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    The top 5 dental marketing scams

    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—so beware these common marketing scams.

    Each month, Dr. Lou Shuman consults with a dental digital marketing specialist to discuss the latest developments in social media trends, SEO strategies, website optimization, online reputation management, marketing and more. 

    This month, Dr. Shuman sat down with Cory Roletto, partner and co-founder of WEO Media, to talk about a few of the less-than-reputable marketing practices plaguing the dental industry. Here, they outline the top five dental marketing scams that you should be wary of.

    Your domain is expiring and needs to be renewed 

    This letter may look very official and many have the word “domains” in the company name. The form asks you to fill out information about your domain, give your approval to renew the domain and send payment. The payment request is often $100 or more. With rules established by ICANN, the governing body for domain purchase and transfer, you are unlikely to actually lose control of your domain, but you may not even notice your money didn’t go to pay for domain renewal.  

    If you are in doubt you can verify the domain registrar by doing a WHOIS lookup on your website domain, most domain registrars have this feature. Here is a link to the WHOIS lookup page on network solutions: http://bit.ly/2ktEzu4

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    We have evaluated your website and it has not been SEO’ed

    These emails are often automated spam emails with wording that makes it sound like they have evaluated your website, but upon closer inspection don’t give any specifics about what they found—because no one ever actually evaluated your website. They will often make nonsensical statements like your site is not web 2.0 compliant and have a link to test your site, or one of the following blanket statements:

    • You have low online presence for many competitive keyword phrases  • Your social media accounts are unorganized  

    • You have many bad back links to your website  

    • Your website is not compatible with all mobile devices 

    • Your website is being penalized by Google

    These types of spam emails often use search scrapers to pull some easy-to-obtain data about your website that is added to the email to make it appear legitimate. They may also have a graph showing made-up metrics; for example, social media completeness. One other obvious red flag is the email will not have any information on the company that supposedly evaluated your website, giving just a callback number or a Gmail email to respond.

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    We can get negative reviews removed, or make positive reviews show up more, if you sign up for an advertising package

    We have actually had sales people for a very large, well-known review directory system state this to us and many of our clients. This is always stated over the phone and they have never put it in writing — because it is flat-out not true. I am sure the directory involved would not condone this type of sales tactic, but we have seen it so many times it had to be mentioned. The truth is any reputable directory does not let advertising dollars influence what reviews do or do not show up when searching for a service.

    We have a special relationship with Google

     In this instance, the claim is that due to a special relationship, they can do things others cannot, such as getting special pricing on Google pay-per-click campaigns or obtaining a number one ranking on Google search. They may also misuse the term Google Partner to imply special treatment. Being a Google Partner means that personnel at the company have passed one or more Google certification tests showing they are proficient in some aspect of SEO or PPC.

    Being a Google partner is a good thing, but it does not provide any special privilege or advantage other than the fact that the company has taken the time to be certified.

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    Your Google PPC campaign is showing up in Europe because it is using the default settings

    This was one of the most outlandish claims we have seen. To start, Google requires the region for the PPC campaign be set as part of the creation of the PPC campaign. Second, there is no way for someone to accurately detect Google PPC campaign settings. Also, if someone guarantees a number one ranking in Google they can only be referring to Google PPC where the number one ranking can be bought by paying more per click, which is less than optimal. If a salesperson makes any of these claims, run! 

    Cory Roletto
    Cory Roletto is partner and co-founder of the dental marketing firm WEO Media (www.weodental.com), where he leads the operations team. ...

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