So you want more patients and you’ve discovered a great tool to find them – Google Ads. With Google Ads, (paid search, pay-per-click, PPC), whatever you call it, the formula is simple. PPC advertising lets you target specific keywords, pay only when someone clicks on your ad, and set daily budget limits to keep costs under control. The response is immediate as well, which scratches that instant gratification itch. But when it comes to search engine marketing for healthcare, don’t let short-term gains cloud the long-term picture. There are a lot of advantages to the pay-per-click model. And while paid search ads provide a fair ROI, when you stop paying, you immediately stop getting new prospects.
PPC Is a Short-Term Strategy
Healthcare and other companies have spent the last twenty years paying Google billions of advertising dollars for a seat at the search table. And while it is effective, it’s also a short-term marketing strategy. If you put all of your eggs in the paid search basket, you’re missing out on a very important piece of the marketing puzzle.
Organic Search (SEO) Vs Paid Search Strategies
With organic search, instead of buying a spot in the search results, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) to help your site rank higher on the results page. While paid search ads provide immediate results, organic search investments accrue value slowly, providing much higher returns and over a longer time span.
A good way to look at it is this way: paid search is like paying rent. Every month, you pay, but you don’t build any equity. Organic search is like investing in a house. In the long run, you get much more value because you own the home. Once an asset is created (web page, blog, downloadable content, etc.) it lives forever and draws in viewers/prospective patients for as long as it is out there.
Does Paid or Organic Search Get Better ROI?
A spot on page one is worth a lot. People searching organically, account for 53% of total website traffic. Google says you get 5.3 times the return on investment with organic search versus just 2 times your ROI with paid search. You want to be in the top few spots, but to get there, it takes time and a consistent effort. So what is the answer?
Healthcare Companies Need Paid Ads and Organic Search (SEO) Strategies
The good news is these two search strategies aren’t mutually exclusive. You can do both. In fact, we recommend our healthcare clients have a balanced strategy of paid and organic search engine optimization. That way, you get the immediate patient traffic you desire, but you’re also building your brand and staking your claim in organic search results which takes more time but is much more valuable.
You Are Probably Overspending on Both PPC and Organic Search
Most companies overspend on paid ads and underspend on organic search. That is due in part to the fact that healthcare SEO is a somewhat complicated science. Healthcare companies (all businesses, in fact) struggle to implement an organic search strategy without professional help because they lack the knowledge and expertise to do it optimally and effectively. That being said, it’s easy to spend too much on paid ads as well. You will get more out of your marketing dollars by hiring a professional or a company that can help with ad copy, bidding strategies, and testing.
Search Engine Marketing for Healthcare Should Include PPC and SEO
An organic search strategy is critical to your long-term growth. Don’t sacrifice your long-term goals today for the immediate gratification of more patients tomorrow. Make sure you are investing in your business for the long run as well as the short.