How To Get Noticed With Google

by Lindsay Roadnight

last updated: 25/03/2022

Google is the world’s number 1 search engine with a market share of over 90%.  Think about it, if you’re looking for a product or a service and you don’t have any starting recommendations or background knowledge, you’d probably google it.  As a marketing tool in Private Practice, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what Google can offer you and how these services work.

Essentially, there are three ways in which Google can help with advertising your business;

  1. Paid Advertising (Google Ads)
  2. Organic Search Results
  3. Google My Business

Each service is quite distinct from the others and like most things, there are pros and cons for any choices you make.  This article is not intended to be a definitive guide to the services, rather my aim is to give you an overview of what’s available so you can make an informed choice for marketing your business.

Paid Advertising (Google Ads)

Paid advertising is also known as Pay-Per-Click (or PPC).  This function is very much like traditional advertising in that you pay Google to show adverts for your business when people search for relevant terms.

How Does It Work?

You can create a Google Ad in a few simple steps;

  1. Sign up for a Google Ads account
  2. Write an advert for your business
  3. Choose the search terms you wish to target
  4. Set a budget for your campaign
  5. Turn on the campaign

Creating your Google Ad account and campaigns are free.  You get charged when someone clicks on your advert.  

What Does It Look Like?

You can easily identify paid Google Adverts as in search results as they are tagged with the word ‘Ad’.

Google Ads

Displaying these adverts costs nothing, Google only charges if someone actually clicks on the advert.


Once you understand how Google Ads work, it can be very interesting to see who has paid for what advertising.  If you Google ‘Counsellors near me’ you are likely to find that the majority of the adverts are for the big hitters like BetterHelp, Psychology Today and Counselling Directory.  These companies spend a lot of money and effort in ensuring that their ads appear. This is something to bear in mind if you are thinking about using targeted ads.  One way of taking advantage of this is to have a profile with the big directories.  Ensure youring website is linked to your profile listing can be a cost effective way of using their marketing budget to drive traffic to your site. 

Pros and Cons

Google Ads can be an excellent way of marketing your private practice, however it can be expensive and takes a bit of time and patience as well as knowledge and expertise.  If this is something you are considering using for your practice, I would highly recommend speaking to a few people to get some specific advice and support before you start.  Whilst it is fairly easy ot control your budget within Google Ads, it can be a very easy way to spend a lot of money very quickly with little or nothing to show for it.

Organic Search Results

Organic Search Results is where your site is listed in response to a search term without being a google ad.  This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes into it’s own.  Google will rank your site higher if it’s got good, reliable content and is regularly updated.  Things that will also improve your ranking is the ‘stickiness’ of your site – which is another way of saying how long people spend on your site after clicking through on a search result. 

What Does It Look Like?

Search results appear after the google adverts.

Google Search Results
Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is a massive topic and can be a highly specialised area of work.  However, there are some simple things you can do yourself to improve your site.  Update the content regularly.  Have links going out from your site to reputable websites and vice versa.  Its worth noting that Google doesn’t like repetition.  Do not have one piece of copy that appears everywhere.  Where possible, make your profile listings slightly different to the text on your website.

For WordPress websites, there is a great little plugin called Yoast, which helps with your SEO.  This will give you a readability and SEO score for each page on your site as well as little hints and tips for how to improve them.  If you created your site through a serviced package (like Wix or Squarespace), they will have their own guides for improving the SEO on your site.

Pros and Cons

Updating your website regularly can seem like an arduous task.  Very few counsellors get into the business in order to hone their copywriting or web design skills.  But you can also look at it as an opportunity to reflect on your business and connect with your ideal clients.  Whilst you can spend money on SEO optimisation, there are also plenty of things you can do for free.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free service where you can register information about your business.  Your listing will appear on Google Maps when people are looking locally, and it appears in search results for the local area (for relevant searches).

What Does It Look Like?

Whenever your search in Google, if there are relevant businesses nearby you will see a section of the search results which are listed alongside a map.  These are Google My Business profiles.

Google My Business
How Does It Work?

You can create a Google My Business profile for your company FOR FREE!  Yes, really.  It’s free!  If you can’t afford a website when you’re first setting up, Google My Business is a great way of starting a basic online presence.  You can add details like your opening times, customer reviews and even specific posts for your business.

Pros and Cons

For me, Google My Business is a no brainer.  For the sake of a little time, you can be shown in local search results without spending any money.

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