A Better SEO

March 19th, 2014 by Doug

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 by Amelia Shores

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 by Doug

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 by Doug

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 by Doug

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.

The Dos and Don’ts of Contact Forms

February 24th, 2014 by Doug

Contact forms are a fantastic way for a practice or business to deliver better customer service. The easy-to-use interface of simply typing information in right on a website removes the extra step of having to open an email service or pick up the phone and call during business hours.

Contact forms also make it easier for you to get valuable information about your visitors, transform your traffic into qualified leads, and hopefully increase the amount of business you receive.

How can you be sure that you’re taking full advantage of this fantastic opportunity to truly measure your return on investment? Follow these simple do’s and don’ts of contact forms.


Make Your Contact Form Accessible
Put your contact form in a visible, accessible location. Place it close to the top of the page or at least above the fold. Make sure you have a contact form on every page that’s meant to increase business.

Track Every Conversion
Google Analytics can easily track when a submission is made. Knowing which pages are converting and which aren’t is a great way to shore up those weaknesses in your content.

Utilize ‘Thank You’ Pages
Instead of a simple, “Your form has been accepted,” why not include before and after photos for the procedure they were looking at, or direct them to an area of your site that will better prepare them for when you make contact.

Keep Mobile in Mind
More visitors than ever are using mobile devices when searching. Most of our clients with mobile-friendly sites see at least 40 to 50 percent of their traffic from mobile devices. Be sure your forms are usable on all devices.


Ask for Too Much Information
I have to chuckle at some of the contact forms I’ve seen over the years. I’ve seen everything from Skype usernames being a mandatory field to contact forms with over fifty fields. You know what information you need to take the next step: name, email, and maybe a phone number. Why scare people off when you can easily get the other information later?

Hide Your Contact Form
Very few visitors will scroll to the bottom of a page to find a tiny little contact form. Even fewer will change pages to hunt for a way to make contact. Studies we’ve conducted show that up to 70 percent of all traffic will leave your site when forced to change pages. That’s 7 out of 10 potential leads immediately lost if you force visitors to convert only on a ‘contact us’ page.

Make Phone Numbers Mandatory
People are naturally private, and a phone number is considered much more permanent and personal than an email address. It’s easy to filter spam email, but when the wrong people get your number it’s a nightmare. Ease them into the process, and get a phone number after the initial contact via email.

Use Annoying Validation
Cutting back on spam is important, but no one likes annoying captchas and verification images. Handle all of that on the server side and remove the friction and frustration associated with having to guess what those scribbled letters mean.

Remember, you’re looking for that initial contact. The first few touchpoints are crucial, and contact forms should be working for your business – not against it!

Remembering Dr. Joseph Powers

September 4th, 2013 by studios4


Joseph Albert Powers, M.D., 94, of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, died in his home surrounded by his loving family on Saturday, August 31, 2013. Dr. Powers was born in 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Irish immigrants James and Sarah Julie Powers and was the eighth of nine brothers and sisters. His mother died when he was six, and his sixteen-year-old sister Marion mothered him as he was growing up, and he helped her with the grocery shopping and cooking.

Growing up in Philadelphia, he worked many different jobs, including being a shoe shine boy, a cutter at a children’s clothing factory, working the soda fountain and making deliveries at Tabby’s Drugstore, and working at the local hardware store. He also worked as a golf caddy, where he developed his lifelong love of golf.

He was the only one in his family who was able to put himself through college. He attended two chiropractic schools, one in Philadelphia and the other in Chicago, Illinois, where he received his doctorate degree in chiropractic medicine. He then went on to study pre med at Loyola University in Chicago. It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Geraldine (Jerri). Upon completing his studies at Loyola, he joined the United States Navy and was sent to the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, California. He and Jerri were married in San Diego on March 2, 1945. At the end of WWII, they moved back to Chicago, where he attended medical school at Loyola University and received his doctorate degree in medicine in 1949. He attended his internship at Loretto Hospital in Chicago and his residency at Hines Veterans Hospital in Maywood. He then attended three years of residency in general surgery, followed by 2 additional years of training in thoracic surgery. During these years, his first two sons were born, Scott Joseph and Gregory Joseph. He then took a position as a general surgeon at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, where he performed many interesting surgical procedures and also taught surgical residents. During this time, his third son, Thomas Joseph, was born. Falling in love with the mountains and oceans, they decided to make Rancho Cucamonga their home. His fourth son, Michael Joseph was born shortly thereafter.

