How Local Businesses can use Google Ads AdWords Successfully

This article is a guide for how local businesses can use Adwords effectively. You’ll learn how to use Adwords to boost local traffic to your website/content, and how to make purchasing services from your business more compelling. 

Google  Ads (formerly AdWords ) is a PPC platform that allows you to create and edit advertising campaigns within the search giant’s cloud-based ecosystem. The platform gives you the software tools to target local prospects with your advertising messages, and when they appear in search results. 

  • Google organic (free listings). To Learn more about organic listings check Local SEO Tips
  • Google My Business– Show in both Search All and Google Maps -the free options for local business or companies with lots of local regions.
  • Google Adwords

If you’ve ever typed a search query into the Google search bar, you will often see a combination of regular (organic SEO) and paid page links. The paid links are Google Ads /Adwords at work. These paid links which organisations have configured Google’s system to show users after typing in particular keywords.

Adwords is easy to explain in concept: it’s just a platform that allows you to control when users see your advertising messages. But there’s a steep learning curve because using Google Ads effectively is anything but simple. 

Try searching in Google for a local service provider.

How often do you search for a service in the town or city that you live in?  (E.g. electrician London, solicitors Newcastle, dry cleaner Birmingham). Look at the sponsored adverts, and the list of 10 organic website page listings.

Instead of searching in the Yellow Pages Book – most people are now using Google to find new suppliers. As with traditional advertising print, Google has free listings and paid listings.  Adwords is the paid listings, while organic are the free listings. Think of how a prospective customer would find you – and what keywords they would use- and what part of your business offering could appeal to them the most. 

Targeting is key - Local Keyword Targeting Tips

  • Create Local keywords by combining your profession with your location town or city.
  • Create commercial keywords by combining your profession name as a keyword-  with words like services, company, supplier, provider, firm, agency, practise, etc., etc.
  • Start with a small highly targeted keyword list by combining your profession as a stem keywords- with modifiers that signal commercial or/and local intent. Stem keywords are also known as the base keyword or root keyword.
  • Commercial modifiers of a stem-keyword signal people that are looking to find a new supplier.

Target Location Correctly

As a local, brick-and-mortar business, it’s essential that you know how far people are willing to travel to take advantage of your services. If you provide rare services, then customers are probably willing to travel further than if you do something more common. 

Adwords lets you configure who sees your advertising based on their location. If you go to the Settings tab, and then “Locations,” you can tell Adwords precisely who you want to see your messages. Be careful when choosing location settings: too broad a search area, and you’ll end up showing customers messages who will never buy from you. Too small an area, and you’ll miss out on crucial business.

Google Ads allows targeting by post code, town name, city name, radius targeting and country. 

 Also, think carefully about your proximity to competition. Let’s say you operate a fishing rod store in a rural location, near to a main road that runs between two towns. One of the towns has a fishing rod store in the town centre, while the other doesn’t. Customers in the town with the fishing rod store on the high street are more likely to go there than your business, while those in the town without the store are more likely to visit you. It’s not sufficient, therefore, to target customers based purely on their radius from your business: you also want to consider neighbouring regions where competition is absent. Radius targeting can be miles or kilometres around a target location such as postcode, town or city.

Keep Your Advertising Messages Local And To The Point

Web users don’t want to have to take a comprehension test every time they read an advertisement from your company: they want to be able to understand what you offer immediately so that they can decide whether to pursue things further with you or not.

The good news is that Adwords doesn’t provide a tremendous amount of space for adverts anyway, so you have to be brief. But it’s still worth trying to get your point across in as few words as possible. Be concise and direct whenever you can, and try to communicate the essence of your product, enticing users to find out more.

Adverts Local Google Ads

Choose A Compelling Local Headline

The headline of your advert is the part that forms the blue hyperlink users click on to visit your site. The headline is the most important thing to get right since this is what most users will read. The majority of people won’t bother to read through all the supporting text below (though you should still include this for those that do). Notice how in the image above the local town Wimbledon is mention in both adverts of local service providers (Profession & Town Name)

Local Town Ads Google

Communicate your Local Business USP's

It’s all well and good selling local services to nearby users, but sometimes your customers need a little extra persuasion to leave their offices or home and visit your business. Try including offers or discounts in your call-to-action that help to increase local footfall.

Make sure your website the Business offering is clearly communicated in your website copy and advert copy. What is your industry USP.s, guarantees, promotions, benefits- and what are strongest points, and call to action?  Your adverts and landing page should focus on your industry, but also specifica on your company. Use Ad Testing to ensure to learn what parts of your business offer appeal most to your customer.

Activate All Advert Extensions for Google Ads

As a local business, your primary objective is to encourage users to visit your store in person. You’re a local business, and so you rely on local trade (rather than, say, an e-commerce retailer that ships nationally). 

Adwords provides a range of extensions that gives your business the opportunity to show customers both the location of your business and who they can call if they want to find out more. 

To use location extensions, you’ll need to link your Adwords account to your Google My Business Account. If you’ve already set up your Google My Business account, you can do this instantly. Otherwise, you’ll need to apply to Google for a unique PIN to confirm the physical location of your business.

To learn more about, see our blog post Ad Extensions for Google Ads 

Use Local “Call Only” Campaigns

Data from Google suggests that more than 70 per cent of people who want to buy something on its platform from a local business call that business from their telephone via search results. 

Because of this, phone calls are a big way for local companies to gain traction from local customers over the internet. Google knows that the transition from its search results to your landing page is the leakiest part of the conversion process, so it gives your customers the option, through Adwords, to provide instant calling in search results.

Direct phone calls to local businesses result in much higher conversions than links to websites, so you may want to consider using Call-Only campaigns which better capture customers and don’t rely on clumsy landing pages.

Measure your advertising - Conversion Tracking

Make sure you are spending the most money in the best performing areas.  Use conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure your advertising. Test your assumptions and learns from the performance data. See what parts of your business offer appeal most to prospective and new customers. See which keywords are the ones generating leads. Optimise (improve and refine) towards your advertising goals such as a target cost per lead or sale. To learn more checkout our Guide to Google Ads Conversion Tracking

Control costs using budget and bids

Use conversion tracking results to set keyword bids. Keyword performance can be measured by metrics like recorded converted leads, cost per converted lead, If a keyword is doing badly- then reduce its bid, or if a keyword is doing well increase it’s bids. To learn more see our blog post How much does Google Ads Cost? as well as bidding strategies for Google Ads

Use Negative Keywords to block irrelevant traffic

Every time a user clicks on one of your adverts, it costs you money. Because of this, you want to avoid non-local users from ever seeing your paid links (sink they are unlikely to buy your services). The way to do this is to use what Adwords calls “negative keywords.”

With negative keywords, you can tell Adwords which search queries should not show your advertising. For example, if you are a car mechanic operating in Birmingham, you do not want your advertising to show up in Google results when a user types “car mechanic London.” Likewise, if you operate a fleet of trucks in the North East, you don’t want Google showing advertising for your logistics services in the South West. For more details on negative keywords, see our blog post Negative Keywords for Google Ads Guide


Dominating your local market with Google Ads is possible following these tips and making sure your website is popular with your website users. If you need more information, just send us an email or call today. 

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