Paid Search or Organic Search: What Should Healthcare Websites Do?

Practice Management

Once upon a time, the local doctor was the only doctor, as far as residents of a community were concerned. When that was the case, healthcare professionals needed little more than word-of-mouth advertising to attract new patients. Today, however, thanks to the internet, the rise of telehealth, and increasingly easy access to educational materials, people are choosier about who they elect to be their partners in health. What this means for you as a provider is that if you want prospective patients to find you, you must advertise. To ensure the success of your efforts, you need to know how prospects will look for you. In today’s digital age, most individuals begin their searches online, where results for care providers come up one of two ways: Via paid search or via organic search.

Paid search vs. organic search: Key differences

Both paid search and organic search rely on search engine optimization which, among other factors, relies heavily on keywords. When you rank in the SERPS organically, it means that you actively optimize your website with carefully researched keywords and via SEO best practices. These include content marketing, utilizing images, taking advantage of title and meta tags, and improving page speed.

Achieving SEO ranking in healthcare organically can be a difficult and lengthy process, taking anywhere from several months to a year, which is why many practitioners choose to pay for advertising. With pay-per-click advertising, you pay to target three to four keywords. These terms are typically the most competitive in the field. The only feature that distinguishes your ad from organic listings in the SERPs is a small “Ad” in the top left corner of the listing.

To pay or not to pay

Now that you understand the difference between organic and paid rankings, you may wonder, which is best for your medical practice? Many experts argue that there is no replacement for achieving organic SEO ranking in healthcare. So long as you use white hat techniques, organic rankings are sustainable and can continue to work for you long after SEO efforts slow.

That said, it can take your website months or even a whole year to rank organically in the SERPs. You may not have months, in which case you may want to complement your SEO efforts with PPC. There are several benefits:

  • Ability to customize ads to very specific audiences
  • Only pay for ads on which prospects click
  • Opportunity to get to really know your patients
  • Chance to monitor your competition
  • Opportunity to rank better in local search
  • Instant boost in visibility, website traffic, and conversions

That said, PPC does have a few pitfalls. The most significant drawback is that it is not sustainable. Once you stop paying, your ads go away. Paying does not guarantee conversions, either. If you fail to optimize your ads accordingly, you may attract the wrong prospects. Worse yet, your ads may never grace the first page of the SERPs. Finally, if you fail to monitor and optimize your campaigns, the costs can quickly add up.

Get help devising an effective strategy

At Doctor Genius, we specialize in digital marketing solutions and are a leader in new patient acquisitions. Let us explore with you your best options for attracting new patients and devise a strategy to yield the best results. Contact our team today to learn more.

Doctor Genius, located at 16800 Aston Street, Suite 270, Irvine, CA 92606, provides a range of services for practice success. We seek to meet our clients’ needs by providing a variety of marketing, SEO, practice optimization tools, and coaching to transform the healthcare experience. Though we work to provide the most accurate information, the content found on this website is solely intended for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is entirely correct. You may not use the information on this site to cure, prevent, or diagnose a perceived medical issue. If you have healthcare-related needs, please speak directly to a healthcare professional. Never self-perform medical treatments discussed on this website. All images displayed are also for entertainment purposes only, and personal experiences may differ. Please note that the business tactics mentioned on this site might not be applicable to your industry or practice.