Super Simple AdWords Setup - Healthcare & Medical Marketing Strategies

Super Simple AdWords Setup

AdWords Training For Therapists, Psychologists & Psychiatrists

In this post, I'm going to walk you through a super simple AdWords setup.

Whether you're a psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, I'll supply the keywords and AdWords settings so that you don't waste money and only attract quality searchers.

If you would like to request an AdWords setup for a different healing profession, just contact me

Why This Is Different

The difference with my site, is that I'm not trying to sell you on AdWords services.

There are plenty of AdWords consultants out there selling you on thousands of dollars of AdWords services, effectively capitalizing on your naivete, when you can do it all yourself. 

In the video below I walk you through setting up your first AdWords Campaign. I cover a range of different topics including Match Types, Geographic Targeting of your Ads, Ad Group setup, Negative Keyword lists, and more. It is a 55 minute video, but I've packed in a lot of what you need to get up and running.

The goal is to get the basics right from the start, optimize a bit, and it will become a passive source of client inquiries.

I've also built out some sample AdWords Campaigns below the video for Therapists, Psychologists & Psychiatrist- use the jump links below to drop down to the sample plans: 

​Besides the video, I've compiled some other useful resources. You can use the navigation box beneath the video to jump to different sections. If you think this post would be of value to you or another private practice practitioner that needs some marketing assistance, share it!

AdWords Guided Setup

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From a high-level, what we're going to do is create 3 Ad Groups for each Keyword Match Type, with 3 Expanded Text Ads each, with 4 Sitelinks Extensions, with laser-targeted location settings.


AdWords Account Structure

A brief word about the structure of AdWords. The highest level is the Account > Campaign > Ad Groups (contains the Keywords and the Expanded Text Ads they display). Visualized, it looks like this:

AdWords Structure Example

*Credit to

Don't worry if this doesn't immediately make sense to you. Follow my sample AdWords plans below and you can be confident that you have a solid foundation for your private practice up and running. You can then modify as needed going forward, especially as you begin to get a handle on how AdWords works. 

To start, I thought I'd highlight a couple errors new users make when starting out with AdWords.

AdWords Newbie Mistakes

1. They don't understand Keyword Match Types.

2. They follow AdWord's guided setup and overload their AdWords account with a bunch of Broad Match Keywords that are difficult to manage and attract the WRONG traffic to their website.

3. They don't add Negative Keywords intelligently.


Regarding Match Types, no one explains it better than Google. Read this primer and watch the video below. The video also goes into Negative Keywords, which I also explain thoroughly further down the page.

Trust me, it is well worth it to understand how Match Types work in order to effectively manage your Advertising spend.

Regarding AdWords guided setup- you will want to ignore all their recommendations. Their motivation is to get you to spend, spend, spend.

Doubtless, guided setup is helpful for some people who just want to get something up and running because otherwise they'd never do it.

But it leads to wasteful spending and lackluster results.

Setting It Up

Campaign Structure

Setting Up AdWords The Right Way

We will be separating different Match Types into different Ad Groups. So, Exact Match Keywords will be in an Exact Match Ad Group, Phrase Match in a Phrase Match Ad Group, and Broad Match in a Broad Match Ad Group. Each of these Ad Groups should have 3 Expanded Text Ads enabled.

For inspiration on Ad Copy, I usually Google competitors, ie "San Francisco psychologist", "New York Psychiatrist", "Chicago Therapist" and see what other business owners are running.

Ad Copy

You'll want to customize Ad Copy for each of the Ad Groups to the Keywords included inside of it. For example, if you are bidding on the Phrase Match keyword "psychologist near me", you'll want to customize the Ads to speak to that specific search.

General Campaign Settings

Under Campaign > Settings, make sure it is set to "Search Network only - All features" and under Networks that "Include search partners" is unchecked.

AdWords Therapist Sample Setup

This ensures that your Ads will only appear when people are actually searching on Google desktop and mobile, and prevents your Ad from displaying in relatively extraneous places like inside of Apps, or on websites, where there are often many accidental clicks and people haven't actually 'searched' for them.

