- Dental Marketing: Your 2018 Guide to Dental SEO & Marketing
Dental Marketing: Your 2018 Guide to Dental SEO & Marketing
More than half (55%) of small businesses have at least a minimal SEO budget in 2018, which is an increase of 3% compared to 2017, according to a 2017 Small Business SEO survey.
What the small business SEO survey indicated is that SEO for small businesses is actually slowing year over year, which most definitely includes dental marketing, which is insane!
Let’s think about this for a minute. Technology, specifically mobile technology not just in the United States, but globally in most of the major developed countries have been experiencing a technology boom for the past few years at least.
I challenge you to name 5 people that do NOT own a smartphone…
Now that so many people and consumers are readily and easily online, their industry and product intelligence plus service expectations are rising along with the technology boom. This shift makes it ESSENTIAL for ALL businesses that interact with customers to not merely have a standard business website built that you never touch again, but a content management system that effectively communicates with your growing client base that loves your company and products.
We’ll go deeper into this later in the post, so get your notebook ready.
First, let’s identify why businesses are not embracing SEO properly and how to distinguish great SEO from lousy SEO.
The concept of SEO is still confusing to a large percentage of businesses in 2018 primarily because SEO is a complicated concept to grasp at first and continues to evolve with technology. It’s common to get intimidated and overwhelmed when attempting your first SEO campaigns, which often turns people away.
Furthermore, the SEO industry has more than its share of low-quality SEO services that are enticing to small businesses that have an interest in exploring SEO for the first time but do not want to spend a significant amount of money, which only makes things worse.
I’m sure you’ve received more emails than you can count that guaranteed a #1 ranking on Google for a low price of $99.00 a month, or similar.
Let’s clear up a few basic facts directly from Google:
Not only are these claims just preposterous, but making them without any type of research done on your business up front makes it even crazier. Let me explain.
As an SEO Consultant, two of the initial questions always asked are how much does SEO cost and how quickly will I see results? Both excellent questions, but the reason there is not a crystal clear answer available is that every website, every industry, every location, paired with the demographics makes each website’s SEO unique and different.
Due to these variables, it makes it incredibly unlikely for someone or a company you don’t know and never contacted to randomly reach out to you and promise the world, especially for a price that is too good to be true. And let’s be honest, if they were so great, would they need to spam your inbox in the first place?
What should you do?
Before spending your first or another dollar on SEO, I strongly recommend you learn exactly what to look for in an SEO Consultant or Agency, what services you should expect, the price ranges, but more importantly than anything else, WHAT IT WILL DO FOR YOU before you start!
Website rankings are important, but not always the most important factor in the beginning. If you’re starting your very first SEO campaign, try to only think of your competition in the context of an information gathering resource that’s available for your personal gain.
It’s a completely different mind frame but stay with me so I can explain why.
If I were your SEO Consultant or you were interviewing me, this is the exact process I would take you through. Even though all websites and industries are different, the fact-finding process is very similar. Most importantly, this process I believe will help business owners in auditing their own businesses to help identify new market potentials in your data to grow your business.
For example, let’s use a dental office in Homewood, Illinois that’s interested in SEO services and looking to improve their overall dental marketing and business. This process is very similar regardless of the industry because it focuses on the customers of the business and their needs first, the only differences are their actual questions and needs.
It goes without saying that an SEO Marketer like myself is by no means an expert in all industries, such as the dental industry. The same goes for the majority of business owners in today’s small business climate. A dentist is an expert at teeth, NOT the internet or most likely even marketing any more than I can help someone with a cavity.
For this reason, it’s my mission to help business owners understand the power of SEO and digital marketing for their business before starting implementing their SEO campaigns.
Now let’s start the process of understanding our SEO plan and how it would help you.
Step 1 – Site Audit
First, it’s important to understand what we are working with, good, bad, or ugly. What’s important to identify is the following:
- low-quality backlinks
- duplicate content
- a low amount or poor quality content
- over optimized keywords
- past penalties by Google
These issues often occur arise without the business owner realizing as a result of low-quality SEO service providers which in turn produce negative results instead of what you were expecting. Essentially you are running in place.
As long as we identify your existing website is not penalized, then we can move to the next step.
Check out our free SEO website audit tool to find important details about your website and overall dental marketing plan that can use improving.
Step 2 – Creating Your Website Foundation
When creating a website, I like to think of it like building a house or building. If you don’t think it through and build a solid foundation first, it most certainly will not hold up for the long run.
First things first, there are a few must-haves on your dental practice website that create the proper longterm website foundation for a Homewood Dentist. How did I come up with my list of must haves? I did a quick market study of my own, I asked parents, friends, and a few others what they look for first when selecting their dentist, and this is what I discovered.
