Building a website without doing SEO is a bit like building a restaurant in the middle of the desert. There are no roads leading there and no signs telling anyone where you are so the likelihood of your restaurant getting found is remote. The same thing with your website, you can have a website that looks great and you think represents your practice well but if no one ever finds it then it is not doing you much good.
We separate SEO into 2 categories; on page and off page.
On page SEO has to do with how your site is built (the code and structure) and the written content that is on your site. This is extremely important because if search engines arrive at your website but cannot tell what the site is about or if the content is exactly the same as some other dentist website then you may get pushed into the abyss that is no where to be found on dental related searches. A few examples of what is included over and above our basic website: optimized images, complete tag structure optimization, load speed optimization, internal linking, monthly site audits to improve ranking and keep up to date with changes in Google’s algorithm, Google Webmaster Tool
Off page SEO is all the factors that affect your search ranking outside of your website itself. These can include things like quality back-links, social bookmarking, online directory listings, video links, web 2.0 sharing and engagement, press releases, online articles, forum posting, commenting, and niche directories just to name a few.
Good results from SEO takes time so it is a good idea to do some SEM or search engine marketing in the meantime to get on the first page of Google right away.