For our purposes, we only want to serve Ads to people searching for your mental health services.

Location Settings

Found under Campaign > Settings > All Settings > Locations.

In my mother's case, she works in a Borough (Staten Island), which is actually an island in New York City. So targeting is pretty simple.

AdWords Location Settings For Psychologists

The best way to get started is to click on Advanced Search.

Then either use the "Search" option to input an area.

For example, if you live in Chicago, add Chicago, and you'll see the geographic area that your Ads would be served in. If it's too big, try "Radius Targeting" and experiment with your Zipcode and then select how wide a radius you want to target from that Zipcode.

Location Targeting for Therapists in AdWords

Youll quickly figure out a logical area to target. You can target multiple locations- so if you have 2 office locations, you can add multiple locations.Negative KeywordsThis is a BIG one. So many people mess this up.

Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords tell AdWords when NOT to run your add. For example, if you are buying Phrase Match "psychologist near me", adding the Negative Keyword "free" at the Campaign-level will ensure that your Ad will NOT be served when a user searches for "free psychologist near me". Setting Negative Keywords at the Campaign level means that they will apply to all of the Ad Groups the Campaign contains. 

Obviously, we don't want to advertise to someone who isn't looking to spend any money!

You can use this tool before your launch your Campaign to scout out Negative Keywords to add. Other common Negative Keywords you should add include "jobs", "college", & "schools".

Once your Campaign has been running for several days, you'll want to check out which Keywords are triggering your Ads in Campaign > Keywords > Search Terms. This will show you the exact Keywords that are triggering your Ads- scroll through and pick out individual Keywords that are extraneous.

You'll definitely be surprised at some of the searches that are activating your Ads. You might find people searching for competitors in your area, like "dr. jane therapist", so you'd want to add the Negative Keyword "Jane", or maybe they are searching for services you don't offer.

For example, in my mother's case, since I was buying Broad Match "therapist", it would attract searchers looking for

  • "ozone therapy",
  • "music therapy",
  • "massage therapy",
  • "acne therapy",
  • "protein therapy",
  • and on and on.

Adding "ozone", "music" "massage", "acne" "protein" as Broad Match Negative Keywords keeps Ads from being served (and clicked) by people that aren't going to ever be your clients.

In addition, since my mother doesn't take insurance, I've added Negative Keywords like "insurance" and insurance types like "medicaid" and "GHI" so that searchers looking for "therapist GHI" aren't served her Ads.

You'll learn to think strategically about Negative Keywords. For example, if you're a psychologist who doesn't work with adolescents, add the Negative Keyword "adolescents" to your Campaign and Ad Groups.

That way if you are buying Broad Match "psychologist", searchers looking for an "adolescent psychologist" don't see your Ad.

Sample AdWords Campaigns

AdWords Keywords For Therapists

Broad Match Ad Group


+therapy +for

Phrase Match Ad Group

"therapist near me"

Exact Match Ad Group



Strategy Analysis


I want to emphasize, this is a sample AdWords setup. It's a great start, keeping things organized, providing solid reach, without overextending to dozens, or even hundreds, of scattered and overlapping Keywords.

The Broad Match Ad Group

+therapy +for is a Modified Broad Match keyword, which in this case would 'lock in' "therapy for", meaning that if some was searching for "therapy for depression" or "therapy for anxiety" in your area, your Ad will appear.

What Broad Match Will Capture

therapy for adwords

As you can see, you don't need to add "therapy for kids", "therapy for ptsd", etc. You can capture all of that long-tail search traffic by strategically employing Modified Broad Match keywords.

Broad Match "therapist" will likely be the biggest Keyword for your account- it'll attract the most Impressions and the most Clicks. It's absolutely crucial that you bolster your Negative Keywords list on an ongoing basis to keep this Keyword 'honest'. That is, ensuring that people looking for "acne therapy" and "physical therapy" are excluded.

