The Medical Marketing blog focuses on how physicians can leverage the Internet to grow medical practices and apply technology to solve common business problems. The blog is led by Tony Mork, MD, an endoscopic spinal surgeon.

BLOG: Why you should care what Google thinks about your online reputation: Part 2

Google will help promote your practice and do some of your marketing for free, if you know what to do. This is what I refer to as “passive marketing” because you or your office staff do not have to do much to enable Google to promote your practice. The best thing is that it is easy to do and once done, you do not have to do anything else.

A continuous theme of this blog is the similarity of your medical business and all other businesses. As a practicing physician with an internet-based medical practice, I extract the critical business lessons and approaches and show you how these apply to your practice. All businesses are comprised of three components: administration, operations and marketing. Of these, marketing is the most helpful way to generate new customers/patients, so it is by far the most important.

At this point, you might wonder what feature of Google that I am talking about? I am referring to what is known in internet marketing as local ranking. Whether you are interested in promoting your practice on a local or national level, local ranking is essential if you want to distinguish your practice. Local ranking is particularly helpful for a local practice and, best of all, it is free.

Have you ever searched for a business on Google and have a Google Map with “pins” show up? The pins identify the location of the business and are Google’s way of recognizing the business as legitimate. If your local ranking is high, your pin will be prominently displayed. The pin also means that you have listed your business with Google Plus.

Although we often think of the internet as a neutral and unbiased entity, it is not. We must access the internet, and most people use Google as their way of entry or as a browser. This means there is an inherent bias toward what Google likes. Google wants to convey search benefits to its users and will reward your company when it “plays by the rules.” Google defines the rules of this game, and one rule is to enroll your business in Google Plus.

Google wants to deliver and enhance a meaningful experience for its users to keep it at the top of the proverbial heap. The company and the properties it houses, such as YouTube, provide the highest possible traffic for content — websites and videos. So, how can you ensure that your practice is getting the traffic you need? You need to enroll in Google Plus, the company’s social media property.

If you are a sole practitioner, enroll in Google Plus now. If you are a member of a larger group, there are some details I will discuss in the next blog. Stay tuned.

Tony Mork, MD, is a practicing endoscopic spinal surgeon and author of Medical Marketing Demystified, a book that teaches physicians how to leverage the internet to grow their medical practices. Mork also launched the Medical Website Academy, an educational website that highlights how to apply technology solutions to solve business problems. He can be reached at email: drtmork@gmail.com or www.tonymorkmd.com.