How a Decrease in Keyword Spend Yielded Results for a Physician Group


There is often the belief in business that you have to spend money to make money. This is only true if you spend money efficiency.

In an industry with razor thin margins, a physician group may currently not have the resources (primarily time) to engage in ecosystem of digital marketing services that are be beneficial for the group’s online presence. Because of this constraint, the resources dedicated to improving the physician group’s website traffic and web presence need to be used strategically in order to maximize their return on investment in marketing efforts.

Starting Point

Today’s Business was approached by a physician group to help with increasing traffic to their website. The goal of this new partnership was to drive website traffic that created new leads for the physician group that would ultimately convert into new patients coming into their office.

In order to perform these services in a way to maximize the client’s investment, Today’s Business had to engage in both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The unique strategy employed in this case included a two-pronged approach that played off of the synergy between the SEO and SEM strategies. TB conducted a gap analysis of the new client’s existing marketing efforts to identify where and how to apply our resources. This approach was implemented on January 1, 2017.


The focus of the resulting strategy was to dramatically cut back SEM spend on keywords that were already ranking significantly for the physician group. Keywords which are primarily searched for on Google rank in association with the physician group. For example, if the physician group already ranks for the keyword “orthopedic”, it makes sense to reallocate ad dollars from “orthopedic” to another strategically chosen keyword TB feels will help drive website traffic through search. Today’s Business identified the keywords that were both ranking and had ad spend, strategically reduced the keyword ad spend, and reallocated the financial resources toward improving the overall SEO performance of the physician group.

The results of this strategy were clear and convincing. These can be seen below:SourcesBreakdownOverall Web Traffic

  • Website traffic has increased 8.2%
  • New Users to website increased 15.99%
  • NOTE: Decreased SEM spend by over 70%


  • Organic Search traffic is up 23%
  • Non-Branded Sessions have increased 26%
  • Non-Branded Goal Completions increased 4.33%

Direct Traffic

  • Direct traffic has decreased 1.75%
  • Direct traffic to hompage has decreased 12.69%
  • Direct traffic to all other pages has increased 24%

Paid Search

  • Paid Search traffic has decreased 50%
  • SEM spend has decreased 69.39%
  • CPC decreased 27.15% ($0.88 vs. $1.21)

Social Media

  • Social Media Traffic has increased 115%
  • New Users from Social Media has increased 157%

Another important thing to examine is the changes in the paid search metrics. Paid search decreased by 50%, SEM spend increased by 69.39%, and Cost-Per-Click (CPC) decreased by 27.15% (from $0.88 to $1.21). This again underscores the strategy of moving away from paying for unnecessary keywords. Additionally, social media performance was up as well, indicating other ways to increase traffic to the site without wasting money on ranked keywords.Based on the data above, the shift in strategy has proven to be extremely effective. Website traffic and new users to the website increased by 8.2% and 15.99%, respectively. At the same time, the SEM spend was decreased by 70%. This points to a large growth in organic traffic, which we see in the next section. Organic traffic, non-branded search sessions, and non-branded goal completions all increased by 1.75%, 25%, and 4.33%, respectively.

The following is a further breakdown of the efficacy of the strategy as compared to how the physician group was performing last year:

Organic Search Breakdown

  • Organic Search accounts for 73% of overall website traffic in comparison to over 64% of their website traffic last year throughout the same timeframe.
  • Organic Search Accounts for 45% of overall goal completions throughout the website, compared to 63%.
  • Non-Branded Search traffic has increased 23% since last year.
  • Non-Branded Goal Completions is up 5% from last year, over 800 Goal Completions since 1/1/17.

Landing Page

  • The homepage accounts for 48% of the organic traffic landing pages, which is up from 45% of the traffic last year.
  • Overall blog content is up 119% YOY
    • Blogs account for 17% of organic traffic.
    • Top blogs contain “treatment” and “prevention” content.
    • “What Is” content is driving 50% of blog traffic.
  • Organic Traffic has increased 23% in comparison to the same period last year.
    • Non-Branded Organic Search traffic is up 25% in comparison to the same period last year.
    • Non-Branded Goal Completions is up 5% from last year over 800 Goal Completions since 1/1/17.
    • Overall Website traffic is up over 8% YOY despite a drop in 70% in SEM spend.
      • Also 1.78% decrease in Direct Traffic
      • 37% decrease in Referral Traffic
      • 31% decrease in Email Traffic
      • 17% Increase in Social Media Traffic


After analyzing all available metrics it can be concluded that the strategy deployed by Today’s Business to reallocate resources for increase efficiency was a resounding success. It was not cost effective to direct budgetary dollars towards keywords that the client already ranked for consistently. By identifying these keywords and distributing those financial resources towards social media and SEO development, the physician group was able to see significant increases in its organic traffic which resulted in increased website traffic. The increased web traffic produced more conversions for the client which is the ultimate goal of any marketing strategy. The advantages that the physician group now possess, primarily exemplary SEO and efficient resource distribution, are only some of the differentiators Today’s Business bring to the table to set you and your team apart. In any highly competitive market, specifically healthcare, the utilization of marketing resources effectively and an ability to show a return on investment is critical.