Miscellaneous Content | Evolve Digital Labs

Although we love digital marketing and strategy, some content doesn’t quite fit into a nice little package.

A Few of Our Favorite SEO Tools

Have you ever sat down and thought about the tools that make your job easier? From a laptop, phone and Wi-Fi to search engines, Excel, PowerPoint, SlideShare, Dropbox and Microsoft Word.

The digital strategists and PPC managers at Evolve Digital Labs recently compiled a list of some of our favorite tools that make us more efficient and improve outcomes when it comes to SEO and SEM.

Google Adwords is at the center of most digital marketing campaigns. As a Google partner the Evolve team uses Adwords daily.

Included in Adwords are two features that make life easier and increase the cost-effectiveness of ad spending. Those are the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator.

Keyword Tool provides search volume for keyword lists, however the values it returns are estimates and can be wildly inaccurate especially for low-mid search volume terms.

A better solution to get the true search volume is to use the Traffic Estimator tool. We do a traffic estimate for sites and keyword lists using the maximum bid ($100) to get the true search volume for those terms.

If your keyword list is large, (>2k) you can still use this method via the Adwords API and a little scripting know-how.

SEO Mofos Search Snippet Tools  helps quickly visualize and show examples of what SERPs will look like.

Mofo Snippet

Microsoft SEO Tools are helpful options for improving Bing SEO, as most other tools available are geared to optimize for Google.

Excel sheets are something Evolve’s PPC managers pour over hourly scanning thousands of keywords and search queries for clients like Merck and Charter Spectrum. It helps to have a few easy tricks to make working with Excel and endless data a little easier.

The Pivot Tables function allows users to look at account data for top-level analysis like campaigns, or ad groups. It can also quickly drill down all the way to keyword level to find which KWs are either driving the success of a campaign or holding it back.

The Find/Replace tool helps clean up data, which is one of the most important keys to big data sets and being able to quickly analyze and make accurate cost-effective decisions.

Everyone knows how to use VLOOKUP and what it does, but a free add-in in Excel called Fuzzy Lookup can help by matching up two datasets. Like Vlookup, Fuzzy can compare two unique columns between 2 sets of data. However Fuzzy can match up two columns from each side. So you can match First Names, and Last names that may not be in the same columns without concatenating. Fuzzy is free and takes a little practice to understand how it works. There is a limit on the size of data but for a couple 100,000 rows of data it works great.

All of our clients undergo an audit to identify opportunities for growth. “Found SEO Tool” (UK) is a straightforward audit resource that provides insight into what to fix on a website, like Screaming Frog it’s used more for analysis than an SEO road map.

Webmaster Tools are critical during the audit phase; we use those insights to highlight the next steps. We pay incredibly close attention to impression data, query data and CTR to analyze organic performance and potential.

Onsite improvements and shortcomings are identified with several Google resources, including the Page Speed and mobile friendliness tests.

Those are just a few of our top tools, to learn more about how we can put them to work for you get in touch with us. If you’ve got a unique ‘go to’ SEO/SEM tool that you’d like to share, let us know!

 

 

What’s Causing Your Site’s Traffic Problems?

During the fall of 2012 Strategyn was trying to determine the root cause of an organic traffic drop. What was originally thought to be the cause of this drop, was algorithm changes, however insights from Evolve Digital Labs revealed the issue to be a recent website redesign.

By happenstance Strategyn’s team came across an article by Evolve Digital Labs, related to another site, it specifically addressed how duplicate content errors impact traffic and rankings.

Strategyn called us, and we got to work. An initial consultation exposed errors, and how those errors were significantly impacting traffic. Strategyn then ordered a complete website audit.

An audit by definition sounds scary and boring – “An official inspection of an individual’s or organization’s accounts, typically by an independent body.” However, audits are the biggest factor in turning around traffic and implementing the best practices for growth.  Get beyond the audit fear and embrace the target goal of a fully optimized site.

We determined the redesign altered website copy, causing technical errors which decreased traffic. Strategyn lost equity as a result of the redesign, because URL structures were different, and not properly redirected to new pages.

Evolve provided Strategyn with a roadmap to solutions, including URL redirecting and internal linking.

The next steps focused on developing a solid strategy, which would lead to growth. Generating content and assets with customer-language in mind helped determine key innovation terms. By changing a historic timeline image into text search equity improved. By leveraging Google Suggest key terms from instant results micro conversations on Strategyn’s site were supported.

