Cost Effective Local Search Marketing for Eye Care Providers

Local independent eye care providers are a vital link the chain of optical care.  In this post we will describe how local eye care professionals can cost-effectively use search engine marketing to attract new patients and retain existing ones.

Keyword Search Engine Marketing – Contextual Search Ads

Small text ads woven into the search results pages on Google, Bing and Yahoo are a fact of life for every Internet user.  This type of advertising is called ‘contextual search advertising.’ The short text ads are ‘contextual’ because they are served up to search users based on the relevance of the ad to the search terms (the ‘context’) the user enters into the search box on the search engine. Those little ads in one form or another account for over 90% of Google’s revenue.  They are also very important in driving customers to millions of businesses worldwide.  A local eye care professional will set up an account with Google (or Microsoft Adcenter which feeds ads to Bing and Yahoo) and pay per click for each user that visits their website from one of their ads on the search engines.

Each advertiser creates a set of simple text ads and they enter a series of keywords that they want their ads to be displayed with when searched for. Google analyzes the advertisers text ads, the keywords they’ve chosen, the amount the advertiser is willing to pay for a given keyword, the content and quality of the advertiser’s landing page and the interest that search users have in the ads over time. All this analysis goes into a ‘quality score’ (from 1 to 10) that Google assigns to each keyword in the advertisers’ set of target search terms.

The higher the quality score and the higher the bid for a search term results in a higher number of views of the ad and equates to a higher number of referrals (clicks) to the advertiser’s website.

Local Search Marketing

What not everyone knows is that Google, Bing and Yahoo make an effort to serve users ads that are relevant to their physical location.

This localization of paid search results is done in primarily two ways:

  1. Advertiser geo-targeting. Advertisers may elect to have their ads served only to users that are searching from a specific location. These ads may be targeted to single or multiple country, state/province and metropolitan locales. The major search engines attempt to locate their users geographically. If you are a mobile user you may be located to within a few feet of your current location. If you are a computer user you may be geo-located to a continent, country, province or city.
  2. Local keywords added by a user to the search phrase. When an advertiser sets up a text or display ad campaign on a search engine, they select the search terms they want their ads to appear on and how much per click they are willing to pay for each visitor. A best practice in choosing your keywords is to add location modifiers to all keywords. For example, instead of bidding on searches where a user types in “best eye doctors”, an eye care provider in Bellevue, WA may bid on terms such as, “best eye doctors in bellevue wa”, “best eye doctors in factoria”, “lake sammamish eye doctors”, “eye doctors in downtown bellevue”, etc.

By combining the two concepts above, the local eye care provider will drive highly qualified leads to their website and increase the number of phone calls to their offices. In summary, the best practice for local keyword search engine advertising is to: a) geo-target your search campaigns to your local practice areas, and b) bid high on a wide variety of highly relevant search terms that include your practice locations.

For more information:

Google Adwords Express for Local Businesses

Bing and Yahoo Advertising for Local Businesses

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