What Are Your Website Analytics Really Telling You? (Part 2: Organic Search)
Content might be king, but your website analytics can tell you if that king is doing a good job.
What You Should Know About GA4
To help get you on board with GA4, here are 3 steps to build you feel more comfortable about the shift.
The SEO Battle Ground & Holy Grail for Healthcare Organizations
Key Post Highlights
> The best healthcare marketing marries both organic and local SEO efforts.
> You can optimize local SEO using your Google Business Profile, reviews, and/or indoor virtual walkthroughs.
> There are common — but avoidable — mistakes healthcare organizations make in their local SEO efforts.
You’ve invested in optimizing your website for all the relevant keywords. You’ve got your pillar content, and you’re seeing organic traffic coming to your site. Your health systems blog is the leading driver of that traffic. That’s great — keep it up!
However, that’s only one part of the picture.
Another crucial aspect of healthcare marketing is local search. Local search is when you optimize your website to boost traffic, brand awareness, and visibility in your local area.
Over 30% of Google searches are location-related. That equates to billions of searches each day.
Unlike organic SEO, local SEO brings the competition home — literally. While organic SEO has a wider footprint and pulls in users nationally and even globally, local SEO helps businesses compete in their local market for the top three positions in the search results in Google’s Local Pack.
For healthcare organizations, local SEO is the most important battleground.
Why Focus on Local SEO?
Potential patients are looking for one of two things:
- Immediate care
Organic SEO efforts allow you to build a relationship with prospective patients that extends beyond the care and services you provide in the form of information. Then, when they have a health need, they already have a preferred provider to book an appointment with or an emergency department/urgent care center to visit.
Local search is the perfect net for prospective patients who are seeking immediate care. Maybe they need a new primary care provider, a second opinion, or an emergency department with the shortest wait time. Whatever they are searching for, the way patients typically make decisions about where to receive care are:
- Is it close to my work or home?
- Is my insurance accepted?
Local SEO addresses both of these criteria.
Because Google accounts for 86% of traffic worldwide, it’s the perfect place to kick off your local SEO efforts. Here’s how.
- Google Business Profile (36%)
- Reviews (17%)
- On-Page (16%)
- Links (13%)
- =Behavioral (7%)
- =Citations (7%)
- Personalization (4%)
- On-page (34%)
- Linked (31%)
- Behavioral (11%)
- Citations (7%)
- =Personalization (65)
- =GBP (6%)
- Reviews (5%)
The factors listed for “Local Pack” are the top several factors that impact your ranking for the “holy grail of local search results,” Google’s Local Pack.
The factors listed for “Local Organic,” are your efforts to optimize your website for organic search. Healthcare organizations already invested in SEO have a leg up in local search. By optimizing the listed factors, you can extend the impact of your efforts to rank in organic local search engine results page (SERP) listings.
Your organic search rankings heavily influence your local pack ranking. Simply put, as with love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.
What Local SEO Ranking Factors Should Healthcare Organizations Prioritize?
When it comes to SEO efforts, there are high-lift (meaning they take time, money, or both) and low-lift options. There are also high-impact and low-impact approaches, but because you want the best results for your efforts, we’ll only focus on high-impact.
Low Lift: Google Business Profile
Google Business Profiles are free, and they’re an essential tool for healthcare organizations. The primary category and name, address, and phone (NAP) citations are the most important data points for your business to keep up-to-date. There are appointment booking features, posts, updates, and more. Leverage them.
Beyond the basic listing, the specific features that healthcare organizations should take advantage of are:
- Appointment booking
- Insurance accepted information
- Questions & answers (FAQs)
- Custom links, like emergency department and urgent care
High Lift: Reviews
Your reputation matters. In fact, reviews account for 17% of the ranking factors to compete in local search.
Keep in mind — you need to be responsive to reviews. When receiving good reviews, show gratitude by giving thanks for taking the time to review your business. When receiving feedback that isn’t great, thank them for alerting you to the experience they had, and direct them to someone who can help address the issues.
Getting and managing reviews isn’t an easy undertaking, but it’s a worthwhile one.
High Lift: Indoor Virtual Walkthroughs
It’s perfectly fine to use Google 360 virtual tours to brag! Got new birthing suites? Brag! Got state of the art surgical suites? Brag! Got an amazing pediatrics department with all the colors, animals, shapes, and frills? Brag!
Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest. It will also aid in personalization and completing your Google Business Profile (GBP). Businesses with complete Google listings inspire trust and are 78% more likely to be viewed as well-established.
Top Mistakes Healthcare Organizations Make With Local SEO
Local SEO can be a game changer for your healthcare organization — but only if done correctly. Avoid these common but detrimental mistakes when optimizing for local SEO:
- Your organic SEO on your flagship site is inadequate.
- Your Google Business Profile is unmanaged or unused.
- Your Google Search Console (a tool that helps measure your site’s search traffic and fixes issues, like how your site appears in organic search results) is unmanaged.
- Your reviews are left unaddressed.
Any one of these mistakes can take away business from your organization. If you don’t have the bandwidth or skillset to address all of these adequately, hire an agency to take one or all of these off your plate.
Local SEO is an important part of a solid marketing strategy. By making it a part of yours, you’ll reap the benefits of local traffic, leads, and patients.
What Are Your Website Analytics Really Telling You? (Part 1)
Key Post Highlights
> What is paid campaign data really telling you?
> What potential pitfalls come with paid campaigns?
> How should healthcare organizations use paid campaigns?
Let’s face it — analytics isn’t everyone’s jam. However, we know that we need insights from data to help us make data-driven decisions. With paid efforts, it’s critical that we get those insights to determine what is yielding an ROI and what we should eliminate, and most importantly WHY we should eliminate it.
