15 Mistakes to avoid when creating an AdWords campaigns for a Dentist

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Being in a field of dentistry, it isn’t very easy to succeed in AdWords. You have to adhere to the best practices in AdWords for a dentist. Also, keep up with Google’s latest features as it keeps on changing from time to time. Here, we will be discussing common mistakes by dentists during their life cycle with AdWords:

To begin, few of  the most common mistakes committed by a dentists are as below:

Using Location specific keywords only

Although location specific keywords make a lot of sense as it targets the most relevant patients. Using just location specific keywords can be a problem as you may end up losing a lot of relevant searches.
For example,
If you are a dentist based out of Manhattan and targeting for keyword Consult dentist in Manhattan, you will miss out on potential patients searching for term Consult dentist.
It is hence highly recommended to use main keywords like Consult dentist, Visit dentist in your campaigns. You can add location specific keywords to your campaign but they should not be the only one.

Redirecting patients to Home Page

This is one of the unfortunate yet one of the most common mistakes by dentists. Once the customer has clicked on your Ad, the smart thing to do is to send them the page which is most relevant to their search. Users might not find what they are looking for in the home page and can easily bounce off. The home page is less relevant as users have to go through the extra steps to reach their desired destination. Hence different landing page is the right way although it may take some time and effort

Incorrect Match Type

It is a very tempting thought to be found by as many people as possible and ‘Broad match type’ feeds exactly upon that greed. It is important to accept that we want customers who click on our ads to also be interested in the service we offer. Hence it is better if you use Broad match modifier, phrase and exact match type instead of broad match type as it probably will attract more clicks from patients who have no interest in your service. You can read more about Broad match modifier

Generic Ad Headlines

Earlier, Google only allowed 25 character headlines where every dentist wanted to use keywords like “Dental”, “Dentist”, “teeth”, “Dentistry”, etc in their Ad. But after the release of expanded text ads last year, Google allows 2 headlines of 30 characters each separated by a hyphen(-). To learn how to write a well-written ad, read my other article AdWords for Dentists.

Using All keywords (dentist related) suggested by Google

To simplify the process, Google helps you with a set of suggested keywords relevant to your business considering your website or your existing AdWords setup, but it is not a good idea to allow them to decide what will and what will not work for your kind of business. There is no harm in taking help from Google suggestions but at the end of it should be your call whether a keyword should or should not be a part of your campaign.

Not using Negative keywords in your account

This is another mistake that is very common amongst dentists. Dentists select the keywords relevant to their business. But, it is also important to put all those dental services which they do not offer as negative keywords.
For example, you do not offer dental services for children while other dentists do. Here you should put “pediatric”, “children”, etc under the negative keywords list. Read more about AdNabu’s Negative Keyword tool. 

Failure to localize your clinic

As most dentistry services are run by a private clinic, We have observed a lot of dentists targeting to a specific city or state, which is a very wrong approach unless you live in Vatican City. Few ways to make sure you are targeting the right audience are using:

  • Radius location targeting
  • Location setting
    The option in Google are to select either “People in my targeted location” or “People in, searching for, viewing pages about my targeted location” based on nature of your requirement
  • Location extension
    This option helps the patient recognize your location within the ad itself. Also, it is a hyperlink that acts as a navigator/ map for your clinic

Incorrect grouping of Keywords under campaign

Most of the marketers make this mistake of adding multiple keywords to a single AdGroup. It is difficult to optimize the campaign in this scenario as it is difficult to understand how each of the keyword is working for you. We at AdNabu, recommend creating single keyword ad groups and using all the three main match types in googleMaking an effort and creating well-thought campaigns can prove to be beneficial for you as you can create campaigns which does not compete with itself. AdNabu can help you automatically structure your campaign and create single keyword ad groups