Another component of the audit found PPC campaigns were not properly optimized. Opportunities for traffic and conversions were being missed because Strategyn was bidding on single word or even number terms.  The Evolve team helped segment keywords and identified the primary customers needs through keyword research, thus allowing for singular focused paid ads, rather than ads for broad topics.

Strategyn has since seen a 200% increase in website traffic, plus and increase in conversions and new business leads.

Strategyn-1_3

The methods implemented were built around information and data shown in the audit. While there are always suggestions available and a variety of alternatives to an in-depth audit those ‘quick fixes’ won’t identify the true potential for online growth.

To learn more about the best outcomes from an Evolve Digital Labs audit contact us today.

Are You Tracking Your URLs?

For many brands, use of Tracking URLs (also known as UTM Parameters) has become the norm. Individuals and companies use them to track email marketing, Paid Search campaigns, press releases, and even blog posts.

Used strategically, Tracking URLs can not only provide essential campaign data, they can also allow you to turn that data into decision-making results for yourself and your clients. The data Tracking URLs could potentially provide include:

  • Sources that drive the most traffic
  • Differences in the number of clicks among ads
  • The format of the source (Banner, link, post)

There tends to be some confusion when it comes to tracking URLs so let’s start at the beginning. It’s not as intimidating as you may think!

What is a tracking URL?

A Tracking URL is simply a website address (URL) that’s been supplemented with parameters to reveal information through Google Analytics. Without Tracking URLs, it would be very difficult to understand points of entrance to your website. For example, if you see 1,000 visitors to domain.com/blog, there’s no deeper understanding of how that traffic is coming to your site. Adding parameters makes it easier to gauge the performance of various mediums, sources, and messaging, which is especially necessary for managing a Paid Search campaign. A Tracking URL leads visitors to the same page as the normal URL, but Google Analytics works in the background to capture the unique campaign data that’s attached to the URL. That being said, in order for Tracking URLs to provide any meaningful data, it is essential that Google Analytics be installed properly across every page of your website.

How do you make one?

Believe it or not, it’s pretty simple to create and use a Tracking URL. There are several tools available, but the one we commonly use is the Google URL Builder.

Google-URL-builder

Say I wrote the best blog post ever and wanted to drive visitors to my post through a Paid Search campaign. Because Iam spending money, I need to evaluate ROI at the end of the campaign by creating Tracking URLs that allow me to see where readers come from before reading my blog. To do that, I will add information to the fields Google has displayed, including “source,” “medium,” and “campaign.”

Google-campaign-build

The end result is this:

http://domain.com/blog/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation

  • The “Source” parameter is used to identify the last place visited before a person reached your website. I have set my source field to “Google” since visitors will be coming from a Google search, but other example sources could include “November-Newsletter” or “Twitter.” /blog/url-tracking?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation
  • “Medium” identifies the way in which the visitor arrived at that source. In our example, they clicked on a paid search ad, which is why our medium is set to “PPC”: /blog/url-tracking?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation
  • The “Campaign” parameter is used to identify different campaigns and/or marketing tactics used to drive traffic to your site. In our example, my campaign is called aBlogEducationa: http://domain.com/blog/url-tracking?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation

Note: Notice the way the campaign is labeled “BlogEducation.” This is deliberate. First of all, there cannot be any spaces in a URL. Second, Google Analytics is case sensitive. These are important to remember when creating Tracking URLs. However you label the parameters in your URL is exactly what will appear in Google Analytics. To see the traffic to my site from this blog post, I would look under Acquisition > Campaigns, then search for the name of the campaign in the search bar.

google-analytics-campaign-tracking

Make sure to adopt a standard naming convention, as it will help with analyzing data. If you do any importing, exporting, sorting, or filtering of data in spreadsheets, you will quickly learn what misspellings can do to the amount of time it takes to sift through it all. If I wanted to look back at my PPC campaign and see the results, I can search for “BlogEducation.” However, if I happen to misspell it or use all lowercase, “blogeducation,” it will appear as if I have two separate campaigns. I would then have to manually merge the data to get a clear picture of my campaign results. I recommend keeping an organized spreadsheet of all tracking URLs. This makes it easy to look back and find any errors. It also provides a point of reference for all tracking efforts and will help to maintain uniformity. Even when sharing content through social media, you can assemble a library of Tracking URLs that should be used according to the post and social media website.

