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Google AdWords 101

Updated 3/1/2017 by Melissa Mason

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Have you ever wondered about those top Google “hits” with the outlined-in-green “Ad” designation? If so, you’re not alone – and for good reason. Those results are brought to you courtesy of Google AdWords; an incredibly powerful, paid marketing tool that allows businesses of all sizes to places ads on the front page of Google’s search results.

With AdWords’ many tracking tools, analysis, and “funnel options”, this search engine marketing tool has the ability to boost your website’s traffic and drive potential customers to the door of any business.

Give ‘Em What They Want

Founded in October of 2000, AdWords is Google’s primary sources of revenue, earning over $100 million per day, as of 2012. Nearly all of it –$15.5 billion – came from advertising sales. In the first quarter of 2015, Google took in $17.3 billion in revenue, up 12% year over year. With few restrictions, AdWords can be utilized by businesses of nearly any size and budget.

The brilliance behind AdWords is its simplicity: AdWords’ goal is to create the shortest path between the searcher and what they are actively searching for. And, as it turns out, giving someone what they want, when they want it, usually results in a conversion.

So How Does It Work?

The main facets of an AdWords campaign are keywords, ads, and landing pages.

  • Keywords are the terms searched in Google that can trigger ads. Often comprised of a city, state, and subject. (e.g. Austin TX veterinarian)
  • Ads are delivered as a text based platform, which is found at the top and right side of the Google search results page. Google text ads are comprised of a header, two lines of ad copy, and a page link.
  • Landing pages are the destination page that the searcher lands on when they click on your ad’s text.

By default, Google uses a Cost Per Click model for simple campaigns which means you only pay for the ad when someone clicks on it. How much you pay for a click, however, can vary greatly by location, industry, and quality of the campaign funnel.

The most important thing to remember when creating a campaign is to make sure the three phases of a campaign match as closely as possible.

An example of a bad campaign would be to create a keyword list and ad copy for grooming, and then send the searcher to a landing pages for pet dental health or veterinary acupuncture.

Caution Ahead!

As effective as AdWords campaigns can be in helping your business find potential customers, there can be many pitfalls if your campaign is done incorrectly.

From overspending on budget to simply forgetting about your campaign and letting it lapse, there is a lot that can go wrong; making it important to have guidance in the setup and maintenance of your AdWords endeavors. For this reason Google offers an array of online resources, including a partner program.

Some of the following are just a few reasons why it can be dangerous to do AdWords alone include:

  • Poor keyword grouping, causing ads to not appear as often as they could
  • Targeting the wrong area for your campaign or showing your ad to an irrelevant audience
  • Setting your keyword bids too low, which in turn will keep you off the front page of Google
  • Setting your keyword bid too high, causing you to overspend per click
  • Setting too high of a daily budget, which can balloon into a very high bill each month

All of these can be avoided with the right setup guidance and consistent oversight of an experienced professional.

What Can Google AdWords Do For You?

For veterinary professionals, AdWords can be an extremely valuable tool to drive new customer traffic to your website, or to solicit and boost click-to-call inbound phone calls.

From  a branding perspective, you can get thousands of impressions on the top of Google’s listings, for next to nothing. Either way you parse it, Google AdWords can be extremely useful for your practice for branding and business attainment.

With so many major algorithm updates happening on a week-to-week basis, it can be hard to find stability or consistency in customer outreach. Where SEO and Social Media may leave a gap between you and reaching your customers, you can pick up the slack by advertising in an organic sense using Google AdWords. Research has shown that the results featured in the top portion of Google’s search engine (which includes Paid Search, or AdWords results, followed by Local Map listings and top-ranked Organic Search results) feature the most clicked on links by users.

With this knowledge, you can help increase traffic to your website and convert users into clients by advertising on the most lucrative section of Google’s search results.

Advertising with Google AdWords can help you extend your reach in locations or to clients where SEO or Social Media has shortcomings or run into limitations. Using AdWords can help you return to those top few positions if you were bumped by an algorithm update, or help regain the top spot if a competitor replaced you.

You can further extend the efficacy of your Ad by adding ‘Call’ and ‘Directions’ buttons, which AdWords records as clicks or conversions when people call your business directly or click to view your directions. This conversion data can help you further determine how successful you are in reaching a new base of customers, as well as how successful Local Search Ads can be in bolstering your online marketing presence overall.

If you have the desire to be on the front page of Google as soon as possible, or if you have any further questions about Google AdWords or Search Engine Optimization, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Originally published February, 2015

Have questions about this veterinary industry marketing topic? Want tips on what else to look out for or how to improve your business' marketing? Come ask questions, share solutions, and join the conversation on VetMarketingTalk, a new online community designed for the veterinary industry and powered by the marketing experts at Beyond Indigo Pets. Click here to sign up today—FREE for the first 30 days, no credit card required.