Google Search Ads For Dentists: A Beginner’s Guide
In digital marketing, no acronym gathers more attention or attracts more interest from dentists than the always-iconic PPC - otherwise known as Google pay-per-click advertising. (We promise we didn't forget about you, dental SEO).
Rightfully so, Google PPC ads deserve all of their prospective hype because utilizing them can become an integral part of your marketing strategy if done correctly.
So, if you're just getting started with running paid ads for your practice and have questions or want to know how to optimize the Google ads you currently have in production, this article might be the one for you.
Do Google Ads Work for Dentists?
The short answer is: absolutely!
The long answer to why Google Ads work well for dentists involves one of the key features of pay-per-click (PPC) ads - keyword and geo-location targeting.
This targeting means that when your ads are set up correctly, your practice and its beautifully crafted marketing messages will begin to appear in front of potential patients in your area while they search for relevant keywords that your practice can help with. (e.g., Dental Checkups, Cleanings, Implants, Braces, and more)
Not only are Google PPC ads directly designed to engage with audiences that are more likely to convert into high-quality patients, they also have several other advantages:
Google is the most-used search engine in the world (we still love you, Bing). However, because there are over 6.9 billion searches across the Google search bar daily, you can always be sure there is enough audience traffic available to grow your practice(s).
In addition to Google's advanced keyword and geo-location targeting, there are even more targeting options to uncover that will help ensure your ads are shown to patients who have a high chance of converting. Characteristics such as their age, interests, or even whether they've interacted with your brand in the past (re-marketing)..
We've been tossing around the term "pay-per-click" or "PPC" a lot, so it might be a good time for us to mention that pay-per-click advertising directly means that you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. Hence, pay-per-click!
But it gets better. In Google PPC ads, you're part of a bidding system where you compete with other businesses for ad placement. For example, if your dental practice bids $3 for the keyword "Teeth Whitening" and a competitor bids $2.50, your higher bid may give your ad a better chance of appearing in a top spot (if Google deems your ad quality enough).
However, you only pay enough to outbid your competitor, so if you win the auction, your cost might be around $2.51 per click, thus controlling your ad placement while avoiding overpaying for clicks. Because of this unique pricing model, Google ads allow you to select a daily budget that fits your current marketing budget and prevent ad spend from getting out of control.
Pro tip: Our internal research has shown that the average CPC (cost-per-click) for dental practices can average between $1 to $5, with some metro-area practices hovering around $6-$7.
How Do I Optimize My Google Search Ads As A Dentist?
When discussing Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords, we're talking about a platform that can help advertise your practice and expertise to patients who may have never found you. But how do we set up our dental PPC campaigns to achieve the best results and ensure we appear when patients search?
Set Up an Account
First, it's time to set up your Google Ads account. Head to the Google Ads website to sign in or create a Google account. While creating your first ad campaign, Google will ask what goals you'd like to accomplish with your campaign. Do you want to generate leads? Direct users to your website? Typically, these are the two most essential campaigns you want to start with.
You will also be asked if you'd like to create a display campaign with your search ad campaign. Don't worry about display advertising yet; we want to focus on appearing at the top of search results for now.
Identifying the Right Audience for Your Practice
Once you’ve determined the campaign goals you’d like to accomplish, it’s time to hone in your audience.
First things first, you've got to know who you're talking to and where they are. This means getting a handle on two things: demographic targeting and location targeting.
Demographic targeting is all about understanding who your potential patients are. Think of their age, their interests, and what kind of dental services they're after. This can help you create relevant ads that really resonate with the people that are most likely to need your services.
Location targeting is crucial as well. You want your ads to show up for potential patients who are actually in your area, not just anyone who's interested in your location. This way, you're reaching people who can realistically come to your clinic, which means less money wasted on clicks from far-off places.
Choosing the Right Keywords
Now that we have your audience demographics and locations defined, it’s time for your keyword research.
Keywords are the search terms that patients type into Google when they're looking for a dentist. Your job is to figure out what these words are and to make sure your ads appear at the top of those terms.
Start by researching popular keywords related to the dental services you offer. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush are great for this and will help you find high-volume keywords that people are actively searching for. Make sure to add your location to these keywords as well!
Because when someone's looking for a dentist, they often include where they are. Think "best dentist in Houston" or "Invisalign near Grove City, Ohio." Including your location in your keywords helps target local patients even more effectively.
Negative Keywords and Location Exclusions
Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to add “negative keywords” into your Google Ads campaign as well. These can help prevent your ad from appearing under unrelated search terms such as “dental insurance” or “free dental services.” Because if your practice doesn't offer insurance plans or free services, including these as negative keywords ensures that your ads aren't shown to people searching for these terms, thus saving your budget for more relevant clicks.
