Is Your Marketing Agency Also Working For Your Competitors?

Ignoring Conflicts Of Interest

confused dentistIf you take a look through the small print on most dental marketing agencies websites, you will likely find a section which says that the company concerned will not actively promote more than one client in one particular area.

This essentially promises that they will not undertake SEO and pay-per-click marketing for more than one dentist in any one location. If you think about it, this makes absolute sense, as how would a conflict of interest be avoided otherwise?

Let’s consider the situation at the top of the Google search results where over 60% of traffic and hence new patient enquiries goes to the top three positions. What happens when one of your clients is already up at the top but then you take on a new dentist in the same location and start to promote them using search engine optimisation (SEO)? What does the marketer target for the new client? Second position? Third maybe? Actually neither should be the case as it’s not really ethical to set two clients against eachother in such a way.

The problem is that a couple of well known UK dental marketing companies appear to be ignoring their exclusivity claims and are actively promoting more than one client in an area. Indeed it’s easy to see this in the Google search results if you spend a few minutes browsing typical dentistry searches by location. I’m pretty sure this is also becoming more and more evident to the dentists who are subject to these conflicts.

What to do before signing up for marketing services

As this type of practice is now common unfortunately, it makes sense to cover yourself before you sign up to any type of marketing service for dentists. Get it documented so that the company knows you’re serious.

In addition, it really pays to do some quick checks for the type of search results you are targeting in Google. Then check the websites which show up to see who built them. Usually you will see a small link at the base of the home page which points back to the marketing company.

The exception

There is one exception where dentist’s websites can feature prominently at or near the top of Google without active SEO or where the dentist themselves has someone in-house handling it for them. Indeed we have several cases like this at Dental Media where websites we’ve built are at the top of Google simply because they are well-optimised and the client has done some of their own promotional work and also sought out lots of reviews to help the process.

In a case like this, we would consider taking on a new client in the same area but only after we’ve discussed with our initial client first. So here is one example where you may see two dental websites at the top of Google, both built by us.

Unfortunately this is not the case for a couple of large marketing companies who are clearly accepting more than one client in a single area, irrespective of their claims to the contrary.

Summary

Despite their promises, there are a couple of UK marketing companies who are promoting more than one dentist in the same location, creating a potential conflict of interest and ultimately diluting new patient enquiries for both parties. This is fairly easy to evidence if you look closely, but if you are unsure and need some help, please ask our SEO team to check on your behalf. Also make sure to cover yourself in writing before any works begins.

Do you have a question about this or any aspect of SEO for your own practice website? Please call the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548 for a no-obligation chat and advice.