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Local Search Advertising

Local Search Advertising: How To Get Started

Local search advertising is about putting your business in front of local customers that are looking for your products or services. Considering that 46% of all searches on Google are looking for local information, it’s crucial for any local business to have a local search advertising strategy.


As the Google Trend below shows, searches that include “near me” are on the rise over the past 5 years and this is set to continue as customers look to support local businesses


Google Trends - Near Me



First you will need to set up a Google Ads account. You will also need to create other Google properties like Merchant Center and Google My Business to integrate them and target your local market effectively.


I’ve listed here some campaign types that you can create to target local people that are looking for your products and services.


Search ads campaign

The Search campaign is the primary campaign type in Google Ads. This allows you to target people that are looking for your products or services on Google and search partner websites including Maps and Shopping.


This campaign type is ideal if you want to target specific audiences using location targeting tools. You can target people in a specific postcode, town or city and can use radius targeting to target people within a certain distance from your location.


One of the first things you’ll do is carry out keyword research. This is to identify the searches that people are using on Google to find products or services related to your industry. Since you’re targeting a local audience, make sure you choose the particular locations that you want to target.


In the Keyword Planner tool in Google Ads, the default location is set to the country that is related to your account. So make sure you can this to the particular town, city, postcode, county or whatever locality that is relevant to your business. To access the Keyword Planner tool, click the Tools icon in the top right corner in your Google Ads account and then click the Keyword Planner link.

Keyword Planner Tool


Next you will create ads that are related to the keywords you have selected. Both the ads you write and the keywords you have selected will be added in your ad groups and they should be tightly themed to a achieve good click through rates (CTRs) and Quality Scores.


Local search ad campaign


Another campaign type you can run in Google Ads is a local search advertising campaign. To get started with this campaign type, select the “Local store visits and promotions” goal


Local search ad campaign


Advertisers who pick this campaign type are able to drive visitors to local shops, restaurants and dealerships and any physical location. These ads will show across Google’s Network such as Maps and Search in an automated campaign designed for businesses with many locations.


The geographic targeting for this campaign is inferred based on the physical business locations specified for your campaign. You can also exclude certain geographic locations from your campaign.


Local Ads Targeting


  1. Use Google My Business locations – For this option you will need to link to a Google My Business (GMB) account before your local campaign can run.  If you have an account that you know that is showing up, you can select the specific location you want to add. You will be able to see how many locations are available in that Google My Business account. Alternatively you can request access to another GMB account and the owner of that will either accept or reject your request.
  2. Use affiliate locations – If you are a manufacturer that sells your products to retailers, you can promote these products through affiliate locations. You will need to first select retail chains at the account level before your local campaign can run. You can select ‘General retailers’ or ‘Car dealers’.



Local product inventory ads


If you have physical stores and want to target local customers, you can show your product inventory and local shops in your Shopping ads. When visitors click your ad, they will be sent to a page with your shop location, opening hours and local product inventory – either on your website or one created by Google.


Local inventory ads are currently available in 15 countries including the UK, Australia, Japan, US, Brazil and others. First you will need to create a Google Merchant Center account, a Google My Business account and a Google Ads account if you don’t already have one. In Merchant Center you will need to set up the local inventory ad features by going to the Growth section and then clicking Manage Programmes. You will then see the local inventory section and then click the Continue button

local inventory ads


When local shoppers click one of your free listings or ads, they arrive on a Google-hosted page for your shop. This is known as a local shop front and they can view in-store inventory, see opening times, find directions and so on.


For your products to be eligible for local inventory ads, you will need to update your business information; link your Google Merchant Center and Google My Business accounts; upload your logo and link to your Google Ads account as the screenshot below shows


Local inventory ads setup


Want to know more about how local search advertising can help your business? Contact me to discuss how I can set up the local search advertising campaigns I’ve listed above.


I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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