Five Tips for Paid Search for Healthcare

Of the 72% of Americans who seek health information online, 77% start with a search engine.  

That’s created a glut of information, as marketers jockey for position in the search engine rankings among millions of articles. It also creates a dilemma for providers who wonder how to grow their authority, deliver trustworthy information, and find potential patients amidst high competition for organic search results. 

Organic traffic—the main goal of search engine optimization (SEO)—can provide your practice with a stream of searchers indefinitely. But focusing on succeeding long-term in such a saturated field can be overwhelming.  

It can also overlook a more holistic SEO strategy that includes simple, effective marketing approaches, such as paid search for healthcare—one that gets you more patients, not just information-seekers.  

Why Should You Use Paid Search for Your Healthcare Business? 

Paid search can catapult local businesses to the top of results where they otherwise wouldn’t appear organically.  

Whereas organic traffic lets your practice share broad expertise in your field, paid search traffic lets you target a subset of searchers with more relevant content.  

That helps you reach a relevant, localized audience. And because paid search lets you measure and improve results in small, local categories, it can also give you the best return on investment (ROI) in healthcare marketing.  

Ad platform analytics also help you refine keywords, ad copy, and targeting so you know which terms deliver the best ROI. Essentially, you can be more focused on getting in front of the right people. 

Here are some additional reasons why this top-performing tactic should be on your radar: 

  • Healthcare paid search has high click-through rates that help you grow awareness for your brand. For example, Socius customers are seeing average click-through rates ranging from 6.8% to 7.6% for general dentistry. Our urgent care customers are seeing a 10.8% average CTR. To put that in context, the average CTR for paid search is around 2%. 
  • Paid search ads can target health conditions. Paid ads help you become a trusted information source with targeted ad copy and keywords for individual conditions. That can help the 89% of patients who use search to see how serious their health condition is before seeking a doctor.  
  • Paid search can target geographically. You can target specific geographic areas—particularly those where you have locations. You can also exclude areas where those viewing your ad have little chance of visiting your practice or where competition is high.  

5 Paid Search Tips for Healthcare Marketing

To get the best ROI on your healthcare marketing, use these pay-per-click tips:  

  1. Enable ad extensions. These free add-ons display your contact information without the need to click your ad. They also influence your Ad Rank, which is Google’s way of using your ad quality and bid information to determine where to position your ad. 
  1. Let Google find what works. No need to come up with multiple variations of your messaging. Google will mix up multiple headlines and descriptions to find the best combinations for various search terms. 
  1. Narrowly target ads. Helping local patients find you will grow your patient base and help your ads perform better. Aside from demographic and geographic targeting, you can also consider writing ads in multiple languages (assuming you have in-office support to accommodate these patients’ languages as well). 
  1. Learn about regulations and limits. Governments and search engines, such as Google and Bing, impose limits on healthcare advertising. To protect privacy, for example, Google ads do not allow remarketing. U.S. government regulations limit some drug terms, recruitment for clinical trials, and unapproved pharmaceutical sales. 
  1. Use negative keywords. When you see irrelevant traffic arriving on your site, you’ll be able to identify the keywords a user searched for and eliminate them from future ads, improving your ROI. 

How to Get Started With Paid Search for Healthcare 

Paid search marketing for healthcare is not just about learning search engine tactics. It starts with your website. You can build a foundation to reduce the cost of clicks by: 

  • Getting your mobile up to speed. Slow-loading pages and pages that display information incorrectly lead to high bounce rates and low-performing ads.  
  • Optimizing landing pages. When potential patients click your ad, they expect to find information that aligns with their search. Make sure ad copy and landing page copy is aligned. 
  • Concentrating on quality. Create user-centered content that’s trustworthy, answers questions, and earns authority through backlinks from other sites. 

How to Calculate Your Healthcare Practice’s ROI for Paid Search 

If you’re investing in PPC, you’ll want to know how much profit can be directly attributed to those ads. The return on ad spend (ROAS) is calculated as a percentage. This is the simple formula: 

(Profit – Cost) / Cost x 100 = ROAS 

Here’s an example of a practice that spent $2,000 on PPC. New patients who made an appointment after seeing an ad accounted for $8000 in revenue. Using this simple example, ROAS can be calculated like this: 

($8,000-$2,000) / 2,000 x 100 = 300% 

In healthcare, you may also want to consider new patients’ lifetime value in your strategic calculations. That’s the net profit you can expect from each patient over the course of your relationship. Because patients often return for multiple treatments, ROAS is just a starting point, but it’s a good signal of what you could be spending (and making). 


Work With a Digital Marketing Agency for Healthcare 

Understanding the ins and outs of a PPC campaign can be…a lot. Optimizing those campaigns can become overwhelming quickly. With so many levers to pull, paid advertising for healthcare can feel as if you’ll never find the right settings for your ads. Or worse, so overwhelming that you never even try it.  

Socius can help you find the perfect combination. If you’re like to try a PPC campaign for your practice—or you already are, but aren’t getting the ROI you’re looking for— reach out to the Socius team for a consultation.  

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