Conclusion

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of Tracking URLs. For most beginners, the best way to understand the value is to start building trackable URLs and see the data populate over time in Google Analytics. There are plenty of great resources out on the web regarding this topic. Google support can provide answers to most questions regarding analytics. Finally, Google Chrome has a URL Builder extension you can add onto your browser, making URL building a piece of cake.

SEM and Design: Why the disconnect?

Far too often, we come across brands that consider design and Search Engine Marketing two separate projects, and the resulting pages fail to contribute to the end goal: achieving leads. The three primary reasons a designer neglects to consider SEM and SEO prior to designing an entire website, a single page, or collateral material for a site are: Resources, Process, and Values.

SEM and Design

1. Failure to Acquire Resources

This is a difficult issue to address because typically, search engine marketing and search engine optimization are believed to be additional components to a website or acceptable tactics for consideration after the website is finished. In reality, search engine strategy should be considered in the very beginning, with data (the voice of the customer) driving initial decisions and strategy. If thought about and handled in the correct way, the direction and certainty from keyword research provides a specific, linear path to visual success in a page’s design. Strategy and need should become dramatically less ambiguous, thus reducing the need for revisions based on visual messaging.

2. Preferred Design Process is Flawed

Regardless of the craft or expertise, injecting a new element to a seasoned professional’s process can be difficult, especially when that craft requires a creative and emotional connection to produce success. The larger the corporation the designer supports, the more levels of approval, therefore increasing the difficulty or likelihood of implementing data like keyword research. Designers and writers alike are communicators of ideas. These professionals of messaging have struggled with search since its inception of mainstream marketing. I’ve often heard that these communicators battle with the idea of a machine or data telling them what to say or how to design, but the irony is that it’s the targeted customers asking the questions. It is the customers who drive that data, the very people to whom we are supposed to be marketing, messaging, and ultimately helping.

3. Perception of Design’s Value is Skewed

The value of design is often dependent upon the specific brand and the artist. It’s a way to tap into the emotional elements of what the brand stands for and how the brain wishes to connect with this consumer. While some may argue that data creates interruption or unnecessary barriers of communication, these strategic initiatives cannot be ignored because they represent the voice of the customer. Search marketing and search engines have evolved drastically; there’s no longer a need, nor should there be a practice or recommendation, to oversaturate a page with unnecessary vernacular exclusively using data based on voice of the customer. In the same way every brand has style guides specifying which fonts or colors to use, customer-produced data from the search engines can also be guidelines, acting as a litmus for consideration when developing websites for developing content when designing landing pages and designing messaging.

How to fix it

There are a few possible remedies to three interrupters of incorporating search marketing into the world of design. Step 1: Provide the necessary information with the project assignment. Keyword research and visitor data isn’t an afterthought. It should be baked into the visual concepts, then tested through behavior online. Step 2: Develop a process to incorporate Search data into the design. This action is as simple as validating data and desired outcomes during the rounds of revision to ensure that all the essential communication points and consumer needs are being met. Step 3: Create search marketing guidelines. These guidelines can be incorporated into the value of the brand thought leader, educator, or advocate. There’s a way to align how people search and what they are searching for into the basic guidelines of how you communicate with people online.

Why I no longer run a search marketing agency

If it were exclusively up to me, I would still be the President of Evolve Digital Labs, a premier search marketing agency. The one I started and helped build. From one person to fourteen amazing people.

But we do not always get to choose what happens personally or professionally. So true to our name, change is expected and inevitable.

Today, I lead an organization focused on online growth and digital innovation.

If the accepted science is correct, and we do completely shed ourselves inside and out every seven years, then the change is appropriate. I am no longer interested in decoding an algorithm. I know that success is not found in search engine rankings alone. Keywords have never been as simple as a data point. It is not enough to focus on lead generation. Instead, I want to lead this generation of change. As blue collars dissipate and the starkness of white collars unforthcoming, a new assembly line and asset management is needed. I have been challenged and changed by those with whom I share an illustrious responsibility and connection.

Now, the focus is on the consumers of the world and their needs. Empowering the customer through data and search is the beginning.

Yes, search. Search is a consumer centric channel. The consumer vehicle four out of five online sessions include. Search is more than Google and Google is more than search. Google is an innovation platform. They redefined how we hear the voice of the customer. The outcome is their focus. The value comes to the consumer and the business through behavior, not descriptions. We do not only understand it, we embrace and promote it.

