listing and click the URLs section and enter the URL for the page you want to appear. Click “Apply”.  The link should go live almost instantly.  While right now this feature seems to only be available for US businesses, we assume it will reach Canada in the near future.  

If your link does appear there already it was likely automatically updated by a third party such as an online scheduling software. You cannot change or edit the information that was automatically entered through GMB, you need to contact the third-party directly.  

Google Posts

Google has now enabled Google Posts which allows you to post live updates such as sales, events, news or promotions directly on your Google knowledge card in the search results. Similar to what you would include in a Facebook post, these posts can also include images, videos, gifs and inline links so that your audience can take a direct action like booking an appointment, viewing a page on your website or contacting the office. And it all appears in your Google knowledge card listing when someone searches directly for your practice on desktop or mobile devices.  

The posts show up instantly or you can schedule a time to publish as well as the duration of time you want the post to remain. You will also get user insight updates from Google on the number of people that see and interact with the post. To begin posting you need to apply to verify access to your page by filling in a form via Google and they will reply to you within a week.

Google is currently in the process of rolling this out according to location and category (it doesn’t appear that optometry practices are on the list yet) so if they have not yet gotten to you, they will put you on the waitlist.


Google has also enabled a beta version of a Questions & Answers section which allows viewers and business owners to ask and answer questions about your practice directly on your Google knowledge card in the Google Maps and search results.

This feature is currently only available on Android mobile devices. Business users that can access Google Maps on Android will receive a notification when a question has been posted and can post a reply. The user that posted the question will be notified when the reply is posted as well.  If the question and answer are something the business owner feels is relevant to many users he can pin it to be pushed to the top of the list of Q&As for all users to view at a quick glance. You can sign on to be a beta tester by downloading the newest version of Google Maps at  APK Mirror or Play (which also included a couple of other beta tests being done right now).

These features can be great ways to enhance your Google knowledge card, providing more information and means of engagement with your audience, directly in the search results.  Need some help implementing these features? We are here for you? Contact me at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Daniel Rostenne Daniel Rostenne is a leader in the online optometric community and has made a career of creating and promoting effective web sites for optometric practices. He is a COPE educator, editor of Optometry Web, a regular speaker at eyecare events & conferences and has been widely published in Optometric e-zines. Daniel is an expert in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization, in particular as it relates to best practices for Optometrists. You can sometimes find Daniel daydreaming on Google+.

Contact Daniel: 866-886-4442 or danielr@eyecarepro.net

Nancy Rausman Nancy Rausman is the managing editor of the EyeCarePro blog and Optometry Web Newsletter. She is responsible for providing ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing.

Contact Nancy:nancy@eyecarepro.net