How to Set Up a Successful Google AdWords Campaign for a Practice

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is an online advertising platform developed by Google where advertisers, like medical centres, can pay to have a simple text ad show on a Google search results page.

Advertisers can bid on keywords, such as ‘Doctors Camberwell’, and then have their ad showing on the results page when a patient searches for these keywords.

The advertiser only pays for this ad when someone clicks on it, making it a fair and relatively low risk form of advertising.

How much do Google Ads cost?

The average cost for a click is $1-2 on the Google search network. However, you won’t actually know the cost-per-click (CPC) until you set up your ads and see how much competition there is for the keywords you are bidding for because the cost is dependent on what competitors are prepared to pay.

If your keywords are in high demand, or your competition is prepared to pay a lot per click, you’ll pay more. For instance, keywords like “insurance”, “loans” and “mortgage” can cost in excess of $50 because the competition is so high, while keywords focused on local search terms, such as those including a suburb name, often come out as less than $1.

Are Google Ads right for me?

Google Ads are a good short-term solution for medical centres who:

  • Aren’t doing well on Google search
  • Are looking for new patients
  • Are paying a lot of money to directories to acquire new patients

It’s worth noting that for many medical centres Google Ads come out a lot cheaper than listing your practice on a directory. This is because the directories themselves are paying for Google Ads, plus they’re tacking on their own fees.

If you aren’t sure whether Google Ads is right for you, you can always trial the platform by setting up some test ads and restricting the daily spend to your budget. For instance, $10/day. This means that after you’ve spent this amount in 24 hours the ads will disappear until the following day. Based on these results (best run over the course of one month) you can determine whether Google Ads is worthwhile.

Note: If you do run a test, we suggest first following the steps outlined in this section of the guide to ensure your test ads are compelling enough to actually drive clicks to your website.

How to Set Up a Google Adwords Campaign for a Medical Centre

1. Setting up a campaign

Head to and click ‘Start Now’

Click ‘Campaigns’ in the left sidebar then click ‘New Campaign’ (select ‘New Campaign’ from the dropdown menu).
Select ‘Website Traffic’ then another box will appear. Select ‘Search’ then another box will appear. Add your ‘website url’ and click ‘Continue’.

General settings

Title your ‘Campaign name’ General Campaign. If you have more than 1 location, set up a campaign for each location (eg. Location A – General Campaign, Location B – General Campaign). Untick the box ‘Include Google Display Network’. Click the ‘Advanced search’ tab.

Click ‘Radius’. Set the radius to 2 km and enter your medical centre’s address. The details will appear in a box and a blue circle will appear on the map. This is the area you will target. This means anyone who is looking for a doctor within this circle will see your ad.

If the circle is too big (eg. you’re in a CBD location) make the radius smaller. If the circle is too small (eg. you’re in a rural location) make the radius bigger. Click ‘Save’ when you are happy with the search range.

Budget and bidding

Scroll down to the ‘Budget and bidding’ section. Put in a maximum daily spend. We recommend $10/day. This means you won’t spend more than $300/month. Remember this is the maximum spend and the likelihood is you’ll spend less than this unless a lot of people are searching for medical centres in your local area. You can set a minimum of $5/day.

We also recommend setting a ‘Maximum CPC bid limit’, just in case you encounter unexpectedly expensive keywords. We suggest starting at $5. This is the maximum amount you are prepared to pay for one click. Again, the likelihood is that clicks will be a lot less than this (typically $1-2). This is simply the maximum bid assuming the competition is high in your area. You can make it less but we suggest making it no less than $3.

Ad Extensions

Scroll down to the ‘Ad extensions’ section. Google loves ad extensions because they help the user/patient better find what they are searching for (eg. a bulk billing clinic, 24/7 clinic, a skin check clinic). Because Google deems the ads as more useful this also reduces the cost of clicks for advertisers.

Another benefit to extensions is that they give you more real estate on your result because the ad becomes physically bigger, which means it has more chance of being spotted by a searcher.