We will continue to help companies be found. We will continue to connect our clients with the right customer and the customer with the power to get the job done. We do not relinquish our rights nor refute the need to improve a brand’s digital assets. Yes we mine keywords, we use the data of the consumer online provide by search & social giants. The change is how we evaluate the market and select the customer and the confidence in what is necessary to invest.

  • There is a need to deliver a marketplace assessment a online. 
  • There is a need to build a strategic framework for profitable and scalable growth. 
  • There is a need to improve and innovate the results of a consumers experience online. 

Evolve Digital Labs is proving the value of a new model for growth online. I stand proudly on the backs of the brilliant and dedicated people who built a new meaning to our name. It is through our superior people and process that we have leveraged technology to provide services that far exceed those of a search marketing company.

I am one of the lucky ones. I wake up feeling privileged and I fall asleep from mental exhaustion, because every day I am challenged by the people around me and the problems we are paid to solve. The work, to me, is necessary. It fills my heart and keeps it beating while my children attend school and my wife improves the world one trialed family and adolescent at a time. The connection I feel to my professional responsibilities, my staff, clients and partners amazes me.

To all involved, thank you and welcome.

Not Provided Podcast: The Future of SEO as a Revenue Opportunity

This week, Derek was excited to join the guys on the Not Provided Podcast, a podcast covering social media, SEO, and all things digital marketing. We met Damon Gochneaur, one of the hosts, at State of Search 2013.

The topic of the podcast, The Future of SEO as a Revenue Opportunity, expanded on our presentation at State of Search and focused on several things including the evolution of SEO as an industry.

The podcast covers:

  • What to expect after clients rank #1 for their search terms a where does the relationship go from there? Learn why SEO as an industry must evolve and how Evolve Digital Labs transitioned to become a partner to our clients a focusing on business objectives such as outcomes and growth, rather than rankings.
  • How to create a common language between online marketing and business operations, and how to apply the tactics of SEO for business growth.
  • Why Evolve focuses on health care as an industry, and the specific challenges and opportunities that come with health care marketing.

Check out the podcast to learn all these things and more a and a special thanks to Not Provided for inviting us to join the show this week.

Follow Not Provided on Twitter for updates on future shows.

Effective Budget Flighting

One of the most evident advantages of pay-per-click advertising is the ability to control how much of a budget is spent over short periods. If your campaign or ad messaging fails to deliver the expected volume of clicks, you can easily pause a campaign or adjust the spend to prevent wasting more dollars on ineffective marketing.

One means of regulating your media spend is effective budget flighting. Budget flighting simply means you allocate more media dollars in specific time frames than others. The strategy behind flighting is often based on seasonality or product offerings a such as special pricing or promotions. By matching the volume of advertising spend to reflect the fluctuation of searches, you can control the effectiveness of your budget.

When should you flight your budget?

You probably are already aware of which months make up your “busy season.” But how can you know if there are other opportunities for you to take advantage of? Often times, keyword research can provide insight into the patterns of search volume for a topic or term.

The health care sector, can serve as a good flighting advertising example. Advertisers often encounter seasonality for certain treatments or procedures. Last year, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that searches related to mental illnesses follow seasonal patterns, indicating the severity of seasonal affective disorder. Industry research and knowledge such as this should be applied to online strategy.

How to strategically flight your media budget

To learn how you should flight your budget, it is important to look at a few different metrics in analytics.

  • Return on Investment: The months of the year that yield the highest return on investment for products or services should direct how you flight the budget. Your brand should invest the highest amounts of budget in months where the ROI is at the highest. Always look at the big picture before finalizing a flighting plan. Some months may deliver a high lead volume, for instance, but the leads convert at a lower rate than other months. This example indicates that though interest is high in these months, the purchase intent is low.
  • Lead to Acquisition (LTA): The rate at which you convert leads into acquisitions is another key metric to digest and factor into budget flighting. If this rate is low, you may be driving unqualified leads to your site and adjustments should be made. This will also help you understand how many leads you need to drive in order to hit acquisition and revenue goals.
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL): To weigh the effectiveness of your campaign, you need to divide the number of leads you acquired by the amount you’ve spent. You will probably notice that some months yield much higher CPLs than others. With this information in mind, you should reallocate your PPC budget.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Similar to CPL, look at how much are you spending to acquire a new customer. This number will probably fluctuate throughout the year, so a best practice is to flight your budget to ensure you arenat overspending media dollars during periods of slow acquisition. You must also understand what your LTV (lifetime value of a customer) is in order to determine what an acceptable CPA is for your organization.

