Private Practice Success: Google AdWords 101

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP

Have you ever noticed those ads that appear when you are performing a search using Google? Google AdWords display when someone performs a Google search for terms that are related to your business. When you purchase Google AdWords, you are paying for your business to show up when someone performs an online search. For example—when I am advertising my trauma groups I use words like: trauma, sexual abuse, and women. These key words are part of my Google AdWords campaign for my groups. Campaigns include categories of key words. One of the categories for my campaign is “support group”. This category includes: women’s support group, family support group, self-help support group and support groups near me.

Each Google AdWords campaign includes a field where you specify your daily advertising budget. Search traffic fluctuates and this impacts the cost of your ads. You are charged for the cost-per- clicks to your ad, which means you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Google AdWords’ budgeting setup is fairly complex. I recommend you set aside enough money for a three month experiment, and pay close attention to your client referral sources. You may have noticed, our referral sources are not always clear. If a client is referred to you by a colleague, he/she might search for you on the internet prior to contacting you. In this example you could receive a click on your ad, but the true referral source was your colleague.

When you create an ad, you set up a bid where you tell Google the amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad, you can change your bid at any time. Then Google AdWords uses AdRanking to determine your ad position, and whether your ad shows up on the page. There is also a Quality Score which Google uses to help you analyze the quality of your ads and how relevant they are. The Quality Score is an estimate of your ad’s performance in Google’s ad auctions. If you decide to try using Google AdWords, plan to invest some time in learning how to set up ad campaigns. You will also need to devote time to reviewing the performance of your ads and adjusting your key words to boost performance. If you do not have time to monitor your ads, Google offers Google Partners to manage your account. At one point, I hired a psychology student with a marketing background to manage my ad campaigns.

Most of my experience has been with Google, Facebook and Twitter also offer online advertising programs. If you decide to buy advertising, I recommend starting off slowly and carefully reviewing your results.

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP is a psychotherapist in private practice with offices in West LA and Larchmont. Maria specializes in trauma and addiction. To learn more about Maria’s practice see Maria’s next marketing workshop, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Building A Profitable Private Practice But Were Afraid To Ask, is scheduled for Saturday, January 28th. To register, go to