How to use digital marketing to get more patients for your private dental practice

2024 marketing trends

We all know in this day and age that people do their research online. If you’re looking for a new mattress, chances are you’ll go online and search ‘best mattresses 2022.’ People looking for a dentist in their new area might search ‘private dentists near me.’ Whatever it is, Google is often the first point of call. In fact, around 97% of people learn more about a local company online, than anywhere else.

So, what’s the best way to use this huge online audience to your advantage?

Research shows that organic and paid search combined, drive around 70% of traffic to your website. By optimising your website for organic search, and running paid search ads you could be capturing a high-intent audience that you don’t get on social channels.

To give you an idea of what kind of listings search results pages are made up of, we’ve created a graphic of what a typical search engine results page looks like, and how many clicks they get.

SERP breakdown

Having worked with private dental practices for over four years, we know a thing or two about using digital marketing to bring new patients to your door.

PPC for Private Dentists

Pay-per-click marketing, or PPC, and specifically paid search, is one of the best ways to drive people who are actively searching for your service to your website. Paid search actually accounts for around 35% of all traffic to dental and aestheticians websites.

Here are our top three tips for running successful PPC campaigns:

1. Add location targeting

Do you want to be paying to advertise to people living hundreds of miles away from your practice? Unless you’re confident you’re special enough for people to travel that far, the answer is probably not.

Advertising to people outside your area is a sure fire way to waste your budget on audiences that aren’t going to convert. By adding location targeting to your campaigns, you can find potential clients that are likely to want to travel to you. We recommend defining a radius of around half an hour drive from your practice location.


2. Target high profit treatments

One of the most common sticking points for businesses starting to look at running PPC campaigns is the cost. Running ads for a long time can become expensive and some of the high-intent keywords can have high CPCs.

A great way to make this worthwhile is to target your highest profit treatments, like dental implants and dentures. You can do this by bidding on ‘dental implants’ and ‘dentures’ keywords, making sure your practice appears at the top of Google for patients actively looking for these services. Suddenly a £3.50 CPC doesn’t seem quite as bad when your new patient is potentially spending thousands on a full set of implants..


3. Add negative keywords

Just as keywords are the words you want your ads to be shown for, negative keywords tell search engines specific words and phrases that you don’t want to show up for.

For private dentists, the words ‘NHS’ and ‘free,’ are worth adding to your negative keywords lists. This will stop your ads showing up for anyone actively searching for free treatments or an NHS dentist, and you’ll have more of your budget to spend on paying patients.

SEO for Private Dentists

The top organic search result for any given search term gets 31.7% of all clicks on Google. Knowing this, it’s hugely important to optimise your website to give you the best chance of occupying this coveted spot.

SEO looks at the changes you can make to your website and business listings to make sure you show up for the search terms you want and drive traffic to your site.

Here are three things you can do to improve your SEO. The best thing is, they’re all free.


1. Location. Location. Location.

As mentioned earlier, showing up for the right location is so important for local SEO and getting conversions.

In local SEO, title tags are one of the most important factors in how highly you rank, coming in at number 6 on a list of ranking factors in 2021.

Top local SEO ranking factors 2021

Adding your location to your title tag, therefore, tells search engines where you’re based and allows you to rank higher for users searching for and in this area. Not only does it help Google, it also gives the user an indication of where you are and makes them more likely to click.

Meta descriptions also give Google more information about your page, so add your location here too.

It’s also good to try and weave your location into your site content. Subtle changes like changing titles from ‘private dental practice’ to ‘private dental practice in Nottingham,’ will really improve your ranking.


2. Optimise your Google My Business profile

A well formed Google My Business profile is super important for users to find quick information about your business, particularly as a local business. It’s also one of the biggest channels for driving traffic to your website.

As a basic you should ensure your GMB profile has your most up to date address, contact details and opening times.

You should also try to encourage reviews on Google as these tell Google and your potential patients that you are a trusted practice.

To take it one step further, add and manage relevant imagery to your profile to give potential customers a visual view of your practice. This will also help with trust factors.


3. Build trust

In 2018 Google launched an algorithm update called the Medic Update, which mostly affected ‘Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) sites, dentists included. This update put a much higher emphasis on YMYL sites showing signs of trust. Since then, it’s been more important than ever to show Google and potential clients that your site and services are trustworthy.

Installing third party reviews widgets on your website not only give social proof to any potential client, but also tell Google you’re a trustworthy business. Plugins like this one for WordPress, allow you to show reviews from your GMB profile on your site.

Another way to build trust is to add any qualifications and accreditations to your site. You could do this with specifically designed badges or just add a section to your homepage or in the footer.


By following at least a few of these tips you are almost guaranteed to see improvements in traffic to your website and therefore an increase in conversion rates and revenue.

If you would like a free audit to see how we could help put digital marketing strategies into place for your practice, get in contact with us below. Alternatively check out our audit page to learn more about how our free digital marketing audits work.

Glossary of marketing terms

Algorithm Update:

Updates from Google or any other platform that changes the how and when your content is shown. Google algorithm updates can cause sudden spikes or drops in your website ranking, depending on what they are.


Cost per click. This is how much it costs you every time a user clicks on your ad. The cost can vary dramatically depending on how much competition there is for the keyword.


A high-intent audience is one that is actively looking to buy. You’re most likely to find this kind of audience on Google and other search engines, depending on their search term.

A low intent search might be ‘how do dental implants work?’ This is more informational based and the chances of this resulting in a sale is low.

An example of a similar but high-intent search would be ‘dental implants near me.’ The user is actively looking for where they can get dental implants in their area and are much more likely to convert from this search.


In PPC, a keyword is the word or phrase you choose that you want to be showing up for. For example, you might bid on the keyword ‘dentures in Nottingham,’ and your ad will then show up to any users searching this phrase.

Meta Description:

These are the descriptions of a page that show underneath each search result. They give Google and the user more information about the content of your page. Your meta description should be optimised for the keywords you want that particular page to rank for. You could also include a CTA at the end to encourage more clicks.


Pay per click. A form of advertising in which you only pay when your ad is clicked. PPC ads can be run on search engines like Bing and Google as well as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and many more.

Social Proof:

A Marketer’s way of saying reviews or testimonials. Social proof like reviews and testimonials tell potential customers why they should buy from and trust you.

Title Tag:

Title tags are the blue titles that show up when you do a Google search. They tell the user and Google what they’re going to get on your page.

Title Tags-01

Title tags are different to your page headings and can be changed in the backend of your website, or using plugins like Yoast.

Olly Fisher

Olly Fisher

Hey, Olly here! I founded Repeat Digital in 2017 and am currently the Managing Director. My role as MD means I have to get involved in so many aspects of the business, from operations & client services to HR & consoling the losers of the intense office ping pong battles. I have an obsession with ponds & frogs to the point where my goal in life is to have a large body of water in my garden with lots of wildlife. There’s just something magical about the depths of a garden pond! I aim to keep fit by playing football, squash, pumping iron & winning at ping pong. My jam is pop punk, I love a bit of Blink 182!

Contact Us

14 + 11 =