Digital Marketing

AdWords Targeting and Bidding

A Guest blog from Deploy Dental. The opinions expressed are from Deply Dental not Dr. Larry Emmott. However I believe it is valuable for dentists to get various takes on technology issues in order to make good technology choices.


Before getting started with the details check out this previous article outling the basics of PPC.


Geographic Targeting

When creating a new campaign in AdWords the very first option is to target locations, and the goal here is to choose all the places from which potential patients may be searching for you.  For service based businesses such as dentistry you will always want to select the ‘Let me choose’ option to enter specific cities.  Obviously at this point you need to pick the city where your practice is located, but you will also need to do a bit of analysis on additional locations that patients may be coming from.  There is no hard and fast rule for surrounding locations because trends will vary from market to market, and you yourself will probably have the best knowledge about what traveling distance patients are willing go.  It is advisable to select ‘Advanced Search’ and then the option for ‘Radius Targeting’.  Once entering your city, this will bring up a list of all locations within a selected radius that you can include or remove at your discretion.

Keyword Targeting

After you have completed the bidding options (discussed below) the next step in targeting potential patients is choosing the keyword(s) and/or keyword phrases they will be searching for.  This is the crux of AdWords’ usefulness as a marketing tool, but you will need to clearly define what exactly your goals are.

If a practice is using PPC to increase exposure to a wide variety of patients, they may choose very broad keywords such as ‘dentist’ or ‘San Francisco dentist’.  These get the most searches and will reach the greatest potential audience.  (Remember that even terms like ‘dentist’, without a location modifier, will still be limited to those people searching from the geographic areas selected in the above step.)

Conversely, if a practice is interested in targeting a niche of dentistry or even a specific procedure, the keywords chosen should reflect that.  Terms like ’emergency dentist San Francisco’, or ‘dental implants San Francisco’ will garner impressions and clicks from only those potential patients who have shown interest in that topic.  Since these specific terms typically receive far fewer overall searches, this is a great way to reduce overall costs while ensuring that the traffic you do receive is very valuable.


Under the ‘Bidding and Budget’ section there are several different ways to set up your campaign, and the two basic options are manual and automated bidding.  Under the automated bidding system, Google’s AdWords platform sets your bid price to maximize clicks within your daily budget.  This is the advisable route for those who are new to AdWords, since Google has much more data about historical search trends and can maximize your bids very efficiently.  If this is the option you choose, then the next step is to simply set the amount that you are willing to spend on a daily basis in the ‘Budget’ field.

If you are a more experienced user (or once you have gained more knowledge and data on your campaign) you can select the option to manually set your bids.  This will display a field in which to place a default bid for your ads.  The amount you should bid in this step will vary depending on historical campaign data, market size, keyword competitiveness, and your daily budget. Depending on these factors, for the profession of dentistry a decent default bid price should be anywhere in the range of $2 – $7, given that you have a high Quality Score (this is detailed in the next section). Remember that this is not exactly what each click will cost, it is the maximum cost you are willing to pay for a click. Again, the next step here is to simply set the amount that you are willing to spend on a daily basis in the ‘Budget’ field.

The final step you may want to take is to schedule start and end dates for your campaign.  The option is all the way at the bottom of the page under ‘Advanced settings’.  Setting an end date can be a good way to prevent you from forgetting about your campaign and then suddenly seeing large unexpected costs. Typically a month long trial is a good timetable to gain data and evaluate results. You can always remove the end date if your campaign is providing a return 

3 replies on “AdWords Targeting and Bidding”

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