Being a plastic surgeon is a profession like no other.
Unlike with other businesses, you’ve got a very direct role in the lives (and looks) of your customers. There’s a lot on your plate.
But at the end of the day, your practice is still a business, and you need a way to organically bring in patients.
And it’s becoming increasingly apparent that SEO is the way to go in this age.
Today, we’re going to talk about the most effective plastic surgery SEO tactics to help you market your practice.
Let’s start with the basics.
- SEO: The quick rundown
- Why plastic surgeons need SEO
- The parts that make up the SEO puzzle
- The big three of SEO:
- 1) Content (and value)
- 2) Using keywords for an extra kick
- 3) Outreach & backlinks
- Everything you need to know about links
- 3 Steps to get a higher rank on Google with SEO:
- 1) Start a blog
- 2) Start guest posting on other blogs
- 3) Continually update your website
- What to expect from your plastic surgery SEO strategy
- Expectation #1: SEO is far from instant
- Expectation #2: You’ll trip up from time to time
- Bonus Tip: Get help to speed up the SEO process
SEO: The quick rundown
Before we get into how you can use SEO to market your services, it’s probably a good idea to talk about what SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is exactly to bring everyone up to speed.
Search engine optimization is the process of getting a website to rank higher on Google’s search results.
You hear it a lot in the digital marketing realm, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less useful for a medical professional.
In fact, it’s one of the best ways you can boost your practice’s patient flow.
There are tons of moving parts that affect SEO, but you only need a basic understanding to get started.
Why plastic surgeons need SEO
At first glance, digital marketing and SEO might not seem like things that need to be prioritized for medical professionals. After all, the patients should be coming to you, right?
While this might be true if you happen to be the only plastic surgeon for 100 miles, the reality is that most cosmetic practices have loads of competition.
So you’ll need a way to position yourself over your competitors if you want to get more business.
Pair that with the fact that most people already search for local services online, and we’re starting to see why SEO is so vital.
In fact, organic searches (the kind you take advantage of with SEO) take up 51% of all online traffic.
Returning patients are great, but you still need a flow of new customers.
A returning customer base is one of the cornerstones of any long-lasting business. On average, it costs about five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one coming back.
You need a way to build loyalty with your existing patients. Things like patient education, high-quality services, and excellent customer service are all essential for this, but there’s no way to stop yourself from losing patients completely.
Even if you’re the best surgeon there is, sometimes your clients move, sometimes they only need a one-time service, whatever the case may be, you need a way to fill the gap they leave.
SEO fills that spot perfectly, and the great thing about it is its relatively low cost. Which leads to the next reason why SEO is so great:
SEO can be insanely budget-effective.
Another thing that makes SEO so compelling as a marketing method is how low its cost is compared to alternatives.
With paid ads, you’ll be spending per-impression or per-click, so depending on how wide your reach goes, you may be putting a lot of out of pocket costs to get patients.
With SEO, the cost is minimal and still says low even if you’re hiring experts to do it for you.
You’ll likely know precisely the cost before you even start spending, and the long-term results are much more cost-effective in many cases.
A good SEO strategy also works to build trust & authority.
Another benefit of SEO is the authority that it builds.
In the digital age, consumers have certain expectations.
If your website isn’t on the first page of Google, it won’t get seen by the vast majority of searchers, because they only expect the high-quality plastic surgeons to be on the first page. (regardless of whether that’s true or not)
Green zone good, red zone bad.
“Alright, alright, we get it. SEO is awesome, but how do you even get started? And is it even possible to get to the first page with all the competition already out there?”
To answer the second question: absolutely.
And to answer the first question, it’s more straightforward than you might think. So let’s go over a few pieces to the “first-page puzzle.”
The parts that make up the SEO puzzle
With SEO, there’s not just one thing that will boost your rank instantly.
It may be straightforward, but there are multiple pieces to the puzzle. There are some that have much more effect than others, and some you don’t have to worry about for now.
If we went over every factor to the puzzle today, we’d be here forever, but to get you on the right track, it’d be good to cover a few of the big ones.
So let’s get into it.
The big three of SEO:
1) Content (and value)
Out of all the pieces, this is widely considered one of the most important. Content is a broad field, but when we refer to content, it usually means long-form content, the kind you’d commonly see in a blog.
*Long-form generally means at least 1000 – 1500 words.
A good example of strong content would be this post itself, so let’s use it as an example.
This post does a few things for our readers:
- It gives us room to include some specific keywords (more on them in the section below)
- It lets us provide value to our audience.
- We can answer a specific, targeted question (which is a lot more likely to get ranked and draw clicks over a general post)
All in all, content is a massive part of a strong SEO strategy. Without good content to stand on, it’s unlikely that the rest of the pieces will do enough to get you ranked.
As you can tell by our blog, we’re pretty big fans of consistent content at LiftIntent.
2) Using keywords for an extra kick
If your content was the bulk of the meal, keywords are the seasoning that makes the dish taste great.
Without well-targeted keywords, your blog content is going to seem pretty bland to Google. Bland content isn’t near as likely to rank as tasty, well-seasoned content.
Using keywords correctly is an excellent way to boost your content towards the top.
But be careful, too much seasoning is just as bad (and potentially worse) than no seasoning at all, so don’t overuse keywords, either.
