Many companies will stay away from local pay-per-click (PPC) because they have the mindset that it will limit them to a certain geographical location, and they want to reach as many people as possible. In theory, this is a good idea. Of course you want to reach as many people as possible, but you also have to be realistic. Are you really going to be able to compete with a national retailer who has an unlimited ad budget? No; that is pretty much impossible. However, you can compete with them on local search.
This, combined with the recent surge in mobile search, makes it a great time to rethink your PPC strategy to include local PPC ads. To help, here are five tips your business can use for local PPC ads.
Use Local PPC Ads To Your Advantage
Everything in your campaign needs to be customized to your specific audiences and searching segments. You do not want a generic ad being served to a highly specific audiences of searchers. One of your biggest advantages here is that you know the audience better than anyone else, plus there are numerous tools out there to help, including the Google keyword tool. Segment your ads based on the location and search they are making: That will resonate with their search query better. In short, if someone searches for “Italian Restaurants in Charleston,” you want ads matching that phrase.
You want to make sure that your landing pages that are on your ads are customized to your location and keyword group. When using local PPC ads, your ad is meant to attract the attention of a searcher; your landing page is where you engage, and hopefully convert, and is a landing page with similar content. Using our example above, you would use content similar to the ad once the searcher gets to the page; for instance, #1 Voted Italian Restaurant in Charleston would be a good example.
Your local PPC ads have gotten you in front of the right people; now your landing page has to have relevant information, so that your customers can find what they came to your site for in the first place. People don’t want to have to search through your website to find what you were talking about in your ad.
Going back to our restaurant example, if you have multiple locations, you want that ad to send you straight to information about your location in Wagener Terrace. Not only do people not want to search through your website for relevant information — they won’t. That’s why it is so important that you customize your landing pages to match your ad content. You can use location based segmentation to drive those search clicks to each of the locations instead of one “blanket” campaign sending them to the homepage.
2. Targeting Long Tailed Keywords
Long tailed keywords (more than 3+ keywords in a search) are crucial in any local PPC ads campaign, but they are especially important when you take into consideration that potential customers are searching for a specific location.
You want to make sure that you select the right keywords to help people find you, and which are what your targeted market is searching for. In choosing local long tailed keyword phrases (Italian Restaurants in [Suburb here]), you make sure that your ad is served to potential customers who are close to you. In addition, these local long tailed keyword phrases are higher converting, will filter out a lot of “researchers,” and decrease your audience size, but you should be left with more targeted searchers who will be much more likely to convert.
3. Negative Keywords
If you are not already, you want to consider negative keywords in local PPC campaigns. Normally, you want to select keywords that searchers are looking for, but there are instances where those keywords can include related keywords that are not related to your campaign.
Let’s say your restaurant is a seafood place, but you don’t serve shrimp. However, shrimp is a related keyword to seafood; therefore, you might get people coming in looking for shrimp when you don’t have it. By adding shrimp as a negative keyword, you exclude people you don’t want to reach, and this helps you to not waste any of your ad spend.
4. Location Extensions
Ad extensions are very important in the PPC world and, when it comes to local PPC ads, one of the best ones you can have employed is a location extension. This is an additional part of your ad where you can list your address, phone number, hours, and any other additional information you want. When you have the location extension in your ad turned on, the ad will be served with a map in the results, so that your customers can see exactly where you are located.
One thing that you want to be sure of when dealing with location extensions is to have your Google My Business account set up and accurate. As we mentioned earlier, more and more searches are happening on mobile devices, and if you have a location extension enabled you are eligible for the new “nearby business mobile ad format,” which then serves directions to your location. If you have multiple locations, you definitely want to make sure all of the information is correct for each one.
5. Call Extensions
In addition to location extensions, you also have the ability to enable call extensions, which will show your phone number within the ad. Again, when searchers are using their mobile devices, having your phone number in the ad makes it easier for them to call you. Also, by having the call extension employed, a “Call Directly” button will be populated. To give you an idea of how important this is, a recent study showed that 42 percent of smartphone users have used a click to Call Directly.
Another interesting facet of call extensions is that you have the option to either use your own phone number, or use a Google Forwarding number. By using a Google Forwarding number, you have more insights into the performance of the extension. It also gives you the ability to count phone calls as conversions. You set a threshold for how long the phone call has to be before it is counted as a conversion, though.
Local Search  Photo via Shutterstock, Images: Visiture