Understanding how these metrics can play into budget flighting will improve the abottom linea numbers that mean the most to the C-Suite: Increased revenue and reduced wasteful spending.

Paid Search Agency Recognized for Work

Last month, we were honored to receive a plaque from our client, Helitech, as recognition for the success achieved throught paid search. It is always rewarding to enable a client to improve the way it markets to an audience online, and in case of Helitech, we were able to quickly improve its paid search account structure to deliver better results.

evolve helitech plaque

When we took over the account mid-April of 2013, the Paid Search team implemented immediate account optimizations.

To ensure quality traffic to Helitech’s website, we performed extensive negative keyword expansion. We then removed broad match keywords, allowing us to gain additional control over the budget and drive the right audience to the site.

Keyword research is always a significant part of the account optimization. For Helitech, we researched relevant terms to identify search volume, understand search intent, segment the audience into campaigns and ad groups, and generate ad copy.

The campaign’s click-through rate (CTR) spiked once we made the initial adjustments, sending waves of qualified traffic to landing pages during Helitech’s most demanding time of the year.

Because revenue and profitability are centric to Evolve Digital Labs’ process, the account was flighted based upon industry trend analytics to correlate saturation, positioning, and expense with peak seasonality and opportunity.

Once the normal peak season ended, Evolve’s Paid Search team continued to maintain healthy lead generation, traffic, and costs per click (CPCs). The average conversion rate remains 4.25% for Helitech.

Thanks so much to Helitech for the thoughtful token of appreciation! It is a pleasure working for you.

Adding Keyword Research to your Healthcare Marketing Plan

Health care marketers have a strong history of resorting to traditional advertising to build brand awareness and reach a wide audience. From billboards to TV spots, organizations are emptying significant portions of their budgets on mass marketing channels. But are these advertisements increasing the number of surgeries performed each year? Can healthcare organizations validate spending without lead acquisition metrics? When talking about traditional marketing (or even poorly executed online marketing), the answer is often “no.”

This post will explain how healthcare marketers can use keyword research for healthcare to better inform their digital marketing campaigns.

ppc-measurable-marketing

Keywords explained

The most paramount advantage of online advertising is the ability to narrow the audience to a pool of people who are actively searching for a solution you can provide. Rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars for traditional ad impressions that may or may not even resonate with a sliver of the audience, you have control of who sees your ad messaging. Keywords, keyword phrases or queries, are representative of people who are in need of a solution. In fact, these people are interested enough to take time to search online. That makes the audience we associate with keywords a much more qualified group of prospects than a general audience of mass marketing. In order to successfully convert patients and customers online, it is essential to know what terms they are searching to find a solution. This is why Keyword Research needs to be a core part of a marketing plan.

So what is Keyword Research?

Keyword Research is the key to implementing successful paid search campaigns and fortifying your website with content that will drive revenue. Along with terms provided, clients are able to understand the search volume associated with each keyword. Essentially, Keyword Research illuminates the online market opportunity for brands.

Components of Keyword Research

The information provided in Keyword Research outlines the framework for a digital marketing plan. To ensure the validity and quality of the product, Evolve Digital Labs follows a process that analyzes the following:

  • Search volume by keyword
  • Organic difficulty
  • Clienta’s customers
  • Client’s products/services
  • Clienta’s consumer path

Implementing the keywords in future paid search campaigns, content creation, optimization of existing site content, and additional applications recommended for the targeted market will provide the greatest opportunity for successful lead acquisition.

 

Keyword Research and Search

By segmenting a client’s Keyword Research into campaigns, we can organize the terms according to the estimated search volume and organic difficulty. This data is essential for market segmentation, dictating the path to customer acquisition.

Search Volume: This depicts the number of national searches performed each month for that term. Broad, high-level terms or outcomes typically have much higher search volume than more specific solutions, brands, or products. However, they are also harder to rank for.

