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While everything from office ambiance to friendly receptionists factor into the success of your practice, a steady stream of new prospects is crucial to your success. And if you’re stuck on the second or third page of search results in a competitive area, spending a bit of money to stand out could be just the boost you need to book new appointments. 

That’s where Sponsored Results comes in. Zocdoc’s Sponsored Results solution launches you to the top of relevant searches, and it’s helped thousands of providers grow healthy and profitable practices.  

But the way we’re ranking our results is evolving. While previously, we ranked providers based solely on relevancy — calculated from a mix of your location and availability to book appointments — our new system takes into account both relevance and bidding price, and it can give you a competitive edge in expanding your practice.

How does the Sponsored Results bidding system work?

While relevancy will always be a crucial part of our ranking algorithm, we also take into account your bidding price. 

Let’s say you’re a dentist in Manhattan. In the past, because there are so many providers nearby, even a high relevancy score doesn’t guarantee that you’ll top the list of Sponsored Results when someone searches for an NYC dentist. A provider just one block away from the searcher might have a higher relevancy score because of their location — and under the old system, you’d never have a chance to outrank them.

With bidding, however, you can. Raising your price from $0.50 to $1.00 effectively doubles your ranking score, so you can rank higher than providers with slightly higher relevancy. Now you’ll rank higher in more searches that are relevant to your practice, draw more viewers to your profile and, ultimately, have more opportunity to book appointments. 

How can bidding strategies benefit your practice?

Bidding with Sponsored Results means that even a slight marketing boost can give you a big advantage in rankings. Here are just a few examples of how it can help:

1. You’re in a big city

Practicing in Manhattan, D.C. or another major city? Chances are, there are several providers in your zip code with the same availability as you — meaning it can be tough to rank high and stand out in Zocdoc search results. Raising your new price gives you an edge, so you’ll rank higher and have the chance to book more appointments.

2. You’re on the edge of a major metropolitan area

Choosing an office that’s just a little out of the city center can save you money on rent — but without bidding, it also made it difficult to rank high with people searching downtown. Raising your bidding on Sponsored Results helps you attract patients from the heart of the city (sans the overhead of downtown real estate).  

3. You want to highlight a new or expanding provider

Sponsored Results lets you focus your marketing efforts on one or more providers. So if you’re looking to expand business with a new provider or a new office location, raising your price makes it easier to drive more exposure to them and ramp up business quickly.  

Remember: relevancy is still very important, so you’ll still only show up in searches for patients that are the right fit for your practice. But you can overcome small differences in relevancy to gain a competitive edge over similar providers nearby. 

Convenience and flexibility remains the same

Even with the addition of bidding strategies on Sponsored Results,  you’re still in the driver’s seat when it comes to running your campaign. You’ll be able to set your daily budget and your price at any time. Facing a lull in appointments? Drive up your bid to rank higher fast and give more prospects the chance to set an appointment. Booked solid? Set your price or daily budget to zero and back off marketing until you’re ready to take on new appointments again. 

Just remember that bidding with Sponsored Results is just one factor that determines your success on Zocdoc. Optimizing your profile with a friendly bio and a recent headshot, keeping your insurance list up-to-date and accepting different types of appointments all help relevant prospects find and get to know you, and ultimately book an appointment. 

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