The Phrase Match Ad Group

Only one Keyword in here to start. Phrase match is really my 'favorite' of the match types. It allows you a great deal of control going after longer-tail keywords with volume. For instance, this Keyword will capture search traffic like "child therapist near me" and "therapist near me for anxiety", etc.

When you're first starting out, I'd suggest adding new Keywords here- ideally 2 word Keywords. But, in my experience, deviating away from the basics ("therapist") to pursue terms like "depression", "anxiety", will net you inferior quality traffic- people looking for information, not to buy services.

That said, if you offer marriage counseling, by all means add "marriage counseling" or "grief therapist" if you work with grieving individuals. 

The Exact Match Ad Group

The Exact Match Ad Group is super, laser-targeted, with the trade-off being that the search volume is usually much lower.

Only someone that enters in the exact term "therapist" will see your Ad, in that instance. Exact Match Keywords are very restrictive, so you can really zero in on the searches you want to advertise against.

Expanding on this

Now, you will likely want to expand on this setup over time. I urge you to let this Campaign run for a week or two to get a sense of how AdWords works, and what the different metrics mean.

Keep in mind, that if the term doesn't have any search volume, it doesn't make sense to include it. You can vet a Keyword using AdWord's Keyword Planner to check the search volume.

Be careful as you add Keywords- you want a tightly focused Campaign and stuffing it with dozens of Keywords will make your advertising sloppy and difficult to manage. Keep it tight and lean!

AdWords Keywords For Psychologists

Broad Match Ad Group



+psychologist +for

Phrase Match Ad Group

"psychologist near me"

Exact Match Ad Group



What Broad Match will capture

Psychologist For Search Results

Strategy Analysis

Since many of the points I made in the Sample AdWords Campaign for Therapists are the same here, I'll be briefer.

Should you bid on "therapist"?

I included the Keyword "therapist" as well as "psychologist". You should only include this Keyword in your Campaign if your website includes that Keyword in the copy. Basically, try running it and see what Quality Score AdWords assigns to it. 

In my mother's example, she's a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I experimented with buying the Keyword "Psychologist", but because her website doesn't mention the word "Psychologist" on it, AdWords assigned it a low quality score (anything below a score of 3), so I stopped running it. So, if you're a Psychologist, you will 

As I mentioned in the Therapist example, feel free to add to this Sample Campaign. For example, if you are a Cognitive Psychologist, adding Phrase Match "cognitive psychologist" makes sense. If you're a Child Psychologist, adding Phrase Match "child psychologist" also makes sense. 

You might offer specialty services like drug or addiction counseling- Phrase Match is the place to experiment with these Keywords. Broad Match can be a bit 'fast and loose', potentially displaying for inappropriate searches, while Exact Match can be too restrictive.

AdWords Keywords For Psychiatrists

Broad Match Ad Group


Phrase Match Ad Group

"psychiatrist near me"

Exact Match Ad Group


Strategy Analysis

If you are a private practice psychiatrist, you can avoid a lot of the haziness people have around the difference between psychologists and therapists. The Keyword "psychiatrist" is clean and simple, providing decent search impression volume, while also being laser-targeted to seracher intention. 

I would recommend running this setup for awhile and seeing how it performs. In the past, I've experimented with adding keywords like "depression" and "anxiety", but have found that searchers are often looking for 'informational' content, rather than a service provider that can treat their symptoms.

In my honest opinion, this is all you would ever need to run, though you can experiment with targeting specific psychiatric queries, particularly if they are important service areas for you and your business.  

While this site is catered towards mental-health, 'healing' professionals in private practice, this super-simple AdWords setup is ideal for any solopreneur like health coaches, executive coaches, anyone that is looking to sell their services and requires a passive, if paid, means of generating leads. 

AdWords Training Transcript

Audio Transcript

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson is a NYC-based Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and a full-stack online marketer. One of his interests is helping private practice healing professionals (psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists) develop effective client-acquisition strategies.