Should You Do Google Ads Or SEO For Your Dental Practice?

Crafting a solid marketing strategy to attract more new patients for your dental practice can be quite puzzling. There are so many moving parts to choose from that it isn't easy to put them together in a way that makes sense and, most importantly, results in the best ROI possible.

Should you do SEO?

How about SEO and Google Ads?

Or better yet SEO, Google Ads and Facebook Ads?

And let’s not forget to add Retargeting, Social Media, Email Marketing, Direct Marketing, Radio Ads, or even Groupon to the mix if you want your marketing efforts to turn your practice into a patient magnet.

Google Ads for Dentists - Choosing between Google Ads and SEO

While there are pros and cons to every marketing tactic available out there, your best bet is to keep things as simple as possible, making it easier for you to track your ROI down to the penny and to keep your peace of mind.

For the sake of simplicity in this article, I’ll address the question that I probably get asked more often than not by friends, clients and prospects alike: Which of these two, SEO and Google Ads, is best for me to incorporate in my marketing strategy and why?

Even though there is no easy way to answer this question, because it all depends on variables such as budget, competition, market, timing, and personal preference, I’ll formulate my suggestion based on the assumption that we’re not dealing with a complex marketing strategy involving every marketing tactic known to date, but instead with a down-to-earth marketing strategy whose goal is to increase the number of leads to your practice while taking good care of your marketing dollars.

Paid Traffic And Organic Traffic

First, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between SEO and Google Ads, probably the two most important traffic sources for any website. 

Though both of them are immensely valuable to any business because of their capacity to drive web traffic to a webpage, the types of visitors that you can expect varies slightly from one to the next and the inner workings of each are significantly different.

At first sight, the most glaring difference between these two traffic sources is that Google Ads is primarily a paid traffic source, requiring you to pay for every visitor who arrives at your page, while SEO is primarily an organic traffic source, one in which you have to invest early on to reap the benefits down the line.

Google Ads for Dentists - Google Ads, the basics

Google Ads: The Basics

Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform where companies bid to display their products or services on the top ad spots on a Google search results page.

Advertisers are usually charged on a per-click basis, meaning every time someone clicks on your ad, Google charges you according to your bid.

Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform where companies bid to display their products or services on the top ad spots on a Google search results page.

In niches like legal services, insurance, and hosting services, advertisers pay upwards of $250 per click for some keywords. In contrast, we see our dentist clients pay anywhere from $5 to $24 per click.

As you can see, this can get very expensive and if you don’t know your way around Google Ads, you can spend your monthly budget in just a few days. However, when you are familiar with the platform, it's easy for you to control everything from your daily budget to the keywords you’re bidding on and your bid amount per every click your ad gets.

Your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is determined by your ad’s quality score and a number of external factors such as your location, your industry, the competition you’re up against, the keywords you bid for, etc.

An attorney in Boston will get a different CPC from that of a plumber in Boston. And a dentist in San Francisco will also get a different CPC from that of a dentist in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Google Ads’ biggest selling point is probably their speed. You can start getting new clients remarkably fast. That is, once your ads are live, you’ll see how your website or landing page is visited by people who have clicked on your ads, inquiring about your services.

Think of Google Ads as your source of traffic on demand. If you feel like getting more leads for your dental practice, you only need to adjust your daily budget to your liking. Likewise if what you want is to generate less visits to your website, only in this case you’d decrease your daily budget.

Behind this simple explanation, there are many moving parts that you have to constantly monitor and daily tasks that you have to perform in order to optimize your Google Ads campaigns, so that your CPC decreases slightly over time.

SEO For Dentists - The Basics

SEO: Organic Results

Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to simply as SEO, on the other hand, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

Google prides itself on always showing the most relevant content to their users’ search queries, and so if you want your website to be featured at the top of Google’s search results every time someone searches for an “emergency dentist near me”, then you should make sure that your website scores high on Google’s search algorithm, which is in itself very complex and ever changing.

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

That’s no small feat. Not only do you have to stay abreast with Google’s latest updates to their algorithm, but you also have to factor in your competition, who are just as determined as you are to grab the top rankings on the search results.

