SEO vs. Paid Traffic vs. Social Media

SEO vs. Paid Traffic vs. Social Media

For those of you who are seeking a reliable way to consistently grow the new patient flow into your dental practice, there’s a common question. When it comes to SEO, Paid Traffic and social media, is one better than another? Should I use multiple digital marketing strategies?

This article will help you understand the pros and cons of each, and also help to uncover the true concept that one size does not fit all for the needs of your dental practice.

So, What’s the best strategy, you ask? It’s important to first understand the pros and cons of each


“Search Engine Optimization” – This is the practice of increasing the organic search result in google for your dental practice, so that you’re showing up on page 1 for all of the terms that you’d like to be found by potential patients in your city.

Compared to Paid ads, organic traffic is a lower cost, longer term strategy which will help to actually bring more traffic to the website (when people are actively searching for a dentist or dental procedure) overall as compared to Paid Ad Traffic. Statistics show that a page 1 result toward the top of the page can bring in ~30% of traffic for a search result, as compared to the ~10% of traffic that all ads share on page 1.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic, while having a lower percentage of traffic flow than SEO, can lead to faster revenue increases initially. This is because an ad can be live on page 1 in a matter of days as compared to months for SEO growth, as well as garnering a more intent-driven person clicking on the ad who likely needs dental services immediately.

Social Media

Similar to paid traffic, social media can be an effective method for bringing in new patients to your practice with paid placements. The targeting can be much more specific on Facebook than Google, and can allow for your ads to be shown to very specific audiences. If you have an email list of previous/current patients, you can create Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences in order to have even more incredible targeting (But more on that in a future article).

Combination of Strategies

You can achieve more than a 1:1 return when using multiple strategies in combination. For example, utilizing paid Google Ads to then “retarget” the traffic that comes to your site, and show them secondary ads across both a variety of websites as well as facebook. This will allow for increased awareness, with a lower cost to acquire a new patient than just running an ad alone. This combined with SEO will help to increase your traffic to the website and convert more patients across many search terms for specific procedures  (like invisalign, crown, etc) in the interim if you do not currently rank on page 1 organically for these terms.

While there are many reasons for each of these strategies, remember that there is not a “one size fits all” solution for every practice. All dental practices are unique, and as such, require a needs analysis and customized approach based on the goals of the office (or offices).

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