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Google Ads Targeting for Dental Practices

Google Ads Targeting for Dental Practices

In addition to your keyword match types, there are other important campaign settings for dentists to utilize. Understanding Google Ads targeting when setting up your new Google Ads campaign is crucial. Through key strategies for setting up effective campaigns, you can use this powerful advertising platform to its full potential. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the various options on the “campaign settings” page that will help you with your Google Ads targeting specifically for dentists.

Failing to choose the right settings on this page can result in the loss of much ad spend. It’s easy to get it wrong too. So, pay close attention when setting up your targeting with regard to the following:

  • Networks
  • Locations and location options
  • Ad schedule


Google Ads offers two ad networks for you to use in your campaigns: the Search Network and the Display Network. The Search Network is where users go specifically looking for something with a search engine. This is the most popular network for many businesses, including dental practices. We will be using the search network for a typical Google Ads campaign.

However, what is important to make note of is the settings that Google makes automatically for you. Specifically where it says “Include Google search partners” and “Include Google Display Network”. Google automatically checks the two boxes for you when beginning a new campaign.

You should generally start a new campaign without those two settings applied. The reason is simple. Your new campaign should begin with a smaller net. You can widen the net as you begin to expand your marketing budget. However, these two settings tend to lower your CTR (click-through-rate) and drive up your cost per conversion.

Picture provided below to help you see how this setting should look.

Search network - Google Ads Campaign Targeting


Location targeting refers to the geographical areas that you are targeting in your campaigns. This might include country, region, city, postal code and more. Depending on what type of location you choose will determine how many people are targeted by your ads.

The benefit of location targeting is that you can ensure that only users within a certain area see your advertisements. Since you are running ads for a local dental practice, it is important that the targeting be narrowed down to a small radius. It is recommended that you select:

  1. “Enter another location”
  2. “Advanced search”
  3. “Radius”

When selecting the radius, consider the population density of your area. A dental practice in a large town might target by as little as 2-4 miles. However, a dental office in a more rural area might target by a radius of 15-20 miles or more.

Also consider the services you are promoting when considering radius. A more specialized service such as “dental implants” or “sleep apnea dentist” in a rural community might even widen the targeting radius by much more.

While radius is generally the best method, you can also target based on zip code, city, county, as well.

Location options

After you have your location targeting set, it is time to check out the location options. Google isn’t very transparent about this option. So, make sure you click where it says “Location options” in order to open up the “target” and “exclude” options.

location options - google ads targeting1



Once again, Google has the wrong settings automatically applied. They even go as far as to say that those automatically applied settings are “recommended”. However, if you go based on their recommendations, you will have a lot of wasted ad spend. You want to make sure you get this right.

For target, you will want to select: “Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations”.

For exclude, you will want to select: “Presence or interest: People in, regularly in, or who’ve shown interest in your excluded locations”.

Do you have an active campaign that is getting calls from around the country? Check your settings and make sure they look like the picture below.

Target and exclude Google Ads Targeting



This setting is pretty self explanatory. Obviously, English is the language option in the majority of instances.

However, here’s a bonus tip for any Spanish speakers in areas that have decent sized populations. Running a separate Spanish language Google Ads campaign can be extremely effective. They don’t get targeted nearly as often, so the competition and cost per click is usually much cheaper in the US. It’s worth trying, especially if you also have a lot of Spanish speaking staff.

Is probably worth trying with other languages in the US, if demographics apply in your instance.

More settings

Under this setting, there are several different settings you can adjust for. Most of them are not to be tampered with in most instances. However, the “Ad schedule” setting is very important in almost all instances.

You want staff to be ready to answer phones when calls come in. Calls after hours are unlikely to be capitalized on. By setting up an ad schedule for your ads to run, you can be sure that they are only running when you are open for business.

Additionally, in time you will see which days are busier and slower. With that information, you will be able to make bid adjustments for different days depending on your conversion and click through rates.

Other settings

Most other settings on this page should be left alone in most instances. There can be exceptions for more advanced users though.


Location targeting is one of the most important aspects of running an effective Google Ads campaign for any dental practice. The Campaign settings section of Google Ads features several different targeting options.

It is important to remember that by carefully adjusting settings you can ensure that campaigns are running at peak efficiency. Additionally, various targeting options can also help narrow down the focus of campaigns. This will ensure that ads are reaching the people most likely to take advantage of your ads.

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