Anyone who’s ever taken a shot at running PPC campaigns is at least somewhat familiar with the things that you should be doing if you want to turn a mediocre account into one that truly performs.

All those bells and whistles that Google provides certainly sound pretty nifty, don’t they? The problem is, many advertisers leave all that in the realm of the theoretical and never get around to actually implementing them. Sound familiar? Well then today’s your lucky day! Enjoy these free tips and their specific applications for paid search in healthcare marketing.

1. Use All (or at least most [or at least some]) of the Extensions Google Offers

Call extensions, sitelink extensions, location extensions, review extensions, callout extensions, social extensions, dynamic sitelink extensions… Believe it or not, that’s not an exhaustive list of every ad extension made available by Google.Ad Extensions for Healthcare

Although a list that long can appear overwhelming, extensions increase your real estate on the search engine results page (SERP), are free to implement (though you still pay for clicks on them), and are proven to increase click-through rates pretty significantly.

According to Google, call extensions increase click-through rate (CTR) an average of 6-8%, while review extensions have been known to increase CTR by up to 10%. Not all of your extensions are guaranteed to appear every time your ad is triggered, but they certainly give it some real pizazz when they do show up.

 

One of the more recent types of extensions to be introduced is the callout extension, which was rolled out in September of 2014.

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Callout extensions are essentially an extra line of text that appears below your ad and allows you to highlight some of the things that make you stand out from the competition. Some examples given by Google are “free shipping,” “24-7 customer service,” and “price matching.”

Here at Cardinal, we’ve been using them with our healthcare partners to advertise things like business hours and the availability of walk-in doctor visits. Callout extensions free you up to highlight more benefits in your ad copy and make it easy to advertise things like temporary promotions without having to change the text in all of your ads.

 
 

2. Eliminate Irrelevant Traffic

Does your hospital offer surgery for cats? It doesn’t? Well that’s not what your search terms report says. The search terms report in Google AdWords and Bing Ads shows what search queries people are actually typing in when they’re seeing your ads.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen hospitals and medical practices paying for clicks on irrelevant and outlandish search queries because their broad match (or BMM) keywords were a little too broad.

The solution to this? Negative keywords. Negative keywords block your ads from being triggered by certain unwanted words or phrases. At Cardinal, we regularly perform negative keyword audits on our clients’ accounts to make sure we’re not wasting precious ad spend on searches like “emergency cat surgery in Houston.”

Some other specific mistakes to avoid in the healthcare industry:

  • If you have more than one location, put in the names of your other branches as negative keywords so that you aren’t competing against yourself in bid auctions. Many people search for a doctor based on zip code (e.g. “pediatrician 30309”) so putting in the zip codes of other branches is important as well.
  • Make sure you’re not showing up for things like “neurologist in Alaska” (unless you’re located in Alaska, of course). Although the majority of problems like this can be avoided by choosing proper geographic targeting settings, it’s not a bad idea to put in negative keywords of the states (and their abbreviations) where you don’t have any locations.
  • Make sure to exclude the services you don’t provide. If you don’t offer dental services, make sure you list “dentist” and its variations as negatives (Again, search terms reports are great for this!).

 

3. Optimize by Time of Day & Day of Week

Are you more likely to schedule your next doctor’s visit at 11 p.m. on Friday night or at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday morning? Then why would you bid the same way for both situations in your paid search campaigns?

In search engine marketing, data segmentation is your best friend. It allows you to find meaningful trends that can boost conversions and ROI. If you see that the vast majority of your form fills are being completed weekdays between 10am and 1pm, it might be a good idea to increase those bids by 15 percent.

If you notice that the conversion rate for Friday nights is abysmal, perhaps you should avoid running ads at that time. Common sense says that you should bid more aggressively on keywords that drive clicks and conversions. Fewer people take the time to analyze when the majority of those clicks and conversions are actually taking place.

This type of analysis gives you insight into patient behavior patterns, allowing you to target them more effectively and ultimately serve them better.

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Of course, you can get as granular as you’d like with your analysis. Beyond just looking at the time of day and day of week, the “Dimensions” tab in AdWords also lets you segment data based on the month of year, a user’s geographical location, how far away from your facility they were when they saw your ad, and much more. However, in the interest of staying true to the title of this blog post, we’ll keep things simple.

These are just a few of the many ways you can prune your paid search efforts and get the most bang for your buck. Interested in learning more about how to become a PPC powerhouse? Contact the team here at Cardinal Web Solutions, your digital strategy agency.

Click here for our infographic on more ways to use

Paid Search in the Healthcare Marketing Funnel

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