In the second installment of our Google Ads 101 series, we’re talking all about how to find the perfect keywords for your dental practice’s Google Ads campaign.
When it comes to running Google Ads to bring more patients through your door, the key to your success will be dependent on how well you’re able to identify and choose keywords to target. Well-chosen keywords ensure that your ads are seen by the exact people who are looking for your services. With the right keywords, you can attract the right customers, increase your click-through rates, and get the best ROI possible.
Researching keywords is part science and part art form. But don’t let that intimidate you, we’re going to walk you through step-by-step how to find the right keywords for your PPC (pay per click) campaign that will help you maximize your dental marketing efforts.
Start By Brainstorming
As a growing dental practice, you should already know what services you’re looking to sell more of. Do you specialize in teeth whitening and want more patients in the door who are looking for that service? Do you offer extended weeknight and weekend hours for a busy family and would like to see more children and business professionals in your dental chairs?
Take some time to think about what services you’d like to sell more of and who your ideal patient is. A good place to start may be your website. Assuming you have good copy on your website, it should be targeted at the type of new patient that your practice would like to target. From there, put together a list of keywords that directly relate to your services.
You can organize your keywords into the following categories:
- Branded terms: these are any keywords that contain your brand or practice name.
- Generic terms: these are terms that relate to the services you offer i.e. teeth whitening
- Related terms: these are the terms that don’t necessarily relate to your service, but are ones that users who could benefit from your service are searching for i.e. how to remove coffee stains on teeth
- Competitor terms: these are the brand names of your competitors or other dental practices in your area that offer similar services to yours.
It’s important to note that bidding on a competitor’s brand is usually very expensive and can easily eat up your entire dental marketing budget, so unless you have an above-average budget for marketing, this strategy may not be worth your while.
Here are some additional tips to consider while you’re in the brainstorming stage of keyword research:
1. Put yourself in your prospective patient’s shoes: what kinds of words and phrases would they type into Google if they were looking for your services?
2. Be sure to include keyword variations, synonyms, and other spellings in your keyword list: Google is smart, it can make connections between related terms. For example, someone looking for “teeth whitening” may also get search results for “teeth bleaching” as these are often the same service.
3. Get specific: as you’re determining which keywords to target in your Google Ads campaign, keep in mind that short-tail or “head” keywords like “dentist” are great, but they’re broad and usually very competitive. Make sure you incorporate long-tail keywords like “teeth whitening dentist (city)” to your list. This longer keyword may get fewer searches per month, but the people who are searching with that phrase are looking for your EXACT service, increasing your chances that they will click your ad and convert to a customer.
4. Consider misspellings: searchers don’t always type in perfect English, therefore some of your keywords may also include misspelled words. In keeping with the teeth whitening example, people may spell it; “teeth whitning”, “teeth witining”, etc. Be cautious though, you don’t want to include misspelled keywords in an ad group if you choose the Dynamic Keyword Insertion in your ad. This will cause the misspelled word to be included with your ad, making it look careless and unprofessional. We recommend creating a separate ad group for the misspellings if there are any.
5. Optimize for voice search: voice-led search is becoming increasingly popular as people are speaking their queries directly into their phones or to other smart devices to search for things quickly and easily. Take this into account when you’re targeting keywords. Your keywords should reflect classic typed phrases like “teeth whitening (city)” as well as spoken phrases like “where’s the best place to get my teeth whitened in (city)?”
Dig in With Some Keyword Research Tools
Once you’ve completed the brainstorming part of keyword research for your dental marketing campaign, it’s time to move on to using specialized keyword research tools to determine which keywords are worth keeping and which ones you should let go of. And despite your best instincts, it’s not worth it to just “go with your gut” on which keywords will be most effective—you’ll want to research to make sure you get the biggest ROI possible.
There are dozens of keyword research tools out there for you to choose from. Some of our favorites include; Google’s Keyword Planner, which is found right inside Google Ads, Keywords Everywhere browser add-on tool, SEM Rush, and AHREFS keyword planner tool.
Each keyword planning tool is a bit different and some are free while others are paid. No matter which tool you choose, the key stat that you want to be aware of if the search volume. The higher the search volume of a particular keyword, the more people are typing that search into Google per month. The other stat that you’ll want to pay attention to is the competition of each keyword. Some keyword planners assign a number to show how competitive a term is, and others will have a low, medium, high scale.
The sweet spot is finding keywords that are high volume and low competition—these are the keywords that will win you substantial traffic without breaking the bank on your dental marketing budget. Conversely, if you have keywords on your list that have little to no search volume, or the competition is rated so high that the cost to bid on it would consume your whole budget, consider dropping those from your list. Most keyword planner tools will offer you suggestions for other keywords that you may not have thought of that would be much more worth your time and marketing dollars to target.
It’s Time to Get Organized
At this point, you should have a pretty large keyword list. Now you’ll want to start to sort that list into smaller, more targeted groups that are closely related to one another. These groups should correspond to your ad Google Ad groups.
The more focused your ad groups are, the easier it will be to do the following:
- Measure and monitor the performance of each keyword
- Add or subtract from your lists should you need to
- Created highly specific, relevant, and profitable ads
Additionally, when you have small, organized as groups there are multiple beneficial effects on your account. A well-organized campaign means more relevance, and more relevance leads to higher Quality Scores, which leads to increased ad rankings and decreased expenditure for each click and conversion.
Be Sure to Include Negative Keywords
As you’re putting together your keyword list, don’t forget negative keywords, or the search terms that you DON’T want your ads to show up for. These are important for every campaign as they help to control costs and keep your ads as targeted and relevant as possible.
The main reason why you should consider including negative keywords in your ads is to prevent them (and your brand) from showing up for search queries that are either unrelated or offensive. For example, if your practice caters to affluent customers who are looking for high-end dental cosmetic treatments, you wouldn’t want the words “cheap” or “free” being associated with your ads or your brand.
Just Get Started!
We understand that Google Ads can feel intimidating and you may be tempted to wait to start your ads until you have the “perfect” keywords. But the truth is, you’re not going to discover every profitable or negative keyword the first time around. A good ads campaign is always growing and evolving as you monitor its progress and success, or lack thereof.
A good rule of thumb is to keep a close eye on your campaign and take some time each week to do a little more keyword research. You can add new keywords, set new negatives, experiment with new match types, etc. With time, dedication, and know-how, your Google Ads will get stronger and more relevant as time goes on.
If you need help with your Google Ads campaign, keyword selection, or dental marketing in general, Core Dental Solutions is a full-service dental SEO company that can help you to create optimized, highly-relevant Google ads that not only give you a great ROI, but that help get more new patients in your door every month.
Schedule your free consultation here to learn more about our dental marketing services and how we can take your dental practice to the next level this year!
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