Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tall order, given Google changes its algorithms often and without warning. But there are things cosmetic surgeons and their SEO companies can do to not only help keep practice names near the top of searches for key cosmetic procedures but also to convert virtual visitors to patients.
Dana Fox, president of Your Strategic Edge, a Seattle-based marketing and branding company that has been in the aesthetic industry for more than 30 years, presented “Google or god-dle? Making SEO a thing of the past” at the January 2016 American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery meeting in Hollywood, Fla.
“I think it’s really critical for physicians to understand that they actually have zero control over what Google does and doesn’t do,” Fox says.
That’s a hard concept to grasp when practices are convinced that they’re doing everything possible to remain at the top of searches for key procedures only to find that they’re on page two, three or worse.
“You can blame your SEO company. You can blame poor writing. You can blame poor website structure,” Fox says. “But the reality is that Google is going to do what Google wants to do. Google makes sweeping changes at the drop of a hat, with no notice, and it leaves the SEO world scrambling to try and figure out how to help their clients.”
NEXT: Content Matters
Aesthetic practices can use and control the content on their websites. And content matters when it comes to Google rankings.
It makes sense that content remains important despite what Google does because it’s a machine — not humans — that grades websites for rankings. The computer, or Google, scrolls and crawls millions of websites every minute of every day, around the world, Fox says.
“These machines cannot read visual messages. They do not know if the picture is a beautiful woman or a chimpanzee,” she says. “But they do read the written word. So, the written word is one of the most important things that physicians can do to promote their practices — making sure that they pay as much attention to the content as they do to the visual impression.”
Not just any content will do. Practices need to invest in high-quality, unique content that is well-written and provides the potential patient with good information.
“[The content] has to be based on what the patient is looking for; not necessarily what the doctor wants to say,” Fox says.
That’s an important point, according to Fox. The content has to be in a style that the consumer can relate to and the consumer wants to read about.
NEXT: 4 Tips for Achieving or Maintaining SEO
4 Tips for Achieving or Maintaining SEO
1. Think strategically about what you can control
Trying to get to the top of Google searches for the trendiest procedures might be a waste of time when everyone else is attempting to do the same. A current trend and example is Kybella (deoxycholic acid, Allergan). The practice that wants to promote Kybella should add it to its list of options on the drop down menu on the practice’s website. The aim should then be to have an ongoing strategy of doing interesting, well-designed, well-written e-blasts to the practice’s consumer database, which offers high points of why Kybella is trending and the opportunity for consumers to get additional information and book a consultation through the practice’s website.
2. Commit to content
The content on aesthetic practice websites has to be refreshed continuously and in a number of ways.
“It can be refreshed through blogs, and a lot of practices discount the value of the blog. They don’t realize blogs add maybe 350 to 500 new words of refreshed content to the website,” Fox says. “Google relates to the content. Google crawls it and knows when it’s new.”
Content related to email blasts also should be in key places on the website and in a practice’s social media marketing, according to Fox.
3. Pay per click is only as good as your strategy
A lot of physicians are jumping on the pay-per-click bandwagon, according to Fox.
The problem is that many of these practices are not correctly preparing for those paid clicks with landing pages designed to close the sale, Fox says.
“Let’s say, for example, you are going to do a pay-per-click campaign on breast augmentation and lift. You want to be known for those procedures and are willing to pay to be further up on the page,” Fox says. “When you have a paid campaign and somebody actually clicks on it, you don’t want them to go to the home page of your website.”
Rather, you want those consumers to go directly to a page about breast augmentation and lift which isn’t as educational as what might be on your website. The new landing page should have more sales language, aimed at converting the sale.
There’s a price associated with that, according to Fox, including designing the landing page and paying for the clicks.
4. Work with (not against) your SEO consultants
Cosmetic practice physicians become impatient with rankings because they often don’t understand how the process works, Fox says.
Rather than jumping ship with an SEO company in the middle of a campaign, practice physicians should make sure the SEO company understands the practice goals and their top five core procedures they want to promote. Practices should make sure to provide their SEO consultants with good content recommendations, and, above all, works as a team, according to Fox.