“Winning” the SEO game is difficult. That’s by design. Search engines want only the best of the best to sit at the top of their results. Although companies could once count on ranking well in the search results if they stuffed in the right keywords or used shortcuts to get backlinks, that kind of behavior doesn’t translate to loyal customers. No one wants to feel duped when they click on a link, which is why Google is constantly reevaluating its algorithm in an effort to make its searches more relevant to its users.
These days, it’s important for an organization’s marketing strategy to cater to the needs of the consumer. This should be obvious, but the history of digital marketing is littered with people who have tried to game the system. That’s getting harder and harder, fortunately. Google’s algorithm increasingly rewards websites that provide quality content with high placement. This formula is known as E-A-T, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
When it comes to SEO for plastic surgeons, EAT becomes even more important, for the simple reason that cosmetic surgery involves risk. A surgeon’s skill, experience, knowledge, and transparency can make the difference between a good or bad experience. So how do you increase your EAT quotient and attract positive attention from potential patients? Here’s what you need to know.
Understand the Criteria
Plastic surgery practices have websites that fall under the category of YMYL sites. This stands for “Your Money, Your Life,” and these sites have been most affected by Google’s latest algorithm update. Why? Because YMYL pages are providing serious information, whether that’s financial or medical advice, news, or legal content. Google wants to make sure that this information is coming from a place of authority.
With so much information and misinformation available online, it’s good to know that Google is scrutinizing the page quality of these sites closely, but it does mean that you need to have an in-depth knowledge of what affects the rankings in order to build a successful SEO strategy. Some of the criteria include:
- Expertise and credentials of the content’s author (i.e. plastic surgeon)
- Context—does the content relate to the theme of the site?
- Appropriate keywords
- Online reviews
- High-quality backlinks
- Awards and affiliations
- Quality of the content
- Availability of contact information and customer support access
There are a lot of factors that go into calculating E-A-T, but the bottom line is that better content from an authoritative source will rise to the top. That’s actually good news for plastic surgeons. Because a trained surgeon has the credentials and authority already, other factors, like quality content and engagement, can take priority.
Most medical professionals are extremely busy; that’s a given. However, it’s critically important from a digital marketing standpoint to make collaboration, guest blogging, and local appearances a priority.
Local search is huge for plastic surgery practices, and increasing your local search rank might involve working with community publications or making sure surgeons in your practice are in the running for local awards. Guest blogging will also help build your link profile with high-quality backlinks.
Trust is critical in the medical field. With so many negative media stories about the few cosmetic surgery cases that go wrong, consumers are rightfully cautious about choosing a plastic surgeon. A positive reputation is worth its weight in gold for both the practice itself and SEO for plastic surgeons.
To improve trustworthiness, reviews are key. Past patients should be encouraged to leave reviews on sites like RealSelf, Yelp, and other outlets that influence rankings in the search engines. It’s easy to establish trustworthiness when your patients are happy—use that to your marketing advantage.
Use Social Media
Though social media marketing has changed a lot in the last few years, it’s still an important factor in improving your E-A-T quality. Making your content shareable, sharing other quality content and tagging the author, and engaging with your online community via social media are all important. Many of the big social media sites have high domain authority, and those links can help you build your SEO strategy.
Focus on the Content
Patients will have lots of specific questions when they come in for a consultation, but you can help build a positive reputation by providing high-quality content on your website. Take into account your patients’ most-asked questions, SEO data with popular searches, and your in-depth knowledge to provide reliable information for potential patients who are seeking medical advice and answers to their questions.
Blog posts, procedure information pages, and FAQs can all help provide the quality content Google is looking for. Visuals, like videos and photos, can also be powerful ranking factors if the content is good and in context with the rest of the site. Whenever possible, publish pieces that show thought leadership in the industry.
Building your E-A-T score can take time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Getting a quality rating these days means thinking about the user first and proving you are a reliable source of information. Have patience, consistently work toward your SEO goals, provide great content, and make sure potential patients have a good customer service experience when they visit your website. A positive reputation isn’t built in a day—it takes a strong foundation, time, and effort.