It’s also important that you’re not using tons of irrelevant keywords, going back to our food metaphor, too much of the wrong seasoning can ruin the flavor of your dish too.
Now, both content and the keywords in that content are internal factors to your SEO rank.
But Google doesn’t just use your website as the determining factor; in fact, the way other websites interact with yours is pretty important, too.
3) Outreach & backlinks
Another key part of SEO is doing outreach and interacting with other websites, but why?
Well, one of the biggest reasons is a little thing called the backlink. But what are backlinks, and what role do they play in SEO?
There are a few types of links that affect your rank, so let’s go over each of them quick:
Everything you need to know about links
The anchor link
First up is the anchor link.
An anchor link takes you to a different spot on the same page.
They don’t play a direct role in SEO. But they sure do help with user experience, which does play a big part in SEO.
If users aren’t having a good time on your site, it’s more likely they’ll bounce. Bounce rate plays a significant factor in your rank, so it’s important to make your website user-friendly.
The internal link
An internal link is a link to another page on the same website.
These help Google’s pet crawler sort out the information on your website, which plays a more direct role in SEO itself.
An example of an internal link? Here’s one that leads back to our blog.
Overall, internal links help Google sort out your website, and they also help keep users on your site for longer, which is another big plus.
Now for the good one, the backlink.
A backlink is a link that leads to your site from another website.
Backlinks can be both fantastic or disastrous, depending on where and how you get them.
For instance, paid backlinks are a big no-no, and so are backlinks from lower-quality websites.
It’s better to focus on getting backlinks from high-quality, high-authority sites like Forbes instead.
From the right websites, a backlink acts like an upvote that Google can use to determine where your website belongs.
The more great backlinks you have, the better your website looks to the Google algorithm, the better your site looks, the higher you rank.
Putting it all together
So now we know the critical pieces.
We’ve got the ingredients to make a tasty, well-optimized dish. But how do we combine them? What’s the best course of action?
Not to fret, once you know the pieces, implementing them isn’t too complicated.
3 Steps to get a higher rank on Google with SEO:
1) Start a blog
The first (and one of the easiest) steps is starting a blog.
As we mentioned before, blogs are great ways to provide value and fill out your website with content.
A few things to remember when you start your blog:
- Answer specific questions. Make sure that your blog posts are answering questions that you know your patients may have. (e.g. “Is plastic surgery safe” or “How expensive is X procedure?”)
- Provide value without asking for anything. If you’re asking for a subscription to access your blog, you’re doing it wrong. Patients will know if your blog pieces are purely marketing material, so don’t turn them into long-form ads, they’re meant to help your patients and provide value.
- Be consistent. Whether it’s once a week, twice a month, or daily, make sure you’re consistently providing content for your blog. Updating the blog twice a year isn’t going to do much good.
2) Start guest posting on other blogs
Guest posting is when you write a blog post for another website, usually in a similar space as yours.
It’s one of the best ways to build backlinks and referral traffic. Finding websites that’d be willing to host your guest posts is a great way to increase your rank.
3) Continually update your website
When a website stays inactive for too long, Google categorizes it as a “dead site.” It’s much harder for a dead site to get a high rank on Google because the algorithm assumes the information is probably outdated.
Updating your website regularly is more than enough to let Google know that you’re still active and on top of things.
Just doing a regular check of your keywords and copy every month or so goes a long way, and it helps you keep things updated for new SEO trends too.
What to expect from your plastic surgery SEO strategy
So we know what goes into an SEO strategy, the basic pieces to the puzzle, and a course of action to take, but what should you expect from it all?
How long until you’ll see real results?
How much traffic should you get, and how much time will you need to invest?
These are all great questions, so let’s get right into some of them and set some expectations, so you know what you’re getting into.
Expectation #1: SEO is far from instant
Many people get into SEO thinking that it’ll be the magic bullet to end their traffic problem.
Sprinkle a few keywords here and there, upload a blog post once a week, and bam, you’ll have mountains of organic clicks, right?
Nope, not by a long shot.
One of the first things to note about SEO is that it’s a strategy for the long game.
Getting patients through SEO is all about patience.
If you’re looking for quick results, paid traffic is a great way to supplement your SEO, especially in the beginning, while you’re waiting for things to kick in.
But here’s the thing: Once your SEO does kick in, you’ll be glad you stuck with it.
Organic traffic is one of the best ways to ensure consistent business.
Expectation #2: You’ll trip up from time to time
Just like when learning anything, you’re gonna make mistakes while getting the hang of SEO.
Some months may put you back further than they do forward, but that’s okay. If you can stick with it, learning SEO is one of the best ways you can market your business.
It’ll take time, and you’ll make mistakes, but it’s well worth it.
Bonus Tip: Get help to speed up the SEO process
Now, we just talked about how you’ll make mistakes, and it’ll take time to learn SEO, but there is a way to avoid most of the mistakes and expedite the whole process:
Hiring an SEO expert to help you with the job.
When you hire SEO specialists, you can avoid many of the mistakes you’d make otherwise, and also save the time you’d have to invest in it yourself.
That way, you can do what you’re best at, while the specialists can do the same.
It’s the best of both worlds really, and it just so happens that the team at LiftIntent (that’s us!) are SEO specialists that can help you do just that.
Want to boost your SEO and get more patients through organic traffic? Contact us today to get started! Don’t forget to request our media kit and review our case studies.