MSD Insider 0:00
Welcome to MedShark Insider with Bill Fukui, your expert host on all things medical marketing and SEO.
Bill Fukui 0:08
Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of MedShark Insider. And today I want to talk local. And what I mean local, it’s Google Local, and really showing up more locally in the search engine results. And today, I’ve got as our guest, the founder of MedShark and BluShark Digital, as well as the managing partner for Price Benowitz, Seth Price. Welcome, Seth.
Seth Price 0:36
Hey Bill, it is great to be here, I was reflecting on how we met years and years ago in a pretty, in a previous life of yours. And, you know, I pinch myself, I know that at the time, I had a law firm who was developing a best in class, legal SEO group. And I know that when you reached out the idea that we could do the same thing with medical, just so incredibly proud of the hard work of you and your team in building up MedShark into what it is today.
Bill Fukui 1:09
Oh, well, thank you. So, you know, the, speaking of our long term relationship, we go back, what, about 10 years?
Seth Price 1:16
I think it’s more than that it’s closer to 15 at this point.
Bill Fukui 1:20
And I will say part of the allure of working with you and with BluShark and bringing, you know bringing MedShark in existence was you guys did some things that I’d like to talk to you today about, that that was cutting edge and it still is cutting edge that we didn’t even do it. I thought we were you know best in class, you guys are doing some things that even we weren’t even familiar with. So I’d like to touch on some of that, as it relates to local.
Seth Price 1:52
No, absolutely. Look, I think for people listening, some are gonna be very sophisticated. Some are some are sort of, you know, what, what is this? But if you look at a search result, right, and this is where money is still being made, hearing great things about AI, it’s coming. It’s being used as part of search that, new Chat GBT, awesome, everybody should be playing with it, we are certainly. But the search result that still drives business is a combination of paid search, local search, and organic. And while organic, is what gets incredible ROI over time, content and links. The local is where a lot, a lot of businesses is done, people know the ads are paid at the top. But the lo- the local search, the three pack, where there’s three, and sometimes a paid sponsor at the top, that these local search results where reviews are included, excetera, are so incredibly powerful, particularly in the plastics and elective medical space, that that is the passion that is built BluShark for lawyers. And frankly, you know, while people will travel for their doctors, you know, the majority of people want something that’s relatively convenient. And that the advantage of this is that it allows people to put what I call pins on the map, and gain eyeballs and traffic, which are certain to turn into cases if presented with solid reviews to the public.
Bill Fukui 3:24
Yeah, and I agree 100%, at least in statistics I’ve seen is that those map listings, can garner as much as you know, 50 to 60% of all the clicks that even happen on a given search result, happen in that little you know, little box with three listings.
Seth Price 3:45
It makes sense, right? When you want to result, you know, the guy paying may or may not be right, but they paid their way to the top. I mean, again, some people don’t care some people just click on it. But for people who have the means to spend the money, generally they’re savvy enough to be able to help them find it, again, paid search is awesome. Don’t want to say anything bad. And if it works for you great, you test it, doesn’t work, you turn it off. If it does work, you spend more. But the ability to get that organic result with reviews and information about, a lot of people wanna know, where are you located? What are your hours, you know, you know, can I get to a website and even Google through their Google through your Google business profile. It used to be Google My Business. You can put photos and videos, testimonials and before and afters that really can move the needle for people. So the idea is, how do we feed the Google beast to give them all the information they could possibly want in order to give you the best shot at that conversion when somebody is searching and again, that middle section so incredibly valuable because it is where you get the most information of what’s relevant to you. You’re not going to click on it and find out oh, that’s the other end of the state. This is somebody who is there, and ready to do business with you, because they’ve shown that they have a location nearby.
Bill Fukui 5:06
You know, the other thing too, Seth, and you know, maybe you can provide some clarification, a lot of practices and even SEO companies and agencies, they talk with their, to their surgeons and practice administrators. And they talked about SEO, oh, we got to do this, we got to do this for SEO, they don’t really differentiate between what they’re doing for traditional SEO, and what they’re doing for this local SEO. Common.
