Digital consultant Rick O’Neill explains why blogging can be an important marketing tool for aesthetic clinics
For many businesses, blogging seems to have been somewhat overlooked by the behemoth that is social media. As an aesthetic business owner, you (presumably) want to grow your business and hit milestones, as well as wanting to invest in your digital marketing in a smart way that delivers a return. People don’t realise it, but blogging can help get you there. Amongst all the hype of social media (and I say this as someone who spends a lot of time consulting on social media for global companies), it’s important to remember just how powerful blogging is and some of the reasons why it is so important. A study by HubSpot determined that websites which have a blog receive, on average, 67% more enquiries than websites without one.1 In this article I’ll explain exactly why and what blogging can deliver to you and your aesthetics business.
A blog is a regularly updated website or webpage, run by an individual or small group. Typically, a blog would be between 700 and 1,000 words and focus on one very specific topic or one particular keyword that potential patients or customers might be searching for (for example ‘dermal fillers’, ‘Mayfair’, or ‘Laser treatments, Manchester’).
You have a higher chance of ranking on Google: According to a study from TechClient, a website has a 434% higher chance of ranking on page one of Google if it has an active blog.2 This is because in the same way that keywords on a website’s homepage are interwoven to help with SEO, keywords throughout blog posts add an extra boost to ranking too. Think about that, you have a four to five times higher chance of your website – your business – appearing on page one of Google if you’re running an active blog.
Become the trusted expert: If those eye-widening stats weren’t enough to persuade you to start taking blogging seriously, consider the fact that blog authors are more likely to be viewed as subject matter experts, with a HubSpot survey seeing blogs as the fifth most trusted source of information.3 A survey by ExpressWriters.com also showed that 68.5% of customers believe a website with a blog is more credible.4
Beat social media: Now, this may be a controversial statement, especially coming from a social media consultant, but I believe blogging beats social media in a number of ways. Not only can blogging ‘feed’ your social media, with your blogs being repurposed as podcasts, pull quotes, Tweets, Instagram stories, your next YouTube video or the theme for your next Instagram Live video, but it also has a much longer lifespan than any item of social media content. Once you’ve posted a blog, it’s there for life. I posted blogs in 2004 that still get traffic. You do not tend to get that with an Instagram post. Organic (unpaid) posts to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts have a relatively limited ‘life’ in terms of the period of time during which they are delivering engagement or traffic to your website (yes, they are still there, but the action all happens in the first 24 to 48 hours). Blogs, in my experience, can live (and deliver traffic) for decades. Of course, it’s important to ensure you have all the right tracking in place so you can monitor which elements of your content marketing are bringing traffic. Google Analytics is your go-to tool for this. Installation of Google Analytics is relatively simple, and it can start to give you in-depth data on your website instantly.
Be found by voice search results: Blogging can help your website feature in localised voice search results, such as Alexa, Google Home, or Siri. The long-tail terms and questions used in a well-optimised blog article play to the way in which people tend to use voice search. For example, if someone asks, “Alexa, where can I find an aesthetic practitioner in London?” and you have a blog post that mentions this phrase, then Alexa will be able to tell the person. A study by Review42.com showed that 50% of all searches are now voice activated, and 58% of people surveyed had used voice search to find information about a local business.4
Appear in the Google Map results: Blogging, if it’s optimised well for the town or city that you’re in, will also feed your local rankings and provide signals to Google that your business profile should appear in the map results at the top of page one on Google. Moz.com published an extremely comprehensive report on the ranking factors used by Google to positions your business in local results, including the volume of quality, and locally relevant, content on your entire website.5
When it comes to choosing a platform for your blog (which should be integrated into your clinic’s website), WordPress (which now powers more than 39% of the entire internet according to W3Techs.com)6 is consistently shown to be the best option in terms of
flexibility, speed and search optimisation. In one study of over six million websites by AHrefs.com, it was discovered that just 1.4% of Wix websites achieves organic (natural/free) traffic from Google.7 This is compared to 46.1% of WordPress sites. Of course, there are numerous platforms out there including SquareSpace, Wix, IONOS and many others. Keep things simple and have your blog live at /blog following the clinic URL (this is where Google expects to find your blog articles).
