After running hundred of thousands of dollars in Google Ads for healthcare practices, I have created this Google Ads Roadmap on how to set up your Google Ads as well as how that Google Ads account is optimized over time.
It is important that when you start running your Google Ads that you have set expectations of what is going to happen once your Ads go live so that you are not disappointed when it doesn’t start raining New Patients into your practice right away. I had this disappointment myself when I first started out and I had to create a Google Ads Road Map to keep myself accountable to the end product, which is consistently qualified New Patients walking through the door.
There are many things that need to be completed within an account over a period of MONTHS and YEARS to create this level of consistency. It takes a lot of work done in the right way over this extended period of time to make this happen. The Google Ads Road Map give you step by step instructions on what to optimize inside your own Google Ads account over the first 12 months of your account being live running ads.
This Google Ads Road Map allows me to get consistent results with my clients when it is applied over time.
This is a long article that you are probably going to want to come back to over and over again, so make sure you book mark this page.
Here is the Google Ads Road Map to help get you started:
Before You Go Live
Before you go live there are some things you absolutely must do to ensure that your Google Ads account has the best opportunity to be successful.
Google My Business (GMB)
You CANNOT skip this step, and honestly if you don’t have a GMB account setup and completely filled out for your practice, stop reading this article right now and go get this set up BEFORE you do anything else.
Go here now to Set Up Your Google My Business.
There is so much importance placed on this within Google what it is an absolute must.
Here is why…
You want to dominate search results and there are 2 very effective ways to do this that work right now.
The first is your Google My Business account setup and optimized for local search. This means that if someone in your area is searching for your health care office such as “Chiropractor Near Me”; your office will actually show up in the map search results (and you can top that Google Map search when your GMB account is linked to your Google Ads account, but more on that later.
The second way to dominate results right now, is to run targeted Google Ads that show up at the top of the search results (even better when linked to GMB)
What about SEO?
Google has done a very good job at ensuring that people searching for something stay on Google as long as possible, unless someone pays for them to leave (think advertisers with Google Ads… hopefully this is you). They have done this by creating instant results right in the search results so your question can be answered before you have to leave Google’s website. If you look at search results you will notice that you have to scroll up to 3 full windows (mobile devices) before you get to organic search results (think SEO).
First you pass Ads and then Instant Results and then Map search before you get to everything else. The Google Ads Road Map lets you dominate the Ads results and the Map search so that you have the opportunity to book those New Patients before they ever get to the Organic results.
Done right, everyone can do well with this.
Still reading and don’t have your GMB account setup, go here and do it now: Google My Business
Key Word Research
Your keywords are critically important to your results. Your keywords combined with your your Ads and your landing page will determine how much you pay for your ads, how often your ads show and how well your ads will convert. It is like putting a puzzle together and when you get the pieces right and optimized over time, absolute magic happens.
How to pick keywords?
Think about what potential patients are searching for. Most practices that start running Google Ads start with the very basics; for example a Naturopath might select a keyword such as “Naturopath Near Me” or Naturopath “[City Name]”, which is a good strategy to start, but is likely to invite lots of competition for those search results, which means you will end up paying more per new patient conversion.
To get around this, start compiling keywords of what potential patients are searching for (remember they might now even think that you are the solution to their problem yet)
Here are some examples:
Chiropractors: “Low Back Pain”, “How To Relieve Low Back Pain”, “Migraine Headache Relief”, “How To Get Rid Of Sciatica”, “Help For My Neck Pain”
Naturopaths: “How To Lower My Blood Pressure”, “How To Get More Energy”, “How to Increase My Testosterone”
Dentists: “Relief From Tooth Ache”, “How to Make My Teeth Whiter”, “Improve My Smile”
These examples go beyond the simple “Chiropractors”, “Dentists” and “Naturopaths” keywords and can yield significantly better results when paired with the right ad copy and landing pages.
Spend some time coming up with great keywords and have that list ready to help you when creating your ads and your ad copy.
There are some that run ads that swear you must link your ads account to your Google Analytics account. I may have agreed with this even 2 years ago, but we aren’t seeing this create much better results now and it ads a layer of complexity to your ads that you probably don’t need.
Simplicity rules, so go with what works well without adding complicating things that require a different skill set to properly utilize.