Assuming a single phrase will suffice for all synonym phrases

The way you say something is different from how others say it. Similarly, the way everyone searches on Google is different. The language you use holds different connotations and propels a different intellectual and emotional responses, therefore you need to think about how your ad phrase affects those viewing your ads.
For example, “Find dentist”, “Call dentist”, “Look for a dentist”, “search for dentist”, etc have more or less the same meaning but some may feel more appealing/ compelling to click than others. So, choose your phrases wisely. Our recommendation is to advertise for all of them

Failure to track AdWords performance

Sometimes dentists say that creating and starting an AdWords campaigns in itself is an overwhelming task. And we see a common pattern among dentists. They fail to measure the performance beyond number of clicks. However, it is the worst thing you can do to your AdWords campaign. It is like performing a root canal successfully and not stitching the wound, in the end, doesn’t matter how successfully you performed the surgery, leaving it open will only screw your entire performance. Tracking performance will help you monitor the campaign and eventually optimize them correctly.

Staying hung up on your Ad copy

Another common mistake dentists do is by not trusting numbers more than your creativity. An Ad copy best to your knowledge and creativity, may not be the best copy for your Ad. Hence falling in love with your Ad copy is not a wise idea unless it is backed by numbers. Also, it is always recommended to do A/B testing with multiple Ad copies to find the one that works for you the best.

Cost versus Conversion

Over a period of time, you will find a set of keywords working fine for you. Your goal may be to get a maximum number of visitors but when evaluating, you may not want to pay $10 per click as it would not be a feasible deal for you. On the other hand, you might want to pay some extra amount for conversions which are very specific to you.


For example, If you specialize in Dental surgery with an average CPC of your campaign at $3. For keywords like  Dentist near me or Find dentist online, you have 1% conversion rate, hence you pay around $3 per click but there is another keyword Dental Surgery near me and Root canal service with surprisingly 4x conversion than generic keywords, but here, the CPC is $8. It may seem like a huge amount to pay per click but if you evaluate the conversion ratio, it is worth spending the amount.

Not knowing LifeTime Value(LTV) of patients

How do you evaluate if your spend on acquiring each customer is more than their lifetime value? LTV is the revenue generated from each customer during their business with you. It takes a while but you could evaluate what a person pays to you based on consultation, treatments, follow ups, etc and find an average LTV for your customers and make sure your cost per acquisition is less than LTV to make AdWords profitable for you

Hung up on Ad positioning

Here, you need to determine your end goal from the campaign. If you are aiming to improve your brand name, then targeting for the 1st position is a great idea. But if your goal is to get the best business, number one position may not be the wisest choice. You might be paying a higher amount for each bid as compared to other positions. Data suggests that other positions (2 & 3) are equally likely to bring you the same business.
Deciding between if the 1st or the 3rd position for a specific search term will work for you is not something we can recommend as it depends on various factors. But we would definitely recommend you to go ahead and change your bids lower and higher for different ad groups based on conversion ratio to explore what works best for you.  

Not knowing your Competitors (fellow dentists)

It is always wise to test waters before getting in AdWords. Knowing who you are competing with is a must. Evaluating their strength and weaknesses can help you build and evaluate your performance better. Comparing Ad copies, landing pages, website, etc is something, to begin with. Think who would you go to, as an unbiased customer? Do you need a better design, a cleaner look, and feel, security factors, testimonials, social proof, authority, or something else? Create a checklist of changes and apply to your website or ad copy. And benchmark the new data with your old data to see if there is an improvement.

Expecting too much too soon

Make sure to give respectable budget and time to your first campaign to run successfully. If you quit too soon, you might end up creating a negative opinion about AdWords even though that might not be true in your case. Be sensible while you evaluate the power of AdWords or else you might never know the value it can add for your business.


For example, If you target an area where there are large search volumes for dentistry and provide a budget that does not even last a day, the results won’t be great. In another case, you might just have estimated the appropriate budget. But since you got no conversion on day 1, you stopped the campaign and thought maybe PPC ads don’t work for you. In either of the above case, you cannot justify that your evaluation as correct. Be a little experimental, generous and patient with AdWords.

About the author

Preksha Madan

Content marketer for AdNabu. Loves to bake

By Preksha Madan

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