Organic difficulty: Based upon a zero to 100 scale, with 100 being the most difficult, Organic Difficulty is calculated based upon the cumulative efforts of competition in the search engines. Because the scale is incremental, ranking organically for high difficulty terms should shift to long-term goals. Paid search, then, is harnessed to capture traffic on those terms. This is explained more in the section below. As depicted below, there is direct correlation with search position and the ability to capture search traffic.

healthcare-search-ctr

Two-tier applications for keyword research

Once a brand has structured lists of keywords or keyword ideas to target, it’s important to understand how to apply them to a digital marketing plan. We actually recommend implementing keyword research into both organic (SEO) and Paid Search strategies.

Paid Search Application

For most healthcare organizations, there will inevitably be keywords that are challenging to rank for organically. Building a website’s authority to be capable of securing organic positions for recommended healthcare content terms requires a strategic, often time-consuming plan. Paid Search allows for short-term exposure to the targeted audience while organic efforts are set in place. Even when pages can rank organically, Paid Search may target branded traffic to prevent competitors from stealing prospects.

Organic Search Application

Organic strategy should begin by selecting terms from keyword lists that contain moderate search volume and moderate-to-low organic difficulty. These keywords will allow for “quick-wins” in organic search engine results pages (SERPs). Ongoing site improvements and content expansion will help reach long-terms goals of ranking for significant, high-difficulty terms. As you can see in the chart below (which, for the purpose of this post, is merely an estimate of search volume and organic difficulty), the Paid Search terms have a much higher organic difficulty score. While a brand pays for traffic to the difficult terms, it can simultaneously work on ranking organically for less difficult terms.

Organic Terms
Keyword Search Volume Organic Difficulty
weight loss facilities 19,885 42
bariatrics surgery 25,210 46
cardiac physicians 1,575 43
foot therapy physicians 6,510 36

 

PPC Keywords
Keyword Search Volume Organic Difficulty
obesity assistance 9,820 72
gastric bypass consultation 1,240 78
heart specialist 5,760 77
knee replacement 6,510 70

 

A final word on keywords

Many health care organizations are starting to allocate parts of their marketing budgets to online marketing efforts. Without correctly executing a campaign and measuring the progress, however, the causes of success or failure are as elusive as in traditional marketing. Keyword research may seem to be only a component of paid search, but in reality, it should be in the forefront of all aspects of a healthcare marketing plan.

Download our FREE online market audit checklist to see how we use online data to turn your healthcare brand into an online acquisition machine.

Critical Tips for Measuring Healthcare PPC

Paid search advertising, when implemented correctly, can provide numerous benefits to a healthcare organization.

To name a few, paid search enables healthcare providers to target a niche audience, lower the cost per lead, increase the number of scheduled procedures, and better understand the needs of their patients. However, without tracking and measuring your efforts, marketing your medical practice effectively is highly unlikely.

The PPC Team at Evolve Digital Labs is a Google Partner, and thus are recognized as experts in Paid Search. We are obsessed with measuring, so today I’m going to walk you through the best practices.

PartnerBadge-Horizontal

What’s the importance?

Measuring PPC efforts is important because it ensures your organization spends its budget wisely. Without ever monitoring the results of your campaigns, how will you know what areas you can improve upon? Through analytics, you can learn the following about your paid search campaigns:

  • Which keywords yield clicks
  • What ad messaging resonates with searchers
  • What landing page layout and elements convert visitors
  • How effective Search Retargeting is for your campaigns
  • What the core needs of your audience are
  • The location of your target audience
  • Where you need to adjust and allocate campaign budgets to maximize efficiency and increase traffic/leads

What many people in healthcare marketing do not realize is that it is critical to measure the right metrics.

Impressions, for example, is a term a lot of marketers use in their reports, but usually the number only refers to the number of times the ad was displayed… even if no one clicked on it. That metric itself is usually nothing to boast about.

Instead, we recommend focusing on the metrics that actually indicate how fiscally responsible your paid search efforts are. These include:

  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Conversion rate (conversions/clicks)
  • Cost per action (site engagement: video tour, blog page visits, etc.)
  • Tracking URLs

The meaning of a “conversion” will vary among healthcare organizations. For example, when promoting services, such as “lasik eye surgery,” a conversion would probably require a visitor to call a trackable number to schedule a consultation.

An organization like the American Diabetes Association, however, might consider a conversion to be filling out a form to receive an information packet. Healthcare-paid-search

How can you measure healthcare PPC performance?

While plenty of SEOs are still distressed over the encryption of referral terms in Google Analytics a in other words, what people searched to reach your site, Paid Search marketers still have access to a world of data.