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Powers owned several other businesses, including Mobile Med, Plastic Surgery Studios, Mesa Court Apartments, Woodlawn Apartments, Foothill Car Wash, Ford Lunch in Ontario, and Ontario Respiratory Center.

Dr. Powers was board certified in general surgery and practiced thoracic surgery at several hospitals throughout the Inland Empire, including San Antonio Hospital, Pomona Valley Medical Center, and Doctor’s Hospital Montclair. He was the first surgeon to use a laser at San Antonio Hospital. He was a member of the American Medical Association and the California Medical Association. He was also the Vice President of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Red Cross, and Medical Director of the Hypnotic Society, and he volunteered his medical services with the Flying Samaritans and Catholic charities. Dr. Powers practiced medicine for 36 years from 1957 until he retired from medicine in 1993. He was devoted to and loved his patients, who loved him in return. His office door was always open, and he never refused treatment to any patient.

One of his favorite hobbies was playing golf, and he could often be found playing at the practice hole at Red Hill Country Club (RHCC) or taking a nap in his golf cart. He was very proud of making a “Hole-in-One” at the fourth hole! In 2012, he was honored as being the oldest and second longest member of RHCC, and he enjoyed his lunches there, where he favored the clam chowder and shrimp cocktail. For many years he brought so much joy to his grandchildren and hundreds of other children playing Santa Claus at RHCC’s annual Christmas parties.

Dr. Powers was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, and uncle. He enjoyed spending time with his family on the water at Lake Havasu and Lake Powell, snow skiing at Mammoth Mountain, and vacationing in Hawaii. He always taught his children to love God, believe in themselves, and show love and compassion to others. He was known for his wonderful sense of humor and clever Irish wit, as well as his generosity and love of family. He found joy in teaching his children and grandchildren inspirational poems and proverbs, such as “Upon the sands of hesitation…,” “Good, better, best…,” and “A new dawn, a new day…” Dr. Powers loved life and he loved people. He also loved music and sang “The Goodnight Song” every night to his children, who have carried on this tradition to theirs. He is greatly missed and will be forever in our hearts.

Dr. Powers was preceded in death by his father, James Powers; his mother, Sarah Julie Powers; his brothers James, Edward, George, Richard, Thomas, and David; his sisters Marion Gosson and Rita Hall; and three children.

He is survived by Geraldine (Jerri), his wife of 68 years; his 4 sons, Scott Joseph (wife Debby), Greg Joseph (wife Patty), Thomas Joseph (wife Denise), and Michael Joseph (wife Anna); his 10 grandchildren, David Scott Powers, Matthew Scott Powers, Sarah Deborah Powers, Denice Michelle Castillo, Stephanie Marie Callister, Kristina Debra Powers, Katherine (Katie) Marie Powers, Kimberly Ann Powers, Joseph Michael Powers, and Jacob Michael Powers; 11 great grandchildren Audrey Jean Powers, Alana Jo Powers, Reagan Mariah Powers, Paxton Matthew Powers, Gavin Matthew Powers, Jeremiah John Powers, Mattix Raymond Powers, Trevor Ryan Castillo, Cooper Gregory Castillo, Thomas Gregory Callister, Claire Marie Callister; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be held at 9:00 am on Friday, September 6, 2013 at St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church in Alta Loma, California with Reverend Cyriacus Ogu officiating, and the Rite of Committal will be held at 10:30 am at Bellevue Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Joseph A. Powers, M.D. with either the “In His Hands Ministry” in care of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, attention Joanne, 877 N. Campus Avenue, Upland, CA 91786; or the VNA & Hospice of Southern California, 150 West First Street, Suite 270, Claremont, CA 91711-4750.

Should You Post Cost on Your Procedure Pages?

February 26th, 2013 by studios4

Earlier this month Real Self’s MediBeauty Today explored the question, “Should cosmetic surgeons post their prices online?”  The post dove into the opinions of three doctors who had three very different opinions of the topic.  One felt that listing pricing on the site helped qualify patients, while another other argued that prices should not be the reason a patient selects a doctor (and rather be based off of the perceived value of what that doctor could do for a patient).  The third doctor expressed that because no two patients are alike, ultimately a realistic price cannot be provided.  But it didn’t really answer the question posed: Should a surgeon post his or her prices online?

