Search Engine Optimization Standards

April 18th, 2014

Plastic Surgery Studios takes pride that our work meets the highest standards for search engine optimization. Our websites are all indexable by search engines, our content is 100% unique, and we communicate our standards openly.

Title

The title is anything inside the ‘title tags’ of your site’s code. This is not a visible element on the page itself. Page titles should be descriptive and concise.

We use the following format for most pages: Title – City, State | Brand Name

Meta Description

Meta descriptions are a concise, human-readable summary of a page. They are not required, but we provide descriptions for each navigational page. Search engines oftentimes use these as a guide – but will replace the description based on the search query.

We encourage our clients to focus on making their content the best possible, instead of focusing on the meta description.

Keywords

We share Google’s view of meta keywords and do not utilize them. Please read our stance on “Better SEO.

Alt Tags

The alt attribute is used to describe the content of an image file. Google uses this information for their image search. Alt tags show up when images can not, and are also helpful to the visually impaired.

While it is unnecessary to spend hours updating every image on my website with alt tags – we do recommend it for new images added to the site.

Robots.txt

The robots.txt file is used to restrict access of search engine robots. You only need a robots.txt file if there is content on your website you do not want indexed in search engines. Keep in mind that there is no way to enforce a robots.txt, and some search engines simply ignore it altogether. Visit Google support for more information on robots.txt.

Sitemaps

Plastic Surgery Studios creates XML & HTML sitemaps for all websites to ensure search engines can easily crawl the website.

Schema

Schema is a shared markup vocabulary designed to help search engines better understand the content on a page. We rarely utilize schema markup, as it is oftentimes unnecessary. Note: Schema markup does not improve search engine rankings.

Rel=”author”

Google currently allows the implementation of code called rel=”author” to identify the author of a particular piece of content and place their image in search results. We support the use of rel=”author” for blog posts.

Links

When helpful to the visitor, linking to other content within your site can be a great way to assist in navigation. 

Content

Plastic Surgery Studios never recycles content. All of our content is 100% unique to you.

You should avoid the practice of taking content from others. While duplicate content has ramifications on your website’s ability to be found in search engines, we feel it’s more important to focus on the fact that it’s just rude and often illegal to steal someone else’s hard work.

Redirects

When you change the URL of a page, often when redesigning a website, you need to let the rest of the internet know you have a change of address. A 301 redirect is a way of automatically redirecting a visitor to the correct URL while preserving all of the page authority your previous address may have earned.

301 redirects are most important in the first few weeks after a URL change. After that, they become less important to search engines.

Domains

Our philosophy on domains and URLs is to keep it simple and relevant. There is almost zero benefit to having what’s called an “exact match domain.”

Do Facebook, Google+, and Twitter Even Matter?

April 7th, 2014

Social media is, without a doubt, here to stay. For years, businesses have been trying to leverage these networks effectively to improve upon or achieve their business objectives. Which social networks matter, and in what way should you look to be utilizing them to help your business?

facebook-logoFacebook

Google does not directly take Facebook ‘Likes’ or performance into consideration when determining their rankings. However, great content is by nature shareable, and Google definitely recognizes and rewards quality content in their algorithm.

Facebook can often act as a litmus test: If the content does well with your followers on Facebook, chances are the page already has merit and will perform well. If you notice a particular post take off, that’s a good indicator that you may want to create additional content like it or continue with the promotion of said piece.

Being able to target enormous amounts of people in your market is where Facebook truly shines. Advertising on Facebook should not be taken lightly. Facebook exists to collect personal information on its users – that’s what it does. They know what people like, what they share, and the types of people they associate with, and Facebook formulates labels based upon this information. As a marketer I am able to then choose my target demographic very, very accurately to ensure I am getting the best possible return on my investment.

