Dental Marketing 101: Using Google Ads

This guide to dental Google Ads shows three ways dentists can win on the platform, along with a few tips to make your account more effective.

Does running dental Google Ads actually work for dental practices? Whether you are currently on the platform or just curious about what Ads has to offer, you’ve likely asked this question.

In the race to get to the top of Google search result pages, many practices either jump into using the service too quickly or hire a third party service to set it and forget it.

In these cases, Google Ads can feel less like marketing and more like throwing wads of money out the window.

But not always.

The greatest opportunities lie in the platform's flexibility, which is why Google Ads can absolutely be an effective marketing tool for dentists under the right circumstances.

It all comes down to knowing how/what your patients are searching for and taking the time to experiment with the service.

How Google Ads Work for Your Practice

Google Ads is a pay-per-click ad platform that drives businesses to the top of Google searches, boosting traffic and conversions (ideally).

For dental practices of all sizes, this can mean serious business. Studies show that 98 percent of searchers choose a business from the first page of results.

In addition to increasing basic visibility, these are the three ways you can use Google Ads to your advantage as a dental professional.

Improve Targeted Keyword Search

Dentists stand to benefit from keyword-driven dental Google Ads because patients are often searching with specific, and sometimes urgent, intent. These are people who need a solution to a problem quickly.

For example, if a crown breaks or a tooth is shooting with pain, people tend to get very specific with their searches.

Being able to target these potential patients and appear at the top of search gives you an edge that is hard to beat. This is especially if your practice does not organically appear on the first search result page.

You'll also want to reach those patients without breaking the bank, so you'll need to know exactly who you want to target and for which needs.

Are you looking to attract any and all patients, or patients for specific services? Are you looking to cast a broad net geographically speaking, or focus more on your own neighborhood?

To minimize costs, the rule of thumb is to market specific services to as narrow of a group of people as you can target.

For example, let's say you’re a dental practice in the northside Chicago neighborhood of Bucktown.

You'll want to target service-specific, hyper-local keywords, like

“Bucktown Implant Services” or “Bucktown Pediatric Dentistry.”

By targeting those keywords instead of broader ones, like "Chicago Dentist," you're more likely to reach the patients who are looking for a dentist in that neighborhood without overspending on the folks searching for a dentist in a different part of Chicago.

Increase Local Search

In addition to targeting specific search terms, Google Ads lets you run ads for a specific location. This can be determined by country, county, state, city — you can even set a radius from a certain location like your practice.

For smaller operations, this function allows you to put your dollars to more effective use. You can target people nearby who are more likely to make an appointment.

You can even strategically exclude locations to increase your ROI.

Learn More about Your Patients

Beyond the ads you are actually paying for, Google offers a wealth a data on consumer behavior and demographics.

You are able to view metrics on keywords that perform best, success rates by time of day, the types of devices people are using to find your ads, and much more.

This information helps you get into the patient mindset and learn their search habits.

You can use this data to not only improve your ad campaigns on Google, but also to boost SEO and inform social media marketing strategies.

With these goals in mind, it’s time to take a look at a few easy-to-execute improvements that will set your Ads account up for success.

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Google Ads Best Practices

1. Optimize Keywords

When choosing keywords, it is a good idea to start with a wide range and a “broad match.” Research keywords on Google’s Keyword Planner to see the average number of people who searched for those terms.

Think like a patient to use words and long-tail phrases they might search to find your practice. Shoot for 10-20 keywords per ad group and keep track of the keywords you are using.

The easiest way to optimize keywords is to use your search terms report to your advantage.

This is a list of terms people used that resulted in your ad being shown. You can see which keywords are resulting in clicks or conversions. It also enables you to see if any irrelevant keywords sneaking in.

This is a great opportunity to add a few negative keywords to your campaign. Negative keywords keep your ads from appearing in the wrong searches.

Because it is all about the keywords on Google, the more you are able to monitor and adapt your list, the more successful your dental Google Ads will be.

2. Connect Your Location and Contact Info

By linking your Google My Business (GMB) and Ads accounts, patients will easily see your contact info and location on Google Maps.

This is crucial, as the key to new patient acquisition is always making it easy and making it visual.

To set up your location extension, login to your Ads account, click “Ads & extensions” from the left page menu, and select the blue plus button at the bottom. Choose your GMB account and confirm the location to finish.

3. Optimize Landing Pages

Landing pages are the sites people visit when they click on your ad.

Landing pages should have a very specific call-to-action that is directly related to the ad. This is where a little strategy can go a long way.

Let’s say you are running an ad targeting people searching for basic teeth cleaning services. Sending patients to a customized appointment page rather than your generic homepage will generate far more conversions and increase your ROI.

4. Run A/B Tests

A/B tests are ad experiments that compare two slightly different ads that to see which ad yields the best results.

From headlines and copy to location and keywords — these tests are crucial to learning how patients search, click, and convert.

Google recently made it a lot easier to run sophisticated A/B tests. As of last year, the Ads “ad variation” feature lets you test and monitor how well an ad performs based on small changes.

Get started by clicking “Drafts & experiments” on the left page menu.

From here you can select a campaign to filter ads by the headline, description, or path fields. You can then choose between “find and replace,” “update text,” or “swap headlines.”

For example, you can create a variation to select “dentists near me” and replace with “nearby dentists” to see which keywords drive more local traffic.

These variations are great for comparing small text changes and can help you refine your CTAs and communicate more effectively.

5. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Platform

Like any kind of tool, the more you understand Google Ads, the more effective you'll be at using it.

To learn all the nooks and crannies of the platform, you’re best off going straight to the source – Google. Launch into all the support and training they offer at Google AdWords Support and Google AdWords Learning.

And if you're super-motivated, you can even get Google-certified in Google Ads. (Just think: with a certification in your back pocket, you'll not only become a dental Google Ads wizard, but you'll also strengthen your resume.)

6. Check in Frequently

Practices of all sizes can take advantage of the marketing opportunities on Google Ads by investing just 20-30 minutes a week on the platform.

Again, most of the complaints about Google Ads are caused by a lack of attention to the platform or from hiring a third-party service that under-utilizes your account.

Follow these above steps and keep clear goals in mind. In doing so, you'll be able to use Ads to its full potential and start meeting your patients where they are searching most.

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Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.