Sitelink Extensions

For ‘Sitelink Extensions’ we suggest listing services that you have on your website. For instance, if you have services pages on your website for diabetes risk checks, care plans and flu vaccinations, use these pages and link directly to them. If you don’t have services pages, we suggest linking to top level pages, such as doctors, contact us, book now etc.

Callout Extensions

In the ‘Callout extensions’ we suggest listing features of your clinic (aside from services) that make your clinic different from others in the local area (eg. 24/7, bulk billed, after-hours). It’s worth noting that you can add quite a few different extensions here. Google will automatically rotate through them over time and pick the ones that are most effective at driving clicks.

Call Extensions

For ‘Call extension’ change the country code to ‘Australia’ and add your phone number. Then check the ‘Mobile’ box. This means that if someone sees your ad on their mobile they can click the phone number and it will automatically call your clinic.

We also suggest setting the call extension to your opening hours under the ‘Days and hours’ section. This means your phone number will only be able to be called during opening hours, which encourages online bookings after hours. Once done, click ‘Save and continue’.

Location Extensions

Another important factor to strengthen the performance of your ads is to link your Google My Business listing. This will help Google verify you.

For help setting up Google My Business, read our article How to Set Up Google My Business to Get Your Clinic Displaying on Google.

To add a ‘Location Extension’, click the blue ‘Ad extension’ link.

Then click ‘Location extensions’.
Check ‘Link to an account I know’ then check ‘Select a Google My Business account’. If nothing is showing up then you either have not set up Google My Business, or you have a different email address set up for Google My Business and Google Ads. If this is the case, we recommend linking the accounts to the same email first.

Once you are done, click ‘Save’.

2. Creating your ad groups

Ad Group Name

Give your ad campaign a name. If you’re running a general campaign based on your location (ie. a campaign aimed at targeting people searching for doctors in your local area) we recommend calling the ad group:  Location.

If you’re running a campaign based on a specific service at your clinic (eg. a campaign targeting people looking for skin checks) we recommend calling the ad group: Skin Check

If you’re running a campaign based on your type of clinic (eg. a campaign targeting people looking for a female clinic) we recommend calling the ad group: Female Clinic.


Once you’ve come up with an ad group name, it is time to add your keywords. These are the words you want your ad to show up for when used alone or in combination with others. For instance, ‘Richmond GP’ might be keywords you use, which is likely to bring up your ad whenever these two words are used in the search bar.

Note: Keywords can be a little confusing because there are several ways you can add them. We’ll explain what the different ways are below and what they mean, but if it gets too complicated feel free to ignore the definitions and skip to the grey boxes below. From there all you need to do is select the type of campaign you are running (location, service or clinic type) and just copy and paste these into Google Ads.

Okay, so there are 5 different types of keywords. (1) Broad match, (2) Broad match modifier, (3) Phrase match, (4) Exact match and (5) Negative keywords.

1. Broad match

Broad match means your ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations. So, if your keyword is ‘Richmond GP’, someone searching for ‘Richmond doctor jobs’ might see your ad.

While these keywords give your ads a lot of scope you need to be careful that you’re not appearing when people are searching for things that won’t convert into bookings (like the example above). To prevent your ads showing up for such words as ‘jobs’ you need to add such words to your ‘negative keywords’ (discussed more below).

2. Broad match modifier

These keywords are similar to broad match, except that the broad match modifier option only shows ads in searches which include the words designated with a plus sign (+Richmond GP) or close variations of them.

For example, the broad match modified keywords +Richmond +GP can match a search query for ‘Richmond GP bulk billed’ but not for ‘Richmond doctor’ or ‘Richmond medical centre’.

3. Phrase match

You can set your ads to show on searches that match a phrase, or close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. Your ads won’t show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way. Phrase match keywords are assigned using quotation marks (eg. “Richmond GP).

4. Exact match

Exact match keywords mean your ads may show on searches that match the exact term or a close variation of that exact term. Close variants include searches for keywords with the same meaning as the exact keywords. For instance, ‘GP’ close variants may be ‘doctor’, ‘health practitioner’, ‘physician’, ‘general practitioner’.

