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How to Dominate Local Search With PPC Marketing

Recently we gave a talk at the Surbiton Business Expo, part of Surbiton Business Community. We spoke about how to make quick, free wins in local SEO strategies to get your website to the top of Google search, and Pay Per Click (or PPC) for local businesses.

Focusing on the small

Let’s look at how focusing on your local target audience can grow the biggest results for your local business online with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

PPC is form of online advertising where the company who have an advert hosted on a website pay money to the website host each time their advert is clicked. The amount of money per click (or cost per click) varies, depending on the volume of competition for the subject of the ad.

What is Google AdWords?

Big and small pumpkins

Google AdWords logo

Google AdWords is one of the largest PPC networks, and targets the most popular UK search engine – – plus partner websites.

AdWords provides placement for ads on Google that link to your website. These ads are chosen to be relevant to the search the user is carrying out. Here is where the ads can appear on Google:  

Running shoes search results

You may also recognise some, if not all, of these logos too. These are just some of the many, many, Google partner sites where AdWords can also appear. Ads on these networks are called display ads. 

Google AdWords partner sites
Google AdWords partner sites

How does Google AdWords work?

Each time a user searches for something in Google, Google carries out a live auction to determine which businesses’ ads will be shown next to the natural search results.

As the word ‘auction’ suggests, bid price is a very important factor in an ad placement. But as Google aims to best benefit the user and the advertiser, Google needs to take more than price into account. Other factors involved in the auction include:

  • Relevance of the ad’s landing page (that’s the page that you land on if you were to click the ad),
  • Relevance of the ad to the search term used
  • Quality score (that’s a formula that influences the ranking position of an ad)

Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google gives a very clear explanation on how the auction works.

So now we know how it all works, how does this all apply to a local PPC marketing strategy?

How is a local PPC campaign created?

Firstly with AdWords local campaigns, don’t panic. It’s not a global campaign, you are only appealing to your target audience, not the world.

The beauty of a local campaign for a local business is that you will have already done your research into target audience. Use this insight in your local PPC campaign, but go one step further.

For example, what time of day is busiest for you? Are you a restaurant owner who gets very busy after 18:00 when you’re inundated with commuters returning from work?

If so you could add a bid adjustment to your ad to add 10% to your bid during these times.

Or if you are a shop selling umbrellas near the station, you could up your bid during rainy weather by linking your ad to the Google Weather service.

Perhaps you are only open from 9 till 5 – so you won’t want enquiries outside these hours. No problem, use the built-in scheduling settings to make sure you’re not spending when you’re not available.

It’s these observations that can be used in really effective PPC marketing.

Never exclude a relevant demographic in your search. Just because you are targeting local people, doesn’t mean they will also be around on foot.

The online world is becoming a mobile-first environment, and excluding the mobile user could be a very big mistake. 85% of people look for local information on their smartphone 1.

This means even the more traditional services like car mechanics should be looking to advertise online – particularly on mobile.

Ad extensions

Ad Extensions are add-ons that can be applied to your local PPC ads and they are one of the most effective tools to use in a local PPC marketing campaign.

Not only do they provide a better experience for the user who will be looking at your ad, but Google may rank your ad higher if these extensions are used correctly. These come in the form of maps or buttons. 

The geographical location extension can narrow down the audience to a specific location, be it town/city, county or country. A Google Places page can also be attached to the AdWords campaign to provide a map alongside the ad, leading customers directly to your business.

The call extension is another useful extension. If you truly are a local business targeting a local audience, chances are it won’t cost the customer much to call you. So Google have created a button for it! This call button saves ad space, rather than filling up your character limit with a business phone number. Better still, it can disappear and reappear at the time that your business is open, which stops people calling an empty office!

How much does AdWords cost?

You’ll probably be wondering how much AdWords might cost you. If so read our article on How Much Should I Bid for a Click?

We hope this introduction to AdWords has been useful. Please feel free to get in touch for a free chat about how AdWords can benefit your business. 1. (Google/Ipsos: Our Mobile Planet UK, Understanding the Mobile Consumer, May 2012)

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