Patients Want It

Even though the doctors in the Real Self article didn’t see eye to eye on whether or not prices should be posted online, it was clear that price would ultimately influence whether or not a patient would book a procedure with a doctor, regardless of if it was posted or not.  In our plastic surgery website study, cost was the second most sought-after piece of information patients wanted following before and after photos.  If you do a search in Google for nearly any procedure your practice offers, cost will most likely be the second, most popular search in Google’s suggested queries.  Finally, if you look at the Google trends for the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures worldwide (liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck, and rhinoplasty), you’ll see a growing trend in users searching for cost.

Plastic Surgery Cost Trends

As more patients look to empower themselves with the aid of the Internet, they look for more information to help make educated decisions about treatments and procedures they are considering.  But if you’re a doctor who doesn’t want to disclose prices…What can you do?

Give A Little

Even if you don’t disclose your full price list you can begin the dialogue on your website by meeting at least some of your patients’ needs by providing some of the information they may need to know as it pertains to price.

General Cost Guidelines

Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS uses this technique on his website.  Recognizing that more patients were interested in cost, we worked to include information about what patients can expect to pay for when it comes to surgery.  On his breast augmentation page he explains that a surgeon’s fees, operating room fees, implant fee, and anesthesia fees will all influence cost.  Additionally on his site, he explains that silicone implants cost more than saline and that breast revision surgeries typically cost more than initial breast augmentations.  While the doctor never discloses price to his patients on his procedure page, he does give patients a better understanding of what they can expect to pay for if they decide to have surgery performed by him.

Average Costs

If you’re willing to give up a little bit more cost information on your site, listing the average cost of a procedure may be the way to go.  This will give patients a ballpark idea of what the cost will be if they decide to choose you as their doctor, and help them decide if your procedure price range is within their budget. As noted in the Real Self article, this will help pre-qualify some of your patients and weed out the ones that wouldn’t be willing to pay your fees.  The average-cost approach can be combined with general cost guidelines, which can explain the particular factors that cause prices to fluctuate. This will help a patient understand why the cost of his or her desired procedure is much higher.

If You Aren’t, Someone Else Is

Ultimately whether you provide your price or not, the searching public who really wants to find it will do so one way or another.  Sites like RealSelf.com provide average costs as part of their “Worth It Ratings” and better yet each user who reviews the procedure can say where they are and how much they paid for their procedure.

Real Self tummy tuck worth it rating

Additional associations give average cost with their annual reporting. Portals like our very own iEnhance.com offer average costs on procedure pages. General health websites, such as Discovery Health and WebMD, also feature pricing information for patients looking into the matter.

The choice on whether or not you want to display procedure pricing information on your website is yours and yours alone. Still, it’s important to recognize that more patients are looking for details on cost; and if you choose not to answer their query, another surgeon eventually will.

Our best advice is give them some type of cost-related information, even if it’s just a general idea of what the procedure costs on average.  This may satisfy the prospective patient for the time-being, and hopefully encourage them to contact you.  Giving out general, yet pertinent, cost information also helps you attract traffic for queries related to cost, which is rare due to the fact that most practitioners refuse to disclose this data on their websites.

How To Choose a Medical Internet Marketing Company

November 8th, 2012 by studios4

Failure - SuccessWhen I was approached recently by a member of our sales team to do a post on how doctors can choose an SEO company, my first thought was, “They shouldn’t choose an SEO company.”  Instead, doctors should be looking to companies that offer comprehensive Internet marketing and not just SEO.  Doctors need to be looking to companies that are looking at Internet marketing as a whole, because these days SEO is just one piece of a much larger puzzle and it alone won’t produce the results you need.  So what should doctors be looking for, and what questions should they be asking?


Oftentimes Internet marketing companies claim to have a magic formula to earn rankings, traffic, and exposure for your website.  The fact of the matter is, Internet marketing should include insight from you and your practice.  At no point should an Internet marketing company keep you in the dark about what they are doing.

What To Consider:

Speak with an Internet marketing company in detail before you sign on the dotted line and get a solid understanding of what it is they are going to offer you.  Some questions to start with:

  • What is your process for helping me achieve my goals? Do they run baselines? Do they perform an overall site audit? Do they analyze content?
  • How do you build links to my website?  If they are unable to share this information, it’s possible they are involved in some sort of link scheme that may hurt your website.  Link acquisition can come from outreach, PR, and content development if done naturally and ethically.
  • Will I have access to analytics and reporting? If they refuse to give you insight into the performance of your program, this too may be a sign that something fishy is going on.