Almost always the person searching for a dentist first checks with their insurance to find out what dental offices are covered in their town, in this case, Homewood, Illinois.
Typically the next step is the insurance company gives a list to choose from, so the next natural step in customer due diligence is to Google the business and dentists names. If you own a dental practice, have you ever Googled yourself and your business to see what shows up when your potential customers search for you?
This is critical because it’s essentially the first impression between you, your business, and your potential customer/patient.
To help create a strong first impression, it’s important to have the necessary information your new and current patients may be seeking. The following is what our research discovered as the best foundation for your dental practice in Homewood Il.
New Patient Center
Take your dentist hat off for a minute and remember why you went to dental school to begin with, and then take it further to why you started your own practice. Clearly, its to serve your own patients. So this should be the most inviting section of your website that is front and center.
It’s common for receptionists to ask for your insurance information and for dental practice websites to list their accepted insurance providers front and center before even establishing a relationship or understanding their patient’s questions and needs.
Think about that for a minute, a potential customer is interested in a business and the business checks to make sure the patient can pay before even moving the conversation forward.
I by no means am implying receptionists are rude or short with their customers, but I am pointing out how unique it is comparing to other service-based industries that have the ability to grow their business if they are great at their skill and have excellent customer service, and of course, people know both exist.
And before you say it, I know what you’re thinking. We have to screen our patients to ensure we get paid.
Yes, I completely understand.
My goal is to help identify a more natural way of providing information to your patients so when they do actually call, they will have much of the needed information already and the process is seamless.
What information should be in my dental practices new patient center?
Start with a warm welcome, remember you’re inviting them to your family. Then walk them through your intake process for adults and for children separately. Don’t cut corners on these type of tasks. It takes a bit more prep work in the beginning but then the continual management of your website will be far easier especially when you start seeing new patients coming in as a result of your work online.
Have all forms that you require at their first appointment available for download so they can fill it out ahead of time. Forms including but not limited too:
- Adult Patient Health History Form
- Child Patient Health History Form
- HIPAA Acknowledgement And Authorization
- Your Financial Policy
- Pre-Medication Requirements
- Your Privacy Practices
Continuing in the new patient center, be sure to walk the interested patient through the day of their first appointment since they have never been to your location. Again, make this warm and friendly. Parents with kids want to see where they are going before they go. Take pictures of your office, make videos, etc.
Would you bring your family and kids to your dentist office based on the presentation of your website?
Explain again exactly what forms are needed for your first appointment, everything you need to bring, how early to arrive, and even a link for directions if possible. The further you take this on your website the less they will ask your receptionist which will make them come into your office happy before they even meet you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I find it good to segment your FAQs into “First Appointment” or “New Patient” FAQs and then “General Dentistry” FAQs. This keeps your website organized and also makes the searching experience as seamless as possible for the people on your site.
On your “New Patient FAQs”, you’re going to answer many of the same questions in your “New Patient Center”. Try to make your FAQs shorter in length and then for a more in-depth answer direct them to your “New Patient Center”.
- FAQ Question Example – Should I arrive early for my first appointment?
- FAQ Answer Example – Yes. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete any remaining patient forms. To find all the required patient forms to download before arriving, please visit and list that part of your website.
For your “General Patient FAQs”, this is where you can and most certainly should take things as far as possible. This is the beginning of how you educate your current and future patient base.
Example FAQs for this section are as follows:
- FAQ Question Example – Why and how often do I need to go to the dentist?
- FAQ Answer Example – Give a short direct answer to the question first. Then if they want more context around your that answer, finish the FAQ with a line like this, “if you want a more in-depth answer around why and how often I need to go to the dentist, please visit our blog post that explains in detail this question with a direct link to that answer on your blog.
Do this for as many important questions possible, and be sure to answer the questions well in your FAQ section as well as your blog.
Remember, they are called Frequently Asked Questions for a reason. It’s incredibly rare to find businesses with FAQ’s on their website, and if they have them the chances of the questions being current are very low. Be the expert in your craft, you already started a business and went to school to get a degree that most do not have. Explain on your website why specific details that you believe your patients need to know are important and why.
Make a schedule to update your questions once a month, quarter, or even a year. By doing this simple step you will see a massive increase in your website search traffic over time.
To further understand our best practices for creating your FAQ page to strengthen your dental marketing, we created a complete how-to guide:
How-To Write a Quality, Informational, SEO Friendly FAQ Page
What service do you offer that is your core competency? Highlight this and explain why that service is so important. Talk about this service in your FAQs and on your blog to educate your following about the importance of this service which is the reason you offer it.
