In the ever evolving world of technology, it is important to know what is coming soon and plan accordingly. In just the last year new advances led to smart watches, Google glasses, and cars that are almost able to drive themselves. It is difficult to imagine what could come next, but there are a few areas to focus your marketing resources in 2014 to help grow your practice.

One area to focus on is your Google+ page. Google is making changes and moving to a “carousel” format. The carousel moves the top 20 local search results to the top of the page displaying them next to each other. This new format makes it much easier for the searcher to compare the search results. It is very important to make sure that your practice’s Google+ page is claimed and optimized so that the potential patient searching for an optometrist will see your practice. To make sure your practice stands out amongst the other competition that will be displayed next to it, make sure you have high quality unique photos, and encourage patients to leave reviews on your Google+ page. The better reviews, the higher ranking you will receive helping your practice to stand out.

In 2014, Google expects to start using the carousel layout for all hospitality services including optometrists.

2013 had the largest rise of any previous year in mobile searches from smartphone and tablet devices. In 2014, it is estimated that mobile searches will surpass traditional desktop searches. Because of this increase, it is extremely important that your practice has a mobile optimized website. This means designing a website that is thumb friendly and easy to navigate on a smart phone. Mobile websites should have click-to-call functions and include Google maps as well, making it simple for patients to call and find your practice. Consumers are now more than ever driven by speed and convenience with 81% of mobile searches driven by speed. Therefore, it is crucial to have a site that is easy to navigate and does not take your patient very long to find and call to make an appointment. Displayed below is an example of a non-mobile website and an optimized mobile website.

Though technology moves quickly and can be overwhelming to keep up with, it is important to do everything you can to attract patients through search results and high quality websites. Making sure your practice has strong online presence with a quality Google+ page as Google transitions to their new carousel layout, and having an easy to navigate mobile website can help you be ahead of the competition.

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