One-Trick Ponies

We recently started working with a doctor who came to us on the tail end of an existing program with an SEO company that had been managing their efforts for a couple of years. As we transitioned the client and integrated them into our services the client was still in contact with the previous company during the transition due to some difficulties we were having with account access.  After speaking to the owner of the company the client was informed that the company was dropping out of the business because their SEO techniques were no longer working thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates.  The problem with companies that only do “SEO” is that they are only focused on rankings and backlinks, often ignoring the bigger picture when it comes to the needs of search engines and consumers.

What To Consider:

SEO is a foundation to build upon for all of your online marketing efforts.  If you are only looking at the search engines for traffic and are ignoring all other online channels you risk living and dying at the hand of the search engines.  You want to be as visible as possible and not rely solely on just one online channel for your efforts. When choosing an Internet marketing company find out if they are familiar with, or offer, services that can help you with the following:

  • Local Search
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing

These elements will not only help your SEO, but will help create safety nets in the event something does happen to your search engine presence, after all even a site doing things right can be unintentionally penalized.

Hundreds, Thousands…MILLIONS OF LINKS!!

If you’re familiar with SEO, you know that backlinks are definitely part of the overall equation when it comes to showing up in the search results for certain queries.  However with Google’s Penguin update the game changed a bit in that Google was cracking down even further on unnatural link schemes.  If an Internet marketing company promises you X number of links per month, run…run like the wind!  The only way a company can guarantee link acquisition numbers is if they control the sites they are posting them on or they are doing a mass distribution via directories, blog comments, forum spam, or the like.

Large automated link schemes can give you some short-term gains, and if you wind up on top you’ll be loving life. But here’s the catch: If Google’s algorithm catches you, the time spent trying to get back to the top can be devastating to your business.

What To Consider:

The search engines are looking at more and more signals to establish the value and quality of a website when it comes to rankings.  While links are still very important there are means of obtaining them through content marketing and other outreach efforts that can help you grow your online presence.  As with anything in Internet marketing, its key to focus on quality not quantity.  Three high-quality, relevant links can hold the same weight, if not more, than 1,000 spammy links.

Guarantees and Rankings

First of all, rankings are no longer the core metric you should be looking at for your SEO efforts.  Putting all your effort into that one term that you think is the most important to your practice won’t bring you half the benefits of having an extensive catalog of terms driving traffic to your website.  Second, no one can guarantee rankings.

What To Consider:

As I pointed out when I wrote about choosing an SEO a few years ago, Google specifically points out that no one can guarantee search engine placement and if an Internet marketing company offers you a guarantee in ranking, this should be a red flag.

Rankings are influenced by so many factors these days thanks to personalization, that what I see, versus what you see, versus what your best friend down the street sees can be drastically different.  Because of this they are a) an unreliable metric, and b) hard to effectively track.

While it’s definitely valuable to have some insight to how your site performs from a ranking standpoint, if top rankings is the only thing your SEO team is preaching, you may want to start asking questions about traffic, referrals, and conversions.  If rankings are the focal point, oftentimes link schemes and webspam are the only means of adding value to your website and more often than not these will not drive additional quality traffic to your website.

– – –

At Plastic Surgery Studios we focus on the long-term goals of your practice and work to help educate you on the trends that are going to help grow your practice both online and offline.  We want your practice to stand the test of time online and in the search engines.  Our methods are not tailored for short term gains at the cost of long term benefit.

Oftentimes our doctors will get pitches from outside SEO companies claiming to get them better results for one or two hot ticket keywords, or promise them rankings for every term under the sun.  But what these companies fail to realize is that we are looking at the bigger picture for our doctors and recognize that SEO is just the foundation of a strong Internet marketing effort.  We take into consideration traditional marketing and PR, recognizing that the industry as a whole is moving in this direction and that the sooner our clients adopt these practices the longer they’ll stay on top.

Our goal is to help you achieve your goals by becoming an extension of your medical practice.  If you’d like to know how Plastic Surgery Studios can help your medical practice, please contact us for information on some of our various Internet marketing services.

7 Tips to Make Blogging Less Painful

September 18th, 2012 by studios4

someecards.com - May the blogs be EVER in your favor!