Seth Price 5:33
So, the good news is the fundamentals are the same, right? SEO, search engine optimization is a well organized website website that’s coded properly. So the Google bot can come through just like the human can come through and find where you are the type of procedure you’re looking for, and maybe a sub specialty of that. Great, we have that on the website. But what differentiates, it’s pretty, not easy, but it is fundamental, a good looking website with information. The question is, who has more and better information, that’s where content comes into play. I know that the medical community in plastics in particular, are so aesthetic driven and visual driven, that very often you forget about the fact that content, written content plays a part not that video content is not important. And stills are obviously great for conversion, we have to convince Google you are that authority. And the authority comes down to two things, content, and backlink s- links coming from other places. You know, if you have a link from from CNN, or The Wall Street Journal that’s showing Google hey, you have been sourced by some of the most important storied organizations in the in the world. And they’re linking to you, you may, not everybody can get those. But, local Chamber of Commerce, all the different places, Better Business Bureau, things, some are pay to play, some are not. Getting all these people as trust factors, that is SEO, in its essence, very powerful, very important. When the three pack doesn’t show, these things are there. And really important, if there’s stuff that you want to be found for that is unique, or very specific, the more information we give, the more likely your site will show up for a search. And that when it’s competitive, or local, as we’re talking about here. Now, the next level when Google says, Okay, here’s your organic, here’s your website, what’s in place in the three pack, you’re looking at a number of factors, ranging from proximity to how you brand, your practice. And that is why having a practice that says what you do in Google, local, very important, many people have renamed practices, officially with the state or done a DBA, to make sure that they get the most possible love. With reviews, we know 10 is a magic number, if you’re under 10 reviews, it’s a problem. That’s the first thing. But more importantly, we need to make sure that everybody is competitive with their review count, that that’s, you know, making sure that the Google Business Profile is built out with photos, videos, all the information you want, your hours, all the things, that this is free, it’s almost like a Google website, and that making sure that that is not ignored, very, very important, not just to the conversion factor, but to make sure that Google sees you’re giving it love, and it gets you into that all important 3 pack.
Bill Fukui 8:34
You know, one of the things that I have heard for many years and a lot of practices hear this from, you know, SEO sales guys all the time, is they’ll run a report or say that their business citation listing is really important for their, you know, to validate the accuracy of their Google business profile, which drives a lot of those local 3 Pack listings. Where does citation listings fall in the other SEO related, you know, local optimization things that we you know, a practice could be doing?
Seth Price 9:08
Well look, it was it was a historic, very important piece. And if you did not have clean citations, let’s say you moved or changed phone numbers, that was really important. That’s become less and less of the, you know, you see salespeople very often following behind the curve. It used to be important. And it sounds like because you don’t have clean citations, look, a best practice is to keep all that stuff up, right? We want to see your citations clean, we want the links from all the different possible citations out there. All of that is important, but as far as clean citations, no longer the same prominence that it used to have much easier for a sales guy to wow you with it, then the really hard work of getting those links. I would say that it is possible that if they’re really messy, that’s not a good sign. There’s probably more wrong, but that itself, Google knows who you are and where you are. And the fact that one citation isn’t right is not going to make or break you. There are other things that have changed over the years, where you now have the option of putting multiple phone numbers. So let’s say you’re on TV or radio and you want to use a tracking number for that, you can actually put that into your Google business profile. So that Google says all of these phone numbers are yours, they’re all going to you. And that way you can track not unlimited, but a limited number of different sources. Before that multiple tracking would throw it off and be an unclean citation that would hurt you. Not really anymore, Google is smart enough, and they, that has been minimized as an issue. Other things like proximity, we saw the proximity update, a couple, a couple years back, where it used to be that if you were a dominant player, you could own a city from one location, that isn’t true anymore. So in the legal space, we see a real prevalence of, of satellite offices, I know that you can’t just open surgery centers willy nilly. But it may be a patient meeting center for a consultation, on the east side of town, if your office is on the west side of town, because of you are a pin on the map. If your office is on the west side of town, it’s going to be hard to compete in the north, south, or east potentially, depending on how much competition you have. And so the thought as to, are there ways you can creatively and legally within Google have an office that may not be a full blown Practice Center, but a place that you can sit down and talk to a client that alone just like buying a billboard brings in business from, from brand, having that there will get eyeballs from Google search that if you don’t have one, likely is going to harm your ability to get in the local search there. So I wouldn’t say it’s controversial, but it’s certainly one that we encourage people to be as creative within the ethical bounds in the Google bounce, it’s possible to put office locations to service people in competitive markets where just having an extended service area may not cut it.
