….and one good reason why you should!
Here at Dental Media we look after websites and digital marketing campaigns for hundreds of dentists based in the UK. A large component of the monthly work we undertake on their behalf involves promoting their websites to prominent positions in Google, a process known as search engine optimisation or simply, SEO.
It is well understood that high search ranking positions are very important for securing new patient enquiries and consequently dentists are becoming increasingly aware that a suitable budget has to be allocated to this type of promotional activity.
Organic SEO is the process of improving the search positions for a business in Google’s free results sections, both the traditional listing of results and in the local/map sections. To do this well takes a lot of time and effort and cannot be rushed. All work must be completed within Google’s web publishing guidelines and done sustainably. There are no quick wins and over-aggressive SEO can easily result in a website being demoted or even banned by Google, as we’ve covered elsewhere in this blog.
Fortunately, most clients are aware of these constraints and expect to see results improve gradually as their search positions improve over time. However, very occasionally, a client elects to cease their SEO work based on misconceptions and misunderstanding of the processes involved. In today’s blog we’ll look at three reasons why clients have (prematurely) stopped SEO work and why their decision was questionable. The objective here is to shed light on the processes involved and to set a benchmark for expectations.
I’ve made it to the top, it’s time to stop….
We have seen this in a couple of cases i.e. a client’s website advancing fairly quickly to the top of Google for various search terms at which point the campaign gets stopped. The reason why this is a mistake is that Google is constantly changing and whilst you can be top for a search query one week, the next you might find yourself displaced by your competitor’s business across the other side of town. This dynamic nature of Google means that we are constantly checking search positions and traffic and responding accordingly. Without this input, a website’s ranking will invariably gradually slip away.
The other key consideration here is that your local competitors will almost certainly be undertaking their own SEO programmes too – and if they are any good, they will ultimately overhaul your positions and stretch their lead. Catching up in these circumstance can be difficult, hence why it is important to maintain your own SEO efforts and not breathe a sigh of relief (and stop) when you hit the top!
I’m moving exclusively to pay-per-click and Facebook advertising
This is another example we’ve encountered where a competitor agency advised a client that they could return more new patients using Google Ads and Facebook than via organic SEO. The client was initially lured away but the outcome was not what he expected (at least by him). It relatively quickly became clear that the quality of leads from Facebook particularly, was not as good as from Google search and that the paid ads element proved to be quite expensive. This promoted a fairly rapid return to his SEO campaign. Whilst Google ads and Facebook can be very effective in some circumstances and certainly should not be discounted, we still recommend a solid organic SEO campaign to build a firm and sustainable marketing foundation.
I can’t see which patients came via web enquiries versus word-of-mouth
We produce a comprehensive marketing report each month which shows key marketing metrics including website traffic by channel (paid and free) and also the number of new patient enquiries which resulted. However, it is very difficult for us to ascertain which of these enquiries actually resulted in treatments unless the local dental team also contributes with analysis at the practice. Where those systems don’t exist, it is difficult to differentiate the true source of the new enquiry. We have had a couple of clients stop their digital marketing work temporarily, simply because they weren’t able to implement systems locally to validate the enquiry sources. These clients now have suitable local monitoring in place and have since recommenced their programmes with us.
And one great reason why you should quit your SEO, or at least reevaluate your supplier
As we’ve covered in the Dental Media blog before, there are frankly too many dental marketing companies ripping off dentists with large monthly fees for minimal SEO services. This ranges from claims of SEO included in website maintenance packages, to large fees for campaigns which don’t even include the key driver for good ranking positions, i.e. seeking out back-links. Unfortunately dentists typically don’t have the time or inclination to understand what really matters and then get sucked in. It’s often many months before they realise that they are not seeing returns, by which point they’ve wasted thousands of pounds.
So if your marketing company is not providing a comprehensive monthly report and cannot demonstrate success, then certainly it’s time to quit and seek assistance elsewhere.
High-quality SEO which returns on investment is not a quick-win and needs continuous, focused input. Dipping in and out is not a worthwhile strategy and will not deliver consistent results over the long term. Patience is key as is a suitable budget to fund the work for the long term. Conversely, where it is clear that a supplier is not performing, it makes sense to act quickly to evaluate alternatives. SEO is such a key process in the quest for new patients, that you must get it right.
If you are considering search optimisation for your own practice website or are disenchanted with the performance of your existing supplier, please call the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548 for impartial assistance and examples of our work.Google+