What makes effective dental SEO marketing? Why is it important? In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, we declutter the confusion behind SEO.

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Podcast Highlights:

  • The three main aspects of effective SEO
  • Getting career-long return on your SEO
  • Budgeting for dental SEO marketing
  • What is off-page SEO?
  • Google algorithm changes
  • On-page SEO basics
  • The importance of content
  • Combining social media with your SEO
  • How can a dentist help his or her specialist?
  • Creating websites for the dental consumer
  • The split between dental content and content for your consumers
  • Setting realistic expectations

Podcast Transcription:

Hello and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by DentalWebContent.com and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again is my friend and partner and the president of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Hello, everybody. Welcome once again to our podcast. Hey, Mark, I hear you’re back from Maine. How’s that going?

Mark: I am fine. I am back. Um, the dragonflies hatched the third day we were there. So for three days, we got carried away by black flies and mosquitoes. But on the third day, the sun shined and the dragon flies all hatched off the lake and you can see them coming. It’s like that, remember that movie birds when we were little?

Howie: Oh, yeah.

Mark: With the big flock of birds and they were like biting each other and biting people and driving everybody crazy. That’s sort of what a was like only the dragonflies are your friend and they just run around into the woods and they chew on every biting insect there is and then you stand there on your lawn saying, “hahahaha!” And then you can actually work outside without slapping yourself silly. So that’s how it went.

Howie: Great, great explanation. Thank you very much.

Mark: For those who have never been to the north woods. That’s kind of commonplace. You basically just stay inside until you start seeing the dragonflies.

Howie: Yeah. Okay. Well, anyway, here we are. How about we talk about search engine optimization, dental SEO marketing? What do you think? Huge topic, huge topic.

Mark: I know everybody’s talking about it. And it kind of it is confusing. Especially if, if you don’t understand the different aspects of it. And why in the hell would you, Right? Like, sort of like me and you figuring out like, Why does a doctor use a rubber dam? And honestly, I don’t care. I really I don’t care. Okay.

Howie: Well, well, let me tell you a short little story. I used to try and keep up with SEO back in the early days.

Mark: Right.

Howie: When it was in its infancy. And I thought I was pretty on top of it. But very quickly, I just threw my hands up and said yeah, you can’t, I can’t do this.

Mark: No, no, no.

Howie: It’s, it’s a full time job.

Mark: It’s insane. Right. It’s – it has become relatively and it’s all it’s also very intertwined. Like everything matters, right? In the old days, we used to have counters on the bottom of the website that said visitor 107. You know, we are 108. And basically, that’s what Google looked at. And if you had more visitors, then you must be more relevant. So they would stick you up on top of a search. Right?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So I mean, that was the old were probably dating ourselves right now. But you know, obviously, it’s gotten a hell of a lot more involved. But it’s not as involved as some who are trying to steal your money, make it out to be. Okay, so. So let’s, let’s just dive into the three main aspects of proper and effective dental SEO marketing. Before we do that, though, I do have to caution the listeners. Some listeners will think, “Well, if I just have a good SEO person, I’ll take care of all my new patient needs for the rest of my career.” And that’s never happened to one dentist ever. And you won’t be the first one. So dental SEO marketing is not the end all.

SEO and optimizing your website for consumer searches is not the only thing you should do for your marketing. However, if it’s done correctly, and it’s done consistently, at a reasonable price, it will pay off. It will create a return basically for the rest of your career. And when you run across things like that, you try to take advantage of for, for, you know, if you’re a marketing company, that’s what that that’s, that’s the holy grail. Something that is reasonably cost, highly predictable, Market to Market, that will create a return year over year. That’s gold, man. I mean, that’s.

Howie: Oh, yeah.

Mark: Yeah, that’s, you know, like, like, we joke

Howie: We dream about that. We drool.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. Okay, so dental SEO marketing, what should it cost you? You know, um, here’s the one look at it. If you’re in an average market, maybe a little more competitive than average market. I don’t know, seven, eight grand a year. Think that’s probably reasonable. Probably fair. So it shouldn’t be 24, 28, 33. We had a doctor was spending 50 grand a year on SEO it’s unbelievable. And he was in Kansas. So I don’t know the I don’t even know what these.

