While minimally invasive spine surgery gets a lot of buzz, more and more people are searching for information about artificial discs, disc replacement and alternatives to fusion. “People are asking for artificial discs because more motion now, and later on, is a good thing, and preventing adjacent level disease is something the general public is accepting as common sense. Most patients come in and say they don’t want a fusion,” says Bobby Bhatti, MD, of Rockdale Orthopedics.
Regardless of whether a patient is a candidate for an artificial disc, marketing artificial discs and disc replacement is a key component to getting them through the door in order to make a surgical decision. Here are some ways to get found by this ever-increasing patient population:

1. Audit your online presence. Far too many doctors and practices believe that a pretty website is marketing, or that the work is done once a website is completed. Websites have to be built from the ground up to be found by search engines and viewable on computers, tablets and mobile devices. You need to have artificial disc keyword terms on as many pages as you have content about artificial discs.

If you don’t know the ins and outs of search engines or whether your site works on all devices, you need to consult a medical marketing expert to audit and assess your site. VoxMD offers a free audit to any doctor reading this article. We create a video review of you and your site and tell you how well (or not) your online presence appears to prospective patients. There is no cost or obligation, but please mention this article in your email to us. You may use this video review to have your marketing team make the corrections we find, or ask us on how to get your online presence into shape. Send an email to [email protected] with your name, practice name, city and state and get your online presence in shape.

2. Optimize for all disc keywords.
Patients look for artificial discs in many ways and with many spellings. To get yourself and your practice found for these keywords, you need to ensure you’ve followed the basic search engine optimizations. Read tKeyworld Optimization for Artificial Discshe tips below and watch our video for a quick tutorial.

  • Title: Make sure the first few words you have in the title of a page are specific to a search term. For example, an article about disc replacement should be titled “Disc Replacement Artificial Disk, City, State, Dr. Your Name MD.” The order from left to right is critical. We lead with the topic and provide secondary keywords (Artificial Disk) and alternate spelling. Follow this with city and state to help localize search, and finally, add your name to cover all types of searches.
  • Meta: You should have meta description tags with the keywords within them. This isn’t something you see on a page, it’s hidden in the code specifically for search engines. Ask your marketing team to verify you have meta descriptions, as Google and Bing place a lot of value on them. The descriptions should mention “artificial disc” and all the keyword variations you’ve used in the article.
  • Content: Use the keywords in your content, but do not overuse. Google will penalize you if you “stuff” keywords. If you’re writing (or having someone else write) content that is truly teaching about the subject matter, you’ll be fine. Do not treat this as ad copy, or the search engines will catch up with you. Ensure your web and marketing team know how to tag content correctly for even better search ranking.

3. Use the brands. Medical device companies spend a lot of money on marketing their products and trying to capture user share. You can also capture user “eyeballs” by mentioning medical device company artificial disc brands.

  • Which ones to Use: Use all of them. Create an “Artificial Disc Overview” and mention every disc made by every manufacturer. Make sure these brands are in the title and meta description, and you now have traction with all possible brand searches. You don’t have to specify which your preferred disc is since this is patient education.
  • Focus on an area: When you describe a disc, refer to it by Brand Name, Brand Name Artificial Disc, and Brand Name Location Artificial Disc in the title, meta description and content. The table below shows monthly searches and how some of the leading competitors (and no longer marketed discs) stack up in these buckets:
Keyword Global United States
bryan disc 6600 2900
bryan cervical disc 320 210
bryan artificial disc 73 46
bryan artificial cervical disc 58 36
prestige disc 2900 880
prestige cervical disc 590 390
prestige artificial cervical disc 110 73
prestige artificial disc 140 110
m6 disc 1300 390
m6 artificial disc 210 140
m6 cervical disc 170 91
m6 artificial cervical disc 46 28
charite 368000 12100
charite disc 800 590
charite artificial disc 390 260
charite lumbar disc 110 73
charite artificial lumbar disc 0 0
prodisc 49500 12100
prodisc artificial disc 210 140
prodisc lumbar disc 0 0
prodisc artificial lumbar disc 0 0

You’ll notice that Charite, although no longer with us, still dominates search. However, it’s not just the artificial disc. You can’t rely on the brand name alone. Bryan and Prestige will never get results for artificial discs because they mean too many other things. ProDisc, on the other hand, racks up big search numbers because it’s the only one with disc in its name. From a body location perspective, we see that ProDisc drops off the map by location (lumbar) versus Prestige Cervical Disc, the market leader in location terms.

Be sure to use a variety of these keywords when creating content about any disc, but make sure to keep it in context.

4. Spend $100 on keywords. Your end goal is to have all your pages come up “organically” on the listing of pages. But this takes time, so take a shortcut and set up a Google AdWords account until they do. Create a budget of $5 a workday (about $100 a month), and buy some localized keywords, such as “Disc Replacement San Antonio” or wherever you live. These are cheap, and the worst that can happen is you will get more traffic to your site. Make sure you bid your ads locally to keep costs down. Adwords work, although not as well as organic links, so don’t hesitate to get found.

5. Make a video NOW. Videos get huge pull on Google search results. Plus, you get extra bang for your buck by putting it on YouTube: more traffic, free video hosting. Keyword optimization rules apply to YouTube as well. This isn’t Hollywood, so don’t fret the production values, just deliver good advice. An iPhone video works fine, and the new iPhone 5 is 1080p HD video so quality is now even less of an issue. Just point a camera at yourself and a bone model with an artificial disc, and give a two minute or less talk about Artificial Discs and Disc Replacement. Or ask your friendly spine representative to bring a model and hold the camera for you. Upload to your YouTube account, post it on a new page (keyword optimized) on your website, and tell your followers on Facebook and Twitter about the new video. Make sure to submit it on your site map. Google loves to feature content relevant videos, especially when it’s on YouTube.

6. Send out a press release.
Press releases are getting more and more affordable with the many online services. Make sure it’s a service that releases on PR Newswire, one of the large PR news outlets, to ensure wide distribution. Create links within the press release that point at (a) your homepage, (b) your profile page and (c) the artificial disc pages. These press release distribution points give your pages automatic linking and can help your site and pages rise in the rankings.

7. Alert the media. Artificial discs are a hot topic, so check with your chamber of commerce for a list of all local media contacts. They’ll gladly provide you this. Send a brief email to all of them with links to your content and video and offer your services as a subject matter expert on artificial discs and new technology.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for reaching patients. For a free online presence audit of yourself and your practice, send an email to [email protected] with your name, city, state, and practice name. We’ll send you a link to a video assessment at no cost to you, with no obligations.