Bill Fukui 11:58
Right. So for the for the practice that just has one location or isn’t, you know, say they’re in a major metropolitan city? And they don’t I mean, having all these different locations and surrounding suburbs it, is there a way of, for practice, say in the neighboring suburb, if somebody does a search for, say, a plastic surgeon in that neighboring suburb that you might be able to show up there, [yes,] , kind of expand.
Seth Price 12:30
The good news Bill, is, in a limited competitive area, using practice areas can gain you additional space, think of the garage door person, the garage door repair. The garage doors’ broken on your house, and you need to fix, do you really care where they’re located? You don’t really care if they’re three states away as long as they show up to your door. So that’s where it’s like, where do you serve. However, if somebody else, let’s say the guy is three states away, I don’t really care, if there’s a guy in your in your zip code, who’s a garage door repair person, even though somebody else from two states away may be amazing services, your area, Google Local is going to give the preference to the local person. So the service areas are great, unless it’s hyper competitive, and you have local players. So if you’re on the east side of town, and you know what, there are only there aren’t that many people on the west side of town, you may be able to use service areas to cover that area. Bu if three guys graduate med school and they open up shops there, and they have a Google My Business who was profiled there, then it’s going to be much harder to compete with them. And so we’re always evaluating for our clients, what the competition is, where they’re located, what the population is where you want to be, because it may be that the side of town is where all the money is. And you’ll park on the west side, that may be fine. It may be that you’re good enough with one location and service areas. But it really depends on the situation. So if you’re in a situation, in an area that’s hyper competitive, I’ve seen people that will do reciprocal deals with somebody, maybe have a if you’re able to have consults within a doctor’s office that might have a dermatology office, for example, where you’re able to seek patients, there on a weekly or monthly basis, and how, or by appointment. Those things can help you get, by getting a lease at a location like that. You’re able to now demonstrate to Google, you cover that area. It’s awesome. But one major caveat and you know, this Bill, it’s hard enough getting reviews at one location. Now you need reviews at multiple locations. And it is the currency that feeds the feeds Google, it feeds the people searching. It’s a necessary evil. And that’s one of those things so the great news is we know what to do, but we have to partner with plastic surgery, other elected medical offices in order to make sure that we don’t, if we open an office, and there are no reviews, it’s not going to be a heck of a lot of good
Bill Fukui 13:21
Right. Now, and, And you know that you bring up a good point, in terms of, you know, obviously reviews and signals. You know, Google knows everybody that posts a review about your, your practice or firm, right? And those are great local signals. Google knows these people and they’re engaged with your business. That’s all good. But I do hear from practices, man, I’ve got so many more reviews than then this guy’s yet he’s showing up and we’re not you know.
Seth Price 13:47
Well if that’s the case, then something’s wrong, and you gotta call Bill, because [Haha!] that’s a great example. If you have more reviews, and you’re not showing up. That means your SEO is asleep at the wheel. It’s very rare. I’ve seen it in a bunch of instances, I had a friend who, you know, people, maybe somebody did something wrong, some Blackhat stuff that got you dinged? No, but the good news is, if you have the reviews, it makes our jobs so much easier, or more, much more risk. If anything, when I see stuff not work, I hate to talk about a negative. It is because the firm doesn’t look at marketing as a holistic process where, for instance, that MedShark is a partner, it’s your, part of your team. If you look at it, like here’s your check, go dance for me, Bill is, while he’s very, very good at karaoke, if you have not seen him, I highly recommend a night with Bill at karaoke. I mean, I was at a conference and people were talking for like two days about Bill’s karaoke. That said, if you look at it, like, hey, sing for me, Bill, that will go so far, it really is a collaborative process. And I say that, in that the people that take that seriously, and are really working with us and saying, hey, yes, this, we need to get this one to 30 reviews to be meaningful, they will be on it. And working creatively, we have content, making sure it gets approved, getting great photos, everybody who’s listening to this knows the importance of photos, people like, I’m right now doing a backyard project, right getting an outdoor bar and things like that. And I’m sitting there and you know, it is not until they put the finishing trimmings on it. They’re like, oh, that’s what it’s supposed to look like. I know that like if you’ve ever rented a property, that paint and carpet, before paint and carpet, nobody you bring through to see a place wants to rent at the moment, paint carpet or down that place will get rented. So making sure that we have paint and carpet and we can show people not the idea that they want something done. But oh, that looks really good. I want that.