I like to see analytics as a love langues. They are either whispering words of affirmation that my efforts were successful or doing me an act of service by letting me know that it’s time to eliminate a program.
The reason I love analytics so much is because I love seeing that the work our strategy and content teams are putting in is paying off, as well as the opportunities to improve or change things up based on what they reveal.
But I also understand that if you don’t know what you’re looking at or what kinds of KPIs you are looking for, then your analytics aren’t going to be useful, or should I say, loving to you. So let’s talk about understanding paid campaign analytics.
Understanding Website Analytics From Paid Campaigns
- When you are using paid ads to boost or expand your reach, there will be two sets of analytics:
- The analytics you get from the paid platform itself. This is often Google Ads or Facebook Ads, but it can also include any social platform or channel that you use to pay for ads — even if it’s podcasts, commercials, or radio spots. All of these things come with metrics.
- The metrics you will see on your side of the wall, which are typically available in Google Analytics, Hotjar, HubSpot, or your CRM of choice.
It’s important to take the analytics provided by the paid platforms with a grain of salt. For a number of reasons, those numbers may not actually add up. When looking at the metrics related to paid campaigns, you really only want to know two things:
- What is working and why?
- What should be eliminated and why?
What Is Your Paid Campaigns Website Analytics Telling You?
In order to figure out what is actually yielding an ROI when paying for conversions or driving traffic to your site, the first thing you need to learn is what the industry benchmark is for paid advertising by platform. My favorite source for healthcare advertising benchmarking is produced by WordStream.
Now that you know what the goals should be, you may be patting yourself on the back because your metrics are spot on. Or you’re totally freaking out, because your results aren’t even close. Don’t panic, sometimes it takes a while to achieve these benchmarks. It’s totally doable over time by testing campaigns, promoting what is working, and eliminating what isn’t.
The next thing you need to do is calculate your:
- Average click-through rate (CTR) = clicks ÷ impressions
- Average cost per lead (CPL) = total marketing spend ÷ total number of new leads
- Average cost per click (CPC) = total cost of your clicks ÷ total number of clicks
- Average conversion rate = number of conversions ÷ number of total ad interactions that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period
- Average monthly spend = sum of all the months spent ÷ total number of values (months) in the set
With this information, you can look at industry advertising benchmark data to make some determinations.
Here is where things get really interesting. The metrics from your paid efforts are indicating the performance of your ads and the performance of your landing pages and offer.
- Data Set 1: Average click-through rate (CTR), average cost per lead (CPL), and average cost per click (CPC) indicate campaign performance.
- Data Set 2: Average conversion rate indicates the performance of your landing page and offer.
This helps get to the reason WHY your campaigns are either performing well or not. For example, if everything is hitting the industry benchmarks in data set one, but your conversions aren’t hitting, what the data is telling you is that it’s time to optimize your landing page and/or offer for conversions.
It’s normal to have success in spots, even within the same data set. DON’T just throw the whole campaign away without truly evaluating each part on its own result. Once all things come together, that’s what I like to call the vein of gold.
The Potential Pitfalls Of Paid Campaigns
The first few times you pursue a paid campaign, you typically won’t get super high success metrics. With this in mind, I recommend that you look at your own site data.
It doesn’t matter how many conversions paid platforms report. Do you actually see those people in your own data? Did those people actually reach out to you? Did you get a phone call from them? Did they really fill out the contact form?
Even what Google Analytics reports as conversion and what actually is a conversion may not be the same. There could be inaccurate set-up. It’s also on your marketing teams to check their own CRM to see if there was follow through on the part of the user. That is what you should count as an actual conversion, whether you are looking at the analytics or not. Trust what you can actually see.
Remember: Paid campaigns are intended to pay off now, not later. When I hear people say, “Oh, it might take some time for my campaign to be effective,” I tell them, “No. Paid should be instant. If people aren’t converting or at least hanging out on your site for a while, that’s a failed attempt.” Depending on what the data is telling you, you may need to scrap it, pivot, test something else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that anybody in healthcare marketing should not be doing paid campaigns to immediately convert patients. This is mainly because that’s typically not how patients make decisions about their healthcare.
Surveys suggest that:
- About half of us pick our hospitals or healthcare providers based on word-of-mouth from family and friends,
- About 20% of us say social media influences our decision, and
- Nearly 70% of us turn to online reviews when picking a provider.
None of those things points to people choosing providers based on paid campaigns.
The only outliers are campaigns inviting prospective patients to get a second opinion and for touring specialty departments like birthing centers.
Then How Should You Use Paid Campaigns For Healthcare Marketing?
If you’re going to use paid campaigns, my suggestion would be to come up with a strategy to remarket to your patients. Now, you may be thinking, “Oh gosh, this is healthcare marketing, I can’t remarket. That’s a HIPAA violation.” No, calm down. I’m not talking about the industry standard of remarketing.
I’m talking about capturing audience members in a database so you can send them newsletters, ask them to follow you on social media, and stay in touch with you. You only want to pay to get them once, by giving them something very resourceful so that they sign up to get regular marketing communications from you that have nothing to do with their private health data.
- Always trust the results you can see, like a new lead in your CRM.
- Paid only works while you are doing it.
- Healthcare marketers need to remember: Audience behavior indicates that ads don’t typically drive new patient appointments.
All in all, you can’t succeed unless you try. So, go ahead and try to see what impact paid programs can have on your organization’s business goals in 2023.
Coming up in part 2: What language is your organic content metrics speaking and how can you use it to create more and better performing content?