Every local plastic surgery business needs to ensure they can be found by searchers looking for their services in their local area. The good news is that this can certainly be done. You can work on your marketing and your local SEO and gain organic reach in the search engines. The even better news is that everything you do to get seen in local search will also raise your entire online profile and reputation, build trust, build your brand, and help you gain more highly targeted leads.
However, it is a lot of work, and you’ll definitely have to put some time into this as an ongoing part of your marketing. It’s not a one-and-done task that you set up and then leave. Having said that, all the effort is well worth it, and you’ll appreciate the results when you’re sending regular, qualified leads to your website.
But what is local search, and how do you make sure you get listed so that interested potential clients can find you? Read on for our organic search best practices for plastic surgeons.
What is Organic Search / Local SEO?
If you have a brick-and-mortar business in one or more locations, you really must add local SEO to your SEO efforts. It’s simply the process of ensuring that your business shows up in organic search and that you get found for local keywords.
If you search for “plastic surgeon” in your local area on Google Maps, what you’ll first see is Google Maps with red tags on the map for any plastic surgeries. Underneath that, you might find one or two sponsored listings, and then there are around three listings right at the top, which make up the Local Map Pack. Finally, the organic search results appear under the Map Pack after any paid ads.
Ideally, you want to be in a position where your plastic surgery comes up in the Local Map Pack and high in the organic listings, and also that you can be found in at least one major directory listing on page one. That could give you three search results all on the front page of Google. You’ve no doubt heard that it takes around seven touchpoints for people to start to recognize and trust your business. Well, with three results on the first page, it’s so much more likely that potential patients will start to remember your business and think about calling you or even booking an appointment.
What factors determine your visibility in local organic search results?
Google Business Profile
Without claiming your Google Business Profile (GBP) and fully optimizing it, you have no chance at all of appearing in the Local Map Pack at the top of Google Maps. That makes getting your hands on your GBP and filling in your whole profile really important for your local SEO efforts.
In addition, filling in your profile completely gives you, essentially, another website/business directory listing online where potential leads can find out all about you. If you use paid ads and choose to include ad extensions, you’ll also benefit from a highly detailed ad listing that gives your leads a great deal of information about your practice, including your star rating, contact details, and more, along with a link that goes straight to your GBP, so they can get more information.
In order to claim your GBP, you have to verify your business with Google, so this also builds trust with the biggest search engine in the world and tells it that you really do own a genuine business. The more places online that Google can verify that your business information is correct, the more they will trust you and potentially move your business further up the search results.
One of the other things you can do to provide Google with your accurate business information across the internet is to claim your listings on as many quality business directories as possible. On each one, you’ll need to fill in your details in full and ensure you include your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number). Adding your NAP gives you what’s known as a citation, which is simply an entry online for your NAP on any site that isn’t your own. The more of these citations you have, the more Google can trust that your business is genuine.
However, you do need to be careful here. Every instance of your NAP online must be accurate and exactly the same. You can’t include your county in some addresses, but not in others, for example. And even something as small as using an abbreviation on some directories but not on others can potentially confuse both potential clients and Google. Of course, you don’t want that, because you don’t want to send great leads off to your competitors, and nor do you want Google to lower your business in the search results because they aren’t sure they can trust your listings.
Social Media Profiles
Your social media profiles are yet more places online where you can add your NAP and your business details, so take advantage of that to gain more citations.
Don’t forget to include local keywords and phrases in your social media posts and your bios, just as you would on your website.
Unless leads choose to contact you directly from your paid ads, a business directory, or other online listing, chances are they are going to end up on your website sooner or later and it needs to be ready for them.
If your website hasn’t had a refresh in a while, now might be the time to do it. Ensure it’s fast loading, as customers simply won’t wait longer than a few seconds for your site to load. Also, check that it works well on all devices, especially mobile phones, as so many people shop on their phones now that you’d be losing out on potential patients. This is also a ranking factor for Google too, so don’t ignore it.
Your site should be attractive, clear, and easy to follow, with easy navigation, and it should also reflect your brand and your business. It should be obvious where to find more information and easy to see what the next step is for potential clients to take.
Benefits of appearing in organic search results
We think some of the benefits of local SEO are pretty clear already, but here are just a few more:
1. Greater online visibility
The work you’re doing on this won’t just give you greater visibility locally online, it will also ensure that you rise higher in the search engine rankings and that you have more places online than ever where current and potential clients can find you online and get more information about your practice. That builds trust, builds your online reputation, and gives leads even more reasons to book with you over the competition.
2. Outrank your competitors
Speaking of the competition, who doesn’t want to outrank their competitors? We understand that this is a lot of work, but that means you have every chance to go the extra mile with this and outrank your competition. If they don’t put in the effort, and you do, it’s a slam dunk.
3. Drive more traffic to your website
More visibility = more traffic = more qualified leads to your website. Need we say more?
4. Educate your customers so they are more likely to buy from you
As you optimize your GBP, your website, and your business directory listings, one of the things you’ll be doing is adding high-quality, informative, educational content. Not only does this give you more places to put local and related keywords, but it gives you the chance to show exactly what you can do. You can establish yourself as the expert in your field and show your potential patients what to expect, calming their nerves and reassuring them. Everything you post can help move your leads further down your sales funnel and give them more reasons to choose you.
