Once you’ve thought through your PPC geo-targeting strategy, how do you go about effectively building out an AdWords keyword list for local PPC? This is a tough question because the same keyword tools you use for generating generic keyword lists are often insufficient for local keyword research (I think this is a particular frustration with UK advertisers). So what’s a local business to do?
Since a lot of keyword tools struggle to unearth local keyword suggestions, I find that you want to rely less heavily on them. That said there are a few tools that can be useful here:
The problem that I’ve found is that with most real-world local business verticals there is a real lack of local keyword data regardless of the tool, so whether you’re using geo-modifiers or pure geo-targeting, you’ll have trouble prioritizing and projecting based on keyword tools for local online marketing.
One way I’ve had success solving for this problem recently is by building out a comprehensive “best guess” keyword list, launching a campaign, and refining based on real life analytic data.
Let’s walk through an actual example of how that might work. If we’re creating a campaign for apartments in Davis, we’ll have a number of terms we’ll want to include, like:
And so on. We’ll also want to include other specific keywords and modifiers, such as:
We can find this seed list via the tools above and a standard keyword research process. The key idea here is to generate lists of:
This is all potentially a bit awkward to manage, but you can combine seed keywords and modifiers using Excel and a few free tools pretty simply:
Once you have a few nice clean tabs laid out, you can get to work mashing up your seed keyword list and your modifiers into a “final keyword list.” You can do this in Excel or use the awesome free tool SEO Book created:
You can see where after combining a series of lists with prefixes, suffixes, and specific modifiers we can get to a nicely exploded keyword list. Additionally, we can have some of these local modifiers generated for us by the free tool on 5minutesite.
Finally, we can take this data and segment it. You could do this in Excel using filters, or you can use WordStream’s free keyword grouping tool or more robust PPC platform, which of course includes some awesome keyword grouping and organization functionality. The main idea is to chop this list up into tightly themed ad groups.
If you’re going the Excel/free grouper route, I’d also recommend wrapping whatever match type you like around the keywords as well — the keyword list generator from SEO Book has this functionality on list generation, and for a list you created PPC Blog has a great keyword wrapper, and if you’re looking to implement modified broad match Acquiso has a great free tool for that, and Chad Summerhill has created a great spreadsheet we’ve mentioned here on the blog, as well.
Once you launch this campaign, the data will be in your search query reports and in your analytics! Once you launch your local campaigns with a thorough set of educated keyword guesses that you know are relevant to your business, you can work on search query mining and monitoring your campaign to gain insights about real traffic numbers and how they really work on your site: AKA the best local PPC keyword tool ever.
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