Al Gomez
Al Gomez 12 September 2019
Categories Advertising

How to Use Google Ads Effectively for Local Business Success

Google Ads have benefited local businesses for years. As the internet evolves, changes happen to marketing tactics and tools as well. And as marketers, all we can do is adapt to the changes and implement the best strategies in response to this.

We hardly need to go over the benefits of Google Ads for local businesses. Everyone who's used it already knows that it's beneficial for increasing in-store sales, local foot traffic, and bringing in qualified leads. 

But there have been so many changes to the landscape of search over the past few years. And as a result, Google Ads continuously creates more features that can provide benefits to local advertisers.

However, with these new changes come new strategies to learn in order to effectively market local businesses both online and offline -- by extension. Experts have pinpointed three huge changes that hold sway over how local businesses will fare when using Google Ads.

The Changes that Affect Local Businesses Using Google Ads

Google Ads is no stranger to receiving development and change. But sometimes, these modifications can throw wrenches into your carefully laid plans. What we need to do to keep profiting off of our local business, is to stay on top of these changes, and learn them as quickly as possible.

Ads on Google Map Packs and Google Maps

There is no such thing as high-quality yet completely free software anymore. More and more platforms are becoming 'pay to play'. And now, even Google Maps and Google Map Packs have ads. Thanks to that, we need to emphasize the importance of having optimized business listings, and promoting these via Google Ads.

Close Variant Update

Google Ads now includes close variants based on the intent of a user's search. Now it's not just slight differences and misspellings to phrases. These new changes threw a bit of an obstacle into keyword plans.

You might have noticed additional searches and increased volume in your own Google Ads account, but have no changes to credit the surge to. Basically, if you've set it, you can't just forget about it.

Now, more than ever, you have to stay on top of your chosen keywords and your target customers' search queries. You can set up alerts for this -- which we'll talk about later on.

More Voice Search

The increasing use of voice search is a trend that's not exclusive to Google Ads. However, because it's making waves, it means that the traditional method of researching keywords for pay-per-click advertising is undergoing some changes.

Voice search prompts users and customers to ask questions. For local businesses, that means investing in research for long-tail keywords, and inquiry-based searches. And of course, if you're a local business, the phrase "near me" is a definite must-have.

How to Use Google Ads for Local Business Success

Now that we’ve nailed down three of the biggest changes that have created an impact on how local businesses use Google Ads, let’s talk about some key strategies on how to make the most of them.

#1 Design a Google Ads local campaign

If you have a physical store, this key strategy is important. In this day and age, the secret to driving local store visits is by designing a Google Ads local campaign. You can easily create an automated one that lets your promote your location across all of Google's channels: like YouTube, Search, Display, and now, Maps.

In Google Maps, Google automatically displays local ads that are based on customers' searches, and whenever a user chooses to 'explore near me'. Of course, in YouTube and Display ads, the promotion will show when it senses that a user is most likely to click on your ad. As you know, Google relies heavily on its algorithm to provide the best quality results to users. 

It's a good strategy to increase physical store visits. And you can do it while using automaton, and not focusing heavily on a manually curated keyword list and A/B tested ad copies.

Although, make no mistake. The last two points I mentioned are just as important. So when you're ready, you can leverage the use of automation to take care of your campaign for you.

#2 Promote local store items

Any person doing online marketing knows that the quality of user experience is a priority rather than an afterthought. Asking your customers to click through several pages and read through endless instructions is not going to do your local business any favors.

Google's feature update for Local Inventory Ads gives your users a single-page and a seamless shopping experience. You need Google Merchant Center though.

This key strategy is particularly useful if you run a local business with a shopping feed. By enabling local inventory ads, you get to showcase the products that you have in stock at locations that are close to the user.

Your customers can also see the product details, your location details, and your reviews on the Google browser. 

It's also a really neat advertising tactic that sets you apart from your competitors -- if they don't already have it.

You can show your products in real-time coupled with the exact distance to a customer's location. That's so convenient. And for further reference, you can refer to Google's local inventor ad implementation guide for a more detailed guide on how to turn your merchant center feed into an in-store sales ad.

#3 Improving local search volume

Close variants have now been included. And even if you've already expanded your keyword list to include search terms with the phrase, 'near me,' and also made good use of long-tail keywords, there are still tactics you can execute to expand your local search volume even further.

Keep Google Location Targeting Updated

Include "people in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations." Doing that can bring in additional searches that don't contain local city/state keywords. You can expand your location targeting to include users who are interested in your current local location as well.

That way, you get to increase searches and target people who are traveling and have demonstrated an interest in your local area.

Broad Location-based Campaigns

Create campaigns that target a larger area, and do it while bidding on location-specific keywords.

Let's say, for instance, you run a dressmaking business in Virginia Beach. Instead of focusing on that one little city alone, expand your campaign to target Virginia as a whole. And only then would you bid on keywords that have "Virginia" in the search query.

The first campaign that targets Virginia Beach only can have the keyword, "dressmaking shop near me."

Your second campaign that targets Virginia as a whole has the keyword, "dressmaking shop Virginia."

That's how you get more search volumes without the immediate need to expand physically outside of your current business location.

The Takeaway

Google Ads and the inclusion of PPC in your online marketing campaign is just as important as it was back then. The best SEO companies can attest to the usefulness of it, and will continue to do so in the years to come. The three strategies we've mentioned target different goals:

  • More store visits: Google has an automaton you can use to attract more local visits to your physical store. And you can do so at effectively affordable costs.

  • Seamless UX: User experience is everything. For transparency and to show your target customers what you have in-stock, make it extra convenient and use local inventory ads.

  • Better local search volume: This is for when you're looking to get qualified leads from a site. Doable by expanding geographic targeting and trying out new location settings.
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