Local SEO Tips for Plastic Surgeons
Below are the steps you’ll need to take to build your online presence and gain more visibility in local search:
1. Improve your Google Business Profile
We said earlier that you must have a fully optimized Google Business Profile to be in with a chance of listing on Google’s Local Map Pack.
Here’s what you need to do:
Fill in every section of your profile and don’t forget to use relevant keywords, including local keywords in your copy. Seriously, if there’s a blank section and you can type in it, make sure you complete it. Leave nothing blank. That includes filling in information about your practice, your services, your contact information, choosing the right categories for your business, and ensuring you answer questions in the Q&A section – don’t worry, if you don’t have any client questions, you can add your own and then answer them.
It’s important that you make your profile as attractive as possible to potential clients, so include high-quality images of the inside and outside of your practice, show photos of your staff, and perhaps even do a photographic walk-through of your practice to show people what to expect.
You’ll also be able to post and add your latest news, offers, and more, and people will be able to comment on your profile. Just as with social media, it’s important that you respond to any comments you get. People want to feel seen and cared for.
You also need to have a process in place to consistently bring in new, fresh reviews. People only look at reviews from the last month or so, and it’s important that you have recent ones for them to check. In addition, your star rating and the number of reviews you have are factors in whether or not you will be chosen for the Local Map Pack.
2. Be active on social media and add posts to your Google Business Profile
Again, this is about consistency. On your social media platforms and your GBP, people want to see recent posts from within the last couple of days at least. What puts people off is no posts for months followed by just sales posts and nothing else.
Ensure you’re posting that great educational content we talked about earlier on all of your platforms and that you’re responding to people’s comments and questions.
3. Maintain consistency when it comes to your brand information
We’ve already talked about the importance of accuracy when it comes to your NAP, but it’s equally important for all of your other business information. Everywhere people see you online, you should be using your brand voice and posting the same consistent information about opening times, your location, contact details, your services, and anything else people need to know.
It’s also important to be consistent with your branding online. No matter where you post, your logo and graphics should be the same, and you should use the same brand colors and fonts. The idea is to get to a point where people can glance at your profile anywhere online or see a graphic or a meme from you and know instantly that it’s you posting.
4. Claim your business on local business directories and optimize your presence there
Just as you need to optimize your GBP, you also need to optimize your business directory listings in the exact same way. Fill in everything you can with quality, well-keyworded copy, and post regularly to keep people up to date with your business.
Again, you’ll want to make your listings attractive with great images. You’ll also need to collect and respond to reviews here too.
5. Optimize your website
Once you have the basics right with a great, user-friendly design, it’s time to optimize your site too. And we’re back to keywords. Do your keyword research and don’t forget to include local keywords where appropriate.
When adding pages and creating content, include your main keyword in your URL, in your title tags and meta description, in your main headers and at least one sub-heading, and in the first paragraph of your copy. It’s best to write naturally, for your audience first and then for the search engines and to add your keywords in over your content without them sounding forced. You can also add your keywords to your image descriptions.
6. Add location pages to your website
This is especially important if you have more than one location. You can add a page for each location and use location keywords in the URL and throughout your copy.
If you’re stuck for what to say, think about the information people will need. A lot of it is what you would include anyway, such as available services, but you can also add local information, directions, a map, images of the outside of your building to help with finding it, and more.
7. Create local content
You can do this on your individual location pages or elsewhere on your site. If you include local content, you have more opportunities to also include local keywords.
Think about what’s in your local area that you might want to link to, for example, whole food shops or gyms, if you’re trying to encourage patients to lose weight before surgery. Do you offer any local workshops or clinics outside of your practice where people can come along and talk to someone in confidence about their procedures? Those are the perfect thing to include in local content.
Doing this will boost your rankings, but it will also show you as the local expert and build trust.
8. Make your website mobile friendly
Yes, we’re repeating this one because it really does matter. You can’t afford to miss out on the sheer amount of people who only use their mobile phones to browse the Internet. You really will be throwing dollars away if your site doesn’t work on mobile.
Google will also ding your site and lower it in the rankings potentially as they consider it a given these days that websites should work on mobile phones.
9. Engage your local community
You can take local content and pages even further by engaging your local community and other businesses. We talked about including links from other related or appropriate businesses, but you could also ask them to link to you, giving you backlinks, which are also good for your SEO efforts, improving your relevancy and authority search signals.
Go out into the community and network with other businesses, see what you can come up with to cross-promote your practice with other businesses and how you can help in the community, perhaps by sponsoring a local team.
Getting involved pays dividends as you’ll become better known locally, and you’re more likely to get other businesses and local people recommending you anyway.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
We did say that local SEO is a lot of work, but if you’re wondering how you’re ever going to fit all that in and run your business, help is at hand.
Surefire Local offers professional business intelligence marketing software that can take so many of your local SEO marketing tasks off your plate or at least reduce the amount of work involved. You don’t have to struggle to do everything by yourself. Instead, you can use our software to manage and update your Google Business Profile, your business directories, and your social media accounts. You can plan your content, jot ideas down, write your content in our software, and then schedule it to post. You can also request reviews and respond to them when they come up, all without leaving our easy-to-use dashboard.
You have one single login to do all of that and more, and you only need to learn one piece of software for a far easier learning curve.
Get highly detailed analytics and reports to show what impact your local SEO and your marketing are having and to pinpoint anything that isn’t working before you spend far too much of your budget on it.
Want the easier way to get your local SEO in hand? Why not book a demo and see how we can help?