7 Insightful Tips for Super-Effective Local PPC


Have you spent hours lamenting over your local ad campaigns? Have you struggled to understand why your local PPC efforts aren’t delivering the ROI you had hoped?

Yeah. Me too. I’ve been there.

My epiphany came when I stopped trying to be BIG. I was too proud to say that my local markets were the only thing that mattered. I wanted to be national. I mean, everyone needs PPC or SEO. Why not get the whole market? That was my mentality.

Local PPC tips nationwide map

Budgets can be a rude awakener. Days into the national market, a realization hit me: I just don’t have the capital to spend thousands upon thousands on PPC. I couldn’t compete at the national level.

The “ah hah” moment came when I realized that, while these big companies with IPOs and massive budgets might be able to win the national war, they wouldn’t be able to win a local battle. They don’t know my neighborhood. They don’t know all the little things that makes my area so special.

And guess what? Those same big companies you’re going up against? They don’t know your local market as well as you do, either!

It’s time to wipe the dust off that local PPC campaign and turn the notch up a little.

Here are 7 tips for local businesses doing PPC.

1. Take a Look at Your Books

Every PPC budget has a limit. As a small or local business, that limit is usually reached pretty quickly. With that being said, it is essential to spend money only on our most profitable products or services.

It’s such a basic principle, but we even find ourselves guilty of promoting all our services, instead of just focusing on the most profitable ones for our PPC campaigns.

Take a moment and call your accountant, make sure the books are setup to identify which products or services are generating not only the most revenue, but also the most profit.

2. Hey Google Search Console, Meet PPC

Have you been running an SEO campaign? Take a look at your best-performing keywords. What searches give you the most impressions?

As an action item, identify those keywords that are getting the most impressions using your Google Webmaster Tools, now known as Google Search Console. Next, compare those terms with your books. If you are getting a lot of impressions for a keyword that is also a profitable service or product, but not getting clicks for that keyword, it might make sense to create an ad group specifically for that term.

Local PPC tips ad groups

It’s about search engine positioning, not just search engine optimization.

3. Ad Groups and Copy Based on Cities

There are hundreds of ways to organize your PPC campaign, but we have found that the more locally relevant you can be with your ad groups and copy, the better. For example, let’s say you run a local business in Orange County, CA, and you have a limited budget.

If you want to make the biggest impact for your spend, usually you create a campaign for Orange County and then an ad group for each set of keywords while focusing your efforts on the entire county.

While that is good, what if you could create a campaign for each city that you do the most business in already? With this approach, we would make a campaign for Irvine and then each ad group would have keywords and ads specifically for that city. The goal here is to be as locally relevant as possible!

What does this mean for you? Higher Quality Scores, higher click-through rates,, and higher conversion rates.

It pays to be local!

4. Make Call Outs and Site Links Local

Ad extensions, as you probably already know, are a great way to take up more real estate for your advertisement and increase conversions. Unfortunately, most local businesses only rely on their address or their phone number extension to show their local swag.

Let’s beef those ad extensions up and start leveraging the power of being local. While your area code and address are great, let’s add our location to both our callout extensions and site links. We can then make each unique for the city ad groups we just created.

Local PPC tips use callout extensions

Local PPC tips use callout extensions

Also, make sure you check out Google's new local search ads for maps.

Yay for local PPC!

5. Zip Code in the Ad Copy and Display URL? Yes, Please

Using numbers alone is a great way to make your ad pop, but take it further and add your zip code. Imagine you are a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. What better way to show off that you are exactly the surgeon someone is looking for then adding that prestigious 90210 zip to your ad?

Two great places to add your ZIP code or city name is in the text and the display URL. Check out this sample ad below demonstrating the usage of both:

Local PPC tips include zip code in ads

6. Talk About Stuff Only Locals Know

If being truly local is something you desire, simply talk the talk. I love to surf, and one of my favorite spots to surf is San Onofre State Park. We don’t call it that though. We call it SanO.

If you want to really reach out to the local surf community in San Clemente, CA, don’t just use the term beach, ocean, water, etc. Talk about SanO, Trestles, T-Street or Lost Winds.

