SEO for Medical Practices: Is pay-per-click cost effective?

Is your patient acquisition channel (ex: pay-per-click marketing) cost-effective?

When comparing different types of SEO for medical practices, there are many strategies to consider. Many marketing agencies argue that a paid search is the most effective. But when we compare the cost-effectiveness of paid search to an organic search, paid search might not be the best SEO for medical practices.

One of our clients was spending $3000 per month for “paid search,” i.e., using Google AdWords to drive traffic to their website or call center. A marketing agency had convinced them that this patient acquisition channel would pay for itself many times over.

But once they started acquiring patients via unpaid “organic search”I), they decided to re-evaluate whether to continue spending $3000 per month for “paid search”. We performed the following analysis in collaboration with our client:

Calculating Medical Practices SEO Cost:

  • The marketing agency’s report showed that 335 “leads” were generated in the last 12 months.
  • By “leads”, they meant patients who used the adwords links to call the client’s office or to submit the “request an appointment” form on the client website.
  • The client’s internal “how did patients hear about us” reportII) showed that only 17 of these leads actually booked an appointment. So that is a 5% conversion rate.
  • We calculated the Patient LTV (Life Time Value) to be $1200 (see calculation below).
  • Therefore, total revenue captured by this campaign in 12 months was 17 * $1200 = $20,400 while the total cost of this campaign for 12 months was $3000 * 12 = $36,000.
  • With this, the client was able to determine that this campaign was not cost-effective.

You can use the above methodology to evaluate cost-effectiveness of any SEO strategy used for medical practices.

Patient LTV (Life Time Value) calculation:

  • 20% of all patients elect for a surgery at $3000 average revenue per surgery and make 4 office visits at $250 per visit
  • 80% of patients make 2 visits at $250 revenue per visit
  • So LTV per patient = ((20*$3000) + (20*4*$250) + (80*2*$250))/100 = $1200

Check out our other article and see how we helped to improve our client’s online rating.


A few months into using our “Patient Feedback and Online Reviews” solution, their online reputation improved dramatically which in turn improved organic search results.

We were able to corroborate this with similar “patient acquisition” data we had been collecting using our “HIPAA-compliant Online and Tablet Intake Forms” solution.

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