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Is Dental SEO Right For You?
What is SEO?
The internet is essentially millions of web pages connected by links.
denal seo new patientsA website can be compared to a house with each room being like a web page, connected by doors, hallways and stairs. Just as a home is part of a community, your dental website isdental seo marketing part of a community of local dental websites.
Links are like roads, connecting all web sites. A website that has better "location, road access, signage and street lights" will get more traffic.
The purpose of SEO is increase your website's visibility by making your website easier to find for anyone looking for your services.
Technical or "under the hood" SEO optimizes a website (paves the roads) so search engines, such as Google, can find your site easier.
Technical SEO includes improving page speed, fixing broken links, ensuring proper meta data, keyword research (different than you might think) and many other easy, but tedious tasks.
Non technical SEO includes inbound link building, social media profiles and relevant content. A blog is an essential component for a dental web site so that you can routinely add new location specific content. Location specfic content is key for a local business web site.
Traditional SEO vs. Local SEO
Local SEO is for local businesses such as dental practices. It is vital to understand Google's algorithms for traditional SEO are quite different than their algorithms for Local SEO.
In the early days of Google if you were looking for a dentist in Tampa, FL you would need to do a search for "Tampa Dentist". Not anymore. Now Google understands your search intent. All you do now is search "dentist" and you get local results including maps, etc.
Do a a search for pizza from work and then again from home. The results will be different. Google assumes your intent is to order a pizza close to where you are. Ditto when a potential new patient is searching for a dentist.
There are specific Local SEO guidelines for the type of content, meta data and inbound linkks you need for a local business such as a dental practice. The type of content, meta data and inbound linkks you need are different than for traditional SEO.
Key Take Away
SEO for a local business is not the same as traditional SEO. The type of content, page names and even inbound links you need are very different than for tractional SEO.
Up next: Crawling, indexing, and ranking
Cambridge Denal Consultants, Inc.
Owner, Senior Consultant, Certified SEO Specialist
Investing in SEO may or may not be right for your website. Kevin Tighe, Cambridge's owner and senior consultant, is a certified SEO specialist. For a complimentary analysis of your web site email Kevin directly at
What Does A Dental Consultant Do? Charge?
Many dentists will tell you dental consulting works. If dental practice management firms had no worth or benefit they could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. What a veteran dental consultant brings to the table are systems and protocols successfully implemented in other practices that have been improved and tweaked over many years. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what works and what doesn't work across all dental practices.
Marketing & New Patients
Practice management consultants generally have little marketing training or background.
Note: Cambridge'a consultants are Certified SEO and Ad Words Specialists
Dental Office Systems
Key systems dental consultants implement:
- New Patient Phone Call
- Insurance Processing
- New Patient Experience and Patient Education
- Financial Arrangements
- Unscheduled Treatment Followup
- Stat Monitoring
- Daily and Weekly Checklists
- General Policy Manual
You will not get much ROI from your dental consulting if your staff do not have your back. You do not beed a team of cheer leaders jumping up and down with enthusiasm, but you do need staff who are smart and take some pride and ownership in what they do. If there is more than the usual drama in your practice that needs to be sorted out before you will get any real results.
What gets monitored gets done.
The "big" obvious numbers are important to monitor, but when you look at them they are typically already "in the books". You want your team to concentrate and be accountable daily on the "small" stats that bring about the "big" stats. How many practice owners know how many calls were made to unscheduled patients each day or overdue re-care or inactive patients? Many dentists vastly underestimate how much daily "outflow" is needed to keep a schedule full. How may dentists know what % of slots were open in their hygiene schedule each day? How many know how many NP calls there were yesterday, who scheduled and if they end up showing up? More importantly how many staff know considering it's their job to do?
The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee, but that employee accountable reports daily on a spreadsheet like this: 1. # of calls or personal texts sent 2. # of contact
3. # of appointments with name and date 4. # of arrivals
It is the employee who is either making themselves valuable to you or not. If they are doing so, dismissing them will never enter your mind. On the other hand, if they are not making themselves valuable, you will be doing them and yourself a favor by giving them the opportunity to find a practice or other employment that is a better fit for them.
What most practice owners are missing is not how to book an appointment but how to be effective leaders. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. Agreement among all team members is key. Your written office policies should contain those agreements and should answer most questions staff come up with. Doing so will save you much time and simplify the management of your practice. Staff non compliance is a sure sign of poor leadership. The primary reason practices underperform is staff non compliance. Key traits of leaders. All it takes is discipline:
- Always keep a cool head especially when "under fire"
- Realize that all mistakes are an opportunity for you and your staff to learn.
- Set a good example.
- Always be learning.
- Take care of yourself.
- Fight the impulse to address multiple issue at the same time. Frantic activity creates spotty results.
$35.000.00 is the average fee for a one year program with dental practice management companies you are likely familiar with. For those companies that require you and your staff to travel to their facility or seminar you also need to add in the cost of travel, staff pay and lost production from time away from your practice.
Questions You Should Ask
- Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
- Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance? There are advantages to both.
- If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
- Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
- The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
If you do a little homework it should be fairly easy to pick a reputable consultant that is a good fit for you and your practice.