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Location Keywords not triggering ads

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

This is a small real estate, management and holiday let company located in Spain with a target audience of Western Europe in particular the UK.

The target locations have been set but the keywords need to reflect the area that the properties are in. This works fine for campaign 1 (about 18 months old) but the newer campaign which follows an identical pattern will not trigger the ads - 

"The location terms in this keyword can affect where your ads show. Location: Alhaurin de la Torre, Andalusia, Spain"

The 'What to do'...or...instructions make no sense to me. Their seems to be no logic as it always worked perfectly well before and still does in older campaigns and in other older accounts with the same requirements.

The quality scores are 5/10 or higher...relevance above average, etc, etc, Even raising the bids make no difference!

I have even added Google 'suggested keywords' into the campaign and they are just the same. 

I can find no rhyme nor reason.

Any advice would be gratefully received but please bear with me as I only run small campaigns (not into the very fine details) but they have always been quite successful before.


4 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Schillys795,

Have you checked your ads using the ad preview tool?

Select the specific location in the tool and check the visibility of your ad.

Let us know if you find any issues.


Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star
Hi there,

I second Deepak's suggestion, as Preview Tool would give you the exact status of your ads in a specific location. The keyword speech bubble may show that message if your target location is small, like a radius. However, it doesn't really mean that your ads aren't showing.

- Sumanth
Sumanth Sridhar

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 4
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
Yes I have and most are a NO.
As an experiment have now raised the bid of two to the minimum first page bid and in one case changed the landing page to be the exact page about the location mentioned in the keyword. Still NO....
and one that I found that the 'speech bubble' says NO and the preview tool says YES cannot be showing as there are no impressions. The keyword are not obscure and relate to a large resort. They are all relevant to the site.

As I said exactly the same pattern, with the same target locations is used in Campaign 1, with no problems.

It looks to me as Google has changed their 'methods' for newer campaigns/accounts and what worked before doesn't now (even though the older ones still do). For newer ones if you use a location in your keywords it will only show in that area and not the targeted area. Only logic I can find!

I have two other accounts for individual holiday lets. One has been going for 3 years and has no problem, works brilliantly and still does. The new one (this year), again following the same pattern, fails miserably and has been suspended (it's my own so it didn't matter) but now I am beginning to see that there is a problem and what it might be. I may not be an expert but am logical. When Google changed all new accounts to automate billing seemed to be the time that all changed.

I cannot see what I am missing....unless it's just down to money!


Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Schillys,

This is a common occurrence that not many know about. It has to do with your advanced location targeting and the settings you chose. You have obviously chosen to target your locations without intent ("people in my targeted location").

When you do this, AdWords identifies location terms in your keywords and limits that keywords location to the location mentioned. In order to get around this you only have 2 options, either change your location settings to include intent ("people searching in or about my targeted location") or not using location terms in your keywords.

AdWords does on occasion also identify seemingly non-location terms as locations, as certain locations are named after nouns and the like. So it is usually better to target with intent and then add negative targeting for any locations you do not which to show for.

With regards to older accounts, you are correct in that this did not always happen and does seem to be a recent development.

Hope this helps

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 6
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆ is helpful...
I have just contacted Adwords customer service. On the first call (after explaining all this) I was told to change the campaign from 'Broad match' to 'Phrase match'. After which they said it was now triggering ads but all I could see was 'Pending Review'. After waiting a while it had changed almost everything to 'Low Search Volume' was not that before.

In an effort to get to the bottom of this I have just called back and got someone else. This time they told me to change the match back and do the opposite of what you have suggested. My campaign was not set to "people in my targeted location" but they have just told me to set it to that now!!!! Am now waiting to see the effect and will report back. I am not holding my breath though.

In the case of not using a location in the keyword, it would just not work for property sales, rentals and holiday lets. It is the location that is absolutely key to the business and a fruitless exercise without it. When searching for, let's say a holiday abroad, a location will always be used in their search matter how broad.

It's beginning to look like Google doesn't know...and whatever they have changed makes it a nonsense. I can only think that larger companies are reliant on old campaigns or they have multiple accounts in different countries. (Don't believe that either).

If this next move doesn't work I will call again.....see what I am told next?

Thanks again.....I do appreciate the help as at least I am learning .....and am not completely mad!

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
That is most interesting, as I know from experience that the advanced location settings are the issue here.

'Without intent' restricts your keywords to the location mentioned in the keyword itself. Targeting with intent 'eliminates' this problem (in that users outside the area are eligible to trigger those keywords).

I would suggest switching to no intent targeting (if you are targeting with intent as stated) and allowing that to settle, as it were. Then change back to location targeting with intent. Perhaps its is a glitch of some sort that is 'reading' your location targeting wrong.

This is most certainly not a match type error, so you are wasting your time there. Not sure why you were told that it could be. Sounds like they are just trying to 'reset' the keyword to me.

With regards to the older accounts. The above settings now also apply to them and this is where I first cam across the problem, when diagnosing why traffic for location keywords dropped off.

Let me know how it goes.

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 8
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
Really thankful for your help. The latest Google suggestion from my conversation with them did not work. Not surprised!

After what you have said went back again and you are right in Campaign 1, that was working OK, I now find some keywords are now behaving in the same manner....but only some....

The following example is what I have taken. Hope this reflects the suggested settings and makes it clear.

Example: Bid is set over the minimum to appear on the first page.
People in, searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location (recommended)
Broad Match
Targeting UK (and some other Western European countries)

Copied from mouse over on speech bubble - Keyword: Apartment Benalmadena
The location terms in this keyword can affect where your ads show. Location: Alhaurin de la Torre, Andalusia, Spain What can I do?
Displaying•ads right now? NO
Your keyword isn't triggering ads to appear on Google right now due to a low Ad Rank. Ads are ranked based on your bid and Quality Score. What can I do?
Quality score 8/10

• Expected click-through rate: Average
• Ad relevance: Above average
• Landing page experience: Above average

From what this is saying it is the location mentioned ie Benalmadena that is the issue. The low ad rank cannot be to do with the quality score or bid. The 'what can I do?' makes no sense.

It is so frustrating that even Google customer services don't know what to do. This must be affecting huge numbers of businesses who are located in one area and selling to another based on the location (as that is what they are selling - the location).

Any further thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Schillys,

Something is definitely going wrong here. The warning "the location terms in this keyword can affect where your ads show" should not be happening if you are location targeting with intent.

I am thinking some kind of bug/glitch, but I am thoroughly confused. I suggest trying the following:

Clear your cookies
Open your browser in incognito mode
Log into AdWords
Create a new campaign (ensure that the new campaign is targeting the locations with intent)
Add the keywords from one of the problem campaigns into the new campaign (physically add them do not copy paste)
Rewrite the ads in this campaign as well.
Pause the campaign that you are 'duplicating'
See if the problem persists in the new campaign.

Let me know what happens, and if possible could you please provide a screen shot showing the error message.

Hope this helps

Re: Location Keywords not triggering ads

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 10
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
Thanks Clynton

Will start again doing what you say with a new campaign.
Just as a 'by the way' - I added keywords that Google suggested (ie what they flag up) to a new campaign and they didn't work either.

Just reinstated another account that I mentioned earlier to see what was happening (location keywords again as it is a holiday let) and very few keywords are being triggered.
Am going to leave all until tomorrow to see if there is a difference and then try as you have said.

Will let you know.
Thanks again!