Plastic Surgery SEO
Plastic Surgery SEO
Plastic Surgery SEO, what does it actually mean? Is it still relevant? Does a plastic surgeon have to run Google Ads to be successful? In this article, we’ve broken down what SEO is, how to get your plastic surgery practice to rank high for plastic surgery-related terms on the search engines, why it’s important, and some helpful tips all practices should look out for while setting out for exploration in the complicated world of digital marketing.
What is SEO?
Shall we start with the basics? The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Let’s make our working definition, the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of search traffic to a website based on organic traffic.
If you’re new to this, organic traffic is sessions (or website hits) that come to a website from searches on search engines such as Google. For example, if you search “Plastic Surgery Toronto” organic search is the results that show up after Sponsored results (paid ads).
What is E-E-A-T and how does it affect plastic surgery SEO?
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This acronym is among the popular ones in SEO circles. To build SEO value in a plastic surgery website, does the content being presented to the user include those four pillars? Through compelling copy, strong website building, and high domain authority, building a website that contains these elements is very possible.
Why is SEO important for a Plastic Surgery Practice?
Nearly all successful plastic surgery practices use SEO strategies and SEO campaigns to increase their website rankings for relevant search terms to put their name in front of potential patients. Think of SEO as a billboard that shows up right when a potential patient is interested in a procedure or service that your plastic surgery practice offers.
5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PLASTIC SURGERY SEARCH RANKINGS (SEO)
Plastic Surgery Content
Have you heard the phrase “Content is King”? If you haven’t, get familiar with it, because there may be no better way to improve search rankings than high-quality content. Google’s latest Google algorithm continues to show their favor towards unique content and authorities in industries. If you’re a plastic surgeon in a medium to a large market and want to rank for competitive terms such as “Plastic Surgery Philadelphia” or “Plastic Surgery Beverly Hills” it’s important to first look at the content written on those specific pages.
Defined Procedure Pages
While this might sound obvious, it’s important to first note that EVERY PROCEDURE needs its own page on your plastic surgery website. This means that if you offer five different breast procedures for example breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reconstruction, breast reduction, and male breast reduction, all five of those topics should have their own unique page. If done properly, this will increase search volume/site visitors to individual pages.
DO NOT STEAL CONTENT. If you’re working with a marketing agency or writing the content yourself, it’s important that your plastic surgery content is written uniquely. But Google won’t know if my content is copied, right? WRONG. Google search engine crawlers (bots) can crawl virtually every page on the internet and can determine the percentage of a page that is plagiarized. While copying another plastic surgery practice’s content may feel faster in the short term, in the long run, it can lead to your site losing rankings and even possibly being penalized. Don’t land in Google’s PENALTY BOX!
Quantity of Content
How much content do you have on your important plastic surgery pages? If your plastic surgery practice is in a competitive market and you want to rank for a competitive procedure and only have 250 words on that page, you’re delusional if you think it’s going to rank on the 1st page of Google. Depending on the competitiveness of the topic, the page could need several hundred or even a few thousand words to climb the top of the beanstalk.
Quality of Content
Words matter. Headings matter. Keywords matter. The quality of your plastic surgery content has to be intentional, informative, educational, and organized. Well-written content that has a purpose—that Google feels is a guide to plastic surgery procedures—will rank higher than Jiberish. Don’t try to out-smart Google with random words on the page. Make dominant content that will not only help you rank higher but also be a tool for your cosmetic surgery patients who are reading.
Content & Keyword Research
Deciding what topics need to be featured on the page should not be like throwing darts in the dark. There are plenty of SEO tools for keyword research that can help agencies and plastic surgeons determine highly searched titles and questions. If the goal is to provide relevant information, starting with keyword research is the best first step. Plastic surgeons who are writing their own content should invest in a subscription with an SEO tool that will provide them with relevant topics. Plastic surgeons that are working with an agency that is writing their content, should make sure the team they select is using tools to do their keyword research. *Over and over again, marketing teams either push the content back on the client or write generic copy. This is one of the biggest mistakes that will lead to search rankings not improving and a waste of mullah!
Does your marketing agency know how to write plastic surgery content? If you’re deciding to work with a company, make sure they can competently describe the procedures that your plastic surgery practice performs. If the content is one of the most important parts of SEO, and they don’t understand how to write about your procedures, they shouldn’t be your company. PERIOD.
