Google doesn’t explicitly advertise it, but you can use pay-per-click (PPC) ads to appear above competitors and get access to more advantageous real estate on the search engine results page.
Behind the scenes, however, PPC campaign managers and search engine optimization (SEO) experts know the truth: over time, Google searches have skewed toward serving ads – in the form of paid search.
These ads are all PPC, and they appear well above organically ranked results.
According to Web Strategies Inc., PPC ads account for 25% of all clicks on a search results page. You can see why in the image below:
In this image, I’ve Googled “dentist in Philadelphia” – and the top 3 results are PPC ads, as well as the 6 results on the right side.
What you might not realize is none of the results pictured above are organic listings. The seven starred listings on the left are local-maps listings, which aren’t the same as organic results.
This means the practices with PPC ads are getting better search results real estate than their best-ranked competition. Google is pushing the boundaries of how far down they can shove the top-ranked organic listing. So far, organic is now below “the fold.”
The reason why is clear: Google is a business, and organic listings don’t pay the bills. They’re useful, but user experience does not trump profitability.
So, PPC is a surefire way to get your practice to the top of search results – which is great news for practices who feel like they’re behind the curve when it comes to their competition. Organic rankings take more time overall and can take a while to see results from your efforts. PPC levels the playing field – but what does that mean exactly?
While PPC ads get 25% of clicks, on average, the very top organic listing gets about 30% of clicks.
If you aren’t the top ranking result, or even on the first page, you can easily double, triple or quadruple your click rate by appearing in a PPC ad above the competition.
That’s because after the top organic rank, clicks drop off precipitously. The 2nd top organic listing gets about 14% of the clicks. The 3rd gets about 10%.
By the 6th organic rank, the listing drops to less than 4% of the clicks.
So, if you rank somewhere after the top 5 organic listings, a PPC campaign could easily quadruple your click-through rate from 2% to 8% – which is a huge increase that would also quadruple your leads.
PPC can be extremely powerful, but it’s not an overnight solution to automatically increase the number of patients to your practice. As with every other type of advertising or marketing, it needs to be a part of a cohesive strategy.
Be wary of marketers and self-proclaimed PPC experts who tell you that PPC can change your business overnight.
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