Google-plus-logoGoogle+

Although Google+ is miles behind Facebook in terms of the number of people who use the service, you shouldn’t ignore the facts:

  • Google+ ‘Shared Links’ are followed, which means they pass something called link equity. Simply put, if I write an amazing article and it receives a lot of +1s, Google will take that into consideration for how my page ranks.
  • Google+ is already optimized for semantic relevance – Facebook and Twitter are not. This means that something posted on Google+ is treated exactly like a normal blog post. It has all of the elements needed to be considered a true inbound link from a website, and the links will be followed as well.

In the end, you really can’t create a Google+ account, post ten times a day, and hope to see results. Time and effort should be taken to cultivate a following of real people who have the ability to influence others.

Utilizing the +1 button correctly is also important. Even visitors who do not actively manage their own Google+ page will happily press the +1 button – they can’t help themselves. Good content gives visitors the natural compulsion to tell others. These +1 likes turn into inbound links and directly indicate to Google’s algorithm that the content is worth sharing with others.

twitter-logoTwitter

The biggest mistake Twitter users make is using this social network to broadcast. It’s easy to just retweet what someone else says or share a link to a new post you’ve written. Interacting with people is where Twitter shines.

Rather than just retweeting popular figures or pasting a link to your newest post, you should be showing genuine interest in attracting interaction with others. Use Twitter to showcase the culture of your office. Use it for customer service, getting others to share what they’ve done with you, and publicly show you and your organization are available and accessible.

The 140 character limit forces efficient communication which means you aren’t having to spend time crafting email replies. A quick answer to a question is often all someone needs, and Twitter makes that easy.

Does Social Media Matter?

When used properly, these social networks become business tools with the power to build a brand, provide customer service, build customer loyalty, and improve search engine results.

Simple Website Usability Tips

March 31st, 2014

Our marketing department gets this question a lot: “How can I give my visitors a better user experience?” I love the fact that this comes phrased as a question, and the asker is (hopefully) genuinely interested in making real changes to make their website better.

Avoid Multi-Level Navs

amazon-nav

Amazon’s menus are easy to navigate and provide a big-picture approach that is great for helping their visitors find what they need.

Multi-level navs can frustrate a user for multiple reasons. The first is simple usability. I will often see websites utilize a nav that will close on the user if the cursor does not follow a perfectly horizontal line when entering the next tier.

Finding content can be difficult if a page is buried deep within a nav. For example, Botox is often structured under facial fillers. Putting facial fillers under ‘Injectables’ and then putting ‘Injectables’ under ‘Other Procedures’ has effectively put Botox four levels deep.

If you have a lot of pages, and you absolutely must have your navigation accomodate them all, you can have them all appear at once in a larger section similar to what Amazon.com uses. That way you can emphasize the sections clearly and list all of the sub-link below.

Don’t Assume Every Visitor Enters Through the Homepage

Lots of work goes into making a homepage beautiful, interesting, usable, and capable of directing visitors where you want them to go. Why not carry those same traits into your procedure pages?

Every page on your site should be considered an entry page. If you’re working hard to create amazing content and a website that will index in the search engines and get shared by others, then hopefully the majority of your traffic isn’t going to your homepage.

Don’t Be Boring!

If someone tells you your website is “not engaging the visitor,” that’s a nice way of saying your website is boring. No one likes to look at walls of text, and no one likes to look at just a bunch of pictures. Break text apart into sections, reduce the wordcount, and make your content readable to someone who hasn’t been to ten years of medical school.

Negative space can be used to break up the flow of a page, separate objects, and make it easier on a visitor’s eyes. Cleverly using white space can even influence conversion rates by controlling where a visitor looks when moving down a page.

Make Converting Easy

If your website is meant to send you business, why not make it as easy as possible for people to give you their information? That contact form buried in your footer at the bottom of the page? No one is going to scroll down there. Move it to the top or insert it into your content!

Remove the friction. When a visitor goes to your contact page, chances are they are already in the mindset to contact you in some way. If they are greeted by a huge contact form asking for their full address, date of birth, and Skype username, they will probably decide contacting you is simply too much work.

