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Getting Started with Google AdWords
Google AdWords a powerful marketing tool that can place your practice in front of a very valuable, growing audience. Here are the basics.
You’ve probably seen ads at the top of your Google search results, displayed on websites you visit, and appearing within your mobile apps. This is Google’s online advertising platform, AdWords. This platform offers countless targeting features and can deliver ads in different ways on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
What separates AdWords from most advertising mediums is that it gives you the ability to advertise to pet owners in your area at the very moment they are searching for local veterinary services. AdWords reports on how many people clicked on your ads, what they searched for to cause your ads to appear, and whether they completed a valuable action after viewing your ad, such as placing a call to your clinic or submitting an appointment request form through your website.
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Google owns 77% of the search market share, 97% of consumers using the internet when researching local services, and 98% of those searchers choosing a business that is on the first page of the results they receive. Those statistics make Google AdWords a powerful marketing tool that can place your practice in front of a very valuable, growing audience.
AdWords Account Structure
Properly structuring your AdWords account is key to its overall performance. An AdWords account is composed of one or more campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords.
When setting up a “Search Network Only” ad campaign, you can choose the geographic area in which you want your ads to appear, configure your ads to run on a schedule, and set how much money per day you are willing to spend on advertising. Ad groups are created within your ad campaign, and each group has its own set of ads and keywords.
Keywords are words or phrases that are related to your services. They are words you think people will use to search for your business online. They are also the words that AdWords uses to determine whether to show your ad to someone based on his or her search query.
Google recommends creating ad groups dedicated to specific services, with ads and keywords corresponding to those services. This provides the best user experience possible and allows your ads to be displayed higher up in search results. For example, if you want to target searches for pet vaccinations and pet dental care, you would create an ad group for each. The “pet vaccinations” ad group would contain ads and keywords focused on vaccine services, and the “pet dental care” ad group would contain ads and keywords focused on dental services.
AdWords features a Keyword Planner tool that can show you how people are searching for veterinary services in your area. This tool can help you identify new and effective keywords to target.
Effective Ads and Landing Pages
Your ads should give potential customers a preview of what to expect when they click on your ad. They should provide a “call to action” that encourages potential customers to do something next, such as call your business for more information or make an appointment.
A landing page is the page on your website where someone lands after he or she clicks on your ad, and Google places a lot of importance on this. Your landing page can be any page on your website, but it needs to be relevant to your ad. Google identifies a good landing page as one that contains information related to whatever the customer was searching for when he or she clicked on your ad. If a landing page is poorly related to your ad, the ad might not appear on the first page of the search results, or it may not appear at all.
Ad extensions are free additions to your advertisements in a “Search Network Only — All Features” ad campaign. These extensions can be your clinic’s location information, a clickable phone number, reviews, or links to different pages on your website. These should be utilized, as they provide potential clients with more information, make your advertisements larger, and generally improve ad performance.
Michael Platt is a Google-certified SEO analyst and AdWords account manager for Beyond Indigo Pets. He lives in Tucson, Arizona with Sadie, an Akita/shepherd mix, and three chickens. He works closely with the agency account strategists at Google to develop and maintain AdWords campaigns for veterinary clinics across the United States.