If you are a medical professional who runs his or her own practice, you know how important it is to get patients to enter your door. You’re already paying for overhead, such as the cost of utilities, maybe rental cost for the space, and the salaries of your staff. You’ll also want to recover the investment you made into equipment and other costs, as soon as possible. If your clinic is empty for a given period of time, that’s a lost opportunity to increase revenue.
In today’s world, however, it isn’t enough to promote and market your clinic using traditional media. Aside from the fact that newspaper, television and radio space can be costly, consumers are increasingly looking online for information. That includes information on where they can find a conveniently accessible medical professional. You’ve probably done quick Google searches on your mobile device or laptop for the nearest Italian restaurant or for a well-reviewed hotel. You can expect that people with medical issues are also doing the same to find a doctor to consult with.
That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to have an online presence. It isn’t enough to just have a website and social media pages, however. When patients run a search on Google, or on some other search engine, your website needs to appear in one of the first results for relevant keywords. If you don’t appear near the top of the results, it’s almost as if your clinic is invisible. On the other hand, if your website does rank well for important keywords, then you can expect a lot of additional motivated visitors to your site.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making it more likely for your website to appear in the results for your keywords. So for example, if you run an obstetrics and gynecology group clinic, you’ll want your website to rank highly for keywords such “ob-gyne” coupled with the name of your city or town. SEO optimization takes place by making certain design choices on your own website, while also looking to external sources for ways to increase the search engine weight of your site, in the eyes of Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like.
However, an SEO campaign may need to be complemented by an accompanying PPC marketing campaign. PPC stands for Pay Per Click. It’s important to understand how PPC marketing fills in some of the gaps that may exist in an SEO effort. The main thing to keep in mind is that SEO takes time. It’s important to make sure than an SEO campaign aimed at raising the rank or weight of your site is not too rapid or aggressive. This is because Google may very well discount or even penalize an SEO campaign which deviates too strongly from the way in which websites naturally gain links and votes from other sites.
So SEO will not result in an instant boost to your website’s ranking. This is where a PPC marketing campaign can play a much needed role. PPC allows you to place advertisements for your site at the top or prominent areas of search engine results, for your keywords. You can do this quickly, with no accompanying SEO penalty. So this can be a huge advantage if you want to jumpstart the effort to bring in visitors to your clinic as soon as possible. PPC offers other advantages such as the ability to run comparative tests on the landing pages of your site, better information on which keywords are important, and so on. But the main advantage really is that PPC can bring in results more immediately than SEO alone.