We have had our eye on this for quite some time.
As of September 14, 2017, Google will no longer be displaying pay per click ads that promote drug rehab facilities. This is officially reported by The New York Times, you can read the full article here.
So what exactly does this mean for drug treatment centers who are currently using or are interested in using Google paid search to drive traffic to their website?
Earlier we spoke to our Google rep. He told us a few interesting things to watch out for.
First, he mentioned that some of the ads that are currently running will continue to run, at least for a period of time.
Second, he mentioned that even if an ad gets approved, it will be closely scrutinized and most likely will have heavy restrictions. In all likelihood, your ad will be denied.
Google has yet to release an official statement, but this news have been confirmed by us, the the NYT and other sources.
This is Good News for The Industry
There is no doubt that this change is going to seriously affect some major players in the treatment industry.
However, we see this change being very beneficial for the person looking for treatment, and the treatment facilities themselves.
Since the very beginning, Stodzy has always preached organic marketing. Search engine optimization for drug rehabs is without a doubt the most effective online marketing strategy, especially for facilities who are looking for long-term benefits of their investment.
Unfortunately, we have seen many treatment centers get caught up in looking for short term results without thinking ahead. The facilities who failed to build their brands, build their organic search metrics and failed to think long-term are most certainly going to be in big trouble.
This is just another example of why investing in your long-term marketing strategy is so crucial. Although building an organic marketing campaign requires money and patience, relying on your own organic marketing keeps you from being caught in situations like this.
Why Did Google Implement These Changes?
I would like to note that there have been many treatment centers that have used PPC in an ethical manner. We have worked along side many of these facilities. Not every owner of a drug rehab is out to manipulate Google search. In fact, the number of facilities doing things the right way far outnumber the amount who are not.
Regardless, you probably already know that the treatment industry has been littered with unscrupulous marketing tactics.
One of the major problems with paid advertising is that it allows marketers to target areas that they don’t actually work in. For instance, lets imagine a family is in Arizona and they go to Google and search “drug rehabs in Arizona.” That search could easily lead to a landing page that makes it appear like the rehab facility is in Arizona, when in reality it could be in California.
So the user thinks they are looking at one thing, but in reality, the rehab facility has manipulated the situation and will hopefully use it to convince the person looking for help to come to Florida.
Many times, the searcher doesn’t even know this is happening.
Often times, these kid of marketing tactics can lead people to facilities that may not be the best fit for their treatment, or their long-term recovery.
“This is a bold move by one of the world’s biggest companies, saying people’s lives are more important than profit,” said Greg Williams, co-founder of Facing Addiction, a nonprofit group that is an advocate for people struggling with addiction.
What Should a Treatment Center Do to Market Online?
Although this will limit the marketing capabilities of many facilities that have depended on this type of web traffic, in reality this will make the online landscape much cleaner and more appropriate for the end user.
There are more straight forward, honest ways to execute digital marketing, ways that the team at Stodzy have been preaching for years.
Social media (and Facebook ads) will grow in popularity. Also, good old fashion word of mouth marketing will become even more important which means that treatment centers will have to make an extra effort to provide the best services possible.
Treatment centers will need to invest in their alumni programs so that their brand and their reputation can be a referral source. Finally, facilities will need to invest in local search as this continues to be a very under utilized strategy.
We Will Answer All of Your Questions
To say one last time, this is a really big deal in the industry.
It will take some time to fully comprehend how this is going to effect the overall landscape. However, we are more than happy to guide you through building your own organic marketing campaign or answering any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form or call us at +1 (800) 761-1426.
We are very excited for this and we look forward to cleaning up the internet.