Howie: What’s, what’s that about?

Mark: I know, I have no idea. But anyway. So right away, that should tell you about what you should spend maybe a little more, maybe a little less depends on the results you get, but somewhere in there. What should they do for that money? Well, there’s really there’s three things, three pieces of the dental SEO marketing pie. The first and the most obvious is probably the most technical, which is the um, which is the off page SEO, this is where you, you tell Google where the important stuff is on your website so that Google can easily find it and index it as it comes and grabs your website and takes it back to their server to diagnose.

That’s what Google does, by the way, they copy your website, take it back, run their run their software through it to determine how relevant you are and they give you a rank. That’s basically what they do. So that programming, alt tags, meta tags, the programming the technical part of SEO is done by either a programmer or an dental SEO marketing specialist at in, in reaction to Google changing their algorithm. So once Google changes their algorithm, and Google been changing it about once every five to seven months lately, so when Google changes it, your SEO person should immediately go understand the changes and then redevelop that programming language in the backend of your website accordingly.

In other words, if Google doesn’t want you to do something, don’t do it. If Google does want you to do something, or you can exploit something on your website, and go ahead and exploit it, as long as it’s okay by Google do it. Okay. So those changes happen. You know, maybe it’ll take one or two months, you know, month’s worth of dental SEO marketing work, you know, once every five to seven months. So there’s four of your months of the year right there.

Now, the next piece of SEO, because once you’re done doing those, let me back up one step, once you’re done doing the programming side, after Google changes their algorithms, you don’t really have to change that after that. Until Google changes again, you can pretty much leave it, right? So then another piece of the SEO pie, are website changes that the client requests coupled with what’s called on page or content changes. Google likes content changes, they like to see words change, they like to see paragraphs change, they like to see additions, subtractions just something different. Because what they do is they come grab your website, take it back to their server, come grab your website a month from now take it back to their server, and they compare the two. So they want to see things evolving, things changing.

So on page content changes, plus any customer requests, like I changed my office hours, Marie’s having a baby, we have a new hygienist, we have a new assistant, whatever. Websites or pieces of software, they’re there, they’re things that are never done, you’re going to be evolving your website for the rest of your career, you should anticipate that, plan for it, and just automatically agree that, yeah, of course, I mean if I had, if I had a storefront on Main Street I wouldn’t leave, I wouldn’t decorate my front window and leave it that way for the rest of my career, I’d have the stalest store on Main Street. So you’re always changing things within the content of your website. And that helps your dental SEO marketing and your organic ranking.

On social media, properly connecting your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, your Instagram, your LinkedIn accounts, properly setting them up so that you can cross post to each one. Properly naming those posts and all of those things will gain you organic juice. It’s actually kind of amazing. Some of our offices, you know and these aren’t in, you know, grossly densely populated areas, but some of them you’ll see, you know, you type in Invisalign dentist, town name, and they’ll be 4 of the first 10 things that show up are actually our client. But one of them is the website. One of them is the Google Plus business page. And, one of them is the, their LinkedIn account. One of them is a Facebook post about Invisalign. One of them might be the page on their website called Invisalign dot html.

Howie: Yeah, and one of them might be the video that’s on their website as well.

Mark: Exactly a video. So, all those, all those things. They all, people say that people say all the time, you know, you can do dental practice SEO once and forget it. That’s true. As long as Google never changes.

Howie: Right, exactly. You know, Mark, there’s probably some dentists out there that are wondering, you know, what, what, what can they do personally, to move, move their SEO along and help their SEO specialist get them more, a better ranking. And can we cover that after the little break here?

Mark: Sure.

Howie: We’ll be right back.

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Howie: Okay, welcome back. So, yeah, let’s talk about that Mark. You know, what, what can the client do to help their dental SEO marketing specialist?

Mark: Um, yeah, well, see, some clients don’t want to do this, they just want to hand this off, right? And they just want to say, “I gave you $800, you do everything and I’m not involved,” and whatever. Okay, and that’s fine.

Howie: Yeah, it is.

