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a blog by Chris Barrow


Search Engine Optimisation: SEO We hear the phrase so often now that it has become a part of our everyday language – and when that happens we tend to stop thinking about what it means. So SEO is about making the best use of search engines. Period. Is it really that important? There is a way of testing how effective ALL of your marketing systems are:

  1. Relationship marketing

  2. Networking

  3. B2B and B2C

  4. Social media

  5. Web

(I list these in order of priority by the way). Take a look at Google Analytics and, in particular, the search terms that folks type in to their web browsers in order to discover where you are and take a look at your site. If the terms are predominantly your practice name or the names of your clinicians… THEN YOUR MARKETING IS WORKING PROPERLY Because people are finding out about your REPUTATION via word of mouth, networking, visibility. They are looking for your web site so that they can check and see if what they have heard is true. They want YOU and not just what you are selling. (the other big clue is that their first port of call after your home page is your team page) If the terms are predominantly dental products and services… “private dentist your town” “dental implants your town” “invisible braces your town” THEN YOUR MARKETING ISN’T WORKING PROPERLY Because people are finding out about your PRICE LIST and comparing that with all the other providers in town. They don’t give a damn about your reputation at this stage. At the end of the day, SEO is just Groupon on steroids. You might sell them something but you will have a hard job keeping them as long term patients afterwards. So every January you are back to the start line, having to recruit another batch of newbies. Bloody hard work and expensive. If you have a new practice or a new reputation, using SEO is like using a defribillation unit to kick start a patient’s heart – you need that jolt to the system. I’m working with a client at the moment who wants to “kick start” a new denture stabilisation service in an existing practice. Step 1 – direct mail (because direct mail is SEO for patients who are too old to use the internet daily – they read the papers and their mail instead – a good response rate will be 0.25% – of every 400 letters, 399 get binned). Step 2 – get the first 200 patients sold. Step 3 – turn off the direct mail and start using word of mouth on the 200. That’s the right way to use a kick start, whether its direct mail or SEO. You don’t keep defribillating over and over again once the patient’s heart is beating normally. What you have to focus on is OPTIMISING THE RIGHT THINGS. Step 1 – Search Engine Optimisation – only if you need to kick start a new patient list Step 2 – Reputation Optimisation (RO) – build your brand Step 3 – Content Optimisation (CO) – make sure that your web site, social media, broadcasting, literature et al is full of rich and relevant content Step 4 – Engagement Optimisation (EO) – connect, connect, connect – with patients, with local businesses, with your community, with what’s going on in your area, with the business of dentistry UK. Step 5 – Product Optimisation (PO) – make sure that you are selling what’s selling Step 6 – Practice Environment Optimisation (PEO) – a dental practice that you would be proud to show your parents around as evidence of how much you have achieved in your life. and by no means least…. Step 6 – Team Optimisation (TO) – a team who are “on brand”. “Optimise” = to make as effective, perfect or useful as possible. Optimise everything – not just the random searches of price shoppers.

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