Empathy, tenacity, and perseverance are keys to this clinician’s flourishing practice
What can you tell us about your background?
I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and lived there until I was 13 years old. My family relocated...
Focus on patients, family, academics, and endodontics
What can you tell us about your background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in business. I was accepted off of the alternate list for dental school and then attained...
Practice Profile | Dr. Anthony Horalek: The art and science of endodontics.
Dr. Andrei Zoryan dispels some of the common myths surrounding carrier-based obturation
Carrier-based gutta percha
Carrier-based obturation (such as Thermafil®, GT® obturator, ProTaper® obturator [Dentsply Tulsa Dental Specialties]) is one...
Dr. David C. Baker uses a technique that facilitates quick and predictable results
The patient is a 34-year-old female who was referred by a local colleague. She had broken her lower right first molar and complained of some general...
There are other ultrasonic devices on the market that depend upon direct contact with a separated file to loosen and remove. However, it is absolutely impossible to restrict the contact of the tip to the file remnant itself. The vibrations...
Dr. Roger Levin presents the 10 top ways to help create a perfect dental team
With the changes brought on by the economy, top companies are bringing in the best resources they can find to evaluate where their organizations stand. They want to know...
John Bednar helps avert problems coming down the pipe
If your office currently has a hard-piped filtered water system, now is a good time to consider if and when you should change to a self-contained bottled water system. A hard-piped filtered water...
In part 1 of his series, Dr. Ace Goerig offers the first steps to becoming debt-free
I was presenting at a recent AAE national meeting with over 200 endodontists in the room, and I asked the question, “How many of you are completely debt-free?” ...
Zoe Davitt provides some clarity into this complex subject, giving useful, practical advice on how to use search engine optimization to boost the number of website visitors.
Search engine optimization (SEO) seems to be the buzz phrase in dental marketing at the moment. Hardly a dental publication appears without an article on just how important it is, and as a result, more dentists are asking about it.But what exactly is SEO? What effect does it have on your website and your practice? Do you really need it, and how much expertise and investment should you be putting into it? This article aims to provide a simple guide to providing some clarity into this complex subject, and to give you useful, practical advice on how to use SEO to boost the number of visitors to your website.What is SEO?SEO is all about making sure that your website appears high up in search engine results, when people search for the services you offer. So, if you were an endodontist with a practice in Reading, Pennsylvania, and you wanted to attract clients for your root canal treatment, then you would want to be first in the list when someone searched for “root canal, Reading, PA.”Being first in the list means your website is likely to be looked at first, and hopefully, the person doing the searching would be so captivated by your site that they wouldn’t look anywhere else.However, you must bear in mind that even with the best SEO in the world, if your website is no good, it won’t work—people will go back to the search results and look elsewhere.So yes, SEO is vital—but so is having a website that is attractive to potential clients, and that gives them the information they need to know, quickly and easily.How does it work?Google® describes searching the web as being akin to “looking in a very large book with an impressive index telling you exactly where everything is located.” When you ask search engines to find something for you, their programs check their index, and give you the results they think are most relevant.Going into detail about everything that search engines take into account when delivering results would take up far too much space and be far too dull to bother reading. Plus, the truth is that search engines don’t give away all their secrets—if everyone knew the definitive way of achieving a number one search engine ranking they would use it, which would make doing it utterly pointless! But the basics are good to know.The first process used by search engines is called crawling, which is when the search engines’ programs (often referred to as robots, bots, or spiders) fetch (or crawl) billions of web pages on the Internet. The search engines then process all the pages to compile a massive index of all the words that the spider sees and their location on each page. This is called indexing. They also process information that is generally hidden from public view—the metadata. This is, in short, data about the data—it helps search engines to clarify and find the actual information that they need to show. The final stage is to serve the results to the person using the search engine. The search engine computers search their huge index, and give the results that they think are the most relevant to the user. This relevance is determined by more than 200 factors!What you can do to improve your website’s SEOHow can you use this knowledge to improve your website’s search engine rankings?Google® advises that the most important thing you can do is to provide high quality content on all your pages, especially your home page. “If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site,” they say.This means the information on your website needs to be clear and to accurately reflect your services and products. Your wording should include keywords—those that most reflect what you are offering. For example, keywords for a cosmetic dentist might include tooth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, smile makeovers, and veneers, plus your location. Don’t overdo it though—loading a page with too many keywords can make it difficult to read, which will put off site visitors. It can also attract the wrong sort of attention from the search engines.Make sure that the keywords and metadata you use are relevant—this should be fairly obvious, but we have seen some sites with very peculiar keywords that you can’t imagine anyone ever searching for! Keywords, by the way, is a slightly misleading term—it actually means key phrases, such as groups of two or three words, for example, “smile makeover, Reading, Pennsylvania.”Make sure your meta-description is appealing. This is the bit in the search engine results that describes the web page. It is, in effect, your sales pitch urging people to click through to your site and not the others. Make it relevant, and not too generalized. For example, your tooth-whitening page description should focus on tooth whitening, not give a general overview of your practice.Have lots of links from other websites to your site. This increases your “page rank,” which is just one of the things that the search engines take into account when delivering results. However, you need to be careful, and ensure that all the links are natural and genuine—i.e., that they are relevant and relate to the content on your site. Search engines can spot links that have been placed specifically to make your site look more popular than it really is, and upsetting the search engines can result in your site being penalized (given lower search engine rankings) or even banned from their index.Examples of good, natural, links include ones from your dental lab and other suppliers. You can also make sure you are listed in local business directories, and you can have click-through advertisements on suitable sites. Try to update your site regularly. This makes it clear that your site is up-to-date and still valid and attracts more attention from the search engines.There are a few things to avoid as well. Don’t do anything intended to deceive search engines, such as having “cloaked” (hidden) or “crawler only” pages. Anything on your site that you don’t intend visitors to see can be spotted by search engines, which may decide to ignore your site as a result.Finding expert helpUnless you are a real web expert yourself, it is usually best to leave SEO to the experts. The only difficulty is finding experts who really know what they are doing, as there are a lot of rogue SEO companies. Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t explain what they are going to do, and ask questions if necessary. After all, if your SEO company uses bad methods which get your website banned from the search engine index, it is your company that will suffer, not the SEO company.Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily need expensive SEO work. For many of our clients, having the basics in place (keywords, meta-title, and meta-description) is enough. We see great, first-page results with these. You are only likely to need to invest in ongoing SEO work if your practice is in a particularly competitive region.Please remember that this article is only intended as a beginner’s guide to SEO, to help you understand the basics of what can otherwise seem a mind-boggling subject. SEO is a very complicated subject, often referred to as a black art, and so, while the advice in this article is accurate and relevant, it should by no means be considered to be comprehensive.
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There remains a growing belief among clinicians that obturation is to blame for endodontic failures. This notion has more recently fallen under scrutiny as researchers have discovered that the most thorough obturation can only reflect the quality of the cleaning and shaping of the canal. In fact, a number of researchers point to the thorough use of irrigants — making sure that the debris and irrigant itself are lifted completely out of the canal, not forced out the apex — as the most important determinant in the long-term success of an endodontic procedure.
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