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Is SEO for Dentists a Scam?

Is SEO a scam for dental practices? We have heard chatter about this for quite some time. Some people claim it's a scam, while others argue it's a legitimate and effective way for practices to succeed online. Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. If you go with the wrong provider, SEO can absolutely be a scam and a complete waste of time and resources. If you go with the right one, it can be a sustainable way for your practice to attract new patients. Let's get into it: 

What Dental SEO Is

You probably know this one, but it's worth reviewing. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a digital marketing strategy focused on enhancing a website's visibility in search results on search engines like Google and Bing. For dental practices, its primary goal is to ensure that when patients search for dental services within a specific geographic area, your practice appears prominently in the search engine results.

What Dental SEO Isn't

SEO is not a magic button you press to get new patients; anyone telling you otherwise is likely scamming you. While local SEO can significantly boost your visibility and attract more local patients, it's essential to understand that it's not a quick-fix solution. Successful SEO requires time, effort, and consistency to yield tangible results. The competitive nature of local search means that achieving top rankings may take weeks or even months, depending on various factors such as industry competition, geographic location, and the starting state of your website and online presence. It's crucial for businesses to approach local SEO with patience, understanding that it's a long-term strategy that requires dedication and perseverance to achieve sustained success.

5 Red Flags to Look Out For

Here are some signs to watch out for when choosing an SEO provider. It's best to avoid any provider who does the following:

1. Unrealistic Expectations & Guaranteed Rankings

If I could guarantee anyone a number one overall SEO ranking for any keyword of their choice, I would already be spending my time floating around the world on my super yacht. Any legit SEO company will be the first to tell you that effective SEO is not a matter of getting as many #1 rankings as possible. Scammers will ignore this while promising you "20 #1 rankings within six months!". The issue with promises like this is that they incentivize your SEO to target easily achievable keywords instead of high-value ones like "dentist near me" or "dentist Denver CO." While diverse, long-tail keywords can and should be used as part of a robust SEO strategy, the bread-and-butter keywords need to be a main focus. Otherwise, after six months, you may find that you have a plethora of #1 rankings for keywords irrelevant to your practice or the patients you are looking to attract.

2. Backlink Schemes

A lot of sketchy SEO companies will advertise bulk link building as a key component for your local SEO campaign. They do this because it's relatively easy to deliver thousands of crappy backlinks to your website, and the total link count is a tangible result that they can report on. In reality, this is probably doing more harm than good for your practice's online presence. Particularly in local SEO, backlink quality will have a MUCH more significant impact than quantity. A single high-quality backlink carries far greater weight than a multitude of low-quality or spam-filled ones. Poor-quality links are the primary culprit behind penalties incurred by search engines. If your dental SEO provider earns you a backlink, they should be able to explain why that particular link is important for your local market. 

3. Shoddy Reporting

We find it hard to believe anyone could get away with this, but some companies offer SEO services without regular reporting showing how or what the campaign is doing. If a company can't show you how your conversions, reviews, page views, proper backlinks, organic traffic, or rankings are changing on a month-to-month basis, then how do you know that your marketing efforts are working at all? There are always some gray areas when it comes to reporting metrics, but make sure your dental marketing company can walk you through reports and explain what they are doing each month to help your practice succeed, and what KPIs they are using to measure success. 

4. Lack of Emphasis on Google Business Profile/Local Listings

If you are on an intro call with a dental SEO company and they do not mention Google Business Profile within the first 15 minutes, dump 'em. They don't know what they are talking about. Particularly in local SEO, Google Business Profile and other online listings like Bing Place for Business can make up an enormous amount of the total patients who find you online. Creating, claiming, and optimizing these listings should be a regular part of your SEO efforts. 

5. Hefty, Inescapable Contracts

Some dental SEO companies may try to trap you into long-term contracts with hefty cancellation fees. This is a red flag, as it suggests that the company is more interested in making money from you than delivering real results for your practice. Look for a company that offers flexible, month-to-month plans (or will ask for a small time commitment to get the campaigns off the ground) so that you can evaluate their services on an ongoing basis.

Can't I Just Do This Myself?

We get this question a lot. The truth is, in many cases you absolutely can. We go out of our way to provide a number of helpful resources for dental SEO in our blog. If you want to take a stab at doing SEO for your practice, these articles would be a great place start. However, many practices may lack the technical knowledge, SEO tools, or time to perform SEO effectively. Keyword research, content creation and website analytics tools are all skills that take time to build. For many dentists, the monetary cost of spending several hours per week on SEO does not make financial sense when their time is so valuable. Those hours could be much better spent seeing patients.

Start with a Free SEO Consultation

If you are interested in trying SEO yourself, we would be happy to provide you with a completely free call to go over some best SEO practices, and provide specific recommendations for your situation. Our goal is to empower your practice to make informed decisions about your online presence while offering support and guidance every step of the way. Click here to book a free call!

What We Do Differently 

At GDW, we distinguish ourselves in several key ways. Firstly, we don't bind our clients with long-term contracts, prioritizing transparency and allowing you the freedom to end your SEO campaign if it doesn't meet your expectations. Additionally, each of our SEO campaigns is overseen by a dedicated in-house SEO specialist who makes real-time decisions for your practice. We'll never outsource your SEO work or try to upsell you on a backlink scheme. We also provide detailed monthly SEO reports, giving you insights into key metrics like conversions, reviews, page views, organic traffic, and rankings. This commitment to transparency empowers you to track the progress of your campaign and make informed decisions. Furthermore, our dedicated strategy team continually researches algorithm updates and stays on top of the latest SEO guidelines, ensuring our strategies keep up with a constantly changing internet.