Launching a digital marketing campaign is the way to go if you’re a healthcare provider who wants to expand their new practice. There are two main digital marketing avenues: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click ads (PPC).
Both SEO and PPC will take the money and effort to get your site tons of targeted traffic. However, both methods will drive highly-targeted traffic to your healthcare website. But which one makes the most sense right now for your healthcare website?
Deciding where to spend your money first is a hard decision regarding digital marketing. Should you go with PPC or SEO, or a little of both? Ask any digital marketing expert about SEO vs. PPC, and you’ll get answers advocating one, the other, or both. So, which one is more effective at driving targeted traffic?
PPC vs. SEO
Both PPC and SEO work to promote healthcare websites and drive targeted traffic. However, each works in a very different way.
PPC involves paid advertising on both search engines and social media. You’ll bid on specific keywords, and your ads will top the search results for those keywords. On the other hand, SEO focuses on on-site and off-site optimization to gain organic search engine traffic. Both are essential to acquire relevant traffic for your healthcare website.
Both PPC and SEO result in more qualified traffic, but SEO can take months or even years to take effect. On the other hand, PPC ads get immediate, highly relevant results. But, most experts, such as Digital Authority Partners, recommend doing both.
Why SEO Ultimately Beats PPC
SEO’s most significant advantage over PPC is that it ultimately results in free traffic. However, depending on your keywords, PPC costs can add up. Also, managing a PPC campaign can consume a lot of your time. Learning how to run a PPC campaign in the first place takes quite a bit of time.
While SEO is cheaper than PPC, it involves a significant investment of time if you do it yourself. So, if you’re willing to learn what needs to be done and put in the time, SEO is a smart bet. SEO offers the long-term, sustained results that healthcare providers need.
However, keep in mind that SEO is a slow process. It also has many components that need to work together. For example, you’ll need to write optimized text, regularly write blog posts, create an internal link, get quality backlinks, and manage citations. But, in the end, SEO is more sustainable than PPC, driving the best quality, organic traffic to your healthcare site.
However, if you can’t do SEO yourself, paying someone else to do it comes at a price. Hiring a competent SEO professional doesn’t come cheap. But, the cost is often time-limited. Once completing the work, you’re only mostly done. You may need a little maintenance and updates from time to time, but the bulk of the work is finished upfront.
Pros and Cons of PPC
The biggest pro of PPC is that the results are immediate; within hours of launching an ad, you’ll see an uptick in website visitors.
With that in mind, PPC can work hand-in-hand with SEO; since SEO can take a long time to kick in, PPC ads can fill in the gap. In addition, PPC ads can drive traffic to your site as you wait for your web pages to climb the ranks of organic search results. As a result, you can track and analyze the results from your ad dashboard of this highly targeted traffic. This data can also be helpful for your SEO efforts.
But, every website visitor comes at a price. Moreover, the competition for prime keywords is cutthroat. As a result, the cost of some keywords is shocking, and there is no guarantee that a click will result in a conversion.
If yours is a new healthcare practice with a limited budget, proceed cautiously with PPC. Set a budget, and stick to it. Fortunately, you can select your budget from your Google AdWords account. In addition, this will pause your ads for a time. Of course, when you run out of funds, and the ads stop, so does your website traffic.
There are Downsides to SEO, Too
One of the most significant downsides is the constant changes to search engine algorithms. Major updates can wipe out your rankings overnight. SEO professionals certainly remember the devastation wreaked by the Panda update years ago. Then there was the Penguin update, followed by the infamous Mobilegeddon. Overnight, carefully optimized, leading websites fell to the bottom.
By no means is SEO “set it and forget it.” While it may not cost as much every month as PPC, you must keep abreast of algorithm changes and update your site accordingly. And following, understanding, and acting on algorithm changes requires a lot of time and know-how.
Also, you need to follow the search engine guidelines to the letter to avoid penalties. These penalities also drop your rankings. If the search engines catch you cheating your way to the top, they’ll knock you down fast.
Also, it takes quite a bit of time to see any results at all from SEO. The results can take a frustrating amount of time. Unlike PPC, it does not deliver instant results. It can take months for any noticeable impact. So, for SEO to maintain your rankings, be prepared for frequent tweaks and updates.
Both PPC and SEO get results but in very different ways. Most digital advertising professionals recommend a little bit of both; PPC ads can get you started and fill in SEOs up and down gaps. With PPC, you can instantly begin converting website visitors into new patients. But you will need to optimize your website for the search engines, sooner or later, no matter what.
The pros and cons should give you an idea of how PPC and SEO work separately and together. There is no way around it. For example, if you want people to find your healthcare website, you’ll need to use SEO and PPC for healthcare.