Keep it simple, interesting, and easy for someone to find what they want.

State of the Industry

March 24th, 2014

Plastic Surgery Studios has helped clients in the plastic surgery industry exceed their goals for over 15 years. This year, we are reaching out and sharing our wealth of information with everyone.

Introducing: State of the Industry

Using State of the Industry

Understanding the competition in your region has never been easier.  Follow these easy steps to get started:

  1. Visit State of the Industry
  2. Find and click on your region
  3. When the summary pops up, click ‘View Region’
  4. Explore the vast amount of data we are willing to share with the world

In each region you will find the average visits, leads, social media data, blog information, marketing cost, and return on investment.  Utilizing all of our data, we identified meaningful averages for each of these categories, and presented all of that information to you in easy to read graphs and tables.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you gather this data?
We have hundreds of clients across the entire country.  Utilizing Google Analytics and a diligent marketing team, we gathered the data and applied simple average to create a set of easy to understand numbers.

How did you determine each region?
Over the past 15 years we noticed significant trends with regard to how plastic surgeons and patients naturally group themselves.  Each region was constructed by evaluating the overall competition, interest in plastic surgery, and geographical location.  In other words, we grouped together what made sense.

I’m lower than the average.  How can I improve?
How you rank against other plastic surgeons in your region can be influenced by a number of factors ranging from how long you’ve been in practice to what types of procedure you offer.  If you only perform blepharoplasty you may not see the volume of a body or breast doctor.  Whatever the case may be, we’re happy to evaluate your marketing efforts and give our recommendations for how you can improve your internet marketing.

My numbers are way better than these averages.  Should I stay complacent?
When a client of ours is excelling we often have to remind them how and why they are doing so well.  Typically those who are out-performing the competition got there because they went above and beyond what others are doing.  To stay ahead of the curve, you should continue to watch your competition closely and actively work to stay ahead.

We invite you to see how you stack up in the State of the Industry.  If you have any questions regarding your marketing, or how you can improve in 2014, give us a call at (888) 525-6360.  We want to hear from you!

Setting the Right Goals for Your Website

March 24th, 2014

“What does success look like to you?”

This is the question I lead with when I sit down with a client to determine their Internet marketing strategy. Usually their response is, “I want to be number one in Google.” That’s a noble goal and one probably every business in the world shares.

The problem with having a goal like being number one in Google is that it’s a deceptively inaccurate way of measuring success. We’ve had plenty of clients reach that coveted first rank in SERPs just to give us a call saddened by the fact that they aren’t suddenly a celebrity with their phone ringing off the hook.

A better goal would be to convert more of your visitors next month into email consultation requests. This can be measured by a simple conversion rate: the number of visitors divided by the number of contacts. Improving your site’s conversion rate means you don’t need to reach a wider audience to get more business. Conversely, you may already have an amazing conversion rate, so the goal could be to simply improve the number of people visiting your site while maintaining your ability to convert.

Even better goals revolve around a strategy. Our marketing team will sit down regularly with clients to figure out what specific area of their practice they want to improve. These are great meetings to have because not only do we gain a better understanding of how we can directly help the client, but the client starts to think like a marketer. The results go from, “I want to be number one in Google” to “I can’t believe I did so many rhinoplasties last month. Let’s try Tummy Tucks next!”

Measuring how a goal’s success or failure affects the bottom line transforms the way you think, how you market your business, and how your website works for you. Make your goals work for you.

A Better SEO

March 19th, 2014

SEO has evolved significantly over the past few years.   Practices that were once encouraged and commonplace are now the quickest way to get blacklisted or penalized.  What used to yield amazing results is now the same as throwing your money away.   As part of our ongoing effort to educate and guide our clients and the plastic surgery industry toward making better decisions for their businesses, we launched the “Better SEO” campaign.

  • See the difference between Old and New SEO
  • Learn about the history of SEO and how these past few years have radically altered the way your business should be approaching SEO
  • See a few of the ways our company is changing the way our clients market themselves on the internet

 

The Importance of Blogging

March 17th, 2014

What is a blog?