Exact match doesn’t take into account order. So, for instance, someone searching ‘GPs in Richmond’ might see your ad if you assign the exact match keywords ‘Richmond GP’. Exact match keywords are designated with [brackets] (eg. [Richmond GP])

5. Negative keywords

Negative keywords are added once your ads go live. You can add them in the dashboard by clicking ‘Keywords’ in the sidebar and ‘Negative Keywords’ in the secondary header.

Negative keywords are essentially words that you tell Google to never display your ads for. Some examples are: qualification, training, complaint, job, salary. You know people using these terms are not looking to book a doctor so you want to make sure your ads don’t appear. Otherwise, you’re paying for clicks from traffic that will never convert into a booking. It’s important to always be adding to this list based on monitoring the performance of your ads.

Adding your keywords

Okay, so let’s add your keywords. As mentioned, we’ve compiled a list of keywords we recommend you use, especially if the terms above went over your head. But before copying and pasting the keywords in, you need to decide if you want your ads to target people searching for: 1. Your location (eg. Richmond doctors) 2. A specific service (eg. skin checks, asthma, diabetes) 3. Your clinic type (eg. family clinic, bulk billing clinic, female clinic) 1) Location targeting If you’re running ads targeting people searching for your location, paste the words below into the box replacing ‘Richmond’ with your suburb name.
+richmond gp
[richmond gp]
[richmond doctor]
[richmond clinic]
[richmond medical]
[richmond medical centre]
[richmond medical practice]
[richmond general practice]
[richmond practice]
[richmond dr]
2) Service targeting If you’re running ads targeting people searching for specific services, paste the words below into the box replacing ‘Skin Cancer’ with the name of the specific service.
+skin.cancer gp
+skin.cancer check
"skin cancer check"
[skin cancer gp]
[skin cancer doctor]
[skin cancer clinic]
[skin cancer medical]
[skin cancer medical centre]
[skin cancer medical practice]
[skin cancer general practice]
[skin cancer practice]
[skin cancer dr]
3) Clinic type targeting If you’re running ads targeting people searching for a specific type of clinic, paste the words below into the box replacing ‘Bulk Billing’ with the type of clinic you run.
+bulk.billing gp
"bulk billing gp"
[bulk billing gp]
[bulk billing doctor]
[bulk billing clinic]
[bulk billing medical]
[bulk billing medical centre]
[bulk billing medical practice]
[bulk billing general practice]
[bulk billing practice]
[bulk billing dr]
When you’re done, click ‘Save and Continue’.

3. Writing your ads

Next, it’s time to write your ads. We recommend setting up at least 3 different ads. Here is an example we created to illustrate what an effective ad looks like for a bulk billing medical centre.

The ad works because it focuses on answering the questions a patient looking for a bulk billed clinic is most likely to have. For instance, where is the location? Are you bulk billed? Can I book online? What services do you offer? How experienced are the doctors? etc.

Here are some tips on what information you should add:

Headline 1

Your medical centre’s name.

Headline 2

Choose a selling point of your clinic (eg. bulk billed, 24/7, female-centred care). Include the word ‘doctors’ eg. [selling point] + [doctors].

Headline 3

If you offer online bookings, we recommend writing ‘Book Online’. This is a big benefit to those searching online for a GP appointment.

Display path

If you want to make the URL look more tailored to a user’s search, you can add the keywords as the path (eg. adding ‘bulk-billed’ makes the URL appear as This can help convince users you have services tailored specifically to them. If in doubt, leave this space blank.

Description 1

We recommend listing the remaining key selling points of your clinic here. Think about what a user is likely looking for. Examples: after-hours appointments; experienced doctors; holistic health; accredited travel clinic; onsite pathology, psychologists, dietician and podiatrist.

Description 2

Add what doesn’t fit in ‘Description 1’ to this section.

Once you’re done, click ‘Save and Continue’. You can then follow the steps to push your ad live!

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