A Dermatologist's Guide to Digital Marketing Acronyms


Every industry has its acronyms, and digital marketing is no different. SEO, PPC, B2C… You’ll definitely come across these terms as you work on putting together a digital marketing strategy for your dermatology practice. 

What does it all mean? Why should you care? Glad you asked.


What to Know about SEO

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

Having a fantastic website for your dermatology practice is an absolute must. Unfortunately, all your efforts will be wasted if nobody can find you. Say someone in your local area is looking for a dermatologist. Chances are, they’re going to use the internet to find one. If your practice doesn’t pop up on the first page of search results, those people will never even know you exist. 

Making sure your site is visible to people online matters. Almost 90% of American adults say they actively use the internet every single day. 86% use the internet to search for local services, and 76% of people who search for businesses on their smartphone end up visiting one of them within a day. 

By optimizing everything you publish online, you can work with search engine algorithms to make sure your website doesn’t get buried under dozens of other search results. 

Here are the main elements of SEO. In other words, these are the things by which Google and other search engines will judge your site. 

Keywords: Keywords are the words and phrases people use when looking for something online. Keywords play a leading role in optimizing your content for searchability. The importance of finding the right keywords to focus on cannot be understated.


Link building: When deciding how to rank your website, search engine web crawlers will examine all the links associated with it. This is what they’ll be looking for: 

  • Internal links, which are links between the pages within your site. For example, you could include a link to your microneedling information page in a blog post about treatments for aging skin.

  • Inbound links are those coming in to your site from other websites. Note that inbound links are sometimes referred to as backlinks. You can grow the number of backlinks you have by continuing to post content that’s shareable and relatable. This will increase the chances of other sites and pages linking back to yours.

Outbound links are links that lead from your site to other websites. Make sure you always link out to credible resources. For example, embedding a link to a national dermatology accreditation society is much better than linking to someone’s personal blog. Low-quality links won’t help your cause much, and may even hurt your search rankings. Also check your outbound links from time to time, ensuring they’re all still live and valid. Google doesn’t smile upon broken or outdated links. 

Metadata: Metadata is the information given to the search engine by your web pages. Using  metadata efficiently helps Google and other search engines to more accurately and favorably index your content. Talk to your web designer or digital marketing team about your site’s metadata. 

Quality of content: For any of the other things listed here to actually work in your favor, you have to start with a solid foundation of quality content. It’s not just that well-written posts reflect your expertise as a dermatology professional. Expertly crafted content will fare better in terms search rankings, too. 

Your posts must be being structurally sound, factually accurate, and nicely organized. But, there’s more. Aside from all that, here’s what “quality content” means to Google and other search engines. 

Original content only. No duplicate (or very similar) content allowed. Plagiarism is always bad. If Google spots a post or page that looks like it was lifted from somewhere else, your site and everything on it will be tossed to the bottom of the heap.


Use quality images. All the images on your site should be very high quality, and contain appropriate metadata. Try to use original photos, rather than stock photos that can be found elsewhere on the internet. 

Come up with catchy titles. When a piece of content has been clicked on and shared a lot, it will be treated more favorably by the major search engines. Getting clicks and shares starts with an interesting title. Just make sure you’re staying on the right side of the clickbait line; never use misleading headlines just to lure visitors to your site. 

Play well with mobile users.  Google recently updated its algorithms to further reward content that is optimized for mobile viewing. Every page of your website should be easy to read and use from mobile devices. 

Make sure you have a sitemap. This is a file that serves as a blueprint of your website. It helps search engines to more easily and accurately rank your site in search results. Make sure you or your digital marketing team have created a sitemap, and shared it with Google. 

The benefits of search engine optimization are twofold. What works best for getting higher search rankings is also better for growing an audience and establishing more credibility with them. 

Obviously SEO is not just important, it’s necessary in terms of effective digital marketing. Unfortunately, it’s probably not enough.

SEM: Putting Your Money Where Your Market Is

SEM = Search Engine Marketing

All the SEO in the world may not be enough to help you rise to the top of the search rankings, and that’s where SEM comes in. When you hear someone talking about “paid search,” they’re talking about search engine marketing. 

When marketers refer to SEO, they’ll usually talk about achieving “organic reach.” As in, taking steps to improve search rankings without actually paying for ad space.

With SEM, you’re investing a little cash to get that prime internet real estate. 

A lot of SEM plans are based around keywords. What happens is this: you pay a search engine – say, Google –  to place your ads at the top of the search results for a particular set of keywords. 

Your ads may also appear on websites that are participating in affiliate programs with search engines. The search engine algorithms will determine which content your target audience is looking at, and embed your ads accordingly. Dermatology ads might be featured in places like popular beauty blogs or health magazine websites. 


Where PPC Fits In to the Picture

PPC = Pay Per Click

Under the umbrella of SEM, you’ll find PPC, or pay-per-click. Here’s how that works.

You know that paid ad space we just talked about? PPC is when you pay a fee each time someone clicks on the ad. Ideally, the business you end up getting as a result far exceeds the PPC fees you paid.

Pay-per-click ads are a great tool to help you focus your marketing efforts in the directions most likely to pay off for you. According to recent research, PPC ads are one of the most effective ways to get conversions. Paid search programs enable you to tap into the enormous and ever-growing database of search statistics to help you direct your ads more deliberately. You can narrow down your audience based on a number of factors such as age, gender, and income level. You can also base your ad placement on where they’re searching from, so you can broadcast specifically to your local area. 

And, of course, you can bid to have your ad placed on results pages for a certain keyword. 

It’s usually a good idea to integrate a few PPC campaigns into your overall digital marketing strategy; pay-per-click ads can be particularly effective on social media platforms like Facebook. 

Telling Your B2B From Your B2C

B2B = Business to Business

B2C = Business to Consumer

When anybody in marketing says B2B, they’re talking about a transaction between two businesses. Appealing to other businesses isn’t usually the purpose behind a dermatology digital marketing strategy. 

B2C advertising is what most dermatology digital marketing strategies should be aiming toward. Spend your time and money reaching out directly to the consumers who would benefit most from your services. 


A Few More Acronyms for the Road

Before you go, here are a some additional shorthand terms you might come across in the world of digital marketing. 

ROI: This somewhat universal term means, of course, return on investment. In any line of business, you have to keep track of whether you’re getting out more than you put in. A digital marketing expert can help you stay on top of your advertising ROI. If you can recognize what isn’t working, you can redirect your resources into another strategy before wasting any more time or money on something that isn’t bearing fruit.  

SERP: A common digital marketing term, this one stands for search engine results page, which is pretty self explanatory. All the SEO and SEM you do is in hopes of getting a great spot on the SERPs. 

CPC: CPC – or cost per click – is simply the exact price you pay for each click a PPC ad receives. 

CPM – Another way you can pay for ad space is through a CPM campaign. CPM is short for cost per 1,000 impressions. With CPM, you agree to pay a certain price for every 1,000 times your ad is viewed. 

CTR This acronym stands for click through rate, which is the number of people who actually click on your ad versus those who view it but do not click. 

There are lots more acronyms populating the landscape of digital marketing, but you don’t have to memorize them all to have a successful dermatology marketing strategy. To get the best ROI from your SEM, find a marketing firm you can trust to help guide you.