Oral Health Care Providers’ Best Patient Source: Organic Traffic
In The US it’s Google, in Japan it’s Yahoo!. Regardless of where he or she is at, a private medical practioner’s best marketing friend is a search engine.
Nick Fiorini is an SEO Rochester NY based Internet marketer who provides local SEO services to businesses in Upstate NY. His clientele includes a few orthodontists and dentitsts
“As medical professionals, orthodontists and dentists can end up benefiting from organic search engine traffic more than professionals in other non-medical related industries because of one simple thing: Trust,” says Mr. Fiorini. “Studies have found that 70% of all health care related appointments start with a search engine inquiry. Furthermore, more people are inclined to click on an organic listing rather than an ad. The ad doesn’t carry trust because someone paid to be there. An organic search result, however, holds more trust to many search engine users because they had to earn that spot through proper search engine optimization.”
Chitika, Inc. a search-targeted advertising company, discovered some interesting click data from a 2013 study that still holds true today, after all search behavior doesn’t change much from one year to the next. Potential patients are looking online for the services you offer and if you are not on the first page of search engine results you are most likely not getting found since more than 95% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
In Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Google specifically has listed certain types of websites as “Your Money or Your Life” webpages, or YMYL. Simply put, these are pages that can affect a person’s well-being so they are the most critqued by Google with very strict parameters need in order to rank well. Medical information pages like a web page which provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc. are roped into this YMYL category and are scrutinized stricly under Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These pages are then rated with the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) that it has.
According to Google, “High quality medical advice should come from people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High quality medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.”
Unfortunately, Yahoo! has not been as transparent as Google has been with how their search engine works. This has made search engine optimization in Japan difficult for local businesses throughout the country. So, if you are an orthodontist or dentist based in the USA consider yourself lucky that search engine optimization is a lot more approachable thanks to Google!
Ohaguro: The Strange Japanese Custom Of Blackening Teeth
In Japan, Ohaguro (お歯黒) is a custom of dyeing one’s teeth black. It was most popular in Japan until the Meiji era. Dyeing is mainly done by married women, though occasionally men do it as well. It was also beneficial, as it prevented tooth decay, in a similar fashion to modern dental sealants.
Because objects that were pitch black, such as glaze-like lacquer, were seen as beautiful, Ohaguro became quite prominent and existed in one form or another for hundreds of years and was seen amongst the population until the end of the Meiji period.
The word “ohaguro” was a Japanese aristocratic term. There is an alternate reading for ohaguro, 鉄漿 (literally ‘iron drink’ “lead”). At the old Imperial palace in Kyoto, it was called fushimizu (五倍子水). Among the civilians, such words as kanetsuke (鉄漿付け), tsukegane (つけがね) and hagurome (歯黒め) were used.
For years Ohaguro was a well practiced fashion but on February 5, 1870, the government banned it and the process gradually became obsolete.
In contemporary times, the only places where ohaguro can be seen is in plays, some festivals, and movies. Some traditional geishas still practice it.
Nowadays, modern Japanese dentists and orthodontist are amused at the reaction of their western counterparts when they introduce them to this strange custom.
International American/Japanese Orthodontist Meetup In Upstate NY: November 25th.
Horseheads, NY is a sister city to Japan’s Bato, Tochigi city, setting the location for the first ODIIE meetup. This will be a 2 day event and so far 15 orthodontists have considered attending with 7 actual attendees registering.
There will be a lecture from Dr. Kuwaki Toru followed by group discussion at the town hall in Horseheads, NY. Visitors will also be taking in the breathtaking scenery around the Fingerlakes with accommodations provided by Cayuga Lake Front Inn, an Ithaca NY bed and breakfast hotel alternative.
All Information so far:
What: ODIIE International Meetup
Where: Horseheads, NY
When: November 25th, 2016 (tentative)
Accommodations: Cayuga Lake Front Inn
How To Choose An Orthodontist?
Interview three orthodontists. Why three?
You will at least have a good chance of encountering one you do NOT want to go to and you will learn this in the free consultation session (if this is not offered at a particular practice do not waste time going there.
A family discount can be HUGE (Especially when you see how expensive orthodontic work can be in North Carolina) Whether a practice is right for you has a lot to do with the personality of the orthodontist and how good you feel when you’re there.
Is the staff on point and friendly and, most of all, knowledgeable? Trust your instinct too.
What Will I Pay?
Costs for orthodontic work vary by doctor and region. In North Carolina you can pay a lot if not careful. $6K for children and $6.5K for adults is about average. The 2014 average cost for braces alone was staggering.
Just look at the printing costs for orthodontics mentioned above. The overhead is in the least likely places so orthodontists’ may attempt to raise their price to alleviate these costs.
Leading orthodontists in the past have pointed out in the past that a good orthodontist can work with his patients when it comes to cost. It’s not just about teeth but patient care on all levels. Other practices take fewer patients per day as little as 10-20 patients daily so earning business by alleviating cost is part of a marketing strategy.
More expensive doesn’t always mean better. Meet any orthodontist you consider face to face to see how they react when money comes up.
Many orthodontists offer interest-free financing for clients with good credit. And most also offer financing through banks.
In 2010, 60% of all new patients had dental insurance that include orthodontic benefits, according to the AAO.
Dental Insurance and The Affordable Care Act
Dental coverage can be obtained (for free in some cases), which is part of certain health plans. Through the designated health insurance exchange one can find plans that offer both dental and health coverage. A single monthly premium for such a plan would cover dental and health insurance as well as adding on the dental insurance separately from a chosen health plan. In this case, a separate monthly premium for dental insurance will have to be paid.
While dental coverage for children under age 19 is a required benefit under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, and is included in their health insurance plans, that’s not the case for adults. Covered California is the second to last among the state-run exchanges to offer dental coverage for adults.
Since Covered California came to fruition for dental care Berkeley Dentists in the area have been receiving a flurry of calls regarding inquiries about everything from teeth whitening to dental implants.
Dr. Whitley is no stranger to providing dental care to those who can’t afford it. Through “Give Kids A Smile Day” and Dental Lifeline, Dr. Whitley has chosen to provide free dental care to the needy of California through the CDA Cares clinics which run multiple times a year.
The dental plans are optional, and there’s no tax penalty for not enrolling in them.
I heard Japan is doing big things in Orthodontics. Is this true?
Yes. Japan’s orthodontics graduate programs have been expanding. The following diagram can expand on key difference in Japanese style orthodontics:
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