Mark: Okay, we, hey, somebody came to me on my off hours and said, “Mark, I want you to do you know, some stuff on your business or think about you know, I just want to disconnect completely and refresh?” I’m going to say “Hell no”, as well. So we’re not picking on you. But you need that content somewhere. And one thing I’ve learned, or one thing we’ve learned over all these years is there are dental website companies who don’t have a clue how to communicate the benefits of dentistry to dental consumers.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Their websites are beautiful. Their websites are the graphic user interface, they slide up and down, they look great on your phone. They’re flipping awesome. But they have no clue how to communicate the benefits of dentistry to the dental consumer. Okay. Where this is all leading is, is if you’re a dentist and you want to help yourself, what you need is content. Whether that’s a written word, a series of written words, a paragraph, a web page, a video, a topical video on a certain subject, whatever it is, you need content to hand your website developer.

Okay, you need content for your social media. Your thirst for content should be never ending. If you want to be part of the process. I will tell you for sure, that Sharron Swan is the head of our internet department, she and her group. You know how, you know, you have dentists listening to this you have special patients that you just, they make your day when they walk in your office, and for Sharron and her group, the SEO clients that we have that make her day are the ones that come to her with unique content. Right?

Howie: Right, right testimonial video or something like that, right?

Mark: Yeah, testimonial video, or a little story about how Mary the assistant’s six year old son hit a home run in T ball, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Okay. Um, you know, with dental web content, we’ve, we’ve done the work for you from the dental standpoint. So that’s already done. It’s already at your disposal. But it’s the human side that that a marketing company can’t do for you. That’s the content, that’s the content that that really, Sharron and her group really about appreciate when a when an SEO client sends it to them. Because it has to be a mix or you’ll lose your audience, you’ll lose your blog audience if it’s nothing about dentistry, if nothing but dentistry, you’ll definitely lose your social media audience. If all you communicate is just dentistry.

The dentistry side should be about 30% of your total content, the other 70% has to come from you, it has to come from your heart. So if you know Howie’s question was, “What can a customer do on their own?” Create stories, create video, create you know when I say video, testimonial videos are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them. You just I mean, they’re easily over, there easily over done. Okay, you just don’t want to sit there and do testimonial video, after testimonial video, after testimonial video. Pretty soon, you know your page is full and you say, “What the hell am I going to do with this next video?”

So, um, yeah, that’s what an SEO customer can do for themselves, if they so choose, if they don’t choose then yeah, I mean, your SEO company should, um, at least keep all your social media alive with some dental content, or at least relevant content to the dental industry. Um, all that stuff, the on the behind the scenes programming, the on page content changing, the customer requests for changes that happen organically no matter, I mean, everybody’s going to have changes to their website, probably every other month or every three months anyway, just a normal course of business. Um, and the social media connection and interaction.

All those things all lend themselves to good quality SEO that should pay off in a return at a reasonable cost. So that’ll be your definition of SEO. Now, I’ll go a little bit deeper into this because. Excuse me. Yes, we do dental website SEO for websites, but we only do SEO for websites we build. And this is where building websites and SEO are very intertwined. And I’ll give you a very easy example of why. If we were to do search engine optimization on a website that did not have its own individual page for, let’s say sedation, Invisalign, implants, children’s dentistry and ortho same day dentistry, let’s say we didn’t have individual pages for all those websites. It was like one of those websites that you see all over the place where they have a button that says services and 4000 mile scroll. Right?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So we would immediately be at a complete disadvantage, because we build our website with individual pages, and those individual pages are named appropriately, strategically. And those become keywords and when Google sees those as individual pages, and they exceed those in a keyboard or a key phrase, guess what Google does. Google says, “Wow, this guy has expertise in this keyword or key phrase, look they have a whole page devoted just to it, that page has this much content, the content is changed. It has these videos, the videos are being watched. Let’s focus the next person who looks for dental services in this market on this guy.”

See what I’m saying? Okay, so building, how you build a website has an awful lot to do with how you your SEO works. It’s a prerequisite to build your website correctly. Doctors come to us and they’ll say, “Well, you know, Mark, I love my website is built in a year and a half ago, and I but I want I talked to whoever, Lori, whoever you talked to and she said that they love your SEO department. And it’s you know, can’t you just do SEO on my website?” And unfortunately, my answer is, “No.” Because by the time we unbuild your website and rebuild it the way it’s supposed to be built the way, you know, our SEO team wants it, we might as well build you a new website. Okay.