You can also exclude locations in your targeting strategy as well to ensure there is no wasted spend in far away or low-converting areas. For instance, if your dental practice is in Austin, Texas, and you notice that you're getting clicks from Houston but rarely see any actual patients from there, you might choose to exclude Houston from your target locations. This way, you're not spending part of your advertising budget on an area that doesn't bring in patients.
Write Compelling Ad Copy
Like billboards from back in the day, the copy you publish with your ad has to be compelling enough to get people to look, take notice, and be interested enough to learn more. We don't mean to pack your ad copy with fancy buzzwords, though.
We want to ensure the copy is relevant and unique to your practice and incorporates relevant keywords. Take, for example, this copy from one of our client's general ad campaigns:
"A Brand New Dental Experience In [city/state] – Now Open & Welcoming New Patients. We Make Dentistry Easy With Comfortable, Compassionate Care You Can Trust. Schedule Today!
Now, that is some good ad copy!
Include Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are like the attached sidecar to your main Google paid ad. While your main ad lives at the top in its glory and does most of the driving, you can populate the rest of your advertisement with "Ad Extensions," which can help link to different assets and/or specific landing pages.
You have the ability to create various ad extensions, such as location extensions that link to your address on Google Maps, service extensions that lead to a landing page that displays pricing info for a particular procedure, or even callout extensions that let potential patients call you directly from your ad!
The tip here is to use as many ad extensions as possible to take up the maximum digital real estate your ad can have. And if you ensure your ad extensions are relevant to your search audience. your ads will likely increase their conversion rates as a result.
Create an Optimized Ad-Specific Landing Page
What happens when a patient is interested enough to click on your ad? This is where an ad-specific landing page can be essential. If someone clicks on your ad after searching for "Invisalign," only to be taken to your main home page with no further info, they're almost sure to leave your site confused and never return.
An optimized landing page with proper calls to action (CTAs) picks up where your ad left off. If your ad states, "We Offer Free Invisalign Consultations," users expect to be directed to a page with more information regarding those consultations and where/how to book after they click.
Keeping your landing page content relevant to whichever ad it's attached to means that your patients have a more cohesive ad experience and improves your chances of converting them long-term.
Set a Realistic Budget
When setting up your budget for Google Ads, think about what you really want to achieve and how much you can spend. A good starting point is to set aside between $10 to $100 each day, but this can change depending on what you're aiming for. Say you want to bring in 10 new patients a month, and it usually costs about $150 to get one patient through ads. In that case, you'd want to budget at least $1,500 a month.
Also, where your clinic is located matters a lot. If you're in a small town, you won't have to spend as much as you would in a big city where there's more competition for ads. So, adjust your budget to fit where you are and what you want to achieve.
Review and Launch
Now that you've set up your ad(s), your landing page(s), and set your budget(s), it's time to review all of the final details, add a payment method, and launch your ad campaigns out into the world!
Track Your Ads Performance
As exciting as it is to be done entirely with designing your paid ads experience and launching them live, that's only the first step to utilizing Google Ads to its fullest potential. The real work of optimizing your campaigns comes after launch through important analytics and metrics that indicate if your ad is working or not.
Monitor your ads performance and focus on critical metrics such as impressions, conversions, click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rate. If any of these numbers seem far too high or low, this can indicate something might need to be fixed with your campaign, and it needs to be resolved.
For example, if your ad has fantastic copy with a high Google Quality score but has yet to see significant impressions or traffic, you may have narrowed your audience too much, and Google isn't able to show your ad as much as it could. Or you might have a situation where your ads are getting a lot of impressions (views) but only a few clicks. This could indicate a possible issue with your ad copy and you may need to improve/rewrite to better resonate with your audience.
Google Ads can be a game-changer for dental practices looking to reach more patients. It's all about smart advertising and making the most of your budget. Google PPC has become a great option for growing your business, but it's not just a walk in the park. You've got to have a solid plan and really nail the execution.
Think of managing your Google Ads campaigns like tending a garden – it needs regular attention and care to flourish. This way, your practice gets noticed online and you start seeing a consistent flow of quality leads. But here's the thing: PPC advertising, especially in the dental field, isn't something you can just set up and forget. It's an ongoing process that needs you to stay on top of the game and really get the hang of how digital marketing works.
If you have any other questions regarding Google PPC Ads or how best to set up your Google paid campaigns from the start, our team at Studio EightyEight is here to help! With almost a decade of operating in dental marketing and digital advertising, our team of paid ad and marketing specialists know how to diagnose a variety of paid ad issues and implement the solutions needed to make a change. Reach out today and get the conversation started!