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A common objective that I hear when it comes to SEO is, ”Why can’t I just buy the keywords I want to rank for?”

While there is certainly a place for online ads in an overall marketing strategy, when it comes down to it in the SEO vs Pay Per Click Advertising debate for doctors, SEO has the advantage for many reasons.

SEO Represents More Traffic Opportunities

If we start with just the numbers, organic search has a much higher click through rate (CTR) than Pay Per Click Advertising.

  • Organic Search drives 53% of website traffic
  • Pay Per Click Advertisements drives only 27%

Additionally, almost 28% of people use ad blockers and never even see the advertisements on Google. And this number seems to increase almost every year. Do you really want to miss out on close to 30% of patient searches by not ranking organically through SEO?

SEO Allows Content Tailored to Patient Search

With PPC advertisements, they generally direct patients to the home page that contains very general information.

For example, if I search for “ACL tear recovery time” I might see an ad for an orthopedic surgeon that directs me to his home page.

Alternatively, I might see additional SEO results such as:

  • “ACL Tear Recovery Time – What You Need to Know.”
  • How Long Does ACL Tear Surgery Recovery Take?
  • “The Do’s and Don’ts After ACL Tears and Surgery.”

Now, do you think I’m more likely to click on one of the titles above or the generic PPC ad?

Knowing what these patient searches are and then customizing content for each search affords so many more options to the savvy doctor favoring SEO vs. Pay Per Click advertisements.

SEO Is a Long-Term Investment

PPC advertising is never the most sustainable way to attract patients to your website. However, SEO is. Yes, SEO requires the investment of time, effort, and money. However, the long-term potential and ROI are much greater.

Additionally, SEO is becoming more important now than ever because of how Google continues evolving its search algorithms relative to both text and voice search.


When it comes to SEO vs Pay Per Click advertising for doctors, SEO is definitely the better overall online marketing strategy.

The more high-quality, patient-serving content you create, the more success you will have.