Podcast: Mike Pedersen on improved dental SEO

Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: Good afternoon. You’re listening to Ascent Radio. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin, owner and operator of Ascent-Dental-Solutions, with an emphasis on knowledge, consultation, training and development. I’d like to give special thanks to Mr. Doug Foresta. He has produced all of my podcasts with Ascent Dental Radio and Ascent Dental Solutions. His company is Stand Out and Be Heard and I just always want to thank Doug for his excellent production.

Today, we have a special guest. His name is Mr. Mike Pedersen. Mike is the CEO of Dental Boost. It’s a cutting-edge dental SEO company for both solo and group practices with a focus on the dental market. Mike has been in this business for over 17 years with an emphasis on online marketing and six years, he’s been working exclusively with dentists.

His agency is able to help clients dominate all of their locations in Google organic searches. They’ve also provided custom high-converting dental websites. Most of the dentists out here listening and health care professionals realize that a website and a mobile app is part of our marketing program, but Mike takes it with his company, Dental Boost, to a whole new level.

Mike, thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule. Can you give us a little bit of background about the particulars; why you saw this niche, why you decided to get involved with this particular aspect of the dental business?

Mike: Kevin, first off, thank you very much for having me on your show. I’m honored and it’s very much appreciated. Instead of going after the normal approach for dental SEO which is city dentist, city veneers, city Invisalign, city sedation dentistry, those are very general terms and the unfortunate thing is everybody else is going after those terms. And if you’re in a big city, you’re talking about hundreds of dentists going after that term.

Well, that chance of that one dentist, even when they hire an SEO company, the chance of that one dental practice ranking in the top three organically is pretty slim or none, even after one year, Kevin. One year of investing in SEO, the chances of ranking in the top three are very slim, depending on the competition.

So what we decided to do was, do our exhaustive research to find out what kind of what we call buyer-intent dental keyword phrases are people typing in Google for specific searches. And we came up with some staggering numbers, absolutely staggering. The first number we came up with from kind of a general standpoint was 577. The typical dentist when they hire an SEO company goes after all of their services and they tap on the city and then they’ll go after city dentist, city cosmetic dentist.

So we typically see that the approach with all dental SEO is about 20 keyword phrases. We’ve come up with what we call Phase 1 SEO. We’ve come up with over 500. And when we tell our dentists that, they’ve never even heard that number before. It’s kind of like, “What is that? I mean, 500?” And they don’t think we’re serious. And then when we give them our references and they talk to some of our dentists that we’ve done it for, then they start believing that we do what we say we can do.

The exciting stuff for us is the back end, we’ve got a proprietary system we use that’s Google friendly that makes it through all the updates. But the neat thing that we’re able to do is from a robust standpoint, we’re able to not only go after the city the dentist is in, but all the surrounding areas up to five. And so what we’ll tell our dentist is, “Hey, what are the areas you draw your patients from outside of your city?” And they’ll name a bunch of areas. And it could be neighborhoods, it could be outlying towns, things like that. So now we’re going after five to six locations per dental practice.

When we do that, now you’re talking about ranking for upwards of 2,500 keyword phrases for your dental business. And that’s called pure domination in dentistry. Pure domination.

Kevin: I can tell Mike, you’re quite an athlete. I don’t know if our listeners understand what your previous background was in athletes, but I can tell with your desire, your drive and just your overall excitement with your business, Dental Boost. For some of our listeners, even the word SEO, Search Engine Optimization, may be foreign.

For those dentists not as, let’s just say, digital savvy, my understanding is that there’s close to 13 billion Google searches very month. And out of those billions of searches, is it true that the majority, 50 to maybe 75 percent are coming on mobile devices and can you discuss with our audience how that’s changed?

A typical dentist like me who’s been practicing for 35 years, I used to think if I have a website, I’m doing online marketing and I’m free to go. But in reality, experts like yourself realize we’re probably throwing our money into the wind and not getting much of a return on our investment. Could you address that for us, Mike?

Mike: Exactly. And you said something that’s very important when it comes to Google search too is we call it Voice Activated Search or Voice Search. Where people are on a mobile device, and they will talk into their phone — they use SIRI a lot for Apple devices — but they’ll get on Google and they’ll type in “cost of veneers, Portland” or whatever it may be and they’ll start — voice activated search is exploding.

And when you think of voice activated search, which is what we optimize for in our SEO campaign, people don’t talk in general terms. They talk as if they’re talking to somebody right in front of them. And when they do that, you’re talking with three, four, five words so that they get a really defined search result.

And that’s another benefit of our approach, is that mobile search is exploding. And you’re exactly right, it’s over 50 percent on mobile now and growing.

So people are spending more and more time on their mobile devices, including shopping, which Kevin you and I, I don’t know about you, but I’ll speak for myself. I’m 53, tech savvy obviously, running my agency, but I’m old school. I’m not about to make a purchase on my phone. I’ll do it once in a great while, but I don’t think the user experience is very good on a little phone to make a shopping purchase. But a lot of the younger millennials, 25, 30, 35, 40 year olds, they’re doing everything on the phone now, everything.