Photography + Videography (Media)
Not often thought of when discussing “content”, but digital assets like photography and videography are part of your content. Images have power, and having professional images on your plastic surgery website has real value for SEO.
Videography has the same positive effect and can also be positioned on YouTube for added value. As all digital platforms are pushing video content, having unique media in your toolbox will set you apart visually and organically from your competitors.
AI Content (ChatGPT)
ChatGPT seems to have all the buzz right now. If you want a bunch of new content and don’t have the time to write it, it can feel tempting to use AI content creators to bust out hundreds of words in a few seconds. At the time of this article, that is not a viable option for SEO. Google frowns on AI content and has even penalized websites for using it. Secondly, AI content is not written for SEO purposes. Lastly, the accuracy of the content —while maybe close—can still have devastating mistakes.
*One day, AI-written content will be based on AI-written content, and there may be no stopping it — even by almighty Google. So while this is a discussion that will stay in the spotlight for years to come, the safest and most effective way for plastic surgery SEO is to write unique content thought of by a human brain and typed by ten fingers.
Website Coding & On-Site SEO For Plastic Surgeons
The way a website is coded can make or break a website on the search engines. An example of this is that there is NOT ONE plastic surgery website that is built by SquareSpace that ranks on the 1st page of Google for highly searched plastic surgery terms in competitive markets. Don’t believe us? Test it out for yourself!
Website Coding + Templating + Building
When you select an agency to build your website, ask what they are building the site on. Is the website built in Wix, Squarespace, WebFlow, or WordPress? Is the site using custom HTML? It’s crucial that you understand the process of website development for your plastic surgery website. If Plastic Surgery SEO is important to you, using pre-built website templates like WIX or SquareSpace will result in a slow website with fewer options for optimizations. Why? Because they come packed with options to help a user build their own site, and packed with a lot of themes and attributes that aren’t needed for the creation of your site.
WordPress now also offers pre-built website templates such as Divi, Beaver Builder, and Elementor. While these can be a better option than WIX or Squarespace in the sense that you’ll have WordPress options for SEO, these page builders come loaded with undeeded markup that will certainly slow the site down, thus decreasing page speed.
Cut the Fat
If your web developer plans to use WordPress make sure they are not using any page builders and using custom designs, HTML, and templating. This will ensure that the website is running lean and mean.
It’s simple math, folks. Lean & Mean = faster load times. Faster load times = Higher performance on Google Insights. Higher performance = Better website rankings.
*Custom-coded websites are a good option too. Custom-coded sites are typically very fast. The main difference between this option and the one mentioned above is that the custom-coded site will not have WordPress as a backend editing option. If it’s important for you to have editing options for you and your staff a completely custom site will likely not be an option. The other negative to having a custom-coded site is that if you ever choose to move your site to another marketing agency, it might not be a language they can work with, meaning countless hours put into the website build were meaningless.
Recap – If you’re in a competitive market DO NOT USE A PAGE BUILDER OR PRE-BUILT WEBSITE TEMPLATE. They will be slower and have fewer optimization options.
Title Tags + Metadata
Title tags are still one of the most important components of plastic surgery SEO and one that is constantly overlooked. It’s literally SEO 101 for a good medical marketing company. While what a good title tag looks like can be in the eye of the beholder, a bad title tag is unmistakable. Title tags are often seen in the SERP.
The SERP is the search engine results page. SERP is what a user sees on a search engine when performing a search.
For Plastic Surgery SEO, each procedure page needs to have a unique title tag that features the procedure and the location. For example, “Eyelid Surgery In Miami”.
Your marketing company will use its discretion on what accompanies these keywords, but the procedure + location are paramount. Long tail keywords can also often be used in a title tag, depending on how detailed the topic is.
*The exception to this rule is if you have a national SEO campaign. (Not typically recommended for a plastic surgery practice).
Meta descriptions have lost some SEO value over the last few decades, but can still carry importance on SERP. A good Meta Description won’t be enough alone to get you ranking high, but a missing or bad Meta Description might be the reason you’re not.
Recap – Cross your Is and dot your Ts. Don’t let your marketing agency miss the easy stuff. Onpage Optimizations Technical SEO is improving the technical aspects of the site or page so that search engines, applications (like your browser), and assistive technology have an optimal experience rendering your content.
