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Dentist SEO, Return of Investment & the true facts for practice


White Hat Dentist SEO and ROI:  We all agree that -without a doubt- patients are the most important part of any dental practice; they are the life and the value of your business and its most valuable asset. Bringing new patients and keeping them over time is not only logical but also kedentist’s SEOy to your success.

To achieve this, we look for different dental marketing strategies, we do everything and anything. Some of those campaigns come from the digital world and in the form of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And if you are reading this, chances are that you might have been told by a friend/colleague about SEO and/or bombarded with new SEO promotions, offers, and ideas that sound very promising but are also very confusing.

To summarize things out, at the end of the journey we realize that attracting real long-life value and loyal patients was not as easy as we were told. And we are left behind with little success, lots of frustration, and many confusing dental marketing campaigns that did not show any tangible results or have any way to measure them. So, we ended up not knowing if what we invested in actually worked or not.

If this is your case, keep on reading as we will take a deep look into the white-hat SEO world, what it means, how to understand its complexity, and -more importantly- how to measure your dentist’s SEO campaign, its results, your customers lifetime value (CLV) and the return of investment (ROI) that they bring you.

White Hat Dentist SEO

First, we have to set the record straight and differentiate a “good SEO” (aka White Hat SEO) campaign from regular dentist SEO campaigns out there, and why white hat SEO practices and tactics are important in today’s competitive market. White hat SEO refers to all organic techniques that enhance and improve your website’s visibility and performance on a search engine results page (SERP). Of course, these techniques must remain within Google guidelines and boundaries and -at the same time- preserve the integrity and strength of your website.

While other regular SEO campaigns depend on reaching out to uninterested people that might become one-time patients and leave. White hat SEO strategies do the complete opposite by targeting and matching you with the already interested customer.

This is done through a carefully planned campaign based on keyword and data research that will help -and guide- the patient to find your practice and choose your services above others. Through this more organic process, it is easier to match the already interested dentist SEO patients with your services, and with higher chances to not only take your services but also transition into loyal lifetime customers.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

But how do we measure these matches and how do we prove that the dentist SEO campaign is working? Well, we do it through accurate data that will allow you to see the return of investment you are having per patient. Through data analysis and tracking, we measure your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL). MQL are leads who are considered more likely to become qualified patients compared to any other leads; in other words, your dentist SEO patients are your MQL.

To track your white hat SEO campaign, we daily collect data from your website. As every new customer that goes into your site is interested in your services, they either call the practice directly, look for directions, fill out a contact form, or fill out an appointment form. So, by the end of the month, we have enough MQL information gathered and accessible data to calculate your MQL and the success of the campaign.

Return of investment (ROI) & the importance of knowing your Customer’s Lifetime Value (CLV)

To accurately calculate your ROI, we need to first calculate your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). But what is the CLV and why it is so important?
Customer Loyalty is crucial in any practice and the longer a patient stays with you the better your practice will perform. The CLV is the measurement of how valuable that loyal patient is to your practice within a certain time frame instead of just one-time treatment.

In brief, CLV is an estimation of the total worth a patient can bring to your dental practice over the entirety of your business collaboration. The time-frame can vary depending on the practice and can also be performed individually, but for general purposes and the CLV formula and analytics used in this article have been based on the ADA 2013 (Rvsd.2016) Patient per cost Data.

This metric will help you understand not only the value of each patient but will also give us a reference on how much ROI you are getting from any marketing campaign you will apply. By understanding your CLV and ROI you will also be able to accurately design the strategic dental SEO campaigns that will keep bringing back your old patients and getting newly referred patients.

CLV & the American Dental Association Method

American Dental Association (ADA)

Besides the number of new patients our dentist SEO campaigns can bring, in the end, the total revenue that those qualified patients produce over time is what matters. So, how do you determine what the lifetime value of a dental patient is?