A blog (short for “web log”) is a method for delivering frequent, often casual and more personal, content to your website visitors. Blog entries (called “posts”) are usually shown in reverse chronological order on your blog’s website so that more recent posts are visible first. Blogs are generally interactive; people can leave comments and even share blogs on social media platforms.

What type of content should I blog about?

One of the great things about blogs is that you can discuss anything and everything, from procedure-related information to hot topics in the news. Blogs in the plastic surgery industry generally cover a wide range of subjects, including:

  • How a procedure has changed (new techniques and technologies)
  • A new service your practice offers
  • Common misconceptions
  • Frequently asked questions – believe us when we say that people have thousands of questions about plastic surgery!
  • Plastic surgery statistics
  • Health and fitness topics
  • Celebrity plastic surgery and other relevant news stories

Why is blogging important?

Blogging is important for giving your practice exposure, building a sense of community, and establishing authority, all of which help to generate leads. The majority of plastic surgery websites have blogs, so chances are your competitors are already putting this effective marketing tool to use.

You can post entries as often as you want on your blog, and Google gives preferential treatment to hyper-fresh content. This means that more recent content, if relevant to a user’s search, will rank higher in the search engines. Having a rich library of content also helps to ensure that when someone performs a search, your blog will be there to answer their query. This establishes your status as an authority on plastic surgery and allows readers to recognize and become familiar with your practice.

By granting access to information and knowledge with your blog, you’re interacting with potential customers and creating a bond that will encourage further interaction. A blog forms a sense of community between you and your readers, and they will likely return to you for answers to future questions and for their plastic surgery needs. In addition, users can share your blog on other social media platforms, which will allow you to reach an even wider audience and generate more potential leads.

Start Your Blog Today!

Blogging can be done by anyone, but many businesses find they do not have the time to keep up with writing the content Google and readers so adamantly demand. You may want to blog but have a busy schedule or don’t know where to start, and that’s why we’re here to help. At Plastic Surgery Studios, we have a dedicated team who works every day to provide relevant, interesting content for blogs that will get your practice noticed.

Don’t be one of the few practices without a blog. Call (888) 525-6360 to start your blog program and expand your practice!

What is PPC?

March 10th, 2014

PPC is a commonly used acronym for pay-per-click advertising. When someone says they are running PPC ads, they typically mean they are using Google Adwords or the ads that appear in the search engine results.

How Does PPC Work?

The easiest way to think of PPC is quite literally you pay per click. When your ads are shown through Adwords, you only pay Google when someone clicks on your ads. The cost of that click is then determined by many different factors. The most common factors include:

  • Targeted keywords
  • Location
  • Bid
  • Quality score

Ads are created inside of the Adwords control panel and are governed by many different regulations ranging from character limits to the words you’re allowed to use.

Character Limitations

Example Ad Max Character Length
Headline Red Shoe Sale 25
Display Line 1 Buy One Get One Free 35
Display Line 2 At Doug’s Red Shoe Store 35
Display URL www.DougsShoes.com/RedShoes 35

Google strictly enforces the types of claims you are allowed to make in an ad. Anything advertised must be truthful, accurate, factually supported, and 100 percent verifiable. Information in ads must match what is on your website, including offers and prices.

Ads have really evolved over the years. Google now allows advertisers to implement trackable phone numbers which can be clicked, product listings, maps which integrate with your Google Local listing, and many other ‘extensions’ to enhance your campaigns.

What Is This ‘Quality Score’ I Keep Hearing About?

According to Google, “Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad.” Simply put, if you are advertising a facelift, you want to make sure that the keywords and ad copy are relevant to facelifts and that the page you are sending people to is all about facelifts. This will earn you a high Quality Score, reduce your cost-per-click amount, and help your ads place better.

