Googleplasty: How to Reshape Your Search Results (Part 1)

April 14th, 2015 by Mary Silva

As businesses grow more in touch with their online presence, it becomes more and more challenging to stand out in the search results of highly competitive markets and areas—and nowhere is this perhaps more true than in the cosmetic medicine industry.

Search Influence - Plastic Surgeon Local Google Search Results

First things first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the two major kinds of results that we see in desktop results for plastic surgeons. “Localized organic” search results and “maps pack” results typically appear together in what is referred to as “combined” search results. The factors that determine what appears in these two areas are not the same, as you can tell by the the difference in results and by the appearance of a site more than once between the two. Maps packs can come in a variety of forms and don’t show up for all search queries, which is also important to note.

In the screenshot below on the left for the search “plastic surgeon columbus oh,” you’ll see 10 localized organic results below a 7-count maps pack. In the screenshot on the right for “plastic surgeon albany ny,” you’ll see 10 localized organic results, but the 3-count maps pack appears below the first organic result.

Search Influence - Google Maps Pack Plastic Surgeon

Stand Out in the Maps Pack

In the maps pack itself, the most striking features are the review stars and rating display. The data in the maps pack area is pulled directly from Google Plus local listings in Google Maps. So, to make your practice stand out in the maps pack, you should claim and verify your Google Plus listing via Google My Business.

Once you’ve claimed and verified your listing, you’ll want to get reviews from your patients. It’s important to understand that one or two reviews a month over a few months is better than 15 reviews in one week. As with most online marketing strategies, natural behavior is the best behavior.

Stand Out in Localized Organic

The most obvious way to stand out in the localized organic results is to be ranking as high as possible and to AT LEAST be in the top 10 so that you’re on the first page. As the age-old SEO joke goes, “The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google search results.” Hardly anyone looks past the first page, and—according to eye-tracking data—not many look past the top half of the search results page.

Search Influence - dead body Google Search Results meme

The Google PageRank algorithm that determines these rankings takes into account somewhere around 200 factors, so it’s not as simple as pinpointing one or two efforts to be made.

Now that we’ve got a better understanding of what we’re looking at in search results, we can start to understand the major factors that affect ranking in each of these sections. Stay tuned for my next blog, where we’ll talk about the top five ranking factors in the maps pack, in the localized organic results, and in competitive markets!