I get the question all the time. “Is SEO really worth the money?”

This is the only time I answer a question with a question and there’s usually a lot of them.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has changed significantly over the past few years and the latest Google algorithms only complicate things further. My opinion is that yes, it’s important but there are other options. If you invested in a website, you have made the commitment to be found online. Whether your motivation is a resource guide for referrals or you want to generate new patients, the fact remains being found online is important to the success of your practice.

When a potential new patient searches for a dental office they need to find your practice name in your town or city. Many patients find a dentist by searching on Google or Yahoo. As a matter of fact over 70% of potential new patients search online before choosing their dentist. Consumers use the web more often than phone books or newspaper ads to find a dentist.

So should you spend the money on SEO?

Here’s what Moz.com says are the key things Google is looking for as it relates to rankings:

I listed the top ten most relevant to dental:

1. Google wants one URL and Responsive Websites. Why?

· Social Sharing is key and sharing URL’s through social media is essential for content distribution.

· Redirecting to a mobile site is slow. Google wants to deliver the best results and when you have to redirect to a mobile website it slows down the consumer experience.

2. Domain Authority- length and indexed pages.

3. Social Authority

4. Original Indexed Content (Not duplicated)

5. Local Plus Page

6. Proximity of Address

7. Quantity of Google Reviews (From local residents)

8. Product/Service Keyword in Business Title

9. Local Area Code (Consistent phone numbers across all online listings)

10. Diversity of inbound links (content)

If you look at the full list of almost 100 different factors it can be overwhelming. The fact remains there is a lot to keep up with here and it changes frequently.

In my experience consulting with practices and working with numerous “SEO experts” what I found is that hiring an SEO professional to keep up with this can be costly. I see numerous dentists who hire the national dental marketing companies that claim great results but after six months there’s not much movement. The reason for this is they use the same strategy (as well as the same content) and push it out for all their clients. This keeps costs low but doesn’t move the needle much.

My point is you would need to spend a considerable amount of money on an SEO professional that will put the time into building quality inbound links, great original content, monitor trends and keywords daily, and constantly be optimizing your website and online presence.

If you have this type of money I would spend it. Keep in mind SEO is a defensive marketing strategy. It takes time to build. It’s like buying bonds VS stocks. They build over time consistently but it takes a while to see significant returns. Being number one on organic search results is the same as being the first dentist listed in the phone book. You’re going to get the majority of the calls.

So what if you don’t have the money?

Read our follow-up Blog:

Forget SEO if you’re a dentist choose these options instead.

Ben Shaver
Lead Strategist & Consultant

Ben Shaver is a dental marketing consultant for Dental Inbound. He works with practices of all sizes.

His main focus is to develop strategies that provide congruency between traditional media sources and new media platforms.

You can email him at bshaver@dentalinbound.com