The Benefits of PPC

PPC has a number of benefits depending on your current circumstances. If you’re not able to organically rank on the first page, PPC is a legitimate means of buying your way to the top. On the other hand, you might already be on the first page. Buying more real estate on the front page for the terms you’re trying to advertise helps ensure you’re the site people visit.

Measuring your return on investment is one of the greatest benefits of all. Unlike SEO, which can sometimes be confusing as to exactly what you’re paying, PPC can literally tell you exactly what it cost to get that visit and ultimately that lead. The freedom to adjust your bid, retarget your audience, and change immediately reduces the hassle of having to wait for Google to re-index your website. PPC is flexible enough to give you the freedom to change.

You shouldn’t forget about brand awareness, either. Having ads display in Google right at the top of the list is a great way to begin associating your brand with terms people actually search. Top of mind awareness is incredibly important. If you’re a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills wanting to improve the number of porcelain veneers you sell, you want people to think of your name when they think of porcelain veneers. PPC is a very effective at increasing visibility.

How to Get the Most Out of Your PPC Campaigns

Now that you know what PCC is, how it works, and why you should use it, it’s time to learn how you can really get the most out of your campaigns.

One of the best recommendations we can possibly give any of our clients is to stop sending traffic right to the homepage of their site. Think about it: you’ve just spent money figuring out the keywords you want to use, the demographic you want to target, and you’ve convinced that person to click on your ad. Why would you want to send them to your homepage where they can get lost, confused, or bounce?

We use incredibly effective, handcrafted landing pages for all of our PPC campaigns. These pages are designed to convert and are tailored precisely to their corresponding ads and campaigns. Our goal with PPC landing pages is to quickly educate the visitor to qualify them, then present them with the opportunity to learn more. Our landing pages consistently convert higher for paid traffic because of our ability to refine for that lead.

Use PPC to augment your existing efforts. Drive visitors to the procedures or products you want to improve. Advertise specials, create campaigns, or even break into a new market. If you’re not using PPC, you’re leaving money on the table and missing out on great opportunities to grow your business.

Case Study Photo Gallery

March 5th, 2014

case-study-galleryWe are excited to reveal our new Case Study Photo Gallery!  Featuring patient before and photos has never easier, faster, or better looking.

The Plastic Surgery Studios Case Study Photo Gallery revolutionizes the way practices are able to upload before and after photos by dynamically pairing the two together without the need for any photo editing.   Include a completely unique case study for every patient tailored to your exacting needs.

Key Features of the Case Study Photo Gallery

  • Automatically Pairs Before & After Photos
  • 100% Responsive Ready
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Dynamic feature image presentation

Frequently Asked Questions

I already have a gallery.  Do I need a case study gallery?

The Case Study Gallery is a great way to showcase your best photos along with a detailed case description.  The case study gallery is an easy and effective way of uploading images.  The dynamic range of the gallery allows for easy pairing of images that won’t require someone else to edit and add photos for you.  Showcasing your best photos has never looked so good.

Is the Case Study Gallery search engine friendly?

Case studies allow you to share your patient summaries and create a content-rich page with images that will index very well.  Showcasing several case studies on one page — especially by continually adding more cases — will appeal to Google’s desire for hyper-fresh content.

Can I upload my pictures myself or do I need to send them to you?

You can absolutely upload photos all by yourself, and it’s easy too!  You can even upload before images separate from after photos and the Case Study Gallery will pair them for you.

Is the Case Study Gallery mobile and responsive friendly?

Yes and yes!  Our gallery looks amazing on mobile devices and responds will to changes in screen resolution making it the best gallery to use on all devices.

How much does it cost?

The cost of your gallery will depend on implementation and the number of photos you wish for us to add for you.  We are happy to discuss how our Case Study gallery can help your website.   Feel free to contact us to discuss this further.

Can I add the Case Study Gallery to my existing site?

The Case Study Gallery is universal and will work for all websites including those running a CMS like WordPress.

Any suggestions on how to get my pictures looking the best?

