Content planning for SEO purposes is an essential aspect of digital marketing for every business, and aesthetics clinics are no different. But no aesthetics practitioner wants to fill their already busy days even further. So here, we’re going to simplify thing a little with clarity on the process you need to follow, and give you a head start with some techniques which will improve your marketing performance more rapidly.
First steps: definitions
First up, a few definitions. SEO means “Search Engine Optimisation”. When you run a search on Google, something has to decide in what order the thousands of results are listed. That something is an algorithm – a set of rules. As a business owner, you want your website to appear near the top of the list, and SEO is the art of understanding the algorithm and abiding by its rules for the best exposure.
And content planning matters because the “usefulness and relevancy” of content is one of the key criteria by which the algorithm judges the strength of your website. An effective content plan will improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
The official process
There’s a relatively simple process to basic SEO optimisation; this will be our starting point and will give you the basic principles. However, as business (and SEO in particular) is intensely competitive, once we’ve got this baseline in place, we can look at some additional smart ways of reducing time and effort while raising the quality of our SEO performance.
A standard SEO process looks something like this:
- Keyword Research: Among other things, those algorithms look for keywords. It’s no surprise that someone who types “Aesthetics practice” or “Dermal fillers” is looking for someone like you. Keyword research will help you identify the keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for when looking for aesthetics services, so you can include them in your content. Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush will help with this.
- Refine for your Target Audience: We all operate in different parts of the market. Identify the demographic, interests and pain points of your target audience; and tailor both your keywords and content to meet their needs. Drop the keywords they won’t use (for example product names which don’t meet their expectations or which you don’t offer), and keep the ones which do.
- Create a Content Calendar and produce Quality Content: Plan and organize your content in advance, and ensure that you are regularly publishing new and relevant content to your website. Your content should be simple, informative, include your keywords, and provide value to your target audience. Don’t just sell. Whatever you create, read or watch it back. Ask yourself: would I be glad to read this as a customer? If you can’t say yes to that, go back and revise. If that sounds like hell, don’t worry – we’re going to come back to this below.
- Optimize Your Content for SEO: Adding your keywords was a good start. But SEO is incremental. The more ‘goodies’ you can add, the better. (Equally, don’t spend a lifetime looking for SEO bonus points. Nobody can do everything!) Make sure that blogs, for example, have titles and descriptions. Include images and videos in your content if you can, as this will make it more engaging and shareable. Add links to other websites. All of these have value to search engines.
- Don’t forget to Measure The Results: Use tools like Google Analytics to track the traffic to your website, and keep an eye on those keywords as they change over time.
You’ll find variations of this process in countless books and websites. And it works just fine. There are two shortcomings, though. First, it’s all good for a highly-resourced business; but most aesthetics practices are under-resourced (that’s not a criticism – it’s just the truth!) You don’t have the time to create acres of content on a scattergun basis and hope for the best. Second, it lacks ambition. Aesthetics clients seek education, comfort, expertise and nurturing; and you can be the person to provide it.
With the right approach and the right content, you can become the respected practitioner for local customers seeking answers to their valued questions. Your website can become the “go to” source of trusted insight. The above process is entirely valid and an important introduction to the field. But we now have an opportunity to turbo-charge it with a “black-belt” approach to content planning.
Black belt content planning 1: rock solid ideas
Answerthepublic.com is an extraordinary resource which assesses the questions which people type into Google, thereby giving you every possible question a potential patient could ask about every treatment that you offer, prioritised according to the frequency of search. For example, for dermal fillers, key questions include:
- How do dermal fillers work
- Are dermal fillers safe
- Can dermal fillers be dissolved, and
- Where can dermal fillers be used
You can already see that just being able to answer these questions (in blogs, videos, podcasts etc.) is an exceptional way to reach your customers with credibility – with the sure knowledge that you’re giving them information they respect and genuinely need.
And this is all about the customer. You know full well that “Dermal fillers and the covid vaccine” is of no importance. It probably never occurred to you that it’s worthy of discussion. But guess what: at time of writing, this was a significant question on Answerthepublic and therefore worth a little of your reassurance. Cross reference these terms with Google Trends and you can even discover (free!) which products, themes and questions are peaking in popularity for an even more laser-focused approach to content ideas.
Tools like these will give you an endless source of questions which you now know will be value-add and appreciated by your customers. Provided you can compete with existing resources to answer these questions, by being more thorough, considered, targeted or local etc.; you’re in great shape to create a world of respected content which will move the needle on your customer acquisition.
The advice above from the core process still stands – a great article is around 1000w long and optimised for keywords, and you should bring it to life with imagery, video, storytelling, bullet lists and the rest.
Black belt content planning 2: produce once, re-use plenty
All that said, producing content still requires a little time and effort. A raft of Artificial Intelligence tools are coming to the fore which make producing text, audio and video easier than ever, but it’s still another job which needs to be done.
It will therefore almost certainly make sense to outsource your production work, but whether you do that or handle it in-house, it makes both financial and marketing sense to maximise the value of the creative assets you produce, by re-using it and distributing it across all of your channels.
That means taking, say, a blog; and then re-purposing it as a video for your website, social and YouTube channels. You have an extraordinary range of re-use options:
- Try taking three key points or themes from the article and turning them into social posts which offer different perspectives on the theme or answers to it.
- Create short excerpt versions of the article to post into your Google local business profile, to meet the needs of people searching for local providers.
- Deliver them as part of an educational email campaign for your patients and potentialpatients, raising your credibility with each email and reminding them of your expertise so that when the time comes to make a purchase, you’re the first port of call.
This, of course, works for other initial media, too. If you happen to be more comfortable in front of a camera than a pencil, that’s just fine. Produce video answers, but then repurpose them into text, snippets and social clips too. Again, there is an increasing list of automations to help you – rev.com, for example, is very good for transcribing video into text which can then be used as the basis of a blog. (Rev will also instantly create subtitles for your video – perfect for people browsing on social media without sound).
Content planning for SEO success
SEO is a necessary evil of digital marketing. The sort of person who becomes an aesthetics specialist is not generally the sort of person who likes the repetitive precision of SEO research. We feel your pain. To make it easier and dramatically more effective, the “black belt approach” – produce materials which position you as an expert in every condition and treatment type you cover, and then distribute it with minimum effort across all channels – comes with a significant benefit. It positions you not only as the right local business owner, but also as the undisputed authority in your market. That’s got to be good for the soul as well as your business.
Rick O’Neill, FRSA, is a digital consultant to the medical aesthetics, cosmetic surgery and pharma sectors.
With over 20 years experience in digital marketing, rick is the founder and owner of the award winning digital agency LTF based at Silverstone Race Circuit. Having ran this successful agency for the past 11 years, Rick is taking time out from the duties of an agency M.D. to get back to what he loves most – creating innovative content, social strategies and sharing his experience and expertise with colleagues.
Rick is a highly accomplished Digital Marketer with a deep knowledge of Digital Marketing, Social Media, UX and Digital Development. A founding partner of The Aesthetic Entrepreneurs, investor and advisor to many other digital businesses, Rick is also currently Digital Consultant UK & Europe to a well-known aesthetics company.