Google Ads can put you in position as the top search result when patients search for care online.
Do you show up as the top search result when medical consumers search for a doctor online? If you don’t, you should.
In the real estate market it’s all about location, location, location. Your house sells for more if it’s in the right neighborhood or by the right schools. With online search results, location is also a huge factor for consumers searching for everything from restaurants to lawn care. But in the case of online search, location refers to top search results.
We’ve become accustomed to having the world at our fingertips. Google handles 40,000 searches a second, which comes out to 3.5 billion searches a day. And the volume of Google searches grows by 10% a year. Those are worldwide statistics, but if we bring it a little closer to home, 81% of people in the U.S. go online daily, and among adults who own mobile devices, that number jumps to 92%.
We’re addicted to information, and that’s true for patients who need to be seen by a doctor. They want information, and they want it now. All the info they need lives at the top of their phone screen; they don’t even need to scroll. But is it really necessary to pay to put an ad on top of search results? It is, and I’ll give you five reasons why.
Low search volume for elective surgeries lingers
Several studies have looked into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on elective surgeries. A study published in the Journal of Arthroplasty on May 25, 2020, looked specifically at the Google Search Volume Index for searches related to hip and knee arthroplasties. Researchers found that search popularity in March 2020 dropped by 62.1% for the term “knee replacement,” 52.1% for the term “hip replacement,” and 44.3% for the term “orthopedic surgeon.”
A subsequent study published September 15, 2020, in the HSS Journal, looked specifically at public interest in knee replacement. The study found the same rapid drop in online searches for knee replacement and also found a gradual increase beginning in April. Interestingly, searches for knee pain declined at the same time but returned nearly to pre-covid levels by early May. What this confirms to us is that the need for these procedures remains, but the scheduling is occurring more slowly. People are in pain, but they are reluctant to schedule a procedure.
Medical practices that want to schedule elective surgeries must be proactive in letting those in pain know that you are ready to help them. Many patients continue to worry or are unclear when they are safe to proceed with surgery. When they conduct a search for pain in their knee or shoulder or back your practice can come up as the top search result by way of a Google Ad. You can also make use of Facebook and Instagram ads to increase your visibility.
Medical practices should take steps now to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. They need to be seen at the top of search results by patients who are ready to move forward to address their pain and schedule a procedure.
Multiple top search results increase your visibility
Imagine showing up multiple times in the top search results when patients search online for medical care. Wouldn’t that be nice? It’s more than nice, it’s effective.
The screenshot shows the results when I searched “orthopedic surgeon las vegas.” Dr Hanson’s ad popped up at the top of the list. The next one down is the medical practice he’s with. Desert Orthopaedic Center is one of our clients, and the ads have worked very well for Dr. Hanson and their other doctors.
Make sure you get your Google My Business listing well optimized so it shows up in Google’s Local 3-Pack. And once you’re there, an ad will improve your visibility and help you dominate local search results.
Consumers may not know the difference
Studies show that consumers tend to click on the top search results rather than scroll down the page for more options. Some research suggests that many consumers do not know the difference between a paid ad and an organic search result. And while we can assume that consumers will become more savvy over time, will they care if they are clicking on an ad or an organic result?
What’s more, many consumers don’t know that the Google My Business (GMB) listing that comes up is not your website. Google has done a great job taking control of online search, providing searchers exactly the information they need in the moment. In fact, Google’s goal seems to be to keep internet users on their owned sites as long as possible. And that will actually work in your favor as long as you know how to capitalize on Google’s system.
Getting your doctor or your medical practice at the top of search results right when your patients are looking for medical care will get you seen in critical decision making moments.
Ads can be targeted precisely
Google Ads can be directly targeted to the patients you want. I’ll use our Boost Ads as an example.
Our patient analytics tool includes data on over 250 million people in the U.S. across 200 data points. This data allows us to identify your best patients based on the care they need, the type of procedure you want to schedule, the insurance they carry, and other factors.
We then use this information to identify zip code areas with high concentrations of people at risk for specific health concerns based on over 230 care models. The zip code areas are used to create a geo target where the ads will be deployed.
Once we’ve set up the geo target, the Boost Ads are built according to a “Playbook” you’ve chosen for your practice. Our Playbooks contain all the right keywords, negative keywords, ad copy, and ad structure to target your ideal patients. The ads show up at the top of Google Local Search results in the zip code areas in your geo target.
Targeting your Google Ads to reach the patients you want to see will improve your patient mix and stabilize your recovery from the pandemic.
Higher conversion rate than GMB listings
Our customers are seeing higher conversion rates with their Boost Ads than they are seeing with their GMB listings. We provide conversion rates and other metrics on the monthly Marketing Reports we prepare for each of our customers. I’ll share results from two of our customers who have given us permission to do so: Bluegrass Orthopaedics and Desert Orthopaedics Center.
Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Kentucky experienced a 9% conversion rate from their GMB listings and a 35% conversion rate for their Boost Ads from January 1 to March 31, 2020.
Desert Orthopaedics Center in Las Vegas experienced a 17% conversion rate from their GMB listings and a 39% conversion rate from their Boost Ads from January 1 to March 31, 2020.
Seeing the impact of your marketing spend with top search results and a great conversion rate gives you the ability to spend wisely and efficiently.
You can try it on for size
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? The hands down best way to know if hitting the top search result will work for you is to try it.
If your GMB listings are well optimized and you’re consistently hitting Google’s Local 3-Pack results, that’s fantastic. It’s time to take it to the next level. A Google Ad that’s targeted to the patients you want and set up with all the right keywords and content will make a noticeable difference in your patient scheduling.
Try it out and watch for the impact. Our customers typically see results in a matter of weeks.
Here’s a little anecdotal story for you. Shortly after we’d implemented our Boost Ads, one of the doctors we work with came to his practice manager and asked why he wasn’t seeing as many knee patients. He wanted to know why the new Boost Ads weren’t working.
The ads had been turned off for a couple of weeks while we made some helpful adjustments, and the doctor noticed the difference. We quickly got them back up and running, and his patient mix improved.
If you are not one of our customers, and you could use a little help with your GMB listings. give us a call at 866-338-8270 or set up a demo by clicking the link below. Let us help you achieve the top search result with our Boost Ads and fill your schedule with the patients you want.