As a dentist, your primary objectives are probably very simple: to serve your patients while making a good living. While this is simple in theory, it’s much more complicated in practice.
You can’t just expect people to walk into your office and trust you to work on their teeth. Marketing is necessary for any business, whether a dental office or a retail store, but the methods of marketing will change a bit depending on the business type.
With so many people doing their research online these days, it’s important for dental offices to realize the potential of dental SEO (search engine optimization). This type of marketing is quite different from traditional marketing, which often involves sending out mailers and other print advertising techniques. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between these methods.
The term “traditional marketing” typically means marketing that takes place using traditional mediums. This might include mailers, billboards, newspaper advertisements, and more. These mediums still exist, they’re just not nearly as popular as they once were.
Traditional marketing can still be a good tool in some cases, but there are a lot of downsides too, particularly cost and reach. Not only do you have to pay for printing and mailing costs, but most of those mailers will just end up in the recycling bin. You also have to factor in the costs of any promotions you offer.
SEO for Dental Offices
Search engine optimization, or SEO, has been a cornerstone of digital marketing for many years. Essentially, it is the practice of optimizing a website so that a search engine (typically Google) will rank it above other similar sites when someone performs a search.
Most people think of SEO from a keyword perspective alone, since “keyword stuffing” (overusing a keyword) used to be the way to rank on Google. Fortunately, keyword stuffing is no longer an effective strategy, thanks to many updates to the technology over the years. SEO has evolved to become more natural and helpful to searchers over the years, benefitting both marketers and customers.
One of the best things about SEO is that it’s relatively low-cost. There might be some costs involved with optimizing your site and creating content, but SEO isn’t like traditional advertising.
With SEO, the results are organic and based on the merit of the site. You’re not paying for a spot in a magazine or for an ad on a website. Instead, the search engine uses objective criteria and advanced algorithms to measure how helpful and relevant the site will be in any given search.
Why So Many Dentists Aren’t Using SEO to Get Ahead
Many dentists use traditional marketing techniques because they aren’t sure how to get started with SEO and digital marketing channels. Getting good results from SEO and other organic digital marketing techniques takes different skills than advertising.
Another reason so few dentists are committing to SEO is that the timeline to acquire new business can take longer than from advertising. SEO takes longer to provide results but then continues to yield benefits and new business long-term, as long as the ranking stays fairly consistent.
Dentists are also just extremely busy. Most don’t have time to think about a new skill or even to find someone to hire who can help them get results. However, SEO can have a huge positive impact on dental practices ready to grow and keep up with current marketing trends.
How Dental Practices Can Get Ahead with SEO
Since many dental practices are still relying on traditional marketing, it’s a great opportunity to get ahead of your competition. Since most dentists serve just one specific geographic area, you can also take advantage of local SEO and avoid competing on the national level with huge dental websites.
Dental practices can get ahead with SEO by leveraging this strategy to reduce the cost of acquiring new patients. Advertising is expensive and you’ll be paying for a lot of people to see your ads who will never come to your practice. SEO can be much cheaper and provide long-term benefits if you approach it in the right way.
Tips for Success in SEO
If you want to start using SEO to market your dental practice, it’s important to be realistic and persistent. How can you start off on the right foot? Here are some tips for SEO marketing success.
- Choose search terms carefully. Some keywords and keyphrases are very competitive and will be difficult, if not impossible to rank for. Stick to less competitive and more specific, relevant terms for better results.
- Create helpful content. Search engine algorithms have one goal: to help the searcher find what they’re looking for. If your website’s content can deliver value, you’re more likely to get a good ranking.
- Keep it local. Don’t neglect local search terms! Most people look for dentists within their general geographic area.
- Invest in SEO. There aren’t any direct costs for SEO, but you still need to be willing to invest in content and other services.
- Be patient. You won’t see results right away from SEO. It can take months to see your site moving up in the ranks, assuming you’re following current best practices.
SEO is a great marketing tool because it’s a long-term strategy that can be used alongside short-term techniques. It’s a good addition to any marketing plan and will help to improve your website at the same time.
Get Help With Your Dental SEO Strategy
Getting meaningful results from SEO can be a challenge, especially if you’re starting from scratch and have never done any digital marketing before. If you’re not confident in your SEO skills or you just don’t have the time, then it can be worth investing in SEO services. That way, you’ll be able to focus on your patients and put your SEO marketing on autopilot.
At Surgeon’s Advisor, we understand the unique marketing needs of healthcare practices. We are committed to helping dental offices stay on top of the latest in SEO so they can remain competitive and bring in new patients.
To learn more about expert SEO services with Surgeon’s Advisor, contact us at 305.763.8011. We offer free audits and can help you decide on the best marketing strategy for your dental practice.