How to Use Google AdWords to Grow Your Local Business




I'd like to say that Google AdWords doesn't require a lot of money and time to get a high ROI but I'd be lying. Truth is, Google AdWords for local business can be expensive and it takes time to get good results.

Most small business owners think that using this tool is as easy as setting up an ad and a budget. In the end, they become frustrated by lackluster results with very little return on investment.

I personally believe that Google AdWords is a very important tool. Not that it's more important than other marketing strategies but when it's used right, the results are astonishing.

Did you know...businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords?

I don't know a single business owner that wouldn't spend $1 to get $2 on the other side!

The bottom line is that you should be using Google AdWords now - not tomorrow, not next month, not next year - I mean NOW!

Why? Here are the...

3 Reasons Why AdWords for Local Business is a Great Tool

1. Google Ads Are Scalable

One of the main reasons why some businesses spend a lot on Google AdWords is because of its scalability.

You don't need to exert ten times the effort to get ten times the leads when using AdWords. If your Google Ads campaign is converting at a profitable rate, then there is no reason to cap spend on that campaign unreasonably.

In other words, you can boost your PPC budget and your leads and profits will grow equally.

2. Google Ads Are Measurable

When it comes to results, Adwords for local business is undeniably one of the most measurable digital marketing channels.

Google Adwords provides tons of transparent PPC metrics that let you see and analyze what works and what doesn't.

With AdWords you will know exactly what your return on investment is.

3. Google Ads Can Attract Prospects Ready to Buy

With Google AdWords you can target specific keywords that people are using to search. Choosing the right keywords will allow you to attract prospects who are looking to buy.

For example, a local Mexican food restaurant might target the keyword "Mexican restaurant near me" and limit the search to a specific area near the restaurant. Anyone searching this keyword is obviously looking for a place to eat.

Tips on How to Optimize AdWords for Better Results

To better optimize your Google AdWords campaigns, I'd like to divide this section into two stages - planning stage and after launch stage.

Planning Stage

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research is very important before launching a local Google AdWords campaign. It's actually the difference between a campaign that gets great results and one that gets none.

Follow these simple steps when researching keywords:

  • Step 1: Ask yourself these questions...

    Are my keywords targeting what people are searching for?

    Will the searchers who find my ad using these keywords find the answers to their questions?

    Will these keywords help me reach my goals - sales, email signups, etc?
  • Step 2: Brainstorm on the list of keywords that are relevant to your industry.
  • Step 3: Use keyword research tools to expand and analyze your list of keywords.
  • Step 4: Eliminate irrelevant keywords.

2. Organize...Organize...Organize

Don't we all love to copy and paste our list of keywords into one AdWords bucket? It's a very simple and easy task to do. However, I'd like you to AVOID doing this moving forward.

You need to organize your keywords into campaigns and ad groups ALL THE TIME!

Here's a visual of how an AdWords campaign structure should look.

Google AdWords Campaign Structure

Google AdWords Campaign Structure

Remember this...

Google monitors your ad groups when they’re deciding your audience and when your ad will pop up. By creating specific, focused ad groups you’ll be able to build significantly more effective ad groups.

3. Link Ads to Relevant Landing Pages

Linking Google ads to landing pages with the same topic as the keywords in an ad group is an awesome idea! Why? Because it improves your Quality Score.

Google's Quality Score is the quality and relevance of both keywords and PPC ads depending on factors such as:

  • Click-through rate aka CTR.
  • The connection of each keyword to its ad group.
  • Quality and relevance of your landing page.
  • Ad text relevance.
  • AdWords account performance.

Take note...

Conversion depends on the relevance of your ads to your landing pages so be wise in linking them.

4. Use Exact Match Targeting

If your small business is new to the AdWords game, then using exact match targeting is a great way to start. Exact Match targeting gives you greater control over your ads and increases the relevance of your ads.

It also prevents you from wasting money on unnecessary phrases.

How does it work?

With exact match, an ad may appear when the "meaning of a search term" matches the "meaning of a keyword".

Here are a few examples:

Exact Match Keyword Example

Exact Match Keyword Example

5. Set Up Negative Keywords

Negative keywords allow you to exclude your ads from search results that contain certain words.

For example, if you own a high-end men's shoe store you probably don't want your ads to show up when someone searches "cheap men's shoes". In this case, you would set up "cheap" as a negative keyword.

Using negative keywords is another way for you to increase the relevance of your ads and maximize your ad spend. 

6. Use Location Targeting

The concept of going local is important in launching either a local Google AdWords campaign or a local PPC advertising campaign.

If your company provides products and services to a specific location or community then you have to ensure that your campaigns are shown to searchers within that area.

Location targeting is a must for every local business so you don't waste your advertising budget!


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After Launch Stage

After prepping your Google AdWords campaign, it's time to LAUNCH! However, the job doesn't end after launching a campaign.

Here are some tips to make sure your AdWords campaigns are highly optimized even after pressing the launch button...

1. Track...Track...Track

Tracking the status of your local Google AdWords campaigns is as important as prepping them.

Take advantage of Google Analytics! Make sure that it is installed on your website. Watch this quick video about linking your Google AdWords and Analytics accounts:

In a nutshell, Google Analytics lets you track bounce rates, time on site, and conversions, to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your campaigns.

2. Identify and Improve Underperforming Keywords

Did you know that underperforming keywords can be improved? Oh yes! There's still so much hope for these keywords.

Here are a few things you can do:

First, improve your keywords' relevance by:

  • Replacing a single-word keyword with terms or phrases.
  • Ensuring your keywords are relevant to the ads in your ad groups.
  • Grouping your keywords by themes based on your products or services.

Then, modify your keyword match type. See #4 below for more info on this.

Finally, use filters to improve your keywords by:

  • Using the Quality Score filter to identify which keywords have a low-Quality Score.
  • Filtering your keywords by clickthrough rate to see which ones get you a ton of impressions, but few clicks.
  • Identifying which keywords are below your first-page bid estimate.

3. Adjust Bids When Necessary

Sometimes ads don't perform well because the bids are off.

There are times when keywords have a very low click-through rate because the ads they show up in are very low on the page. Try slowly increasing your bid over a few days until the ad moves to a higher position, which should translate into more clicks.

You may also run into scenarios where you aren't spending your set budget. This is likely because your bid is set to low and your ads aren't being displayed. Slowly increase your bid to see if this has an impact on your results.

4. Expand Your Keyword List

Expanding from Exact Match to another match type is another area to look at when keywords aren't driving quality traffic and conversions regularly. This allows your ad to appear for more search phrases, but you need to keep in mind that the relevance of your ads may decrease.

Here's a chart showing the different keyword match types. The relevance of your ads increases as you narrow the results, but your reach will go down.

Google Adwords Keyword Match Types

Google Adwords Keyword Match Types

If you expand from exact match to the other match types keep a close eye on the results for your ads. The increased reach may drive additional traffic, but you must make sure your relevance stays strong or your conversions will suffer.

5. Test...Test...Test

In any digital marketing channel, TESTING is imperative.

Remove poor-quality ad groups and add a new variation into the mix once you’ve gathered enough data. Don't forget to keep an eye on your negative keywords too.

Make changes/improvements throughout the lifespan of your local AdWords campaigns.

After which, TEST your ad again! Keep testing until you figure out the campaign and ad groups with the best ROI.

That's a WRAP! Using these tips as the foundation for your local Google AdWords campaigns will help you get off to a solid start.

If you found this article helpful, then I'm sure that you will also love these too:

Do you have more questions or need additional help? Feel free to reach out to us or comment below. 

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Are you looking for more solid local marketing tips and tricks? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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