The Exciting World of Google AdWords

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Google AdWords is an online advertising program that leverages Google’s dominance in the web searching market.  It’s an interesting model that just might be able to help you expand your marketing efforts!

Companies spend thousands of dollars a month trying to optimize their websites so they are highly ranked on web search engines.  It can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor.  The AdWord program offers business professionals at all levels an intriguing opportunity without breaking the bank.  I believe it can be an effective marketing strategy for both individual practitioners and behavioral health care organizations.

Google AdWord Basics

AdWords ads are displayed along with search results when someone searches a topic on Google using one of the keywords defined in a specific AdWords campaign.

There’s no minimum rate with AdWords, and you only pay when someone clicks on your AdWords advertisement.  A campaign is created by identifying specific key words and then setting a monthly target for what you are willing to pay for the campaign.

Google AdWords offers people an opportunity to build visibility on the World Wide Web, and it is relatively untapped in behavioral healthcare.  Few mental health professionals use the program, which means there is less competition and a higher likelihood of increased visibility on Google.  Let me offer an example to further explain how the program works.

A young woman has been feeling “depressed” for several weeks. She’s concerned but has very little understanding of mental health resources.   She types in “psychotherapy” on the Google search engine to see what resources are available in her community.  Here’s a snapshot of what she might see if she were in my community.


A web user who searches a general term like “psychotherapy” without designating a city will be presented with AdWords based on their Internet address location.  I live in Charleston, SC, and as a result, my AdWords are mostly from the Charleston, SC area.

What Do Google Adwords Look Like?

There are two areas where AdWords are presented.  If you look at the “psychotherapy” screen shot you’ll see that the top two links (in the colored box) represent the top two AdWord sites.  Below that are basic search links that are separate from the AdWords program.  On the right hand column under “Sponsored Links” are the next top ranked AdWord links (Up to eight links are presented in the right hand column).  You’ll notice that there are already a few therapists using AdWords with the keyword “psychotherapy”.  As a result, their ad shows up on the first page of my search.

Let’s expand the original scenario a bit further to show how you can have your name up on the AdWord list!

How It All Works

Google AdWords identifies a cost per click rate for all of its key words.  I did some research around this and chose seven keywords to see what my Average Cost per Click would be.  I chose the following keywords:

Psychotherapy, Depression, Suicide, Signs of Depression, Substance Abuse Treatment, Psychiatry, Psychiatrist

I asked Google for a rate based on two markets: The Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC markets.

Google’s research showed that this group of key words would cost me an average of $3.80 every time a person clicked on my AdWord advertisement.  Interestingly enough, Google doesn’t set these rates.  The rates are determined based on what others are paying for these key words.  Google recommends a $3.80 rate for my set of key words because this is the average rate that will improve the chances of my ad being placed on the first page of a web search.  You can still participate in the program without paying the recommended rate and many people choose this option.  For example, I could choose to pay $1.00 or even .05 cents per click if I like.  The trade off, however, is that my chances of earning first page visibility will be reduced if others in the marketplace have chosen to pay a higher rate for those same words.  The price per click varies depending on the competitiveness of the marketplace.  The good news here is that the mental health market is fairly wide open!

As I continued to define my own Google Adwords campaign I found that historically the keywords I chose produced an average of 180 AdWord Clicks per month in the Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC markets.  This means that 180 AdWord Ads are clicked per month when one of the seven keywords is searched.  If I were to have all 180 people click on my AdWord ad then that would be a total cost of $684.00 for that month.  But I can also choose to put a cap on the amount I am willing to pay per month.  I could choose to go no higher than $200 per month.  This would mean my advertisement would stop being displayed once I received 53 clicks to my website.  My campaign would be launched anew when a new month began.

Content Networking

You can set up Google AdWords on your own if you go to .  However, if you’d like to optimize your account you can talk to an AdWords representative.  They can track the activity on your account and determine what additional keywords would improve your visibility based on the trends they see.

Google AdWords also offers an added benefit, which gives you visibility on content driven sites like the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe or any number of local area online newspapers and television stations.  If you have the right keywords targeted, if you are paying a competitive click through rate, and if your website is a good match for the topic being discussed then your AdWord ad may show up on these websites.  How?  Google AdWords scans web pages, interprets its content and then displays relevant ads.   As an example, suppose a community experienced the tragic suicides of two teenagers.  Newspaper reporters and TV stations write and produce features on suicide awareness and post videos and articles on their website.  If “suicide” is a keyword you chose in your AdWord Campaign then your ad may show up as one of a handful that are posted next to the article.

If you would like some expert advice to see if AdWords is for you then contact Ellen Walsh at

It’s an interesting program and one that’s worth a look!


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