Make that your feature service. Entice your community to buy this service. You want your customers to hire you for what you’re best at. What better way to organically build your personal and business reputation locally and online than by providing incredible service to your customers and patients. Furthermore, if it’s your core competency, it’s most likely your most profitable service provided, which makes it a true win/win scenario.
Once you have your primary service listed and featured on your website, be sure to also list every other service you offer and also take that as far as possible. The more you detail and educate your patients the more they will begin to establish a subconscious trust with your business as a whole, which is what you want.
Pediatric Services and Section
Do you service children, and if so do you explain the parent/child procedure accurately on your website? Let’s think this through, not only do you deal with children who are going to the dentist for the first time, but it’s often the first time for the parent to experience bringing their child to the dentist, who often is terrified.
Are you inviting to new parents and children? Can they find information on your website like, if my child is scared, can parents go in the back with them?
Do you accept adults and children with special needs? If not do you have a recommendation for people searching? Even if your Homewood Dentist Office does not serve a particular patient base, if you find you are receiving consistent website inquiries and phone calls regarding the specific topic, try to go the extra mile and set up a partnership with another business in your local community that can help.
Remember people search your website because they expect you to be the expert. It goes without saying that all businesses are unable to serve all people, but if you’re still able to guide people properly it will have a direct benefit on your overall offline and online business reputation. Plus, if you refer patients to other businesses, it’s very possible they will reciprocate.
This is your chance to boast about yourself and your business, so take advantage of it. List as many details possible about your business in your about section. The information I would include:
- Who are the dentists, show their profiles, include pictures (make it personal), list their accolades, etc.
- If possible, make a team section and highlight your team so they can see faces before they arrive.
- Show your office, ensure its well lit, clean, friendly and all around inviting.
Use this section to explain why you are such a perfect fit for the community.
For a more in-depth guide explaining how to create your about page to dominate your dental marketing, check out:
How To Write An About Me Page That Will Attract Customers
Financing and Insurance Accepted
I know, you thought we might have forgotten that dental patients do in fact have to pay, but that most certainly is not the case. But now that you have such a well-established foundation for your website, the patient is well informed about your Homewood Dental Clinic and actually has their questions answered and now are interested in moving forward, which makes the insurance and financing accepted appropriate.
If you have a patient that made it to this section after having your website foundation set correctly like explained, it most likely means they are ready to make their appointment and now just need to confirm their insurance information.
Like every other section, don’t leave out details here. I hear often statements like “we don’t promote such and such financing option or insurance provider because nobody uses or wants it.” First of, if nobody wants it you shouldn’t offer it, and second, if the service exists its because people use it, so its always in your best interest to at least have it available.
List all your insurance providers accepted including any and all processes needed to take for each of them if required.
Do you provide financing or have a third-party financing partner? Be sure to explain in much detail why that is good for your patients.
Remember, this most likely is what takes up the most of your receptionists time. Because of that, if you are able to detail out as much information for everything you offer, it will only result in a more dialed in machine that is increasing profits.
This also is not a plan to replace your reception staff, but they in some cases are the perfect employees to update specific sections of the website.
Contact Us Page
This might seem obvious and easy to skip over, but it’s important to get this right along with the rest.
Contact pages normally are incredibly generic if they exist at all. I hardly believe if you are reading this your goal is to be incredibly generic.
Let’s think this through again, someone landed on your contact us page.
What does that mean? Someone wants to contact you, so it’s something to be excited about!
So what should we have on our contact us pages? Here are a few must-haves that we’ve identified for contact pages:
- Google Map embed with your location pinned so directions are simple to find
- Contact Form – Giving people your email is not good enough anymore. Have a contact form that they can submit questions right on your website.
- Call to actions – guide them to become your patient
- NAP – Your business name, phone number, and address plus other important contact information.
- Social Media Information
- How to leave a review with call to actions (encourage people to leave reviews, there are no better referrals than customer/patient testimonials)
For more detail on how to create your dentist office contact us page, check out our how-to guide:
How To Create A Contact Us Page That Promotes Conversation
Dental marketing and dental SEO is accomplished by making small improvements daily or as often as possible. Learning tips that were mentioned in this article can make it feel almost impossible to accomplish. Just as you did not open your business in one day, you will not dominate your dental marketing or dental SEO in that short amount of time either. However, if you set goals and consistently make yourself and your business improve in these areas, expect the results to snowball in your favor over time.
Now that you’ve completed your complete guide to Dental Marketing in 2018, be sure to continue on to our complete local business rankings guide in 2018. If you have questions about marketing for your dental practice or have any other marketing or SEO related inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.