  • Invest in a great camera that allows you to maintain the same degree of zoom & flash position.  People like viewing crystal clear photos.
  • Try moving the patient away from a background you want to de-emphasize.
  • Use a string or mark the floor to maintain consistent distance.
  • Angle the flash away so that you are not directly shining an unbalanced light onto the subject.

 

SEO vs. Marketing

March 3rd, 2014

Internet marketing is always changing, and as marketers it’s our responsibility to develop new strategies to stay ahead of the game. While doing so, our marketing team discovered a transition taking place: Internet marketing has already begun to align with and resemble more traditional marketing.

As a result of this paradigm shift, the biggest question we now face on a daily basis is, “What’s the difference between SEO and Marketing?”

SEO has long been considered synonymous with Internet marketing, when in fact it is only one component of a slice of the overall marketing pie. Five years ago there wasn’t a need for anything else. Optimizing a page properly and targeting the right keywords was all that mattered. Marketers were able to get away with simply focusing on SEO mechanics to achieve business objectives, but that is no longer the case.

Google has already changed the way they look at sites when considering rankings. Stuffing page titles with a dozen cities or mentioning your business next to the same keyword twelve times on a page actually doesn’t help – it hurts you. Content needs to read naturally and have a purpose. Users need to find value and be convinced to go out of their way to influence others to share your content.

The differences between SEO and marketing should already be coming into focus.

The SEO Approach

SEO focuses on keyword research and on-page optimization of existing content. In other words, SEO is all about what the search engines want. The hope is that your tweaks outperform the same tweaks someone else is able to make. That’s really crucial to understand: when done right, SEO is the same for everyone. All SEO can truly do is improve visibility, but just because someone can find a website doesn’t give them a reason to visit.

Once optimized, the next step is to go out and find linking opportunities. Links are still an incredibly important part of Google’s ranking process. SEOers need to find other websites to link to their content. While this does help, and rankings will hopefully improve over time, it doesn’t always align with accomplishing business objectives, and it’s incredibly risky if one day Google randomly decides to penalize you for your tactics.

SEO Summary – What Search Engines Want

  • Keyword research

  • On-page optimization

  • Open-link opportunities to build direct links

  • Relies on Google algorithms and can be penalized by changes

  • Metrics: rankings

The Marketing Approach

Marketing is a broader, more holistic approach all about understanding and controlling how the various factors influencing visitors, search engines, and content are interconnected. Marketing begins by identifying who the target is and what channels those people use to discover new products and services. Marketing is about people.

As marketers, we seek to understand who and what influences the target market. We then create content that will appeal to that audience and their influencers. The goal of properly marketing a site and its content is to get visitors to automatically build links for you by taking what they find and feeling a natural compulsion to share with others via social media, email, and their own sites.

Marketing is, by nature, designed to accomplish business objectives. When looking at how we market a particular service, we look first at how we are going to measure a return on investment for that client. We ask ourselves questions like, “What does success look like?” We then design the content around that goal.

Marketing Summary – What People Want

  • Broad/holistic view

  • Identify the target market, their influencers, and how they find and share information

  • Create content that will appeal to the target

  • Improve brand awareness, positioning

  • Focus on return on investment

  • Change minds

SEO Marketing
Content Focus Keywords Purpose
Relies on Google
Target Search Engines Real People
Builds Brand Awareness
Link Building Active Passive
Business Goals Rankings Return on Investments

Which Approach is Right for You?

When deciding which approach is best for you, your business, and your website, consider the future. SEO is a short-term strategy, whereas marketing is inherently about projecting out the long term. Do you want to rank first in Google? That’s an admirable goal, but what if you could improve the bottom line, improve brand awareness, change the minds of your consumers, and as a result of making fantastic content you get rewarded with the rankings you desire?

Knowing the skill sets and talents of your marketing team are important. SEO is procedural and can be done by individuals. The costs of SEO are very low. Marketing takes a team of members with diverse talents and the resources necessary to obtain your objective.