In today’s digital marketing landscape search engine optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of any successful marketing strategy for a cosmetic surgery practice. The Holy Grail for any plastic surgery practice is to rank in the first organic spot for practice and procedural keywords.
It is easy to understand the new patients and practice revenue that can be generated by ranking #1 in your local market for terms like: “botox near me,” “nose job,” “breast augmentation,” and “laser hair removal”. The real problem lies in how do you get there? What are the important things to focus on in a local SEO strategy? Local SEO is more of a micro approach as opposed to trying to rank for some of these terms on a national level. Therefore, there are different tools that need to be utilized in the local market.
What does a cosmetic surgery practice need to do to beat out the competition, as more practices continue to add SEO to their marketing strategy and competition grows?
Remember it’s not just about ranking for terms in the short term but making sure you are going about implementing a strategy that will hold up overtime and is algorithm agnostic. Google releases 500-600 algorithm changes per year so if you take shortcuts it may pay off in the short term, but when an update rolls out your rankings could vanish overnight. Take the time and build a winning, sustainable local SEO strategy.
Below are a few of the key tips and factors that every cosmetic surgery practice needs to implement immediately to begin performing well in local search engine rankings.
1. Claim, Verify & Complete – Google My Business
Formerly known as Google Knowledge Graphic, Google My Business is the rectangular-shaped listing that represents your plastic surgery practice brand in search results. It contains all of the important information that patients need: directions, hours, links to your website, services, reviews and more.
Despite this being one of the single most important local SEO components for ranking in search and map listings, I am consistently amazed at how many go unclaimed or incomplete in the aesthetics space. If you have not completed a practice profile, do it.
Note: when completing your practice profile make sure all of the NAP (name, address, phone) information matches EXACTLY the information that should be present on the contact page of your website.
2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Reviews have become a critical component of a successful local SEO strategy for plastic surgery practices. It only takes 1-6 online reviews for a patient to make a purchase decision about your practice versus a competitor.
When a patient performs a particular search query, such as “best plastic surgeon near me,” the most important ranking factors in the Google “Local 3 Pack” map listings at the top of the results are: Relevancy to the search term, Proximity, and REVIEWS.
Practices need to implement a HIPAA compliant review generation process to gather and equally distribute reviews across important platforms such as Google, Facebook, RealSelf, Yelp, Healthgrades & more.
3. Third-Party Business Listings Match NAP on Website
Once the practice has mastered their Google My Business (GMB) listing the journey has just begun. The GMB listing, while the most important, is just 1 of 100+ business directories and healthcare-related listing sites that you can claim, verify, and on which you can update practice information.
These platforms range from well known listings, such as Yelp, Vitals, and WebMD, to lesser-known listings like CitySearch, DexKnows, EZ Local, etc. Why should you care about getting your practice information on listings platforms that you have never heard of? Because Google crawls these sites and matches what they find on your practice with the information they have received from your GMB and website to verify everything is correct.
The more of these listings platforms that pingback uniform, verified, correct listings information on the practice, the better your site and listings will rank overall for given search queries.
Note: Just as mentioned in the GMB section make sure all of the listing information matches exactly to the NAP (name, address, phone) info that is on the contact page on your website.
4. Proper On Page SEO
When it comes to SEO it all starts and ends with the practice website. A properly set-up and SEO-focused website will generate high search results, which will drive people to your website, deliver the information they need, and convert them into new patients.
While we could get into the specific nuances of proper set-up for website SEO in several blog posts we will focus on the most important tips in this post.
First, you cannot rank for a topic if you don’t have the necessary dedicated content on your website related to that topic. If you want to rank for the term “breast augmentation” in your local market, you need to have a services page dedicate to breast augmentation. It will not be enough to list the service on a “Cosmetic Services” page. If you want to rank high, you need to deliver a dedicated page with 1,000+ words of content covering all aspects of the service.
On that page, make sure you have a proper title tag set up and meta description that not only includes the focus keyword but contains location signals (such as your city name) in the title for local SEO benefits.
Note: always lead with the keyword as close to the front of the title as possible.
Ex. Breast Augmentation Atlanta | Plastic Surgery | Company Name
5. Social Media Profiles are Set Up & Completed
Last, consider your social media profiles. You may be thinking, “I thought social media marketing was to reach new patients; not for SEO?”
Yes and No. Social media plays an important role in SEO.
- They serve as a business listings website in the group I mentioned above.
- If you do a branded search for any cosmetic surgery practice that has its social media platforms set up, 90% of the time the Facebook listing will be one of the top links returned in search results. That is because of the clout that these platforms carry in Google’s eyes. Facebook is one of the top websites in the world; so, your business page is always going to perform well in branded search.
This allows you to take up more search landscape and increase your brand awareness at the same time. The social media platforms that an aesthetic practice should be focused on are:
• LinkedIn Company Page
• YouTube (if you are doing videos which are recommended)
A successful local SEO strategy for a cosmetic surgery practice is not made up of just one or two components. I liken it too how your personal credit score is calculated. There is not one thing you can do to achieve a perfect score but there are three to five things that make up the bulk 80+% of your score: credit history, credit utilization, and late payments.
Start the local SEO journey by focusing on the tips mentioned in this article and they will get you on your way to winning the search game over your competition.
Justin Knott is the President of Intrepy Healthcare Marketing a medical and dental focused full services marketing and advertising agency. Intrepy focuses on helping practices develop trackable marketing strategies to reach new patients and increase practice revenue. Their services include website design, medical SEO, physician liaison consulting, reputation management and social media marketing. Mr. Knott’s focus is on medical SEO strategy and website design to establish and improve a practice’s online presence and win at local search. He has been published in industry-leading publications including Jeff Bullas, Fit Small Business, I Know SEO & more.