This is the boring part of the Google Ads Road Map. Start your ads and then leave them alone for 2 weeks. As long as you have your budget set correctly, your keywords, ads and landing pages match up… don’t touch ANYTHING for 2 weeks.
Seriously. Google machine learning takes time to figure out how to serve your ads properly. It is important that you gather ENOUGH data so that you confidently know what is going on inside your account so that you actually know WHAT to optimize and HOW to optimize it. Trying to do this without the right data is like trying to be a Chess Grand Master without knowing how to execute a Sicilian Defence or the Ruy Lopez Opening (links strictly for curiosity sake).
If you try to rush this process and optimize the account too quickly, it create some long term problems (think overspend on clicks and conversions). We always go for quality of conversions versus quantity of clicks because you want to connect with as many people that are most likely to convert into a potential New Patient for your practice.
You can use match types and negative keywords to capture the right kind of traffic in the right way when applied with the right data.
Negative keywords allow you to exclude your ads from being shown when certain keywords are entered into the search bar. For example, a chiropractic office that offers massage as an adjunct service does not want people showing up for a service that used “massage with happy ending”.
You can train Google Ads not to show ads based on your preferences. Some offices like to show up when their competitors are searched, but others do not want to show up so you can add other office names as negative keywords so your ads don’t show up when people are searching for a competing office. (As a side note I think having your ads show up when your competitors offices being searched can be a smart strategy if your staff are trained well to handle those calls appropriately).
This is the default match type used in Google Ads. When using this type of match your ads show up with the most versions possible including “misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations”.
Example Keyword: Chiropractor
Your ads might show up for some one searching for Chiropractors, Chiropractors Near Me, Adjustment Near Me, Chiropractic Colleges, Chiropractor Injuries.
Broad Match Modifier
Similar to broad match, except your ads only show up when the words with plus signs in front of them are used in the search (this eliminates most misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations).
This uses the + sign modifier in front of the keyword you want to focus on.
Example Keyword: +Chiropractor
Your ads will only show up when the word Chiropractor is used in the search term.
This match type allows you to focus on a specific phrase with your keywords and eliminates most variants. Close variants that include search keywords before and after the phrase may be added.
This match type uses ” ” around the phrase to define the keyword.
Example Keyword: “Naturopath Near Me”
Your ads will show for “Naturopath Near Me”, “Good Naturopath Near Me”, “Five Star Naturopath Near Me”; but would not show for “Naturopath that helps with Blood Press Near Me”
Ads only show on the exact keyword or term or very close variants of that term.
This match type uses [ ] around the keyword to define your search term.
Example Keyword: [Five Star Chiropractor]
Your ads will only show to people that search “Five Star Chiropractor”.
Google Road Map Month One | Gather Data
This first month of your Google Ads Road Map should be spent making sure your offer is going to create conversions when connected with right keywords, ads and landing pages. During this month you should be testing and identifying bid strategies that will work the best to create conversions in your market. Your goal through out running ads should be to get the top of page position for the lowest possible cost per click and conversion.
There are many bid strategies, so I am going to focus you on the ones that are going to help get you the best results.
This is the easiest way to get started. You set your bid amount manually at the keyword level and your bids stay that way until you change them.
Example: Keyword Chiropractor Bid Amount $2.00
This is similar to manual bidding except that you give Google the ability to make changes to your big amounts to help you maximize your results. This will change your bid up or down from your initial bid amount to any amount that the Google algorithm determines is optimal to create results. .
This does not set a specific bid amount. Essentially google tries to get you as many conversions as possible based on your budget.
You set a target amount for generating a lead and then Google attempts to get you as many leads as it can for that amount within your budget.
Here are the other bid strategies you may see: Target ROAS, Maximize Clicks, Target Impression Share, Target Search Page Location, Target Outranking Share, Cost Per Thousand Viewable Impressions
Google Road Map Month Two | Keyword Review
This month focus on what your audience has been searching for and how it relates to the service you provide. This process helps identify new keyword trends and ad ideas based on the searcher’s intent.
Are they most often looking for a quote? Are they looking for cheap help?
Get these answers and add new keywords specific to your market that were not part the original campaign you created. Identify the searches that don’t align with your goals and make sure those never show up for them or similar searches again.
Review the search terms your audience has used and add negative keywords through the course of month one that you absolutely do not want your ads showing up for.
