Understanding Search Engine Marketing and the Effective Use of Landing Pages

In today’s competitive marketplace, the approach to marketing a healthcare practice has shifted more toward digital initiatives. This includes your practice website, search engines, reputation and social media.

Over half of advertising spend in 2019 is expected to be put toward digital. If you haven’t expanded your reach with digital ads, it may be time to adapt your strategy. This article will examine search engine marketing (SEM) and deliver best practices.

How Do Search Ads Work?

When a user searches on Google, ads will appear based on the relevance to the keywords of the campaign. Keyword choice and ad quality scores determine the position on the page and the cost of each click. Exposure will vary based on the monthly budget.

If a user decides to click on an ad, the cost-per-click (CPC) will be deducted from the monthly budget. The cost-per-click is determined by the search engine’s algorithm based on market competitiveness and a number of other local market variables.

It is best practice to direct the searcher to a landing page when clicking on the ad. A landing page is often a simplified web page with dedicated information related to the search query. Campaigns are often compartmentalized based on keyword groupings by topic.

What Does a Search Ad Look Like?

Search ads are made up of a number of parts and will be organized differently depending on the device the search is performed on. The following are elements of a search engine ad:

  • Call-to-Action/Link: includes headlines up to 30 characters long and larger title text separated by pipes, which link to the landing page.
  • Call extension: a phone number that is a click-to-call link on the ad.
  • Descriptions: a brief explanation of the product or service offered in the ad. There are two descriptions per ad, each can be up to 90 characters.
  • Sitelink Extensions: links to related pages within the advertiser’s website.

The Purpose and Structure of Landing Pages

In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. Landing pages provide users with a consistent and focused experience when searching for information on a medical condition or a location for treatment. The speed, intuitiveness and aesthetic value of a landing page will determine the rate at which users will make the decision to connect with the practice.

Landing pages are created for one purpose: encourage the visitor to take action. It should be designed with colors and style to match the practice’s brand and website. A landing page should include a call-to-action, an image, a contact form, phone number and an offer above the fold.

There Are Four Actions a User Can Take on a Landing Page

  • The user can fill out a contact form and click submit. An email is automatically sent to the practice with the user’s information.
  • The user can click on the click-to-call phone number to call the practice directly.
  • The user can click on the practice’s logo and be directed to the main website.
  • The user can exit the page without taking action on the above items.

Understanding the Campaign’s Effectiveness

Although it may seem overwhelming, there is a lot of data available with digital advertising that can help to manage and optimize the campaign’s performance. Each data point will indicate an area of a campaign that can be altered. It’s important to make small changes at a time and provide sufficient time to collect data to test the efficacy. This will allow you to compartmentalize and more accurately track the changes being made. In the end, the goal is to maximize your return on marketing investment.

Reviewing a Search Ads Campaign Data

Search ads will provide a number of data points that will indicate activity generated. Campaigns may be altered depending on the results in comparison to industry benchmarks. Below are some of the terms and definitions to understand:

  • Impressions: amount of times your ads appear for related search in the designated geographic area.
  • Clicks: amount of times your ads were clicked by the consumer.
  • Click through rate (CTR): percent of searchers clicking on your ad versus how often it is displayed (impression).
  • Average position: where the ad is placed in search results. Typically target one to four since there are up to four ad placements at the top of the search results page. The remaining ads will appear at the bottom of the first page of results.
  • Cost: total cost incurred for the campaign by month. Typically the total budgeted amount or less (if search volume does not match the total spend of your campaign).
  • Average cost per click (CPC): average cost of a searcher who clicks on your ad in search results
  • Form fills: number of contact forms completed on landing pages.
  • Phone calls: calls initiated from call tracking number on landing page.
  • Total conversions: total number of leads from form fills and phone calls.
  • Cost per conversion: total cost per lead to the practice.

Reviewing a Landing Page’s Effectiveness

Call tracking, contact form submissions and heatmapping are tools used to optimize a landing page to best convert visitors into patients. It’s important to understand what triggers are generating action.

  • Call tracking: used to measure action based on the amount of calls generated by a marketing activity. They can also determine the type of inquiry coming in from the activity in addition to training the team on handling the call types.
  • Contact From Submissions: are a simple way for the consumer to connect with the practice by engaging with the call-to-action. It’s important to keep the form simple with the fewest amount of fields necessary.
  • Heat Mapping: can be used to show where users have clicked on a page or how far they have scrolled down a page. This helps marketers understand the usability on

It’s important to track this information and make continual adjustments so the campaign is operating at optimal levels.


Digital advertising may be tricky if it’s not your area of expertise but a comprehensive approach can yield positive results. If you haven’t run search engine ads in the past or if you’ve been on hiatus, it’s worth revisiting. Platforms are constantly evolving and mobile search is generating more clicks on ads. Mobile accounts for nearly 60% of search traffic today.

Connect with your Fuel Regional Manager or Account Manager for more information on digital services offered by Fuel Medical.

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