Worried about starting SEO for your practice website?

7 questions and answers to help address your concerns

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is not a new concept and most dental business owners who understand the power of the web for delivering new patient enquiries will understand its importance.

Indeed, without SEO, a website is very likely not going to rank well in the organic (free) Google search results and without that, web visits and consequently new enquiries, simply won’t happen. Of course you could set a big budget to use the AdWords pay-per-click system as an alternative, but longer term, a prominent organic ranking position is undeniably very valuable and more sustainable.

The bottom line is that SEO is usually necessary to establish and maintain great search engine results, and a key initiative for any business looking to harness the web to help grow their dental business.

With the reasons (and rewards) for doing SEO really very clear, why don’t more dentists pursue it for their own websites? The reasons for this are varied and very often misplaced, resulting in huge benefits being missed, simply through the lack of a clear understanding of the subject. With that in mind, here are seven concerns which we often hear expressed by dentists who are considering SEO, together with answers which will hopefully allay their fears.

It’s a scam

To be frank, there is a huge amount of nonsense talked in the world of SEO, some of it just wild speculation, some of it deliberately designed to confuse the unsuspecting and to leach their cash. Indeed, many dental business owners will have been at the wrong end of this type of activity, paying out for months and realising few returns. Unfortunately there are numerous examples involving well-known names in the UK dental marketing community; for example, claiming that comprehensive optimisation is delivered as part of glorified, expensive monthly maintenance contracts, where in reality, the SEO component is minimal.

So the “scam” reputation is understandable, however there are also lots of examples where SEO has been done diligently and delivered exceptional results. So the key is to understand what needs to be done and then find the right partner you can trust to carry it out.

It’s too expensive

Good SEO takes a lot of time and consequently isn’t cheap. The days of cheap and easy SEO are well and truly over but I suspect that confused business owners still think that it should be, perhaps driven by the spam emails dropping into their inboxes offering SEO for $100 per month. Times have changed and if you pursue that route, expect Google to penalise your website.

The key here is to compare the costs of SEO with the profits accrued from new patients gained – it will be easy to see the returns. You should also compare the costs of monthly website SEO with other forms of advertising which will also help to seal the argument. If you’d like an illustration, please get in touch.

It’s way too complex

It is difficult to keep track of the various changes Google regularly introduces, but this is what you pay your SEO team to do. It’s always useful to have a good working knowledge of what is going on but you don’t have to be close to the minutiae – a good monthly report from your digital marketing partner should be sufficient to keep you abreast and ultimately, the results of their work is really what matters for you.

SEO could ruin my website and harm my business

This is actually true – indeed stepping back a few years, two of the prominent UK dental marketers who had a reputation for SEO had many of their client’s websites penalised by Google for “over-zealous” optimisation work. A lot of those dentists went from having prominent ranking and lots of new patient enquiries to being nowhere virtually overnight. Many of them had to start again with new websites on new domain names, losing huge impetus as a result.

So for sure, bad SEO can wreak havoc, but conversely, good optimisation within clear guidelines and best practices, is actively encouraged by Google. This further shows the need for you to do your homework before you sign up to any new service.

Results take ages to achieve

You do need to be patient for your SEO plan to start coming good and delivering returns. We’ve already discussed why there are no quick and simple ways to SEO success these days and why all work has to be done carefully and sustainably within Google’s guidelines. That said, you should expect to start seeing benefits after three of four months and lots of new traffic and enquiries within the first twelve months. The level and rate of success will depend on where you are based and also the level of competition in your area. Tools like AdWords (pay-per-click) can be used to support new patient acquisition whilst the organic campaign gains momentum.

I can’t quantify the results

This is actually quite easy to do. Tools such as Google analytics and complementary systems for tracking telephone calls are all easy enough to implement and will provide very comprehensive data to allow you to judge the success of your campaigns. Make sure your SEO partner gives you full access to the data as well as providing a summary report for you each month.

No-one on my team has time to contribute

Actually this one is quite tricky and there is no answer which says “we do it all for you”. Some marketing teams claim to provide a full “done for you” service but this is well-wide of the mark. There has to be some involvement at the practice level if only for regular feedback and to agree strategy. The most successful campaigns also include complementary techniques including blogging and social media, where “personalised” input from the practice team is much better for helping user engagement compared to the more generic content most agencies generate. So if you really wish to optimise the returns, try to allocate some time from the local team to get involved – this doesn’t have to be a huge amount and your marketing team will guide you.

To summarise

Search engine optimisation can be a daunting prospect and there are pitfalls for the unwary and for those prepared to try to do it on-the-cheap. However, if you do your homework, budget appropriately and select the right marketing partner, the rewards can be huge.

If you would like to know more about our SEO services for dentists and the results we achieve, please call the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548. We’re on hand to explain and guide you through.