So you make a very, very good point and it’s a great reminder for me to tell the audience that voice activated search is exploding as well. And that voice activated search is not somebody saying Portland dentist, you’re saying, “Looking for male dentist in Portland, Oregon.” They’re talking into their phone, is what I’m trying to get at. And if you don’t optimize your website for a mobile search, you are losing a huge percentage of people that are using mobile to search for a dentist.

Kevin: Mike, let me just follow up with another question. I know you’ve been doing this for a long time. I know that your clients have been over the top satisfied with the service that you and your company have been providing. But how do you track the results? At the end of the day, when you take on a client, how do you track so that we have objective data to determine the return on investment with your company?

Mike: Great question. First and foremost, we always send ranking reports every month. And that is just hard core data to show if we’re performing what we promised we would perform, which is ranking higher in organic search. Number one as an SEO company, we’re hired to rank our clients higher in Google organic. That’s number one. That’s right off the top. So every month we send a ranking report. We just sent one the other day to a client and this is pretty damn exciting. Kevin, honestly, this is unheard of in dental SEO. This particular client had 973 top three positions in Google. 973, can you imagine?

Kevin: Absolutely fantastic.

Mike: Yeah. So first off, we send a ranking report. Second, we’re going to look at the traffic boost that our services are bringing that particular website. So we’ll go into Google organic and we want to see an increase in traffic. The increase is going to be incremental each and every month because as we rank more and more buyer-intent keyword phrases, that traffic is going to keep going up.

Unfortunately with the old style of dental SEO, traffic hardly ever goes up because it takes so long to get those rankings for those general terms. We’re able, with our robust proprietary back-end system we use, what we’re seeing on average is the first month ranking report we send a client, they have over 200 top three positions in Google is our average right now, after only four weeks of working with us.

Kevin: Mike, if you don’t mind telling the audience, you talked about the organic search. What’s the inorganic search when it’s associated with Google?

Mike: Great question. It’s called Google AdWords. Google has continued to show us something. As SEO experts, we’ve seen this happen more and more, but they can always go so far and then people will stop using Google, which is this; you will see the first page of Google with more and more ads because that’s how Google makes their money. But if they sabotage that and they can’t, there’s no way.

There’s a lot of people that say SEO is dead. Well, they don’t quite understand SEO when they say SEO is dead because if Google littered the whole front page with ads, people won’t use them anymore and Google as big as they are will go away.

People hearing this might say, “That’s crazy, they’re a 50, 60, 80 billion dollar company,” there’s been many multibillion dollar companies that disappear and we can name them over and over and over again. If Google littered the first page of their website with ads, people would leave them. There’s no doubt about it. So people that say SEO is dead, they’re uninformed.

But when we talk about organic and then what’s left is called Google Ads and also the map section, and Google is even taking more of that away. The map section, that little box on the first page when you type like a city dentist, it used to be seven positions in that map. Well, good old Google didn’t like that that map took a big section of the page one for a search so they cut that down to three. Good old Google, rumor has it, it might cut that down to one and throw an ad in there.

So as you can see, Google constantly is trying to, without getting in trouble, put more ads in there. So Google ads typically are the four positions on page one and the top four positions on page one as well. So top and bottom, that’s eight positions of ads.

But let me tell you something, Kevin, about ads and especially with those dental support organization owners that are listening to this audio. If you want to play the Google ad game per location, you are talking about thousands and thousands of dollars per month to get an ROI because it takes a lot of investment to gain the trust with Google to lower the cost per click. But even when you lower the cost per click, you still might get a lot of clicks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a phone call or a new patient.

So we’ve done some research and we’ve found out a number that I want all the listeners to understand, and it’s this; we have found out through research and studies that Google AdWords only send 10 percent of all website traffic to a business. Hear what I just said again; Google ads only send 10 percent of website traffic to a business.

That means if that business, whether it’s a dental practice, a DSO with 50 locations, if you are not doing any kind of organic optimization, you are leaving 90 percent of the potential traffic on the table for all those locations. Ninety percent!

Kevin: That’s huge.

Mike: That’s a big number.

Kevin: Mike, I was wondering if you could share with the audience in your business experience Dental Boost, without getting too specific, whatever your comfort line is, but for the dentists out there, large groups, solo, corporate groups, what generally can they expect for an investment to get your expertise to help them grow their business, improve their position on Google? And at the bottom line, you want people calling the office and you want to convert this tracking to new patients for your business.

Mike: Are you asking what our fees are?

Kevin: Generally, how do you charge the dentists that are listening? Is there a set fee, a monthly fee, a start-up fee and then follow up fees? How exactly does your company run in that regards?

Mike: We’re pretty standard, but what we do, especially the offering that we have with this buyer-intent and hundreds of phrases we go after, we’re priced about right in the middle of what most credible dental SEOs charge. But remember, most dental SEO companies are using the old method that takes six months to a year to see any kind of result, any at all. That is true. That’s a fact. But what we don’t want to do is we don’t lock our clients into contracts.

