As we head into 2021 and hopefully return to some sense of normalcy once the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided, it’s time to start thinking about…SEO!
One overarching message I’d like to convey in this article, as stated in the title, is that rankings are not the KPI (key performance indicator) for plastic surgery practice’s digital marketing efforts. Rankings are a means to an end.
If your SEO is working well then it should boost visibility, drive more traffic, generate website engagement, produce more leads, and drive more consultations.
In short, do not look at a search engine ranking as some sort of singular achievement worth celebrating, look at the traffic generated from that ranking (or collective rankings), as that is the next crucial step in the funnel needed to generate a lead and then a consultation (and eventually a new patient).
Let me be clear, if your website has had terrible SEO and now, you’re starting to appear all over page 1, that’s great. And if you’d like to celebrate that achievement, go for (just don’t obsess over being #1).
I’m not suggesting that a huge jump in rankings is not an accomplishment. I’m merely saying that the strength of the accomplishment lies in the result of now being all over page 1. Put bluntly, if you generated no additional traffic from these efforts then who cares? No one, except your ego.
In this article, I’ll break down what matters most for plastic surgeon SEO in 2021.
Where Plastic Surgeons Go Wrong with SEO…
Looking at keyword reports that show top 10, or even top 100, keywords have limitations. You simply do not have enough data to evaluate. There are literally thousands, or tens of thousands of keywords could that drive traffic to your website from search engines.
You might say, “But I am the best in my area for breast augmentation and I know that term is highly searched so I should be #1 for that term.” That’s just one term though. What about these longer-tail terms:
- breast augmentation cost
- breast augmentation recovery
- breast augmentation photo gallery
- breast augmentation side effects
- breast augmentation implant options
You could even substitute out breast augmentation with “breast implants” or “breast enhancement.” You could probably add 100 to this list in under 10 minutes. If you have a strategic partner, such as an agency you work with, you don’t need to come up with this list; they’ve already done this leg work for you!
Bottom line: don’t get hyper-focused on one keyword. Evaluate all keyword variations. There’s simply no way a report showing 10 keywords (or even 100 keywords) can give you a thorough assessment of your SEO. It’s just like evaluating your car by only glancing under the hood. A mechanic can tell if your car is in very bad shape quickly if there’s corrosion or other huge red flags just like an SEO expert can spot dire issues if you are not ranked at all in the top 100 for 10 of your top keywords.
However, a comprehensive assessment of a vehicle means inspecting the engine block, spark plugs, oil pan, crankshaft, and much more. Same with SEO. No software is going to give you every single keyword you rank for. Therefore, unless you’re in dire shape, you need to dig beyond the rankings.
You really need two tools, at a minimum, for effective SEO tracking: rank tracking and Google Analytics tracking. The former is obvious, but as we stated in #1, do not limit yourself to only 10 keywords. Use the tool to track growth so that you can then leverage a software like Google Analytics to look at your organic traffic trends.
I’d also dig into your landing page traffic data with Google Analytics. Drill down to the sources on each of the top 100 landing pages to see which pages are driving the most organic traffic. If these are blogs that are driving conversions (leads), that helps to validate the time and effort spent creating them.
You’ll want to reverse engineer the keywords used to drive the traffic, and you can use tools such as Google Search Console or ahrefs.com. The latter is a paid solution that is far superior to Google’s Search Console when it comes to keyword data, but it still won’t give you the entire picture.
Lastly, be aware of SEO myths that exist so you don’t get lulled into thinking you’re “breaking a rule” that doesn’t exist.
What Matters with SEO in 2021…
Here are six action items your plastic surgery practice can take today to boost SEO, organic traffic, and leads in 2021:
1) Assess your website: don’t invest in SEO if you have a leak in your conversion mechanisms. Your website is your central hub for generating leads so if there’s a leak you need to address that first. This starts with an assessment from a conversion rate optimization expert.
2) Focus on content: blogging is a tried and proven solution for generating organic traffic and leads. Make sure you have a blog plan and stick to it. However, don’t limit yourself just to blogging, especially if you dread having to write or proof blogs.
For more tips on blogging, check out this article that lists 5 tips for optimal blogging.
Video is also a great medium for producing content. You can post video on so many different mediums for additional exposure, which can help with your SEO. Besides your website, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business, and Real Self are just a few places you can upload your videos.
3) Backlinks: the “holy grail” when it comes to SEO. Like content though, a multi-pronged effort where the doctor and staff work with an aesthetic marketing agency can maximize return.
An agency can source and negotiate backlinks with other quality websites, while the practice can focus on relationship building, such as networking, partnering with, building relationships with other like-minded businesses. The value here is in the relationships, first and foremost, but the side benefit is the ability to grow your backlinks (links to your website from another site), which can directly improve your SEO.
4) Run ads: I’m not saying that running ads will directly improve your SEO, but they might indirectly improve your SEO. How? According to Moz, one of the leading SEO authorities, website engagement is an indirect ranking factor, so if your ads are driving a bunch of targeted traffic that is engaging with your website, and converting into leads, that is a positive signal for SEO.
To be clear, I recommend running ads no matter what. The goal of the ads is to generate consultation from the ads themselves, so any additional benefit you can generate, such as an indirect improvement in SEO, is just “icing on the cake.”
Remember, SEO should never be your sole lead generation tactic. For that matter, no one tactic should be solely relied upon for lead generation.
5) Get social: just as running digital ads can indirectly improve your SEO, social media activity can indirectly improve your SEO, according to Hootsuite. The social media software pioneers ran an experiment that found “a strong correlation between social activity and rankings.”
Am I advocating you immediately go sign up for Tik Tok?! No. Start with Facebook and Instagram as two mediums your focus on first. Hire and train a staff member to produce messaging that helps people get to know your practice’s personality. What are your hobbies? What makes the practice unique? Announce birthdays and anniversaries.
Do not frame messaging to be about only sales and promos. That’s stale. Let them get to know you by posting photos and videos. That’s how you’ll increase your social media engagement, a huge part of patient retention.
6) Don’t go at it alone: to continue with the car analogy above, you may be passionate about restoring your old Camaro or vintage truck, but you don’t service your own brand-new Mercedes, Audi, Bentley, or Ferrari, no matter how passionate you are about cars.
Your practice should be viewed as the gold standard, conveying elegance and luxury, like many of the car brands mentioned above. If growth is your goal, it doesn’t matter if you like writing your own content, you still need a strategic partner – an aesthetic growth agency – to optimize your plastic surgery practice’s growth.
Your growth partner is the marketing and sales mechanic needed to ensure your plastic surgery practice is running optimally and overcoming roadblocks on the prospect’s journey from visibility to new patient.
Do You Run a Plastic Surgery Practice and Are Struggling with SEO or Simply Looking to Grow Your Visibility, Traffic, and Leads?
Turbo can help take stock of your existing efforts and map out a game plan to help you grow. If you would like to speak to one of our aesthetic marketing specialists here at Turbo Medical Marketing, then drop us a note here. You can also reach Turbo directly at 877-673-7096 x2.