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Use AdWords to Attract More Local Customers

If you're a local business, one of the most powerful ways to reach potential new customers is through local search.  Although estimates vary, there are at least 3 billion monthly desktop searches that have local intent.  On mobile devices, the percentage of mobile searches increases - nearly half of all mobile queries have local intent.  Consumers are abandoning 411 and the phone book in favor of Search.  While Search is a powerful channel for connecting consumers with local businesses, very few businesses have their AdWords Campaigns structured to optimize the traffic they receive from local consumers.  In this article I'll give three suggestions for attracting optimal local traffic via your AdWords Campaigns.


1.  Create a Geo-Targeted Campaign

One of the many benefits of AdWords advertising is that advertisers can choose to only serve their Ads to select geographic areas.  At the Campaign, you can target your Ads to a very specific area - could be a state, city, or even a mile radius around a zip code.  The important thing to do is select the geographic area where your customers live and search from, not necessarily the geographic area where your business is located.  For example, let’s say you own a gourmet restaurant in Chicago and you know your customers come from different cities in the suburban Chicago area, you should select to show your Ads to Chicago and the surrounding cities where your target audience lives.


When selecting keywords, you do not need to use geographic modifiers in your Geo-Targeted Campaign (we’ll get to that later).  In the gourmet restaurant example from above, you should select keywords such as “gourmet restaurant,” “fine dining restaurant,” “gourmet cuisine restaurant,” etc.  Because you’re selecting to serve these Ads to a specific Geographic area, you do not have to worry about these Keywords without geographic modifiers serving Ads nationally.


2.  Create a Nationally Targeted Campaign


Although Google has Ad Serving technology in place to ensure your Geo-Targeted Campaigns attract queries with local intent, a way to ensure you capture all relevant local-intent queries is to also create a Nationally Targeted Campaign.  Inside of this Campaign include the same Keywords and structure as your Geo-Targeted Campaign, but include geographic modifiers.  Again, using the above example, this time add the city to your keywords such as “chicago gourmet restaurant,” “fine dining restaurant chicago,” “chicago gourmet cuisine restaurant,” etc. When selecting geographic modifiers, I suggest including city, zip code, neighborhood, and any other variations of geographic modifiers in your Keyword sets.  Because you’re using geographic modifiers, even though your Campaigns will serve nationally, you’ll only attract searchers looking for a business like yours, in your geographic area.


3.  Localize Ad Copy


When writing your Ad Copy, localize your Ad Copy; that is, use language that shows you’re a local business.  By including city, neighborhood, etc. in your Ad Copy, you can help ensure local searchers that you have the business they’re looking for, in the geographic area they’re searching for.  Including relevant local messaging in Ad Copy should increase local business awareness, help drive foot traffic to your local business, and improve your CTRs.  Not only will increasing your CTRs bring you more traffic, but it should also increase your Quality Scores, which will lead to more efficient traffic.


Bonus Tip #1Use Location Extensions!  This will help your business stand out to your local searchers.


Bonus Tip #2Opt into Google Search Partners.  This will help your Ads display on Google Maps.


In closing, local search should be a key component of any local business advertising strategy.  However, advertisers should take the time to structure their Campaigns to efficiently attract the right, relevant traffic to their websites.  As Search becomes even more integrated into our everyday lives, local business advertisers cannot ignore the local reach that Search provides.

about Brian Valentini

Chicago-based husband and father who likes sports, traveling, and laughing. Excited about the field of Digital Marketing, especially Paid Search. Work-life = Vice President/Director of Search Marketing at DigitasLBi, a global digital marketing and technology agency.

Mini-CM Community Manager
February 2014

Welcome back to the Community and thanks for posting, Brian. 

Ella R
September 2014

Google Adwords is the largest and most widely used pay per click and pay per impression advertising network on the internet. When Google assigns to the keywords you are request via the Adwords ad. Higher quality can lower your cost per click and help your ad rank higher in the sponsored segment of search engine result pages.