Some platforms work well because there are a number of tools that you can add which help you with your SEO. One of the most impactful in my experience is YOAST. This is a plugin that you add inside the WordPress content system that provides a simple checklist and traffic light system to help you ensure that every element of your page or blog is search-engine friendly.
Content is everywhere and almost everything you do in your clinic can be turned into content. Every treatment you offer will typically have 10 to 20 questions that patients always ask, giving you 20 blogs per treatment that you could be publishing and optimising. For even more inspiration, visit AnswerThePublic.com, put in your top treatment(s), and it will show you ALL the questions people ask Google about that treatment.
While you may not be short of ideas or content, you need to work out the best way to present this to your audience. You can do this by having a clear structure. At the most basic level, a good blog will consist of an attention-grabbing title (relevant to current trends), an introduction to hook the reader in, a solid ‘main body’ which works through a logical sequence of points, and a conclusion (perhaps with a call to action). But there are other formats for blog posts too, such as the ‘list post’ (e.g. 10 things you didn’t know about facial fillers), or the ‘how to’ post (e.g. how to remove makeup properly before your aesthetic treatment).
Optimising your blog: Let’s say you intend to write a blog about facial fillers. One of the key search terms (which you can learn from AnswerThePublic or Google Keyword Planner) might be ‘facial fillers consultation’. When publishing the blog, there are several elements that need to be optimised around that search term to ensure that Google positions it in the results when people search for that particular phrase.
Meta Title: All web pages and blogs can have a Meta Title tag, which is the blue title usually shown for your page or blog on the Google search results list. A meta title is an important part of website optimisation and is distinct from the headline on the page itself. It acts as a name tag for the web page. The title is displayed on your browser tab and tells you what page you’re on. Meta titles are also read by search engine robots and seen by users searching the web.
Headline Tags: Depending on how the styling is setup for your WordPress site, Headline 1 should be the largest/most prominent heading style, and Headline 2 a smaller, sub-heading style. These tags are read by Google to gain an instant understanding of what the page or blog is about.
The URL: This is the web address for the page or blog article. Usually something like www.yourwebsite.com/blog/title-of-blog
Mobile experience: For maximum rank with Google, and the best chance to convert a reader into a patient, your website and your blog content MUST be optimised for a great mobile experience. If it isn’t, the reader is going to get fed up with pinching and zooming to increase the text size, or functions not working. They’re just going to leave. As for Google, if it identifies your site as not being ‘Mobile Friendly’ (according to their Mobile Friendly Test),8 then it is unlikely to position your blog in search results at all.
Content Layout: Use imagery to highlight your points, pull out key sections of text to make them stand out, break up the paragraphs with subheadings and bulleted lists and other formatting, and make it easy for the reader to navigate and ‘rest’ their eyes now and then.
Speed: Your website and blog must load quickly. This is one of the key factors that Google monitors before deciding to place you in front of their users, and it’s a key reason why users might ‘bounce’ from your site if they have a frustrating experience with a slow-loading website. Check how your website scores using Google’s Page Speed Insights testing tool.9
Improvements you can make to your website to increase its speed are listed for you when you run a test. Most of the changes are likely to require support from an experienced web developer.
Image optimisation: Your blog images are also ‘SEO fodder’. You can optimise your blog images so that people searching on Google Images can find your blog through the tags that you add to the images. Each image needs to have an ‘Alt tag’ so that rather than Google seeing it as image one, image two, etc, it will know that it’s a photo of a facial filler consultation.
Keyword optimisation: Whilst maintaining informative and readable content, it’s important to be including your key phrase (e.g. ‘facial fillers consultations’) in the Meta Title, H1 and H2 Tags, in the URL, and within the body of the blog at least once per paragraph. In addition to this, your entire website should be optimised in a similar way towards your geographical area that you serve (e.g. Brighton), so that when someone searches ‘facial fillers consultation in Brighton’, your website optimisation plus your blog optimisation gives you a pretty good chance of appearing in the top search results.
For more information on optimising your website for Google, look at websites such as MOZ.com and Google Search Central
Whilst your competitors obsess over their Instagram feeds and worry about their Facebook algorithm, now is the time for you to double-down on your blog strategy to engage patients in a smarter, more personal and effective manner. I look forward to reading your next blog!
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