3 advanced keyword tactics for hospital service line marketing

Paid search is a natural fit for service line marketing. Its ability to target users searching for specific service lines in hyper-detail makes it a no brainer when trying to drive volume across the system.

But in 2015, most marketers know the basics of adwords. Unless your organization has a particularly experienced or particularly creative person running your accounts, you’ll have difficulty outperforming your competitors.

Here are three tips to get you a step ahead.

For ideas and inspiration, look outside the hospital

Hospitals aren’t the only organizations dealing with big health issues like obesity, heart disease and nerve problems. There are non-profits, social organizations, and even cultural movements that have a voice in the conversation.

Look to these organizations for some new keyword ideas. We’ve helped our clients find some diamonds in the rough that generate click through rates over 20%.

Measure short tail differently

Choosing long tail keywords is commonly established best practice in the search marketing world. It’s good policy, but like many established best practices, it can cause opportunities to be overlooked.

For example, if your hospital’s patient population is smaller or spread over a large area, total search volume may be low. Short tail keywords may hold a lot of potential for a case like this.

I’d encourage you to test out short tail keywords. But if you do so, you have to measure them with a different yardstick. A high click through rate won’t tell enough of the story – you have to look to the rate at which clicks turn into patients. Only that will tell you if your media spend is being used to fill the funnel or educate the population.

Tighten up your ad groups

The success of your ads has a lot to do with the relevance between your ad, your keyword, and your landing page. The more google can see what they’re beginning to call entity salience between these elements, the better your ads will perform (see video below for an extra-detailed explanation of this model).

To win here, build tight little ad groups where the keywords, the ads and the landing pages are clearly related entities. Think 5-20 keywords, and 3-6 ads.

Additionally, separate out the names of doctors into their own ad group, and do the same with allergies (i.e. don’t put them in the same ad group with ENT keywords). Google is likely to have trouble figuring out how these keywords are related, and you don’t want a handful of janky keywords dragging down your quality scores.