The Cost of Dental SEO Services

7-16-2017
by: Zeb Clark

What are the costs associated with dental SEO marketing? This is a common question amongst dental professionals everywhere and I want to highlight key areas of importance when considering a new dental marketing agency, and what you should look for / avoid while deciding which company is best suited for your practice. I’ll try not to speak in a biased manner (as I'm a freelance dental marketing guru), but rather point out common questions in regards to costs and where your money is being spent.

First, I always like to affirm with my audience that we are in agreeance that “your prospecting patients are on their smartphones researching business / products / services”- Far more use smartphones / computers / tablets over ANY form of print or television that exists. Any dentist can glance in their waiting room to confirm this pretty quickly. Prospecting patients are using digital devices and your dental practices listing / page snippet must populate the results on their device when searching for your specialty of dental services. Dental SEO is a way for your dental practice to be seen when your local prospecting patients are searching for your dental services- if you’re not in these top results then the chances they view your site or call your office are far lower. From local dental reviews to Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches, people (including yourself) are searching for what they need / want. Google uses a combination of more than 250 different algorithms to determine every sites relevance against the users “search inquiry” before it spits out results. These search giants want to ensure a great user experience for their users. SEO is to make sure the services you offer are relevant to what the user is looking for. How Google determines this is what companies like ours do, and this can be a very complex process depending on several factors. Every sale we conduct begins with educating our customer on this relevance factor the search engines are looking for.

A Ballpark Pricing Guide - Cost of Dental SEO Services

Services 5-10 Page Site 11-20 Page Site 21-40 Page Site 41-60 Page Site 61-100 Page Site
Design / Development $5,000-7,500 $7,000-10,000 $10,000-15,000 $14,000-20,000 $17,000-30,000
Maintenance $300-500 / Month $300-500 / Month $300-500 / Month $300-750 / Month $700-1,000 / Month
Social Media Fees $100-200 / Month $150-250 / Month $150-250 / Month $200-300 / Month $300-400 / Month
SEM / PPC $1,000-2,000 $1,000-2,500 / Month $750-3,000 / Month $500-3,000 / Month $500-5,000 / Month
Continuous Off-Page SEO $300-500 / Month $300-500 / Month $300-500 / Month $500-750 / Month $700-1,000 / Month
Initial Cost $5,000-7,500 $7,600-10,000 $10,000-15,000 $15,000-20,000 $18,000-30,000
Monthly Cost $1,700-3,300 / Month $1,750-3,750 / Month $1,500-4,200 / Month $1,700-4,800 / Month $2,300-7,400 / Month

SEO is an art of logic, creativity, and timing. The ability to identify rising / falling trends (search volumes) can determine exactly what your marketing strategy entails. Whether your budget is split 80% search / 20% social or 80% social / 20% search is decided based on statistical / conversion data. Or whether you target dental implants, teeth whitening, or veneers for lead generating ads varies from location to location, time of year, etc… A good dental marketing agency will use statistical / trending data to make calculated advertising decisions and there is no better place to do this than the World Wide Web where we can identify the trending market before creating content that will address their needs.

What is dental SEO vs regular SEO?

This always comes up because dentists get bombarded with scammers, sales reps, and every other solicitor known to man. Dentists get abused from solicitation due to the privatization of the dental industry, and let’s face it, dentists are well educated businessmen with more money than your average Joe down the street. Dentists usually don’t have a big corporate staff so contacting the decision maker isn’t usually too hard. Now for the honest company, it’s hard to get through to a dentist because the aforementioned encounters cause dentists to have a guard up like Fort Knox- especially when it comes to SEO services. A good SEO company won’t be calling you, there ads will target you and you’ll be calling them.

A regular SEO agency doesn’t specialize in a vertical market and have knowledge in only SEO, but don’t know a lick about dentistry, nor the terminology a dental practice deals with from day to day. I’m not saying that good general SEO firms can’t do a good job, but the firm WILL have to learn your language before having effective results in the ranks of Google. So whether you’re an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist, you’ll have to train your new marketing agency or trust that they will learn it themselves. Which in dentistry, trends and dental terminology is not exactly something you can learn overnight.

Dental SEO agencies don’t have to learn and frustrate you with ignorance in your field, they do it every day. Would you pay a higher fee for a more knowledgeable service provider? I’m sure most dentists would, and so I won’t waste any more time emphasizing the obvious, I’d rather give you tips on what to look for in a dental marketing agency.

  • Is their own site up to speed? Is it secured? Do they have passion in their site? Certification badges? Fully responsive? I always see SEO companies claiming the skill and then you view their website to find nothing but an outdated mess that displays horribly on my smartphone. A good SEO company will have pride in their website, like I said, SEO is an ART and artists don’t like a horrible piece of work hanging with their name on it.

  • SEO’ers and web designers are not the same- they are the opposite. One pushes traffic and the other pushes for website conversions, but you can’t have one without the other if you want success. Any good SEO company will know the difference and will not categorize them as the same. Ask them what the difference is. I know it sounds cheesy but these SEO companies don’t have a ton of credibility and are taking vouching for a serious yet difficult skill (newly developed Masters degrees in SEO recently launched at some major universities).

  • Where does their dental marketing company rank in the search results? Ask them- I always say proof is in the pudding and if they can get their site to the top of the ranks in our competitive dental marketing world, then they can easily get you to the top on a local level for dentistry.