Bill Fukui 17:31
Great points. And I think the Google Business Profile, you know, is the one area much like plastic surgeons and plastic surgery, cosmetic practices, they get social media, you know, they’re very highly engaged with social media, yet, they don’t do much with their Google Business Profile, or work with their agency on it, the Google Business Profile, you know, I always thought to practices, this is equivalent to your most important social media platform. In fact, there’s nothing you can’t do on Google, your Google Business Profile that you can do on any other social media platform. In fact, you can probably do more on Google business profile than you can on any other platform. So, it’s just like you said, getting practices to participate. It’s not a set it and forget it thing. It’s what can we do to continually work and massage the content, keywords, locations, signals that help boost the credibility and the vicinity of where people are searching for different services, that we can maybe expand our footprint.
Seth Price 18:41
Right. And that’s really it. It’s like, for those of you who are sports fans, the book and the movie Moneyball, I look at it very much like that, you know, we looked at, you know, you know, who, there are locations I’d love to have. But the you know, the free agency costs, the cost of getting that done are so high, if I can find those diamonds in the rough that are like .285 hitters with really good on base percentages, and not like look, you know, if I can find the guy who’s going to who has these just great pitching stats that you know, are, go unoticed that my cyber metrics can pull out, that’s what we’re looking for, we’re looking to be able to get the most value, it’s, to me, it’s about at the end of the day, getting the phone to ring, and revenue. If you can show revenue from marketing we’re doing you’re gonna love us, you’ll stay with us forever. That’s our goal. So it really is focusing on ROI and where is what can we do to spend the least possible money and get the most possible result. And it comes down to not just stroking a check, but rather working collaboratively, which some people love it. And that’s awesome. And some people want to bury their head in the sand, and as we know, do that with anything. If you have like an office staff and you’re like, you know what, I’m just going to let you know, I’m going to ignore the office staff. Hope they’re okay. You know, but you know, but those people generally end up with issues, those that keep their eyes open. Even if you have a great office manager, being that sort of glad hander that sort of makes sure everybody feels appreciated and loved those people get results. And those that don’t end up with situations, you’re like, oh, wow, I can’t believe this person right under my nose was doing stuff I didn’t want. And so I just really, really encourage, it sucks. I wish that it was like, I could just have this as a simple pay us, and you’re done, but those that get the best results are the ones that work with us, in tandem with our team. And if it’s your own people, I mean. To a certain extent, you know what people pay us. Imagine if you tried to hire your own person to do it. The first thing is like 17 different skill sets that are needed, from concept to, links, technical, the paid, they’re all these different pieces that are all together. The second is managing that and understanding what’s there. Do you find somebody that actually knows what they’re doing? Will they stay, ecetera? So to me, if you look at us as the, an arm of what you’re doing, rather than just on an island, somewhere out there, that’s when I see it and you see it, too. That’s where the real magic happens.
Bill Fukui 21:07
Yeah, you know, when you’re talking about ROI Seth, I’m gonna kind of maybe refocus. It’s still a Google Local, you know, topic. But these local service ads, I was at the aesthetic meeting, gee, a couple of months ago, and I spoke on local service ads, that Google just expanded its categories to include some medical because it didn’t do it before, including medical and dental categories, now, for the first time, at the beginning of this year, and most practices and even my competitors in digital advertising, I had no idea what I was talking about.
