Choosing SEO or PPC; Getting the Best Return on Your Dental-Spending
It's an age-old, unanswerable question; which is best for a dental practice, PPC or SEO? The fact is, that's not a question quickly answered. For the most part, which is better depends on your goal of acquiring new patients.
SEO (search engine optimization) produces the ultimate results if your goals are long-term. But in the meantime, (PPC) pay-per-click advertising can fast-track the acquisition of new patients. The fact is that PPC for dentists and general SEO is often necessary to get your dental practice more visibility online.
We will outline the following benefits of SEO and PPC. Hopefully, it will help you make more informed decisions about your future online marketing.
The Benefits of SEO for Your Dental Practice Website
For the long term, you want to optimize your website with various SEO practices to gain organic web traffic through keyword searches. For example, suppose you have a cosmetic dentistry practice in Chicago. In that case, SEO can help Chicagoans in need of tooth whitening find you if they type in "cosmetic dentist in Chicago."
The benefits of organic traffic are many:
- Long-lasting Credibility: Appearing high in the search results establishes legitimacy and trust. People generally assume the best is always on top and gives potential patients a positive first impression.
- ROI: While search engine optimization takes time and effort, the return on investment is top-notch. Once you begin to rank organically, you won't need to buy PPC ads. However, you will need to maintain good SEO practices.
- It's Sustainable: Organic traffic doesn’t stop if you stop paying for ads. Organic traffic is free if you want to scale back your advertising budget.
- Tons of website traffic: Other than word of mouth, the best source of new dental patients is Google and other search engines. Every second of every day, Google performs tens of thousands of searches. SEO puts you at the top when people in your area are looking for a dentist online.
However, SEO isn’t the entire picture of marketing your dental practice online. That's because nothing is guaranteed. Also, topping the organic search results can take considerable time. It can take months to move up even a little bit.
But, as they say, patience is a virtue, and all good things come to those who wait. Moreover, when you make it to the top, the results are sustainable, creating a constant source of new patients.
The Advantage of Dental PPC
Pay-per-click advertising is different from organic search results since you pay to be on top. When you use a search engine, you'll see two or three listings at the top, marked “ad.” These are PPC ads, and the advertisers only pay when someone clicks them. You can also find PPC advertising on some social media platforms.
There are several good reasons to use pay-per-click ads:
- Instant gratification: While you wait for your SEO to take hold and bring organic search results, PPC fills the gap. PPC for dentists places your practice instantly on top of Google, attracting new patients from the minute your advertising campaign begins.
- Top Position: Paid ads dominate the top positions for specific keywords. Before a search engine user sees any organic listings, they'll see the paid search ads at the top.
- Precise Keyword Targeting: PPC ads allow you to focus on specific keywords that pertain to your dental practice. For example, an orthodontist will likely want to rank for different keywords than a dental surgeon. Paid search ads get you and your dental practice noticed by the right people.
- Affordable: You could spend a fortune on pay-per-click ads, but you do have complete control over how much you spend. You can scale your budget up or down as the need arises.
- Profitable: PPC can produce profitable results, but only when correctly developed. Dentists who try it on their own often fail, while dentists who hire a PPC specialist see proven results.
- A/B Testing: PPC lets you test your keywords and website pages. This information is invaluable as you work on your SEO.
The bottom line is that a successful PPC campaign requires a specialist who knows how to interpret the data and monitor the bids, positioning, and budget. Dentists already have their hands full in managing their practice. Like medical billing, a specialist handles PPC ad campaigns.
Doing Both SEO and PPC Is the Best Approach
Neither SEO or PPC is inherently better but works hand-in-hand to get a dental practice off the ground. PPC is invaluable as your website is optimized, but it can also fill in the gaps if you need to rank for new keywords.
For example, your SEO might be doing well for general dentistry. Still, you add a new high-tech tooth whitening service. But, then, you may need PPC ads for tooth whitening until those pages gain SEO traction.
If you have a dental practice website, optimize it for the search engines.
You might be able to get away with a bit of local SEO if your practice is in a small town with little competition. But, if your dental practice is in a big city with dozens or even hundreds of other dentists, you'll need SEO and PPC.
The fact is, most dentists benefit from using both SEO and PPC in a coordinated way. First, they'll still get exposure to keywords their website does not rank. Also, the data gathered from a PPC campaign can further optimize the website.
However, doing this on their own is a challenge for any dentist. That makes finding a digital marketing service with experience linking your SEO and PPC campaigns essential. Moreover, you also want a digital marketing agency with experience serving the dental community.
Essentially, you'll get the best of both worlds, reaping the benefits of both SEO and PPC for dentists. Overall, SEO and PPC go together if done right.