Part 3 – SEO For Your Practice Website
Concluding our dental SEO mini-series
Today we conclude our mini-series for dentists which covers nine basic elements of “must-know” information when it comes to implementing successful SEO projects. Last time we looked at how to choose an effective SEO partner, key dental SEO techniques and how local SEO will be critical to your campaigns.
This blog concludes by looking at how to measure your campaigns, what SEO typically costs and also a final few things to look out for to avoid being duped by one of the many “dodgy” SEO agencies out there. Let’s get started.
Effective measurement of SEO campaigns
As with any investment, it makes sounds sense to measure the effectiveness of your dental optimisation campaigns and ultimately the return on the investment made. This means an accurate evaluation of how much it costs to bring in new patient treatments and which channels/techniques are most effective. Good management information in this sector is essential, particularly given the issues we’ve touched on with some web and optimisation companies offering poor value for money.
As a minimum you need to ensure that Google Analytics is installed on your website to track traffic and conversions; for example how many contact forms were completed during the reporting period. You should also link up to Google Search Console and potentially to Google Data Studio, a great tool for producing visual reporting data.
Please make sure that these tools are set up in your own account and not the account of the company providing the service. If you wish to move to a new supplier in the future, your data needs to be seamless and transportable. If it’s all set up in a third-party account, very likely you will lose access to it and need to start again. This is a scenario we’ve seen many times where clients have moved to us from other suppliers and where we’ve had to help start with new analytics accounts from scratch.
For social media advertising, please follow similar guidance by ensuring you have access to your data in your own accounts.
Most dentists don’t have time to trawl through rafts of analytics data regularly and this where an overview report is essential to inform the decisions which need to be made regarding the service. A good supplier will make reporting like this readily available and integrate the key elements of information from all of the channels used. For example, levels of website traffic, key landing page information, conversions (contact information), spend on paid advertising, cost per conversion and more. The objective should be to provide accurate information covering key measurements parameters but without becoming overwhelming. Reports like this would typically be provided on a monthly basis.
You also need to be careful that your supplier is providing meaningful statistics and not “fluff” which simply looks impressive but does little to add value to your business. A good example is providing information about keywords which are too obscure to be meaningful and hence easy to get to the top of Google. On paper it looks good, but adds no value. Another example is reliance on keyword positions – this is a useful marker of performance but the best SEOs moved to a focus on website traffic and conversions several years ago. This is much more meaningful and concentrates on the main elements which will really make a difference to your business.
What does SEO cost?
This one’s a bit like asking ‘how long is a piece of string’ but understandably dentists need to know for budgeting purposes before they jump in to the project.
The truth is that good SEO isn’t cheap as it takes a lot of time and experience to do well. Please ignore those offers which spam your email which offer SEO at $100 per month – they’ll just get your website banned by Google.
The scope of SEO required will depend on a few key elements including the strength of the local competition and the aspirations/targets of the client. Broader campaigns obviously cost more as there is more work to do. To give an idea, our SEO projects for dentists range from around 5 hours of work per month through to 20 hours or more. The smallest projects would start in the region of £250 per month rising to over £1000. It isn’t trivial expenditure, but the yield can be very good indeed.
In terms of returns, please take a look at this article linked here. It’s a few years old but the technique is still very valid and the numbers discussed have not changed a great deal. Even in the worst case, acquiring 5 or 6 new patients per month from a £300 spend pays back very nicely and typically the returns are much better than this.
Pitfalls to look out for
We’ve discussed the slightly murky reputation of SEO earlier in our mini-series and it seems appropriate to recap on this before we conclude. After all, making a mistake with this important decision can leave you either heavily out of pocket, or worse with your site being deleted from the search engines if you’ve stepped outside of Google’s SEO guidelines.
Here’s a quick check-list to keep top-of-mind when you’re evaluating services:
- Check the track record – look for sustainability and marketing results; many marketing companies come and go and fail to deliver
- Ensure transparent and meaningful reporting – don’t get duped by results which look great but don’t actually mean much at all in terms of real delivery
- Don’t be misled by keyword reporting – these days it’s all about traffic and conversions i.e. actual new patient contacts
- Be cautious where the provider won’t set up analytics in your own account – it’s your data!
- Look out for onerous long-term contracts. Preferably avoid any service which tries to sign you up to any form of contract. Good providers let the results of their work do the talking.
- Watch out for the designer who offers monthly maintenance “including SEO”. This is a hook to try to get you to sign up and then they’ll try to up-sell much more expensive services. Remember that you can’t get useful SEO on the cheap and nothing useful as part of a simple maintenance plan.
- Check if the company is outsourcing. This is still a favourite trick whereby a UK based company leverages on cheap off-shore labour but has no control of the work being done on your behalf. This is a risky scenario and one to avoid. Many off-shore SEO companies operate outside of accepted guidelines and could well get your site penalised.
- Don’t be duped by trends and “fad” recommendations – remember that some web and marketing companies actively incentivise clients to leave reviews which can create a false picture. Often the actual performance of those companies falls short of the expectation, so please do your homework.
That concludes our mini-series on dental SEO which hopefully provides a solid framework for dentists looking to start their own website optimisation programmes. However, SEO is a “moving feast” and here at Dental Media we are always looking to see how Google is changing and how those changes can be used to benefit our client’s websites. Please be sure to check back periodically as we update our knowledge base and highlight the key elements you can use to your advantage in your own projects.
If you would like more help with your own website or to see some examples how we’ve helped hundreds of UK dentists gain new patients from the web, please call our team on 01332 672548 for a no-obligation chat. We’ll be pleased to assist.Google+