Running a modern business, no matter what it is, isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you have a relatively small client base for a reasonably specialized service, like plastic surgery. It’s even more complicated than that when you have to compete online with any number of other surgeons, all while abiding by Google’s rules for E-A-T and YMYL websites. Plastic surgery falls under the overall banner of health and wellness websites, so all of those stricter rules apply.
Luckily, SEO isn’t entirely a mystery; it’s a specialty many people aren’t exposed to. As a plastic surgeon, you should understand the value of consulting with experts (you are one, after all) for trusted advice.
Well, that’s where we come in. Here are eight expert tips for SEO to help your plastic surgery business succeed online.
Plastic surgery is not typically the kind of surgery someone flies across the country to receive from a big-name specialist. It is, in some cases (like celebrity surgery or complex reconstructions). Still, most people looking for a bit of botox or a nose job will look for the most reputable plastic surgeon available nearby.
That means a big part of your marketing should be focused on your immediate area. Your state, your county, your city, and your neighborhood; are all essential signifiers of your location and your attachment to the region.
On the surface, local SEO is relatively easy. All you need to do is add locations to your usual keywords. Instead of “best facelifts,” you would use “best facelifts in Reno” in your content. Beyond that, you need to network with local publications and websites, earn citations and links from them, and add yourself and your location to local and regional (as well as national) directories.
It may also help to know whether or not people in your local area have specific concerns or procedures they tend to prefer. Even if you offer all of the possible services that your clients could want, promoting certain more popular services may be more effective.
HubSpot has an excellent guide to local SEO, found here, which you can use to nail down the primary and intermediate aspects of local SEO.
In the old days, simply having pages with a few keywords available was enough to get your business online. This phenomenon was partially due to how Google worked and partially due to how relatively few companies even had an online presence. Everything changed in 2011 with Google’s “Panda” algorithm updates, which prioritized uniqueness and value in the content above the mere existence and keyword optimization of that content.
Today, all of that has shaken out to mean that the humble blog is among the best ways to build a web presence.
A blog serves many purposes. By writing content about your area of expertise, you build authority and show people they can trust you because of that expertise. Writing content about the various procedures and services you provide helps educate readers about those procedures and can help them identify whether or not it’s right for them. On top of that, writing that content naturally uses relevant keywords (which you can modify with local SEO keywords) to help ensure that when a person searches for those services, it’s your pages they find.
Content marketing isn’t easy, though. It takes a significant amount of time, effort, or money if you hire someone to do it for you. Optin Monster has an excellent guide to the basics of content marketing here, and you can learn more advanced techniques from experts like Neil Patel.
One key to content marketing and SEO alike is understanding the intent behind the searches that lead to your site. Why is a given person searching for a topic, and how can you provide what they’re looking for?
Remember, not everyone who searches for “facelift” actually wants one; many are just researching what it entails, want to learn more about it because a friend is getting one, or could be in the preliminary steps of deciding if they want one. Pushing a hard-sale landing page about signing up for a consultation may be off-putting and not very useful to those readers. Conversely, an informational page can include links for other services, links for further reading, and providing your interested users with links to sign up.
Remember, too, that the reasons for wanting a service vary, and addressing people according to their needs is more effective than addressing one group and alienating another. For this reason, your service pages might have different versions for different purposes. You might have a page for cosmetic face lifts and another for facial reconstruction surgery, with completely different language for each page.
To an extent, the smaller and more narrow you can define your target audience and their intent, the more accurately you can reach them with your messaging. However, if you get too segmented, you run into the possible problem with duplicate or too-similar content, making it hard for people to find what they’re looking for. It’s a balancing act you’ll need to strike.
The internet is a massive web of nodes (webpages) and connections (links), and no matter how complex and sophisticated Google gets, the underlying core of its search engine runs on links.
Each page is assigned a value, and that value is accumulated and modified by a thousand different factors, but one of the most important underlying factors is how many links point to it.
However, you can’t just go out and build links from anywhere; they need to be qualified:
All of this (and more) can be found in this guide from Backlinko.
Links are half of the foundation of Google, and keywords are the other half. Keywords are the words that are most important to your pages and define what a page is about. Various keywords may be primary or secondary, and it comes down to how tightly focused and relevant they are to the content of the page. For example, “cosmetic surgery” would be a fairly general keyword, slightly relevant to every page on your site, but only of primary relevance if you were creating a core page to define what plastic surgery as a whole is.
Keywords are tricky, and keyword research is complex. It would be best if you found keywords that:
A lot goes into this process! That’s why there are a variety of tools, from free to enterprise-grade, that facilitate the process.
HubSpot has a great guide for keyword research in general here, which is great reading if you need a primer on how keywords work and how to perform keyword research for your plastic surgery practice.
SEO goes beyond the published word and to the multimedia surrounding it. Video is appealing to an entire generation of youngsters who are now reaching the age where plastic surgery is an interest or a concern, so using the medium to reach them can be an excellent SEO strategy.
Making videos isn’t easy, however. At the bare minimum, you need to write a good script with all of the same considerations as your blog posts. You need to be able to deliver that script verbally without stumbling or coming across as a non-expert. It would be best if you had a decent-quality camera to record your video and a good microphone to pick up your audio. It’s also generally a good idea to have video editing skills to optimize these videos.
Video marketing is very hit or miss. If it works, you can become a social media influencer on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. If it doesn’t, your videos may be completely ignored, wasting all of your efforts. In extreme cases, they can even reflect poorly on your practice. That’s why many people consider outsourcing their video production.
Medical practitioners – and that includes plastic surgeons – live or die based on their reputations. A bad reputation means it’s extremely challenging to build up trust. \
Bad reviews can be difficult to combat and can drive away otherwise-interested potential patients. Thus, reputation management is a big part of SEO:
Here’s a guide focused on getting started with reputation management, specifically for plastic surgeons, for more information. You can also consider looking into PR strategies to help build positive coverage as well.
While the broad strokes of what we’ve mentioned above cover a lot of bases, they also barely scratch the surface of SEO. In fact, the actual mechanics of SEO include a ton of small (and some larger) things to hit.
Here’s an idea of what you should start to optimize.
All of that, and so much more, is part and parcel of good SEO practice. It is, to put it lightly, a ton of work. It’s no wonder that many busy doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals choose to hire someone to do the work for them.
That’s where we come in. As specialists in all things related to digital marketing, SEO, PPC, and social media, we’re the ideal go-to partner for your plastic surgery practice. Just reach out and contact us through our form, phone, or social media. We’ll be happy to discuss your needs and what we can do for you.