Dental Marketing Guy

The Ultimate Secret to Knowing Whether Your SEO Will Get You Enough New Patients

November 4, 2021

Most dentists follow the “just a cleaning” version of dental SEO. Here’s how you can avoid the most common trap in SEO.

The patient calls your office and demands “just a cleaning.” What do you do? Every office has its own policy, but the vast majority of dental offices will instruct the patient that while meeting with a dental hygienist is a great idea for overall dental health, they need an initial oral exam in order to have a complete understanding of what’s going on in their mouth.

Self-diagnosis can lead to mistakes by dental patients. Without expert research by an actual dentist, patients lead themselves to all sorts of erroneous conclusions about their dental health. The same can be done in dental SEO.

In this article, we’ll talk about the two questions few dental marketing companies ask before selling SEO. We’ll talk about how to use common sense when assessing a dental SEO company. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can perform the equivalent of an initial oral exam, but for marketing instead of dentistry. By the end of this article, you’ll realize what dental SEO companies have been doing wrong all these years, and how you can virtually guarantee new patients 

We’re all familiar with the patient who wants “just a cleaning.” No initial oral exam. No need to talk to a real dentist. No interest in diagnosis. No interest in prognosis. No interest in perio issues. No interest in hearing gobbledegook about good oral health care. They want a cleaning, and all your years of clinical research and experience are flushed down the toilet, regardless of the complexities going on in their mouth.

You can probably remember some of these patients because they might name a tooth number, say something like “occlusion” in the middle of a sentence, and overall just know better than the dentist who “wants a new boat.”

The irony of this scenario is that you are actually doing a major disservice (and possibly harm) to this patient by ignoring potential dangers, yet you ultimately have to decide if allowing them to do “just a cleaning” is the right thing to do.

Some dentists would try to persuade the patient to take a more balanced, informed decision and allow for an initial oral exam. Others would quickly dismiss the patient. Regardless of what you might do, this scenario is as relatable as it is important to consider.

In dental SEO, I see this kind of “just a cleaning” logic applied all the time. Only, instead of being an arrogant know-it-all, the vast majority of dentists are told by marketing companies to suspend their logic when considering marketing decisions. In particular, I see a lot of marketing companies who sell sell sell without any process which mirrors an initial oral exam. Dentists are logical enough to realize something is missing, but when every marketing company you talk to is telling you the same thing, it seems like there is only one option. Just buy whatever it is that they’re selling.

After all, you contacted them so that you can get new patients, right? You do want to grow your practice, right? Sales pitches are so abundant that until you hear a more logical option, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and cave into the belief that this must be the only way available to you.

But, you know deep down that the scientific method that you’re used to has been suspended. Just because Dental Marketing Guy offers SEO has nothing to do with you. That’s when you realize that something is missing. The equivalent of an initial oral exam, but for dental SEO.

Over the years, I had great success with doing SEO for dentists. My services speak for themselves, as I’ve ranked some of the most competitive keywords in existence in the dental space. Even ranking #1 for “dental SEO expert,” despite a 3-year layoff from doing my own SEO. The reviews on the Dental Town forums are plentiful, and I always appreciate dentists like you leaving me glowing reviews about the results I’ve brought you.

But there are a handful of cases that didn’t go my way. Unlike other marketing companies, I don’t shy away from my past failures. Few as they may be, I learned powerful lessons in each and every case. Lessons that allowed me to think in a new way. Lessons that took my mindset beyond just being good at SEO. I needed something more powerful. I needed to apply the scientific method to everything I do as a dental marketing specialist. Simply being good at something isn’t enough. Just as you may be confident in your clinical skills, imagine how your hands would be tied if you disallowed yourself to do a comprehensive oral exam. You may even call it a “fool’s errand,” and you’d be right.

When I talk about SEO which is “doomed for failure” in the subheading of this article, I’m talking about SEO which doesn’t include such comprehensive research.

Comprehensive research in dental marketing is that which turns over every stone by assessing the myriads of factors that might impact both your level of risk and also your potential upside. It’s taking a detailed look at exactly what you’re up against and determining what your viable options are, and also what I’d recommend you do if I were in your shoes. The same way you do for patients who are wise enough to accept an initial oral exam.

In fact, the initial oral exam is so paramount as the first step for any logical dentist, that it’s usually required as an official policy. Such is the case with my company when it comes to what I call a “marketing analysis.”

My marketing analysis, much like an initial oral exam, involves a thorough step-by-step process that is flexible enough to allow for new findings when the situation calls for additional research in any one particular area. This flexibility is critical so that you don’t create any misunderstandings or avoid any pitfalls, hidden dangers, or missed opportunities.

My marketing analysis has a basic framework, which I’ll share with you in the form of two questions. Without the answer to these two questions, we’re just flying blind.

  1. How many people are actually using Google to find a dentist in your area?
  2. What is the competition level in your area, specifically with respect to SEO?

