Google Ads mistakes

Do you use Google Ads to promote your Private Practice? Thinking about Google Ads?

Let’s talk about Google Ads mistakes.

But first, let me reassure you, that a properly set up Google Ad, can be a great way to market your Private Practice. But the trouble is, I meet Clinicians who are regularly feeding Google’s bank account and not their own.

A quick shout out to Tim Cameron-Kitchen. He’s a Ninja in the paid-Ads world, and if you’re interested in Google Ads, I really encourage you to go check him out on-line. He has a book called ‘How to get to the top of Google’.

I’m going impart some of Tim’s wisdom, in the context of what this may mean for you in Private Practice, when it comes to Google Ads.


How can you tell if your Google Ads are wasting your money?

Google Ads may seem mystifying, and I’ll stick my neck out and say that some Google Ad agencies would like them to remain mystifying. The principle is pretty basic. To be successful, a Google Ad needs to bring in more than it costs you. Ta-dah!

Let’s think about that for a moment. If you’re not running the Google Ad yourself and you’re using an agency, you might be spending ‘X’ amount of money per month on agency fees, plus, the ‘Ad spend’ that actually goes to Google to pay for the Ads.

There are two key pieces of information your need to know if order to know if your Ad is bringing in money or wasting money.

They are: average cost per click (CPC), and your website’s conversion rate.

What is the average cost per click (CPC) in your Google Ad campaign?

Let’s use the example of ‘shoulder doctor london’ as the keyword used for the Google Ad.

When I last looked this up, the CPC listed was $6.78.

What is the conversation rate for your website?

You’ll need to find out what percentage of people who come to your website, ‘convert’. You can get these figures from Google Analytics, or whoever set up the Ads.

I regularly meet Clinicians in Private Practice, who have a go at setting up a Google Ad, but have no idea of how to track it, because they haven’t set up a pathway (aka a ‘goal’) to track the ‘conversion’.

For example, if someone rings your secretary to book an appointment, unless the Google Ad was set up to explicitly track someone landing on your website, through to the time they then clicked on a clickable phone number, you have NO way of being able to link your Google Ad to phone calls that are coming in.


If you don’t have a clear, definable conversion goal set up, you are totally wasting your money, because you can’t track it.

If this rings a bell with you, pause that Google Ad immediately, and continue to follow along.

Let’s imagine your Ad has been set up correctly. Let’s use the example of the ‘conversion’ being a patient booking an appointment.

You could track the number of people who come to your website and go through the process of signing up to a contact page or clicking on a number to ring to book in for an appointment (and therefore becoming an actual paying patient).

For most businesses, the industry standard for a website’s conversion rate is around 1%.

Yep. 1%. You heard that right.

How do you calculate the conversion rate for your website?

First, youneed find out the number of visitors you have to your website (e.g. over one month). Google Analytics can tell you this.

Next, find the number of ‘conversions’ you had in one time period such as month, and divide that number by the total number of visitors your site had for the same time period – and multiply by 100.

E.g. 10 conversions in one month, and 1,000 visitors to your website, gives a conversion rate of 1%.

This tells us that in order to get one patient coming in through the door, because the conversation rate is 1%, we need 100 people to come to the website.

If we’re paying for a Google Ad to send them to the website, and our CPC (average cost per click) is $6.78. That’s 100 x $6.78, which equals $678. This number is called the ‘Cost per Acquisition’, (or CPA).

Don’t forget, that if you’re using an agency to run your Ads, you’ll be paying a fee per month on top of this.

Does it make financial sense for you to spend $678 (plus agency fees) to get one patient through the door of your shoulder clinic?

Unless you know that every single patient who comes through your door is going to end up with a highly lucrative procedure, it’s pretty unlikely that the maths makes sense for your Private Practice.

At best with these figures, you’d be lucky to break even after you’ve seen that patient for an initial consultation and a couple of follow ups.

And it doesn’t just apply to surgeons. When I looked today for the CPC for the keyword for ‘shoulder physio London’, it was $6.07.

Now of course it’s entirely possible that you are using keywords for your Ads that have a lower CPC, but the point here is, that’s it’s vitally important to understand your numbers.

I’m willing to bet, that many Clinicians listening to this will be rather woolly on how the numbers work, or, if someone else is handling their Google Ads, they won’t have had this explained to them.


Don’t run Google Ads if your Private Practice website is naff.

The next mistake that people make is that their Google Ad might be set up well, but their website that it links to, is frankly, a bit pants.

If your competitors have nice looking websites, but yours sucks, guess what, people who land on your website are going to jump off, and look at your competitors’.

You must have a good-enough website first, before you spend money on Google Ads. This is crucial.


Don’t run a Google Ad for something that patients aren’t searching for.

For example, you might be an amazing physio, who uses the ‘thoracic ring approach’ to treat your patients, but a quick look in Google tells us that that’s not a great Ad keyword for you to be using to attract your patients, because pretty much nobody is searching (yet) for a physio, using that term in search. Not sure if your keyword is being hunted for? Get in touch, we’ll let you know


Don’t leave your Google Ads to their own devices.

Finally, there is no point in setting up a Google Ad, and then simply forgetting about it.

You need to be monitoring it and tweaking it.

In other words, you need to see what’s working, and what’s not working, so that you put your money where it’s working.

Just because an Ad has brought you patients in the past, it doesn’t mean to say that it will continue to work well for you (after all, other Clinicians set up new Google Ads all the time).

Most Clinicians who set up ‘untended’ Ads will lose money over time. Equally, if you have an agency who is running your Ads, they need to be able to demonstrate to you, how and why they are tweaking the Ads, and crucially, how does that affect the cost per acquisition?

Want to learn how to market your Private Practice without having to pay for Ads?

Get in touch, I’m at


Now it’s time for you to grow your Private Practice.