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This is a followup to last month’s blog article about “Reaching Patients Who Don’t Know About Urgent Care“.  In that post, I discussed how a Patient Education library can optimize your website, helping you reach people searching for information on diseases and conditions.  Today, we’ll look at how those same pages can help with your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) online advertising campaigns.

When you search the Internet, Google, Bing, or Yahoo will provides free (also known as organic) results.  These results are influenced by SEO.  In addition, you will see sponsored links or ads, which are sold on a pay-per-click basis.  Each time someone clicks on a sponsored link, the advertiser pays anywhere from a few cents up to several dollars.

You can choose which keywords will trigger your PPC ads, and then decide what page on your website to link the ads to.  While many people direct all ads to their homepage, a much better practice is to send people to a page on your site that is closely associated with the keyword they searched for.  For example, if someone searches on “arm puffing up after bug bite”, you would be much better off sending them to a page that describes the symptoms and treatment options for insect bites, along with a call to action for when someone should see a doctor. This approach has both human and technological advantages.

From the human perspective, if someone clicks on an ad related to a condition, and your ad sends them to your homepage, they may not have a full understanding of the service you can provide.  But, if you send them to that a condition page instead, educating them about their situation and explaining how you can help, you will increase the chance that your website visitor will become a patient.

From the technological perspective, the search engines use a concept that Google calls your “Quality Score”.  This score is calculated based on the correlation among the keyword a person searches for, the words used in your ad text, and the content of the landing page linked to the ad.  The higher your Quality Score, the lower you actually have to pay for an ad.  In other words, if you and a competitor both bid the same exact price for a keyword, but your quality score is higher than their’s, your ad will appear higher than their’s.