Google AdWords:

Front-end click metrics: Marketers can monitor front-end click metrics from top-level account down to ad/keyword (click volume/CPC/CTR). Additionally, they have access to other important data (average position, quality score, etc.) to help guide account optimizations.

Conversion tracking: Paid Search marketers can implement a pixel on key “Thank You” pages and utilize conversion data in AdWords’ user interface. By assigning a monetary value to each conversion, you can evaluate the return on investment. Set up Conversion Optimizer to efficiently manage campaigns, allowing AdWords to automatically adjust bids based on cost-per-action (CPA) targets vs. CPC.

Google Analytics:

Detailed on-page monitoring: Through Google Analytics, you can monitor back-end metrics, such as page visits, average time on site, or bounce rate. This helps brands measure engagement post-click.

Identifying and monitoring Goals: Analytics also has an incredibly helpful feature called Goals. Once a pixel has been implemented on key pages, you can set up Goals to help measure completions (whether it be arriving to a specific page or watching a video) against site visits.

How are health care brands wasting money?

We often come across organizations, both health-related and otherwise, that are wasting significant portions of their budgets on poorly assembled and managed campaigns. The PPC Audit often illuminates areas of budget waste and erroneous behavior, including:

  • Running on Broad Match: “Broad match” is a system that automatically bids on ads that are similar to your keywords. While this may seem like a time-saver, it essentially reduces a brandas control over how relevant advertisements are to the search queries. Marketers that resort to this method often pay a higher cost per click (CPC). We recommend that brands instead build out comprehensive lists of keywords to bid on.
  • Overbidding: Sometimes marketers will overbid on keywords to achieve desired PPC goals, but aggressively overbidding results in unnecessarily high CPCs.
  • Underbidding: Inversely, paid search marketers that underbid allow competitors to consistently outrank them, resulting in missed opportunities for brand or product awareness.
  • Failure to use enhanced AdWords features: Dayparting, Sitelinks, Location, and Click-to-Call extensions significantly improve performance.
  • Failure to use tracking or Analytics data: Following the performance of a campaign helps guide account optimizations and budget allocation.
  • Not sending visitors to a landing page: Clicking an ad should direct someone to a landing page designed specifically to convert prospects. Sending someone to the homepage or even a service page greatly disturbs the search process and leads to a poor user experience. It is also fiscally irresponsible on the paid search marketer’s part.
  • Failure to use location targeting: This AdWords setting enables you to limit the locations to which advertisements are being displayed. It’s critical to ensure only prospects within a serviceable region are able to click your ad.

Success from measuring

Last year, we worked with a company that provides information, products, and services to the medical industry. We performed a complete PPC Account Restructure for one of their products.

  • We built out a more comprehensive list of branded variations, non-branded medical references, and competitor terms
  • We created Exact vs. Phrase match ad groups, enabling higher bids for Exact variations
  • We created Misspelling ad groups to ensure Dynamic Keyword Insertion was not misrepresenting the brand
  • We revised ad copy with key brand messaging and calls to action
  • We used Sitelinks in AdWords, which provides an enhanced user experience

It allows for quickly reaching the most relevant site destination and increasing real estate on results pages among competitors. Post-restructure, it was exciting to see how Healthcare PPC was driving leads to our clientas website. The client had previously been allocating 10% of its budget to Google’s Display Network, which puts ads on relevant websites instead of on search engines. To many people, this additional exposure seems like a great idea a but are people visiting those sites in the mindset to buy? Most likely, no.

Display-advertising

We paused Display Network campaigns and instead devoted 100% of the budget to ads in the search engine results pages, which serve to a more engaged user base. With a more in-depth keyword list, the Search Network clicks increased by 11% from the previous month. Also as a result of excluding Display Network impressions, the account click through rate (CTR) increased over 300%. Even with a significant surge in qualified traffic, the cost per click (CPC) increased only by one percent to $.81.

Conclusion

When correctly implemented and managed, Paid Search can play a critical role in marketing your medical practice. From performing Healthcare PPC Audits, to setting up Retargeting campaigns, to even providing the necessary Keyword Research, Evolve Digital Labs’ team of Paid Search experts is qualified to increase revenue for your organization through search engine marketing.

Download our free guide, “Aligning Patient Needs with Online Capabilities” and see how your hospital measures up against the nation’s top hospital brands.