So what are these technical aspects? Websites are made up of different layers of technology and markup to achieve a presentable site to your browser. This includes the server stack (HTTP server, caching, database, CDN, etc.), weight and depth of markup and DOM (document object model), semantic markup, style sheets for presentation, and media elements, like images. Note that a lot of technical SEO shares a commonality with accessibility compliance.
Doing technical SEO properly requires a good understanding of all aspects of web development. Using the image tag markup as an example, there are a few parts to handling images – html markup and CSS presentation, CDN or server handling static images, and using proper optimizations on the images.
Html markup would include adding loading attribute, alt attribute, width, and height attributes, proper aria tags, etc. For example, if the image is decorative and not something that is necessary for content you can set aria-hidden=“true” for assistive technology so that the devices ignore the image. For optimizing images you can generate srcset images for optimal size for varying devices as well as useful tools for precise optimizing of images into newer formats, like webp.
All HTML tags have their own properties and attributes and these attributes follow specific rules according to the W3C. Knowing how to properly build websites helps search engines crawl and index your site and helps assistive technology navigate your content.
Schema for Plastic Surgery SEO
Schema is a language for structured metadata that provides targeted information and connections to help search engines and other applications understand what your website or web page is about.
Schema markup provides several formats for adding this data, such as JSON-LTD and Microdata. Search Engines, such as Google, use this information to help generate Rich Snippets in search results. A typical example is seeing FAQs showing in a key placement on the first page in search results. In a Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) there are sections titled “People also ask” and contain in FAQ format, questions and answers directly pulled from sites that rank well.
*There is no guarantee that information provided using schema markup will be used by search engines, but having this information will help.
Google Algorithm Updates
Have you heard of Panda, Penguin, Caffeine, Big Daddy? The Google architects used to have a lot of fun with the names of algorithm changes. If you want to nerd our SEO, Search Engine Land offers a history of Google updates, dating all the way back to the 2003 Florida Update. A few years back, Google either got lazy or fired the department in charge of naming their algorithms, as they are now titled “Core Updates”. While the monikers aren’t as much fun the weight of the changes can still be just as heavy.
How often does Google update its algorithm?
Google updates its algorithm thousands of times every year. However, there are typically 3-4 major changes per year. A revolving algorithm that changes more times annually than there are days in the year.
What is a Google Algorithm?
When someone does a web search there are multiple algorithms that Google utilizes to provide the best results. As of 2023, there are 5 main algorithms that Google uses:
- Penguin – Remember that backlink debate from above? The Penguin update diminishes website rankings from websites that use suspicious-looking backlinks.
- Hummingbird – This intuitive algorithm update delivers search results that are relevant to a user’s intent. Meaning for plastic surgery, if someone types in “breast augmentation”, “breast implants” searches will still show up.
- RankBrain – RankBrain is the brainchild of the Hummingbird. It’s an algorithm that is based on another algorithm… The future is here. RankBrain remembers search history and deciphers implied phrases. GREAT CONTENT on a website will result in this algorithm picking up similar keywords and improving your search results.
- Medic – The Medic update impacted the healthcare industry more than any other industry. In a matter of a few hours, when this update was set into motion, there were seismic shifts in the search results for plastic surgeons. Unique content and high domain authority are your sidekicks when it comes to Medic.
- Bert – The Bert algorithm prioritizes content and titles. Have you wondered what h1s and h2s are? Well-organized and high-quality content is prioritized when it comes to Bert. Just don’t ask him about Earine…
For Your Consideration… While there is no algorithm name for this currently, the Google search console continually points to Page Speed Insights to judge performance (mobile device and desktop speed), ADA compliance, SEO, and best practices.
RECAP – when it comes to algorithm updates, make sure your SEO company is well-versed in what they are and keeps its finger on the pulse of changes that are coming down Google’s hatch.
Name Address & Phone Number (NAP)
The way your name, address, and phone number are listed across the web is often overlooked, and it shouldn’t be! There is SEO value in consistency. When trying to improve organic plastic surgery SEO, an off-site SEO technique is ensuring that the name, address, and phone number are consistent throughout the web. There are multiple ways to go about this and even ways that can automate part of the process.
When selecting a marketing agency for your medical marketing, one important factor is making sure they have a platform or plan in place to make sure your information across the web is correct and consistent.