  • Are they marketing for a competitor in the area? Most dental SEO companies market for whomever pays them money, but companies like mine and a few others will reserve an area so there isn’t marketing overlap between competing dental practices. I can’t emphasize this enough- do your research and get something in legal terms from the agency saying they won’t market for anyone close to your service area while you remain a customer of theirs.

  • Don’t go too cheap- Any good dental SEO company will be very thorough- loads of hours go into SEO if it’s being done right. Shortcuts aren’t in a real SEO company’s vocabulary.

  • Perform a duplicate content check on theirs or their customer’s sites. Plagiarized and copied content is devastating in the world of achieving rank on Google. You’d be surprised with how many use smooth sales reps over ethical SEO strategies (I’d say the majority of the SEO firms).

  • Ask if they can rank you on the 1st page by tomorrow- organically. If they say yes, just hang up the phone. Though I’ve gotten rank to the 1st page in 3 days, it’s very unlikely and something they don’t have 100% control over. So any ethical SEO company will tell you the truth, “no, we can NOT promise that”. Google can take a year to index a site or give you rank on an organic keyword.

  • Did they cold call you? If they did, then their own company websites SEO is probably not generating leads like it should. The last think I want for my SEO company is an outside sales rep calling dentists. I’d rather have an additional graphic designer, web developer, hardcore SEO’er, ad manager, etc...

  • There are more things you can ask, but the main thing is to conduct your research, not only on appearance, but asking them lots of questions and educating yourself with basic SEO fundamentals beforehand can help filter through many companies very quickly.

    The costs of dental SEO?

    I’ll explain what the costs should typically be for a good dental SEO company’s services. This is based on my company’s ethical and honest SEO practices and the many projects we’ve done where we have been profitable while achieving good results. We don’t have a ton of clients, but we have a 100% success rate and maintain 100% retention of our clients, to date. I’m proud of that and it’s from doing SEO the right way, not the easy way. I’ll take into an account that I’m a perfectionist so that usually drags my projects out 30-40% more than most, that’s a guess but I bet it’s not too far from reality.

    A fully responsive dental website with advanced SEO services should cost between $5,000 and $30,000. Prices lower than this I’d be skeptical about and prices close to the high amount better have a good explanation- like multiple locations, large service area, very competitive location, etc…

    I’ll explain why there is such a variation in pricing. Some practices only need a 10 page website, while others need a 100. This significantly impacts the time it takes to design and build the site. A larger and more competitive area will need more unique content to show more relevance in the area for the services you offer- versus a small town may suffice with a smaller 10 page web platform. A good SEO company will know how many pages you need based on local competition and search data. We developed a site for www.BrooklynDentist.com and it’s a very competitive area so we knew we needed at least 25 pages of full length high quality pages with unique images in order to show our Brooklyn customer relevance to the local dental searches. While we have developed for small towns like Colville, WA (population 3500) and over powered the search results with a 5 page site, we have also competed on national levels with dental B2B companies in need of a 100+ page site. A common saying in the SEO world is, “Content is King” and how that content is displayed in relevance to the search results, will impact your rank / website traffic.

    I’ll explain the numbers and how I compiled that information to get a good ballpark range of what you should be charged. Every dental practice is unique within its geographic location, services / specialties, objectives, current rank, and so much more. So it’s hard to say exactly what one’s project will cost without knowing their situation, but I will say that how many pages we will need is one of the biggest factors in SEO. How those pages are optimized and what advanced SEO entails is a whole new chapter, so we won’t touch that right now.

    LThe above table shows the typical range of pages that need developed in order to get your practice the rank and web authority it will need to promote your dental practice at the top of the organic search results. The more competitive the area then the more pages (relevance) you NEED to show Google. The more organic rank / traffic you have the less you’ll need to spend on paid advertising to achieve your desired results. We are aiming for traffic and conversions and this is why smaller websites will need more paid advertising, they don’t have enough web authority and don’t show enough relevance in Google for given search terms. Can a small site rank high? Yes, but it’s far more difficult when each page should only target ONE keyword.

    Google Adwords Certification Should Be Required

    Google ensures their advertisers are up to date with all their advertising methods / tools, and requires difficult testing to maintain their certification and their Google Partnership. Ask your dental marketing agency if they are certified because even if you’re returning on your investment, a certified Google Adwords specialist like myself can get your bids further down and ad rank up; thus equaling more conversions / patients.

    It’s not uncommon to see a $4000 per month Google expenditure with horrible rank and Quality Scores (that returns on its investment), but can be improved to double traffic for half that monthly cost ($2000 per month)- just from purely knowing the best Google advertising practices / requirements.

    SEO Companies Are NOT the Same

    Universities and educational institutions are developing curriculum that will significantly help identify a credible SEO company / freelancer, but for the time being, question the hell out of your probable SEO Company like an office manager interview process, it will be worth it. I have 11 years of SEO experience and I still learn stuff every day that will help our customers succeed, more efficiently. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, the average web developer gets paid $31.50 per hour, so depending on if you're hiring a team or a single dental marketing freelancer, a dental organization should statistically get what they pay for.

    If it wasn’t required that dentists meet stringent legal / regulatory requirements, then those whom could floss would be calling themselves dentists; of course this would be highly unsafe and would cause problems. The modern world of complex SEO is in the infancy stages for a structured and regulated advertising industry, so it’s up to you and your dental practice to do the screening on whom you choose to represent your dental practice.

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