Who Does What? The Myth of SEO as an IT Function

Separating IT and SEOThe most general definition of information technology (IT) is the use of technology, primarily computers and telecommunications equipment, to retrieve, store, and send information. From a dental standpoint, IT could encompass software programs, applications, and databases used to manage patients’ contact and payment information, scheduling functions, website security and maintenance, and diagnostic technology. IT is technical; it requires specialized knowledge.

Now, let’s look at search engine optimization, or SEO. Many aspects of SEO interact with technical components of webpages, including meta descriptions, tags, URLs, and anchor text. Clearly, IT and SEO are technical. It makes sense, then, that the two functions could be combined and perhaps even treated interchangeably…right?

Wrong. They aren’t the same, and rarely should they be handled by the same individual or department. Think of it another way: Dentistry is medical. Proctology is medical. Are they the same? No. Are they interchangeable? One should hope not. This isn’t a jab at techies, dentists, or proctologists. It’s not a question of whether an individual is capable of learning and excelling in unfamiliar territory, but whether attempting to do so is the most cost-effective, timely way to achieve your goals.

If you’re looking for ways to simply or save money, it’s best to look elsewhere. The opportunity costs in terms of visibility, website traffic and ranking are too great, and your tech department has equally essential duties to fulfill—404 errors, anyone?

Tip: Because the two functions are both technical in nature and share common elements, we find that most IT experts are willing and able to offer valuable insight and occasional SEO troubleshooting. This is especially useful if you choose not to outsource SEO.

SEO: In-House or Outsourced?

A typical yearly salary and benefits package for a dedicated in-house SEO professional runs anywhere from $50K-$70K, which is neither practical nor budget-friendly for most small or start-up practices. Outsourcing with an experienced professional can be costly, too, especially for large practices. The good news is that outsourced services are generally more affordable for niche and localized industries, including dental offices. A few things to look for when comparing outsourced options:

What additional services, if any, are offered? An individual expert may only provide SEO services, whereas an agency is more likely to offer a full menu of marketing services, such as dental blogging, website design, branding, and online reputation management for dentists.

Are services offered à la carte or as part of a package? Some agencies allow you to purchase a single service, whereas others require you to use multiple services. If you only need SEO, you shouldn’t have to pay for additional services.

Are discounts available for purchasing multiple services? Are there cost advantages to buying more than one service? If packages are available, what does each include? For example, we offer several premium packages combining our most popular services at varying price points.

Can the candidate provide samples of recent projects? SEO and other aspects of digital marketing are constantly evolving. Recent projects are a more accurate gauge of an agency’s commitment to keeping up with best practices.

Does the candidate have experience and expertise in your industry? Knowledge of search marketing is essential, but a deep understanding of clinical dentistry, patient behavior, and dental trends allows for better content and clearer communication with your practice.

Can the candidate offer specific recommendations and tactics? There’s nothing magical or proprietary about SEO success; it’s all hard work and strict adherence to legitimate “white hat” tactics. If an agency is unwilling to pull back the curtain, so to speak, it’s most likely because they’re using questionable “black hat” tactics.

Now that you’ve decided on the best candidate for executing your SEO strategy, we’ll look closely at its ideal objectives.

As always, we encourage you to call or text MDPM Consulting at 972 – 781 – 8861 with your dental SEO questions, or email us at [email protected]