Howie: That’s essentially what we would have to do anyway.

Mark: Yeah, I mean it, and the doctors listening to this, imagine a new patient shows up with top teeth prepped for veneers. And the patient comes to you and says, “Here, I want you to I want you to put on the veneers, I got them in this box. I’m not going to tell you what lab they were, they came from. Okay. And after you stick them on my prepped teeth you’re responsible for them.”

Howie: Right.

Mark: Okay, that that’s what asking someone else to do SEO on your website is like, and if they’re an honest company, they’re going to look at you and give you a big hug and a kiss and say we wish we could, we really do wish we could. But we know we can’t do our best job if we do it with your website. So we have to either decline or build you a new website. That makes sense? I hope that makes sense to everybody.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: SEO is one of those, it’s one of those subjects where you know enough to be dangerous, right? Know, just enough.

Howie: You know enough to be dangerous to yourself.

Mark: It’s almost like the opposite sex. Right? Well, you know, like, if you’re a guy, you know, just enough about women to be dangerous, right? But you don’t get the full story for quite a few years. Right? Same thing if you’re a woman and looking for a man, you know, that kind of thing. That’s what SEO is like. But so it becomes this mystery. Well, it doesn’t have to be a mystery. It doesn’t have to be dangerous, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be any of those bad things. It and it certainly could and will and has proven over the years to provide a constant, steady, low number of good solid quality new patients every month, not a gigantic number.

You’re not going to do SEO and all of a sudden get 50 additional new patients a month, it is just not going to happen. Get that out of your head. What you’re investing in, is, you know, 2, 4, 5 a month, somewhere in there. You know, in an average market, average revenues, average scope, average hours, average everything, somewhere in there. So from an investment standpoint, it’s a pretty solid one. And I’ll leave you with this. I remember back in the day, Howie I know you do too, I remember back in the day when the doctors would jockey for position with their Yellow Pages. Right?

Howie: Right.

Mark: Okay, so here’s how it worked. The Yellow Page rep would go to Bob the dentist, Bob and say, “Bob, I can get you the front first page in the dentist section of the Yellow Pages for 2500 a month.” Bob says “That sounds like it’s worth it. Okay, I’m in.” So the Yellow Page rep leaves Bob’s office and goes over to Sally’s office, says “Sally, Bob’s gonna buy the first page for 2500 bucks. I think I might be able to get it for you for 3000.” Sally says, “I don’t know that doesn’t sound. Okay. I’ll do it.” So Sally, Sally is now Sally’s in for $3,000. So the rep leaves Sally’s office and goes to Dr. Nick’s office says “Nick, Sally and Bob are going to have the first two positions of the Yellow Pages unless you take action.

I can get you the first page for $4,000. Actually, I can sell you a double truck, two page.” No, seriously, this is how it works. This is how it worked. Okay. “I can get you a double truck for 6500, normally it would be $9000, but if you’ll do business with me today, Nick, I get it to your for 6500.” And Nick says, “Oh my God, that’s an enormous amount of money.” But Dr. Nick, you won’t be anywhere near the front page. Because of Dr. Sally and Dr. Bob and Nick panics and says, “Okay, here take all my money.” $6500 a month for first position in the Yellow Pages, which is today’s equivalent to what? Google. Okay. So stop whining to your SEO company, if they’re charging you 600 a month.

That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to get you to that first page of the Yellow Pages, which is now called the internet. Okay, they’re not exploiting you monetary. They’re not stealing your money. Well, the reputable ones are absolutely positively not stealing your money. There are some disreputable ones that probably are. I’ll give you that much. Okay. But dentists used to line up to spend five times as much money to get into the front page of the yellow pages. So look at it that way.

Howie: Yeah, it’s actually made things cheaper.

Mark: It’s a hell of a lot cheaper now, to position yourself than it ever used to be. So.

Howie: Well, all right. We hope this podcast was helpful to you. We’re going to close down here for now. And we look forward to being with you again very soon. Thanks a lot. Bye now.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast today. You can find more podcasts on our YouTube channel, on Stitcher and iTunes, also on our websites DentalWebContent.com and NewPatientsInc.com.