Your Google Business Profile is more relevant and important by the day. It’s like a separate mini website that must be in line with best practices and updated frequently in order to be competitive and occupy real estate towards the top of the local search results. The search results we all see towards the top of the results page are what most people refer to as “Local SEO Results.” Google has a separate algorithm that determines these results and knowing what and how to optimize this space is of the utmost importance. A critically important aspect of Local SEO is your Online Reputation.
While it may sound unrelated, your search results can improve on Google Maps by having more positive reviews. Google wants to show plastic surgery practices that have 5-star reviews and are well-liked in the community.
Update Your Information
If you move locations or add plastic surgery services, make sure your Google My Business profile remains accurate. When verifying new location information, Google may send you a postcard with a code. Make sure to follow these instructions closely.
Your plastic surgery patients will benefit from seeing the services you offer in your profile. It can also help you show up in the map section for these services. Remember, search engine results are prioritizing local search, so plastic surgeons who take advantage of these options can see yield positive results.
Measuring SEO results
When it comes to plastic surgery SEO, there are multiple ways to measure success:
- Are the SEO results resulting in more patients? Also, are the patients coming in “new patients” or are they existing patients? While there is nothing wrong with existing patients, your SEO strategy should be focused on acquiring new patients. New patients = existing patients (once they come back).
- Google Analytics is a second way of measuring success. Through Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of your organic traffic. You can compare by day, week, month, or even year.
Plastic Surgery SEO FAQs
As one of the leading medical marketing companies on the globe for plastic surgery SEO, we’ve compiled popular questions we’ve heard over the last several years:
SEO is alive and well – just dynamic and changing with the weather. What worked 20 years ago doesn’t work today. What worked 10 years ago doesn’t work today. And what worked 5 years ago may still work, but it’s changed like a Facelift pre and post-opt photo.
No, but you should. You can have plenty of success by focusing on SEO alone. But it’s good practice to use multiple advertising sources, including Google Ads, E-blasts, and Social Media.
Good SEO takes work but it shouldn’t break the bank. SEO should cost significantly less than Google Ads. That being said if a company says they’ll provide SEO for your practice for $500 per month they are likely not following the best SEO practices listed above. Most marketing companies that specialize in SEO for plastic surgeons charge anywhere from $1,200 – $3,500 per month. The size of the market can play a role, as will the company’s reputation, and case studies.
*While the price range can look large on paper if you get one procedure from their SEO efforts, it will pay for itself on the low and high end.
While Google takes up 91% of the market share. Other popular search engines are Bing and Yahoo.
The search results page is referred to as SERP – Search Engine Results Page.
Can a company that doesn’t specialize in plastic surgery provide plastic surgery SEO services?
While most plastic surgeons elect to work with agencies that specialize in plastic surgery SEO services, it’s not mandatory. The benefit of working with an agency that does specialize in plastic surgery SEO is that their entire company is based on your industry. However, if a company works in other fields but does work with a lot of plastic surgery practices, it may have learned the best practices for marketing in the world of plastic surgery.
When selecting an agency, you’ll want to first look at the search engine results that they’ve achieved for other plastic surgeons. Second, you’ll want to see reports showing if they have increased website traffic for their plastic surgery practices.
*You’ll want to confirm that the company has a solid SEO strategy that can get you qualified leads and that they can confidently write about plastic surgery procedures.
The goal of any SEO strategy is to improve your web pages so that they can get your plastic surgery practice more online impressions, website visitors, leads, and prospective patients.
Many plastic surgery practices feature the name of the city in their URL. This is an “old school” technique that Google doesn’t say carries any weight anymore. However, in a competitive market, it can’t hurt to include it.
You can first check to see if they’ve done SEO for plastic surgeons or cosmetic surgeons that you’re familiar with. Confirm that part of their SEO campaign involves content and that they can confidently write about cosmetic procedures. The most important benefit of SEO is improving keyword rankings, and if done effectively for relevant search terms, those SEO strategies can increase website visitors which will equal potential patients.
While most plastic surgeons are familiar with working with an SEO company, selecting one that can actually improve your plastic surgery practice’s SEO can sometimes feel challenging. Beyond understanding SEO strategies, checking out web pages of their current work, and ensuring that they specialize in SEO for plastic surgeons, you should check out their online reviews on Google.