Seth Price 21:51
No exactly, so look. The local service ads started as Google guaranteed. They were in the home improvement section. So like, by analogy, all these doctors out there you go to med, school, and residency and fellowships, and yet, you know, at the end would be lumped in with the locksmiths, the locksmiths and the home improvement guys were so dubious that they had to give a guarantee. Well, Google’s like, wow, we are now in the pay per lead program. So instead of selling clicks, we can sell actual viable cases, or clients. And a couple of years ago, this opened an legal, huge explosion, the plaintiffs practice, it was a game changer, the rest of legal was hit or miss. So, I, jury’s still out. But my feeling is when Google gives you an opportunity to test it and you test you test. And you generally start with really low prices, the difference, paid search generally with Google, you’re buying clicks, right? Buyer beware. Do those clicks, turn into a call? Maybe. Do those calls turn into clients? Maybe. This is a situation where instead of having all that risk, you pay one fee for a viable call, if the call is not relevant, this isn’t necessarily someone that becomes a client. But if the person is calling, and they really need their car repaired, or they’re looking for, you know, a spine surgeon and you’re in, you’re doing plastic, then they’re gonna be like, that doesn’t count, you don’t pay for it. So it’s a really cost effective way that said, you test it because you know what, even though it may be a good deal, if you get 50 phone calls, and none of them are signing up. That’s a problem. That’s why it’s so so important to track. But this is a game changer, I can’t promise you it’s going to take over plastic the way it has legal. But the fact that it’s there, we need to make sure all of our clients and all of you out there listening, or at least trying this, but there are some obstacles, they have come down a lot, you can verify who you are, you need to register. And once you’re verified you’re in. But it takes your Google reviews, it shows them to the public. There are a lot of cool bells and whistles, I’m sure that Bill would love to speak to you, feel free to reach out, because this is more, you know, take longer to go over here. But I would like to make sure that everybody listening to this tests and figures out is this right for them. Is it viable, because when it is, incredibly, incredibly powerful,
Bill Fukui 24:05
I will say the, the categories that Google kind of announced that it is now allowing local service ads for it has expanded into like dermatology, ophthalmology, dentists, and even weight loss services. So a lot of my plastic surgeons or cosmetic practices are also doing weight management, weight therapy, you know, even medical weight loss. A lot of those kinds of things can fall into that, it hasn’t fallen into plastic surgery per se yet, but I think we talked about this at one time. You know, why is Google now doing this for medical when it didn’t do it before?
Seth Price 24:46
Well, they’ve been rolling it out place by place. It, look, Google makes a lot a lot of money from this paid search. And in one sense this could be seen as bastardizing that, those clicks. Because people see this this is, but the question is, if they are, even though it might be slightly less lucrative in one respect, and they paid clicks, I think the paid clicks were dying, because people saw the photos and local and they were trying to basically bring the excitement of the local to paid. And I it’s funny, I just saw something online, I was looking at a search result for something relevant in legal. And it was four answers, not three, the three pack plus one at the top and it said paid sponsor. And that didn’t say whether it was for the first one or all being like, being an SEO geek. I just like Google says don’t be misleading. It really pissed me off, because these are the things where are all four of those sponsored, really, I mean, who says don’t be misleading to us, and we have to protect our clients and not be misleading. But this is about as awful as it gets. This would be something that if the Attorney General of a state looked at. This is ugly.
Bill Fukui 25:55
Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. Makes sense. Yeah, I agree. Anybody that’s looking into really kind of capturing people that are late stage buying. That’s what Google is all about is reaching people that are doing specific searches. And I do think that local service ads, even if you’re, you know, you got to try it. And even doing the credentialing process. It’s not a bad thing for Google to know more about you. Right? And it doesn’t hurt.
Seth Price 26:24
Oh, it’s everything, Bill. We live and breathe and die with Google. So we want to make sure our job, and your job at MedShark is to make sure that our clients are known well by Google, not look, you don’t want to confuse Google. You don’t want differences. You talked about like cleaning up citations. Not a major factor, but nothing, like why would you do anything that confuses Google, you want them to have a clear understanding of who you are, and what you do. You do plastic surgery of Cincinnati, if somebody needs plastic surgeopns, this is the right person, shows up highest. I mean, again, it’s done by algorithm and AI. But all of that said, we need to make sure we provide all the information so that can be clearly seen.
Bill Fukui 27:05
Yeah, that’s all good. Hey, Seth, thanks for all the great insights. I continue to learn more from you though, the longer I’m here so,
Seth Price 27:14
I love it. There’s there it is awesome, awesome things and you know, thank you for all your great leadership at MedShark I know that you made a profound effect on our clients there and really excited you know, can’t wait to come back on the MedShark Insider and talk about what what comes next.
Bill Fukui 27:32
Super. Well, until next time Seth, thank you again.
Seth Price 27:35
Thanks so much, Bill.
Bill Fukui 27:36
MSD Insider 27:37
Thanks for joining us for The MedShark Insider, with Bill Fukui! Join us next week for another dive into all things medical marketing. All episodes can be streamed at https://medsharkdigital.com/medshark-insider/