Google Road Map Month Three | Search Relevancy
Similar to month one of the Google Ads Road Map. we need to continually refine keywords and relevancy at that beginning stages of your campaigns to increase the relevancy of your ads as this will have a trend to lower your ad and conversion cost over time.
Add negative keywords similar to month one.
Google Month Four | Keyword Review
Again focus on what your audience has been searching for and how it relates to the service you provide. This process helps identify new keyword trends and ad ideas based on the searcher’s intent. Apply these to your ad account.
Add negative keywords similar to month one and two.
Google Road Map Month Five | Ad Testing
The goal with ad testing is to incrementally improve your interaction rate by being more closely aligned with the searchers intent and reactions to the value propositions and offers. You should be constantly testing ad copy compared to your keywords to create increased relevancy for your ads.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to four.
Google Month Six | Keyword Review
We are back to keyword reviews again. It is time to filter out the keywords that have have CPC but no conversions. Get rid of them and shift your budget to the keywords that have the highest conversions.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to five.
Google Road Map Month Seven | Landing Page Testing
The goal with landing page testing is to incrementally improve conversion rate by taking the same intent and reactions and applying them to the landing page. The most impactful of the tests, is adjusting the headline, call to action or hero image/videos.
Landing page testing should occur twice per year until you start to see consistent conversions.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to six.
Google Month Eight | Keyword Review
Yes, reviewing your keywords every two months in critically important to optimizing your Google Ads account and is a keystone of the Google Ads Road Map. Again review your keywords for conversions and get rid of those that have high CPC but no conversions and shift that budget to the keywords that are converting.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to seven.
Google Road Map Month Nine | Device Search Optimization
Devices perform differently. Searchers on a desktop have slightly different intent and are at different points of consideration in the buyers journey. In this review, you will identify opportunities to optimize the performance on the three most common devices: computers, mobile devices and tablets. These devices perform differently in different regions and with respect to the type of call to action used. Utilize bid modifiers and segmenting strategies to ensure you are getting the most out of all devices. By this point you will now have the data required to make confident decisions on optimizing device traffic.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to eight.
Google Month Ten | Keyword Review
Yes, we are back to keyword reviews again. It is time to filter out the keywords that have have CPC but no conversions. Get rid of them and shift your budget to the keywords that have the highest conversions.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to nine.
Google Road Map Month Eleven | Network Search Optimization
A search campaign is comprised of two networks, Google.com and Search Partners. Straight from Google’s mouth “Search Partners extend the reach of Google Search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as YouTube and other Google sites.” Sometimes Search Partners perform similar to search, sometimes they perform worse (they almost never perform better). The choice you have is to either keep opted in to partners or opt out.
Data will tell you what to do!
Add negative keywords similar to month one to ten.
Google Month Twelve | Keyword Review
End the year with another keyword review. It is time to filter out the keywords that have have CPC but no conversions. Get rid of them and shift your budget to the keywords that have the highest conversions.
Add negative keywords similar to month one to eleven.
Things You Should Be Constantly Watching and Optimizing Inside Your Ads Account
- Budget Pacing: Match your budget to your keyword bid strategies to give you optimal ad share over the month
- Ad Scheduling: Schedule your ads to show at the times where you get the most conversions and potentially when your team is available to answer phones in your office.
- Location Targeting: Expand or contract the location you are targeting based on the results you are seeing inside of your ads account.
- Ad Copy Testing: In between testing pay attention to your results to make sure you don’t have a total dud (if you find that you do, change it).
- Ad Extensions: Make sure you utilize all extensions that make sense for your offer and your brand. Watch your results here and optimize the extensions as needed.
- Location Performance Adjustments: If a location is performing better, adjust your bid strategy for that location in order to increase conversions.
Google Algorithm Changes
Google makes changes ALL THE TIME. Your ads account should never be a set and forget marketing medium. Some of the changes that Google makes can significantly impact the performance of your account. If you are seeing changes, pay attention to HOW your results are changing and make adjustments based on the Data.
Want Me To See If I Can Get Better Ads Results For Your Practice?
If you want me to do an Audit of your ads account, please reach out. I charge $395 to audit your Google Ads account and let you know if I can help you get better results. If you start working with me I apply the audit amount as a credit on your account.
If you have never done Google Ads before and want me to manage your ads for you please connect with me here.