Top the search engines!
Just about every day I get an email (sometimes three or four) that reads a little something like this:
“Is your site at the top of the major search engines? If not – it should be, and we can get you there quickly and with little expense. We have worked with many companies and can give you solid references from many happy clients. Want a free quote? Reply to us. List all the web addresses you want us to check and the best way to reach you.”
Each one is signed by a different woman: “Karly,” Buffy,” “Marly,” etc. After three months of these emails, I realized that this must be a vast company run solely by women. Not one of these emails was ever signed by a “Ralph.”
While this type of spam is endemic on the Internet, I sill get at least one doctor a month calling me about these offers. How can they get your dental website to the TOP of the search the major search engines?
It’s easy. It’s called ‘Pay-per-Click’ (PPC) marketing.
To understand PPC marketing, you must first understand that when you search for a phrase like “Cosmetic Dentist” on Yahoo, Google or Microsoft, you actually get two sets for search results.
The first set, which is usually displayed in the top three positions and along the right side of the page, displays “Sponsored Result;” i.e., paid PPC ads. Pay-per-Click, means that every time you click on the “Ad,” the sponsor pays a fee – from $0.10 to $100.00 – to the search engine.
Once you click on a sponsored result – remember this is a paid ad – your browser automatically takes you to the advertiser’s website where he or she hopes to convert you into a customer.
The second set of search results are usually listed, 1-10 in the main body of the page.
These are called “Organic Results,” because they are the normal or natural search results based on the search engine’s relevancy calculation. When you click on a “Sponsored” or PPC link, the advertiser pays a fee. When you click on and “Organic Result,” the website does not pay a fee.
Ok, what does all this have to do with the spam email at the top of this story? It means that anyone can put your website at the “Top” of the search engine results by setting up a PPC account with each of the three major search engines. They are in essence “buying” the top position. How much do you pay for this privilege? There is no easy answer to this question because you must “bid” for your position.
Take a look at the bids for the search phrase “Cosmetic Dentist,” both by itself and combined with a city, for PPC ads on Yahoo. For the term “Cosmetic Dentist,” we can see that the top bid is $1.76 per click. So the top three bidders are paying from $1.78 to $1.76 for each and every click to their dental websites.
For the term “Cosmetic Dentist San Francisco,” however, the top bid is $10.01 for the number one position.
This table shows you the actual ads and just how much each dental office will pay for a Web visitor.
Remember, the top dentist on this list is paying $10.01 for each Internet visitor – not for a definite appointment, or even an appointment request. The doctor may also be paying a PPC management fee to a marketing company on top of this, ranging from 15 percent to a whopping 50 percent of his PPC ad budget!
So, what should you make of that daily spam email when it makes its way to your inbox? Just say “NO!” You should always know who you are sending your dental marketing dollars to, and blind email spam is not a good way to find a trustworthy marketing partner.
Is PPC a smart way to market for new dental patients on the Internet? Is it economically worth it? We will explore dental PPC Internet marketing and more in later editions of this newsletter.