SEO versus Google AdWords

People often get SEO and AdWords mixed up. Here’s the important differences:

Search Engine Optimization…

…relates to organic (i.e. not paid) search results and page rankings.

Key Factors of SEO

• Implementing great SEO on your website improves your organic page rankings — in other words, what Google thinks provides the best answer for a given search.

• You’ll need to optimize your own website or pay an expert to help, but there’s no ongoing cost associated with SEO.

• Search snippets, which are the foundation of great SEO, appear just below Google Ads and the map for locale-based searches.

SEO and Therapists

Optimizing your evergreen menu pages is essential to good online visibility; this means the homepage, about and service pages. Many websites include bios of each therapist and different pages for each core service offered. These pages — plus the homepage — are the most important in terms of SEO and funneling organic search traffic to your website.

The ins and outs of optimizing websites is for another post, but the big-picture elements to consider are the aforementioned search snippets (i.e. what appears in Google search results) and the content itself. For the content, pay special attention to the title, headings and sub-headings — don’t get too bogged down in optimizing the body text.

Consider This…

Want Nike running shoes? An advertisement from Adidas might appear at the top of search results showcasing their best alternative, but inevitably the first “organic” result will be Nike’s official website. Many searchers rightfully zero in on these top organic results because they’re the most relevant. This is where SEO pays long-term dividends.

Google AdWords…

are paid monthly campaign used to serve advertisements at the very top of Google search results.

Key Factors of Google AdWords

• Each website owner must allocate a monthly budget for the campaign — much like running a television or magazine advertisement. Many people also use a certified AdWords specialist to manage their campaign.

• A benefit of AdWords is timing; searchers can see your website at the top of searches almost immediately after launching the campaign. The benefit of SEO requires a longer timeline.

• A drawback to AdWords is the fact you need to continually pay for the campaign to enjoy more clicks on your website. SEO optimizations take longer to make an impact — as long as 3-6 months — but there’s no recurring costs.

Google AdWords and Therapists

Paid advertising is great for new private practice owners that need clients in the door ASAP. It’s also a useful tool for established practices hiring more therapists. Many combine SEO best practices and a Google AdWords campaign for the duration of their practice — especially in cases where the money spent on an advertising campaign is generating plenty of clients.

Don’t Forget…

Facebook Ads, while not as popular as Google AdWords, offer a similar way to leverage paid advertising to get more eyes on your private practice.

The Bottom Line

In an ideal world, a website uses both Google AdWords and SEO to improve their online presence. The latter, which is generally a one-time effort to optimize evergreen menu pages like services and therapist bios, typically provides more long-term return on investment. Yet AdWords also has a place for new and established practices alike.

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