Professionals at laptop computer looking over their dental marketing strategy with wording 'pay per click vs SEO'

Dental Marketing: SEO vs PPC (Pay Per Click)

Like most dentists, you likely want a well-rounded dental marketing strategy. The first thing that might come to mind is images of TV ads, radio spots, and billboards. And while these traditional outbound marketing methods have a place, traditional inbound marketing is perhaps the best way to get quality leads.

Why? Because inbound leads come from people who are already looking for the services you offer. Outbound marketing relies on the spray and pray method. You spray your message to the masses and pray that at least one person is looking for your services. As a result, the cost per acquisition is quite expensive. While these are some of the many marketing ideas for dentists out, they aren’t always the most efficient.

There are two types of inbound marketing strategies that make a big impact on dental marketing. SEO and PPC. You may have heard these two abbreviations used interchangeably, but the fact is they’re quite different. Each one serves a unique purpose and is used in different circumstances.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization


picture of persion setting down cut out letters spelling SEO


The holy grail of all dental marketing strategies, search engine optimization, is incredibly competitive and always a work in progress.

SEO is the practice of optimizing your website’s layout and content in such a way that it answers the questions people are seeking answers to. So, if a person is looking for a dentist in Castle Hills, Texas, and they type that term into Google, a dental practice will come up. The person searching will then click through to the website to learn more about the services offered and hopefully convert into a customer.

The best thing about SEO is that leads are incredibly affordable. You get the most bang for your buck when it comes to organic leads. These leads are often people who are sincerely interested in what you have to offer and might even be ready to make a purchase. People who find you organically and have a good experience tend to become your biggest advocate and write positive reviews and send more people your way.

Search engine optimization is a marathon, though, not a sprint. It can take several months before your SEO strategy begins to take effect. And, after that, you have to manage it and stay up on the various trends that happen throughout the industry.

SEO is made up of several components. On-site SEO is how you structure the content on your website.

You want to make sure your title tags have a keyword in them and are 60 characters or less. You’ll want to make sure a clear and enticing meta description is written, as this can greatly affect how many people actually click through to your website. And, you will need expertly written content and a blog that’s regularly updated with strategic content to rank and attract visitors.

While this is a massive amount of work that takes true skill, it’s absolutely worth it as a long-term plan. When we’re throwing out marketing ideas for dentists, this is one that we always recommend, because if you aren’t doing it, your competitor definitely is.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click Advertising


image of a notepad with writing PPC - Pay per click


Pay-per-click advertising is used on websites like Google and Facebook to create sponsored ads that you pay for each time an individual clicks the ad. You bid on various keywords and depending on how your bid ranks with competitors, your ad will show in certain spots. In Google, the most coveted paid spot is at the top of the sponsored section.

Pay-per-click is a great option for attracting customers who are closer to the bottom of the buying funnel and ready to make a purchase. For example, someone who clicks a PPC ad and is searching for “teeth whitening near me” might be more likely to actually schedule a teeth whitening appointment with your dental office.

While this method of marketing for dentists can be pricey, it’s a great option when dealing with time sensitive information that you don’t have time to wait to rank organically.

For example, flash sales or specials are great medical marketing ideas, but they only run for a month or so. These will get the most traction through PPC. And as long as you’re targeting the right keywords you can minimize your budget and maximize ROI.

Additionally, when you run a pay-per-click campaign you get valuable data from the analytics provided. This can tell you more about your customers, which keywords were more effective, and allow you to tweak the ads in real time to continue to improve efficacy. This data can also be used in the long-term for SEO, as you begin to see the conversion rates and click-through-rates for your most popular keywords. This can help you create web content and blogs that are relevant to what your audience is searching.

The best part of PPC is that you can begin seeing clicks quickly, oftentimes within an hour. PPC is a great solution for new practices or those looking for faster leads. Keep in mind, however, the short timeframe with which you can get leads does cost more money than SEO.

Can I use both SEO and PPC?

SEO and PPC work great together. Here’s why. PPC helps get you to the top of Google, but SEO is the only way to stay there. Marrying these two strategies also helps to create a strategy that reaches two audiences. Additionally, the data you gather through your immediate PPC ads can help create a long-term strategy for your SEO.

It’s also been shown that businesses that have both an SEO and PPC strategy have high click-through-rates overall. This means more people are seeing your messages and being prompted to take action.

A well thought out dental marketing strategy can employ both SEO and PPC. One works in the short-term and is more expensive, while the other works in the long-term and is more affordable.

Marketing through both of these avenues promises to bring quality leads who are genuinely interested in what your dental practice has to offer.

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