In my marketing analysis, which you can learn more about in the first-ever dental SEO course, we go over the entire step-by-step process which allows me to determine risk and opportunity with SEO, and then eventually all marketing strategies outside SEO available to you.

If you check out my SEO course, you’ll find expert help from some of the best and brightest minds in the SEO industry. *Notice I didn’t say dental SEO industry*

The best people in SEO. Period.

For now, let’s talk about the logic behind these two questions we seek to answer in our marketing analysis.

The first question, asked another way is: Suppose we eliminated everything we know about logic and just approached SEO with a “just a cleaning” approach. I also have referred to this in years past as the “pay and pray” approach. You just decide that The Dental Marketing Guy has done a good job in the past, and therefore he must do a good job in the future. You partner with me to offer you SEO because it worked for some other dentist and every other marketing company says you absolutely need SEO to compete in dentistry.

What would happen?

Would you get 100 additional new patients? Would you get 0? Would you get 30? Would you get 10?

Until we can answer this question, we really have no idea what we’re getting into. This is the madness that currently is being offered to dentists who look for SEO services.

In fact, it’s so mad that if someone tried to sell you any other form of dental marketing this way, you’d immediately know to walk away.

Imagine trying to get TV ads, but there is no discussion of how many people watch the channel at the time your ad was to appear. Or a direct mail campaign, which never specifies how many houses you’ll hit. Or a billboard at an unknown location, with unknown traffic levels. One of the first things you’d ask about a radio ad is the number of listeners when your ad appears. Even Google Ads and FB Ads provide data, albeit it may not always be accurate when it comes to FB Ads.

The more you think about my marketing analysis, the more you realize that it’s not just a preferred way of approaching marketing…it’s the only logical way.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can get the number of searches (often called “search volume” by industry leaders) from many tools which I go over in my dental SEO course. It’s commonly available, and even some dental marketing companies I speak to offer some ballpark idea of the data to dentists seeking SEO Which, to their credit, is far more than most dental marketing agencies out there selling SEO to dentists every day.

The first question could also be asked as simply: what’s in it for you?

But even armed with this knowledge of search volume, and even when you use my formula for boiling down the likely number of new patients you’ll get from a given search volume, there is a much bigger piece of the puzzle missing.

The second question is where the rubber really meets the road! With this second question, you can’t get some SEO newbie. You need a seasoned SEO analyst who is familiar with identifying risks and forming a prognosis that is both accurate and reliable.

The second question, asked another way is simply: what are other dentist’s websites doing differently from yours? Why, specifically, are they ranking above you?

The formula for assessing this is simple yet complex. The complex part is knowing which things to identify as SEO factors, and also knowing how much weight to give each factor in determining why other dentist’s websites rank above you on Google.

The simple part is going line by line and discovering this data.

Just like an initial oral exam, looking at the mouth is simple, but diagnosis and prognosis require a professional clinician.

One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot control some factors. Start-up dental practices, for instance, can’t control whether or not they are getting into the Google race 12 years after most practices in their neighborhood.

Domain age is but one factor outside our control. And we’d be foolish to ignore it just because of our lack of control.

Among factors that are within our control, we have options based on the competition level. We are then able to determine how aggressively we need to approach SEO, if at all. If SEO is a good idea in the first place, or if we should move to other marketing avenues.

The bottom line is there are two types of marketing philosophies, and they are both legit. I write about the two major marketing philosophies in this article.

The two major marketing philosophies are the process of diversification and the process of elimination.

This marketing analysis is based on the marketing philosophy of the process of elimination. We start with SEO, which is what I know best. Then we move on to the next option, but only after safely eliminating SEO as a viable marketing option for you.

Until SEO can be eliminated, based on a discussion with you about your goals and what type of marketing you’ve tried in the past, my opinion is that you’re going to waste some money with the diversification approach.

This doesn’t mean the diversification approach is wrong. It simply means that as I’ve been doing dental SEO over the years I’ve found the diversification approach to be best suited towards certain types of businesses, and although there are definitely exceptions to the rule where I have moved into the diversification approach, I believe that for the overwhelming majority of dental practice owners, my usual approach of using the marketing analysis in an elimination sequence is far superior because it respects your marketing budget.

Speaking of marketing budgets for dentists, if there is one thing you should take away from this article, it’s simple:

Don’t spend one penny on dental marketing until you’ve done a marketing analysis. Not one penny on a website. Not one penny on a domain name purchase. Not one red cent.

Unless, of course, you really are just looking for cleaning. Then, I’d recommend contacting someone other than a marketing company.

Learn more about dental SEO.


About the Author - Justin Morgan

Justin Morgan is the CEO and founder of what most of us affectionately refer to as the “DMG.” From all circles within the dental industry who address dental marketing as a topic, Justin Morgan is the dental marketing guy that everyone keeps talking about.

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