So You’ve Got A Great Dental Practice Website, Now What?

So You’ve Got A Great Dental Practice Website, Now What?

SEO and why you need to invest in it.

One of the most frequent types of ‘phone call we receive at Dental Media is from dentists wanting help with search engine optimisation. Very often they’ve had a new dental website built elsewhere but the influx of new patient enquiries they’d been promised had failed to materialise. Usually it’s the same story about how they’d been told that a new website would really boost search engine rankings, deliver a flood of new treatment enquiries, but then it didn’t happen.

Of course those promises were made simply to get the website sale and also help tie the client in to a long term maintenance contract. With that secured the marketing agency is then free to upsell the search engine optimisation service that the unsuspecting dentist thought they’d never need. Of course there was never any guarantee regarding search engine success and so the dentist is either left disillusioned with a website languishing in Google, or forking out for an expensive SEO service.

So what should you expect from a new website with respect to Google rankings?

The reality is that great dental websites built to latest standards will give you some advantage in Google. However, in the grand scheme of things, that advantage is relatively small and you should not expect the new site to go leaps and bounds straight to the top of Google. Of course there comes a point where all websites need to be renewed, both to provide the best foundation for ongoing optimisation but also, importantly, to help encourage website users to actually make contact.  A modern, engaging website will be much more effective at that conversion process than an old one.

However when it comes to search engine position, you must remember that in most locations these days, there will be four or five dentists who are already in the upper positions and very likely also have SEO campaigns underway. So to think that by having a new website built you will be able to leapfrog them in Google is highly unrealistic.

The role of SEO – search engine optimisation

Whilst a great dental website is essential in these times of increasingly fierce competition, it’s just the foundation for web success. The key is to make sure that great website is in prime positions in Google so that it can easily be found and then do its job of converting web visits to meaningful enquiries. To put this in context, the top three positions in Google secure over 70% of all website visits and the difference between the top spot and the bottom of page one is around 12 fold. So a good website which is languishing in Google is nearly pointless.

This is where search engine optimisation, or SEO, plays a huge part.

SEO is a set of techniques which progressively moves the website into prominent search positions for a range of different keyword searches. The more lucrative the click, the harder it is to rank the web page for that search. So for example we see a lot of optimisation around implant and orthodontics phrases and not just “dentist” and “cosmetic dentist”.

One of the key drivers for SEO (but noting that there are many) is back-links i.e. how many third-party websites link to the target site and also the quality of those links. Other elements are also increasingly important, for example the fairly recent introduction of on-site user experience metrics such as page speed, where Google rewards those websites which perform well technically. A new website built with those metrics in mind will give you some assistance with search rankings, although not massive compared to link-profile and the quality of the website content.

SEO is not something to be taken lightly and it requires skill, experience and time to do well. These days you should expect to have to engage in SEO and most-likely using a specialist provider. When you are being sold a new website, this really should be part of the conversation and a not a deliberately down-played afterthought which the design agency knows could prevent the sale.

How much does SEO cost?

As I’ve already mentioned, website optimisation is a skilled, time-consuming task and one which must be carried out within Google’s web publishing guidelines. Do it badly and cheaply and not only will you be disappointed with the results but you could end up with Google penalising your website too.

Depending on your location and the level of local competition, you should expect anything from £300 – £700 per month for professional dental website optimisation services. Anyone charging less isn’t doing it correctly. That might sound like a lot of cash, but look at the website visits statistics and new enquiries from prominently ranked websites and you’ll soon understand why it’s exceptional value.


If you are in the market for a new dental practice website you must also talk to the provider about search engine optimisation and the expectation of what the new site will deliver. If the design agency claims great new ranking positions simply on the back of the new site alone, then be very wary as this typically does not happen. You will very likely need to invest in SEO as well.

If you are considering investing in a new website or perhaps are currently having one built and would like to know more about what to expect in Google, please call the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548 for advice. We’ll also carry out a no-obligation review of the competition in your area and what you should expect from SEO designed to help you compete.