If you don’t know what any of those are or what they mean...perfect! You aren’t the target market.

Including price in your ad copy isn’t the only way to exclude bad clicks. Your target market has its own local dialect. Recognize that and write your copy in a way that resonates with your community.

Here is a sample of what an ad for the Rip Curl shop in San Clemente could look like:

Local PPC tips use specialized language

It’s time to start leveraging all that local lingo and relevance to your advantage. Talk the talk and your customer will be more likely to walk the walk.

7. Distance is No Obstacle

Is convenience, travel time, or location relevant to your audience? If so, let’s use that to our advantage.

Ever seen this ad before?

Local PPC tips coffee shop ad

Here’s how we could add some local flavor to this advertisement:

Local PPC tips improved local coffee shop ad

All we did here is combine potential business goals, more customers, with locally relevant information. The more relevant the merrier.

Whether you are a local business or a national brand, it’s time to think beyond location extensions and start to harness all the tools at our disposal.

Garrett Mehrguth is the CEO of Directive Consulting, which provides local SEO services for small to mid market companies. Garrett also teaches and speaks multiple times a month on SEO, content, and PPC throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, CA.

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Jun 12, 2015

Thanks Garrett for the informative post. I never thought of including zip code to localise the market!!

Brilliant! Thank you very much!

Jun 15, 2015

Great post indeed!!It is super duper post .Which is informative and helpful .I found this article interesting to read.A big thanks to you for this valuable article.Keep sharing :)

Jun 17, 2015

Great post indeed!!I am happy to visit your website and gain bundle of knowledge.It is eye catching post with perfect words which are easy to understand.A big thanks for this post .Keep sharing:)

Eric Ellen
Jun 18, 2015

Really good article. I was surprised at what I would actually read here. There is a lot more to local PPC targeting than one might think.

Eva Thomsan
Jun 20, 2015

Very useful information provided by you, Thank you so much for sharing it.

Al Gomez
Jun 22, 2015

Tips 6 and 7 are awesome! Sometimes, little tweaks are all it takes to add just that needed personalized touch to a PPC ad. Serve what your target market wants, where they want it, and you will surely reap the benefits. Of course, you can't do that without knowing who your market is first. So research really goes a long way when it comes to PPC.

Nov 03, 2015

Fantastic article. The more focused and highly-targeted your ads are, the better they will perform and the high your ROI will be. I have always found it best with local campaigns to start with a very tight radius (1-2 miles) and work my way out. This way you can quickly select your winners and optimize them before upping the budget and expanding out to less targeted prospects.

Andrew PPC Obsessed
Jan 17, 2016

Mind blown! Probably the best article I've read on local PPC and SEO in a while. As far as advertising for your actual city/county, I live across the bridge from Louisville in Indiana and I get business in both places, but Louisville is huge in comparison to the neighboring cities? Would you recommend grouping those cities or maybe targeting by county?

Ashish Jain
Feb 08, 2016

These ppc strategies are very beneficial for local ppc campaign.Thank you very much for sharing the valuable information and insight here!

Local SEO
Mar 10, 2016

Great Post Garrett,

Local PPC is a valuable marketing technique for connecting local businesses with potential customers.

Thank you

Nov 15, 2016

excellent guide its much useful for my students career keep share more things about SEO for us. thanks for shared your post. keep it up.

Advertising agency orange county
Mar 23, 2017

Your Advertising campaign must be managed properly, otherwise it can quickly use up your entire PPC marketing budget without delivering a significant return on your investment (ROI).

Jun 30, 2017

Awesome blog. Will look in the future also to get more blogs like this. Looking to get the knowledge from such blogs only.

Emerson Ferreira Lopes
Sep 08, 2017

The tip of putting something local was fantastic! I work with local SEO and never thought of it!

[ A dica de colocar algo local foi fantástica! Eu trabalho com SEO local e nunca pensei nisso! ]

Ripples Advisory
Oct 30, 2017

Its very useful tips for us. Amazing tips about ppc.Thanks sharing this. Keep up the great work!

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