We’ve heard horror stories and I dealt with a lot of clients. I’ve got one right now, a solo practitioner out of Seattle, no names mentioned because I love them to death. They brought us on and his previous company basically will not let him go and they’re trying to extort a bunch of money from him.  

We don’t want to do that. We don’t lock our clients into contracts. With a thirty day notice, they’re out. They give us a thirty day notice, they’re out. But we do have an agreement because we have a formal agreement that lets them know what they can expect from us and the investment per month and that kind of thing, but we do not lock clients into like a 12-month contract, 18-month contract. If clients aren’t happy with what we’re doing, they can leave within 30 days. So that’s one. Really we’re proud of for that one.

Secondly, we don’t have start-up fee, we don’t have this fee, we don’t have that fee. We typically have a monthly retainer that our clients hire us on. That monthly retainer never changes unless they want to add on more services. And Kevin, I didn’t even get into all the stuff that we’re doing that’s getting really exciting for a lot of our clients, what we call add-ons and keyword clusters.

And I can tell you that a little bit, but for the investment it’s basically just one fee per month for SEO and depending on how competitive the area is, if you’re a solo practitioner, we’ve got kind of a baseline we start with as far as investment. It’s definitely not in the low end. If you’re looking for hundreds of dollars a month, we’re not the company for you. That would be another company that you would want to call on. It depends on the competitiveness of the city or the investment for our services. But our services only fluctuate $300 to $500 from top to bottom. So it’s not a real massive increase, if somebody has got a city that’s 500,000 we don’t like triple the cost, we just incrementally go up.

For a DSO, we basically cut each location in half. For example, the ideal situation for a DSO, so if the DSO owners are listening, please listen to this; Google is looking more for brand recognition now. No longer do you need individual websites for each one of your location. And I would strongly recommend against that. Have a brand that has all your locations on one website. That makes it consolidated, that makes it more cost-effective. And for us, now we can treat it not as separate accounts, like we would have to with each website, now we can treat it as we’ve got an initial investment for location one and then location two through the rest of them, we cut in half basically.

So it becomes way more affordable when you look at the investment with each location as its own business, even in a DSO, it’s still its own business but in this umbrella of a DSO, we cut it in half. So we feel like we’re very accommodating for a DSO to cut that price in half for each and every location after the first one.

Kevin: I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed and I’m sure our audience has enjoyed listening to your expertise as CEO of Dental Boost. Your particular interest and expertise to dentist is a credit to you and your company and it certainly will help us who struggle trying to find new patients and how to handle this new world of digital marketing. Can you tell our audience the best way to connect with you ; a website, an email, a phone number?

Mike: Sure, absolutely. One thing I want to say is there are a couple of dental practices on the east coast that have the name Dental Boost. Our company name is The Dental Boost. Because if the listeners just went to Google, they’re going to find a couple of dental practices back east so we want to make sure the word “the” is in front of that. The website is www.thedentalboost.com. My email address is mike@thedentalboost.com. Our business number is 866-500-1414.

And Kevin, I want to say one last thing too that’s really important to the listeners, and I love doing this, by the way. Anybody that’s seriously interested in doing this, we really don’t want anybody just trying to just kind of pick our brains and not have an intent into possibly hire us. I do a personal thing we call a Digital Assessment.

That Digital Assessment is I will do a screen share of my computer with all of your online presence. If you’ve got ten locations, if you’ve got one location, I will pull up all your different web properties and I’ll analyze them right there in front of you on your computer screen. You’ll watch me click around. I did it with you, Kevin.

Kevin: You’re not kidding. And for those listening to us, it was an extraordinary eye-opener. The time and energy that Mike and his company put in to evaluate, in my opinion, is worth a pile of gold.

We’re not experts when it comes to marketing. We’re experts in the web. My personal opinion is talk to the experts like Mike. Have them get you straight and narrow so that you get the best results and you don’t waste money and time. Mike, is there anything in closing that you’d like to tell our audience?

Mike: When you make a decision to invest in your practices, you own a business. So it is an investment. A lot of dentists we talk to really kind of fret over I don’t want to spend this much money or I can’t spend that much money. It’s an investment in your business and because everything is online now, I would strongly recommend giving serious consideration to investing in a digital marketing program for sure, whether it’d be with our company or another company. But other than that, Kevin, I just want to thank you so much. I’m very honored to have been on this call with you and I thank you very much for that.

Kevin: Right back at you, Mike. We’ve been listening to Mike Pedersen, CEO of The Dental Boost, an expert in online marketing, but in particular, search engine optimization to get the best bang for your dollar.

My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. You’ve been listening to Ascent Dental; my company, Ascent-Dental-Solutions, with a focus on knowledge, development and training and education for the dental community.

I also would like to close with a thank you to Mr. Doug Foresta who produces each and every one of our podcast and his company Stand Out and Be Heard. If you’d like any additional information in how podcast can help your business, give me a contact at www.ascent-dental-solutions.com.

Thank you everyone for listening. And I can assure you we’re going to get Mike Pedersen back from The Dental Boost to talk about the inorganic along with the organic portions of SEOs. Mike, thank you again and thanks to our listeners. I’ll talk to you soon.