Grabbing the top spot is one challenge, staying there is another challenge altogether.

People think SEO equals free traffic, but they miss the point because you’ve worked hard to earn your spot and you’ll have to fight equally hard to keep it. And that costs you.

Maybe you did it yourself, maybe you hired someone else to do it for you. In the end, you’re paying a price for every visitor that arrives at your website through your hard-earned search engine rankings.

SEO’s biggest drawback stands in stark contrast to Google Ads’ biggest advantage. It takes time to rank in the first page of Google’s search results. Anywhere from four months to a year, maybe even more, depending on how competitive the keywords you want to rank for can get.

This is why patience is key when you’re running an SEO campaign. You don’t know when your webpage will reach the first page of Google's search results and for how long it will be there.

Not to discourage you but getting to the first page doesn’t mean you’ve hit the jackpot unless you’re in the top three spots. Those are the ones that take over 57% of the traffic, with number one taking more than 37% of the traffic.

So if you’ve made it to the first page of Google but are placing anywhere from fourth to tenth, you can only expect to get as much as 4% and as low as 1% of the traffic. You’re not there yet, but the good news is all you need is a little push.

Setting your expectations right when you jump on the SEO bandwagon is crucial, because if the agency you’re working with didn’t do a good job explaining to you that it will be a long ride, then you’ll probably cut your losses short by the end of the third month, if not sooner.

Think about SEO as an investment that pays off in the long term.

A side note. If you’re shopping for SEO services and you run into someone who guarantees that they will put your website on the first place of Google’s search results, you better shake hands with them and part as friends, because no one can guarantee results in SEO. The best they can do is commit to working hard day in and day out to show you results.

That’s another significant drawback to SEO: there is more uncertainty involved when compared to Google Ads.

Google Ads For Dentists - Decision Time

Decision Time. Which One Will It Be?

Now that I’ve covered the basics of both Google Ads and SEO, the next step is to make a decision as to how to use them as part of your overall marketing strategy.

The basic premise here is that you want to see more patients coming to your door every month. And you want that to be as predictable as possible. I mean, you don’t want to leave it to chance.

Let's imagine that you want between 50-60 new patients per month (maybe more, maybe less) and the sooner they come knocking on your door, the better. Which would do the trick better: Google Ads or SEO?

If you ask me, Google Ads is the tool you need to hit those numbers. It’s fast and it’s reliable.

In the beginning it will take a while to optimize your ads campaign, so maybe you’ll get fewer patients than you were expecting, but soon enough you will be seeing those 50-60 new patients you were shooting for and getting a wonderful ROI.

SEO is certainly useful too, but not in the short term. You would have to invest in SEO for at least 4 months before you start to see any tangible results. Are you willing to wait that long?

That’s why dentists usually quit SEO. Because if that’s their best and only hope of getting new business to their practice in as short a time as possible, then the lack of visible results will get the best out of them and will make them opt out.

It’s frustrating when you don’t know for sure how long it will take to get to the coveted #1 spot on Google’s search results.

So this is what we usually suggest to our clients. We tell them to start with a Google Ads campaign, maybe even with two, budget permitting. It gets the ball rolling, generating new patients and more revenue, some of which they can then reinvest in their practice.

That’s when it really makes more sense to do SEO. When you’ve been able to increase your marketing budget because your revenues have increased as well and you can wait 4, 6 months, or more to see results from your SEO campaign.

So it's not one or the other. It's more a combination of the two as a result of your current situation: your short and long term goals, your marketing budget, and your timeline.

If you’re still on the fence and could use some sound advice about your digital marketing, raise your hand. We're here to help you! Click the button below to learn how we can assist you.

We’ll go over your current marketing strategy, your practice’s goals for the short and long term, and we’ll come up with the best game plan you could ever dream of.

We’ll take care of your digital marketing strategy for you.

Sources:

https://www.plerdy.com/blog/most-expensive-ads-keywords/

- https://www.advancedwebranking.com/ctrstudy/

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