The American Dental Association has done extensive research throughout the country to give us an average of the CLV of a patient. In 2016 they revised their 2013 Per Patient Cost of Dental Care Data and came up with a simple formula. You need to multiply the Annual Per Patient Cost by the Average Number of Years the patient stays with you:

Annual Per Patient Cost x Average # Years = CLV

So, as an example we are going to use the general calculations the ADA used for a general dentist, if your average patient spends per year a total of $685 and he stays as you loyal client for a total of 3 years, this means that the CLV will be of:

$685 x 3 = $2,055

Dental Marketing - Monthly MQL, CLV & ROI calculations for a Pediatric Dental Practice

ADA 2013 (Rvsd.2016) Patient per cost Data
* CLV is calculated without referrals
** These are very conservative estimates of the average # of leads/appointments

Dental Monthly Earnings, SEO Return of Investment (ROI) Calculations

To calculate your monthly earnings just multiply your CLV by your MQL. If you know your own CLV number, you can use that one instead of the one given by the ADA. Remember that the Monthly MQL (# of online appointments plus a number of website calls) is obtained from the data we gathered every month and multiply by your CLV (See previous Fig. 1 & 2).

Dental Marketing: SEO Monthly Earnings

Fig. 3 shows the FINAL SEO-ROI figures. Consider that if on your past month you had 4 online appointments and 3 appointment calls, your MQL equals 7

MQL x CLV = Monthly Earnings
7 x $2,055 = $14,385

Finally, the ROI is obtained from deducting your SEO investment from your monthly earnings:

$14,385 – $1,550 = $12,835 (ROI)

Orthodontics and Pediatric Dental Data Samples

The following charts will show the above-explained SEO-ROI calculations.

* Prices are based on the average SEO Package for 1 city, 1 Location, and 1 website. It does not include any other extra service.
** Website Contact Form Data means customers that have scheduled an online appointment.
*** Calls from the Website. or Call tracking data. Includes all First-time callers that have scheduled an appointment.
**** As these Charts present the Online Appointments and First Time Online Calls separately. To total SEO-ROI will be on the final Bar Charts.

Monthly MQL, CLV & ROI calculations for an Orthodontic Practice per ADA data

Dental Marketing: Orthodontist SEO Return of Investment

Orthodontics SEO Investments and ROI

Analysis: Fig. 6 shows the FINAL SEO-ROI figures. Consider that if on your past month you had 4 online appointments and 3 appointment calls, your MQL equals 7

MQL x CLV = Monthly Earnings
7 x $2,880 = $20,160

Finally, the ROI is obtained from deducting your SEO investment from your monthly earnings:

$20,160 – $1,550 = $18,610 (ROI)

Monthly MQL, CLV & ROI calculations for a Pediatric Practice per ADA data

Pediatric Dentist Online Appointments and Phone Calls From Website

Pediatric Dentist Monthly SEO ROI

Analysis: Fig. 9 shows the FINAL SEO-ROI figures. Consider that if on your past month you had 4 online appointments and 3 appointment calls, your MQL equals 7

MQL x CLV = Monthly Earnings
7 x $8,775 = $61,425

Finally, the ROI is obtained from deducting your SEO investment from your monthly earnings:

$61,425 – $1,550 = $59,875 (ROI)

So, as you can see it is possible to get tangible results from your SEO, and Search Business Group will deliver those numbers and those results to you. We understand your practice and we all want your practice to rank high on Google, and get lots of visitors each month, but we also want to see effective campaigns and results.

We are here for you and we are that competent dental marketing SEO agency that provides you with the industry know-how, experience, tangible data, and numbers that will have your business thriving, and with the leads and appointments that you were promised for your success.

Our healthcare marketing skills will give you the edge you need to win the loyalty of patients in your area. Let us boost your patient base so you can enjoy the dream career you’ve worked so hard for.

Apply today and See If Your Practice Qualifies.


The Per-Patient Cost of Dental Care, 2013: A Look Under the Hood

Authors: Thomas Wall, M.A., M.B.A.; Albert Guay, D.M.D. Available from:

Per-patient Dental Expenditure Rising, Driven by Baby Boomers

Authors: Tom Wall, MA, MBA; Kamyar Nasseh, Ph.D.; Marko Vujicic, Ph.D. Available from:

An Analysis of Dental Spending Among Adults with Private Dental Benefits

Authors: Cassandra Yarbrough, M.P.P.; Marko Vujicic, Ph.D.; Krishna Aravamudhan, B.D.S., M.S.; Andrew Blatz. Available from:

Dental spending remains flat-lined |HPRC research shows little change between 2011 and 2012 | January 20, 2014. Available from:

Picture of Ron Arellano
Ron Arellano
President of Search Business Group, Ron is a Healthcare Business Consultant, Digital Marketer, Award-Winning Senior Creative Director Who Loves UX/UI, Web, SEO, Data, and Animals.

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