You’ve been told you need to blog. And not only do you need to blog, but it needs to be interesting, sharable, AND on a consistent basis! You’re tired of hearing it. You sweat over it, procrastinate, and make excuses. You may be thinking: How am I supposed to come up with so many things to write about that haven’t already been addressed by other physicians?

The following tips can help this task seem a little less painful, generate a few ideas, and get you excited about blogging.

1) Take Notes

One big struggle that marketers have is getting clients to understand that their blog or website is not purely an online entity. The biggest successes occur when the offline and online work together in harmony. Therefore, the main goal of enhancing your online presence should be to reflect who you are offline. An easy way to do this is via your blog. Think of all the notes that you take during consultations, post-operative appointments, and during phone calls with patients. Do you find that patients ask a particular question all the time? Use that and turn it into a post! Your patients will love that you’re taking the time to answer their questions, and likely return to your blog for the valuable information that you’re providing.

2) Your Opinion Matters

Patients come to you for advice. In other words, they want your opinion and professional insight. So you should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts on news topics, pop culture surgery trends, new plastic surgery products introduced to the market, the types of medications your prefer to prescribe post-surgery, the brand of breast implant you typically prefer to use, etc. Again, it’s simple: Patients want to know your opinion on the topics that matter to them. If they see that your thoughts and opinions align with their own, it’s likely that they will feel more comfortable calling you their surgeon.

3) Nice To Meet You

What do you talk about to people at parties when they ask what it’s like to be a plastic surgeon? Patients want to get to know you, and form a close relationship in order to feel comfortable trusting you. Think about what you would tell your friends’ wives at a dinner party or members of your Chamber of Commerce. Imagine that conversation in your head and transcribe it.

4) Make it Juicy

For the sake of those reading your blog, avoid boring procedural content. The word “procedure” by nature is cold, calculated, objective, and frankly…dry. Your readers want juicy content! The posts on your blog that are boring and procedural probably are not half as successful as the more in-depth, less technical, and unique posts are. Think less “Beverly Hills Breast Augmentation Surgery” and more “Cartoon Characters Speculated to Have Gone Under the Knife”. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

5) Let’s Get Together

As a doctor, it’s safe to say you probably have a few other doctor friends. Consider guest blogging on their website and/or invite them to post on yours. Have a staff member interview the two of you talking about the work you do, trends in your specific niche, or thoughts you share with a respected colleague. Again, remembering to connect the offline with online will make a world of difference. Is there a conversation you had with a colleague or staff member recently that you wish other people were eavesdropping on? Write about it!

6) Thumbs Up

Recommendations: Do you have a certain brand of scalpels, scrubs company, or surgical equipment provider that you love? Pay it forward! Review them, rave about them, tell everyone how much you value their product or service on your blog. It doesn’t necessarily have to be medical-related, either. Is there a sandwich shop down the street that you and your staff frequent? Your patients and potential patients will learn about the caliber of product you use, see the things that interest you, see your passion, gain insight to your practice culture, and the company or business will appreciate it more than you know. As a thank you, it is likely they will link back to your article from their website: win- win- win- win -win- win! BONUS: if your patients see you’re willing to review others, they might be more willing to review you.

7) Bookworm

Write about what you like to read in your spare time. List three to five things you’ve been reading, whether they’re online articles that you’ve found interesting or helpful, or a book that you like to read before bed. Don’t forget to talk about why you’re enjoying reading it. Bonus points if it’s something interesting that can help convey who you are. Again, the subject matter does not have to be about medicine/surgery/aesthetics. It can be an article from a fishing magazine! Unfortunately, surgeons can be stereotyped to be cold and heartless, so imagine potential patients researching you and finding out that you are a real person with genuine interests. BONUS: Help readers get to know your staff as well! Have them submit one thing they’ve been reading or something they’ve got bookmarked, and include a sentence or two from them about it.

All in all, blogging doesn’t have to be as painful as you may think. I hope you’ve gotten some actionable tips and thought up a few ideas you might like to write about. This is your profession — your passion. You eat, breathe, and sleep medicine. Who better to write about it? The next step is to write about it. Don’t forget to leverage your efforts to get the most out of your blog posts by promoting them on your social networks. For even more information on best practices when it comes to blogging, refer to the blogging category of the Plastic Surgery Studios blog.