Do plastic surgery before and after pictures help close the deal?

February 23rd, 2010 by Amy Arnold

Occasionally, we have a new plastic surgery client who does not use before and after pictures on their website.  Traditionally, plastic surgery internet marketing experts have held on to the belief that a before and after gallery is a must for driving traffic to the site and ultimately turning visitors into real patients.

Most surgeons use a gallery as patient education, and the more knowledge a patient has of a doctor, the more likely they are to schedule a consultation. For Newport Beach Plastic Surgery, Newport Beach rhinoplasty patients can see for themselves the artistic skill and experience of the surgeon.  They can see the results and what they will get out of the surgery before they even talk to the doctor.  This is a powerful tool.

Newport Beach Rhinoplasty

Newport Beach Rhinoplasty

An additional bonus is patients come into the office with some understanding of the surgery and the results they should expect, and the consultation is much more interactive.

Plastic surgery internet marketers can always use the gallery as additional source material to promote online.  Having a gallery doesn’t make our jobs a slam-dunk, but not having one does make our jobs more challenging to drive leads to consultations. More pages equal more opportunities to show up in the search engine results pages.

Slam Dunk SEO

Galleries have become an important part of the pre-consultation education process.  Often the gallery pages are the most visited pages on a plastic surgeon’s website by potential patients. Without before/afters, a visitor is less likely to stick around.  So what to do if you’re a plastic surgeon without those images?

First, if a doctor is starting a new practice, he or she may not have a wealth of before and after pictures to use.  The after pictures are best taken at stages after surgery, so a great picture of a patient may not be great until the patient is fully healed.  That might not be for 6 months to a year.  That mean it takes at least a year for a plastic surgeon to build a potentially decent gallery for the website.

Then there are some plastic surgeons who want to attempt to rank in the search engines without the before and after pictures.  They prefer to share the before and after pictures within the confines of the office to hold a captive audience and to control the dissemination of those images. Many surgeons and patients oppose the use of pre and post-operative images given their potentially graphic content. From a search engine ranking perspective, if they can rank without those pages of images, then that’s what they may want to do.

We have a handful of plastic surgeons who do well without a gallery on their website.  Even without the before and after images we are still able to cover the traditional SEO bases: content optimization, Google listings, link building, etc.

In fact, we have one outstanding example who is achieving stellar rankings in his market – Donaldson Plastic Surgery – plastic surgery, Columbus, OH 4661 Sawmill Road, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43220.

Columbus, Ohio Plastic Surgeon

Columbus, Ohio Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson

This doctor is

(1) a recently trained plastic surgeon,
(2) building a young solo practice, and
(3) prioritizes patient privacy and discretion: he has NO before and
after images on his site.

How does he

  • rank on page 1 of Google results for 49 valuable search terms, and
  • triple his site visits in 1 year of SEO with Search Influence?

The answer is that he is a full participant in all of his integrated marketing efforts.  He is fully engaged and works with us on a regular basis to build his presence online.

Collaboration is the key to truly maximizing a fully connected and integrated marketing effort.

It doesn’t sound like magic, but it is – it’s just talking.

And because Dr. Donaldson is the public face of the practice, and he talks to the patients, he is the front line of feedback.  And that feedback is incredibly valuable information that we as search marketers would never be privy to without talking to the doctor on a regular basis.

Tummy Tuck Columbus, Ohio

Tummy Tuck Columbus, Ohio

One thing he has recently shared with us is that NOT having before and after pictures has helped his practice.  He has seen patients in consultation who appreciate that he does not have a gallery on his website.

We can see clearly the usage and interest in before and after plastic surgery pictures on other sites and we wonder, would adding a gallery bring in more consults?

I don’t know, but right now, no-gallery is workin’ for him so the jury’s out.

What do you think? Would you make that first appointment without seeing some proof? OR are you one of those for whom it’s worth it not have your pictures out there?