stock photos and SEO?

If you’re just starting on your plastic surgery website design project or simply shopping design agencies, some of the first things to consider are the assets that will be included in your new website design. Primary assets are website content (including stock photos, before & after photos) and anything else that the site will be based around.

To use stock or not to use stock—let’s get right to the point and provide the answer to the question right here (at the very top of the blog so you don’t have to go looking for it). And that answer is, “maybe.”

Using stock photos on your plastic surgery website depends on your particular practice, resources, timeframe, budget, and level of investment that you are able to make in your brand and your website. Whether you choose to use stock photos or not will impact your overall marketing results—which we’ll dive into in this blog post!

So, the general answer is maybe, but if you stick around and read the whole blog post, we give away a semi-custom approach to getting high-quality images without expensive in-house photoshoots!

Let’s dig in and discuss the specifics so you can determine the best way to go about your plastic surgery website design project (or any elective healthcare website design project, for that matter).

Learn more by reading on, or get in touch with us to schedule your complementary consultation with ABM today. We are industry experts in plastic surgery website design and marketing. See what we’ve done for others by checking out our website portfolio.

Pros & Cons of Using Stock Photos on Your Practice Website

Since our official advice is maybe, let’s discuss the benefits and the drawbacks of using stock photos on your practice website so you can figure out which side of the fence to fall on. Some of the pros and cons will be obvious, but hopefully, you’ll learn a few new points that will help you decide.

Pros of Using Stock Photos For a Plastic Surgery Practice Website

  • Cost Effective:You can skip the photo session, editing, scheduling, delays, etc. and simply purchase stock photos at low prices or take advantage of royalty-free stock photo websites
  • Quantity:There are a lot of stock photo repositories out there with a wide variety of backgrounds, colors, models, etc.
  • Speed:You can get your website built without delays as all of the stock photo licenses are available for an immediate download

Popular Stock Photo Websites – Free & Paid

Here are some of the most popular stock photo websites where you can search for stock photos:

For legal reasons, please ensure you understand the license and usage rights that you purchase, as the stock website owners will pursue you for illegally using a copyrighted image without proper permissions.

Cons of Using Stock Photos For a Plastic Surgery Practice

  • Legal:It’s sometimes tricky to ensure that you are using the stock correctly and in compliance with the usage rights. Some stock photos require different license levels to use in print versus digital. Some require attribution (a reference to the image’s creator on your website), and some do not. Not only do you have to understand and purchase/use the stock correctly, but you must also track your license and ensure you have a copy of it to prove that you have the right to use the photo in case you’re challenged.
  • SEO:While it’s not something that will penalize your website or significantly reduce your search engine rankings, it’s a missed opportunity. We’ll expand on this in the next section below.
  • Reduced Conversion Rates:If you’re using the same photo that other plastic surgeons or medical spas are using to depict similar procedures, you are simply blending in. When people see the same stock photo on various medical practice websites, it loses impact on them, and the provider appears to be a “me too” type provider.

Do Stock Photos Impact Your Plastic Surgery SEO?

Google’s primary goal is to help searchers find high-quality and accurate information via keyword searches on their search engine. If you think about it with that framework in mind, it makes much more sense that repeatedly used photos do not have the same value as unique, original photos.

Google indexes images and knows which images are seen on more than one website (as in the case of stock seen on many websites). If this is the case, it considers it a form of duplicate content. Google has stated that using stock photos won’t necessarily penalize you, but creating your own images is considered unique content and may be more favorable to your website’s overall SEO.

So it’s not necessarily a bad thing for your overall SEO it’s just a missed opportunity.

How To Source Non-Stock Photos For Your Plastic Surgery Website

At the beginning of the blog post, we mentioned that if you stuck with us and read the whole thing, we’d let you in on a little secret that can help you source high-quality photos that are not the same old stock photos you see on every other plastic surgery website.

To do this, you can utilize one of the following approaches:

  • Custom stock photos
  • Boutique stock photos
  • Semi-custom stock photos

Custom Stock Photo Approach

You create beautiful images that depict the surgeries and procedures that you offer by creating your own. If you have actual patients willing to do this, that’s the ideal approach. Simply schedule the shoot and hire a photographer, and you’re good to go. You’ll want to find a photographer familiar with these types of photoshoots. Just ensure the actual patients participating represent the different procedures you offer and have them sign release and consent forms so that you own the usage rights!

Most plastic surgeons will have a tough time getting actual patients to do this, but consider hiring a photoshoot model if you’re really dedicated to custom stock. You can source a model from a modeling agency website like or other similar modeling agencies in your local area. However, be prepared for the cost, as you will have to pay for the model, the agency fee, the photographer, the editing, etc. Costs add up fast.

Not that dedicated to custom stock photos for your plastic surgery practice? Here’s how you go about it using our other approaches.

Boutique Stock Photo Approach

As stated, most practices will have a challenging time getting actual patients to participate, and if you go down the route of hiring a model, it will get pricey very fast. Boutique stock photos are another option. There are some stock photo websites out there that are not as well-known and cost a little bit more, which is why the photos are not plastered all over every other plastic surgery website. Most of our clients typically choose this route as it can give you the feel of custom stock photos without the costs or burdens of actually having to create them.

Here are a few boutique stock photo websites for you to search through:

Semi-Custom Stock: Create Custom Stock Photos WITHOUT The Hassle or Cost

Instead of a modeling agency, there are online services marketplaces available that will allow you to commission a freelance model/photographer to take the exact images you’re looking for.  These types of services don’t require them to be in your local area and can save quite a bit of budget versus the full custom stock photo route.

Here’s an example from one of the listings to give you an idea:

plastic surgery website design stock photos

You would simply communicate with the model, explain what you are trying to accomplish, work out the payment details, and let them go to work!

Stock Photos & Your Plastic Surgery Website – Final Thoughts

As you plan to build your new practice website, just understand the choices that you have as far as the imagery is concerned and how those choices will impact the total performance of the website. Your practice website should be a marketing tool designed to portray your brand honestly and correctly—a brand that you are proud of. The website should be built in a way that attracts new patients to you from the internet by using best practices for SEO. Your choices are to use standard stock photos, create your own stock via custom stock photos, find lesser-used and slightly more expensive boutique stock photos, or create semi-custom stock photos. Semi-custom stock photos can save you a lot of money while portraying your brand the right way.

Interested in learning more about stock photos or plastic surgery marketing in general? Contact Aesthetic Brand Marketing today for a complimentary consultation with our industry experts.