Local Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can have a negative stigma for small businesses. As many businesses try their hand with Google AdWords, the common perception after a few weeks of advertising is that local PPC is both costly and incredibly competitive, especially when bidding against big brands in competitive keyword categories.
While this can be true for some industries where the popular keywords have an average Cost Per Click (CPC) of over $5-6/click. But the fact of the matter is, local PPC advertising (when executed properly) provides highly granular control over the targeted users and locations that will trigger your local PPC ad to display – and of course, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
The most important aspects of a successful local PPC strategy is choosing the most relevant keyword phrases to bid on, as well as organizing your PPC campaign for success. Below, we’re going shed light on some of the nuances of local PPC advertising and how you can make it a highly profitable tactic in a well-rounded local Internet marketing strategy.
Local PPC for Small Businesses
Local PPC can have profound impact on the growth of a local small business. Because local PPC can be set to target only users in a business’s geographic markets, the quality of click traffic can lead to high conversion rates and a significant return on ad spend.
To further illustrate this point about local PPC, let’s pretend your small business is located in Atlanta and you service and repair luxury automobiles. Local PPC can offer a great opportunity because if someone located in Atlanta or surrounding metropolitan cities is looking for “Mercedes Repair,” your paid search ad can be set to display and you have a greater chance of landing a quality lead.
It’s important to drive home the notion that if someone in Scottsdale, AZ or Macon, GA for that matter, did the same exact search query, your ad would not display because those searchers are not in the pre-determined geographic location that your PPC campaign is targeting. With Google AdWords, you can set your ads to show in specific cities, counties, states, or even radius targeting around desired location.
Is Local PPC a Viable Option for Your Business?
Before you go diving into a local PPC campaign, you should take the time to conduct an analysis of your competition and your entire local search marketing landscape. Conduct some simple keyword research using the Google Keyword Planner tool to see what keywords might be right for your business. Assess the volume, average CPC, and level of competitiveness of these keywords. Next, visit Google and conduct a searches of these keyword phrases on your own to see what your competitors are doing.
In the example below, this small business owner was assessing the local PPC landscape for “alternative medicine,” which turns out to be a fairly competitive keyword phrase.
Now as a small business owner, you need to determine what a click (potential customer) is worth to you. Is spending $4 per click worth reaching a potential customer who could possibly spend hundreds or thousands of dollars with your business in the coming months and years?
That is the type of question that small business owners need to ask themselves before starting a local PPC campaign. How much are you willing to invest per click in order to attract more local customers?
Socially-Integrated Local PPC Ads
As you might have noticed, Google has been making significant changes this year to its local search engine results page (SERP). Google has done away with its Google Places local business listings platform and integrated them into Google+.
Google+ Local is a game-changer for the local search results and for local SEO general. Google’s infusion of social search can be found in both the local organic search listings and in the local PPC advertisements. Google’s +1 can be seen throughout the search results in both areas of the SERP.
Google has made it so users of the Google+ network will see +1 recommendations from other users in their Circles (friends, family, coworkers, etc.) in the paid and organic search results. This gives search a more relevant result for local users because they’re receiving recommendations from users they trust – even before they click on an ad or search listing.
As you can imagine with these +1s showing up in local PPC and local organic search, Google+ has opened up a huge opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on creative and socially-infused local SEO strategies to help grow their business.
With this in mind, it’s important for local businesses to fully understand the local search landscape to determine which avenues are the best for their local search marketing budgets. A well-rounded local campaign that has a balance of Local PPC, local organic SEO and social media marketing is an ideal recipe for success, but that’s up to you to determine.
Most smart local business marketers understand the necessity of not only attracting local customers, but also cultivating a positive local reputation to succeed. In today’s digital age, the first stop for many consumers is Google search. Ensuring that your business is well-positioned in the Google local search results is essential to attract new customers, establish an online reputation, and leverage a local competitive advantage.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your business’ web presence in local search results. While not all of these strategies are focal to local SEO, each of these strategies can help increase your company’s search visibility
Keyword Optimize Your Site
For those experienced in local SEO best practices, keyword optimization is a no-brainer. If you want to attract customers in your local area, you should be sure to optimize your website with geographic modifiers based on your business’ location.
For example if you operate a small business that offers local search marketing services in Atlanta, GA, you might optimize your website for the keyword phrase “Atlanta SEO Agency” to establish proper keyword and geographic relevancy.
Analyze Your Local SEO Competition
Conduct a thorough assessment of your local marketplace as well as an evaluation of what keywords (if any) your local competitors are optimizing their websites for. Assessing your competitors’ local SEO strategies can provide invaluable insights into how you better optimize your site. Analyzing your local competition can also provide a barometer of what NOT to do when optimizing your website for local organic SEO.
Create Local Business Listings
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! offer free local business listings that you can establish (and optimize) for the benefit of local search SEO. Your local business listings contribute to greater visibility in local searches on specific keyword targets associated with your company.
In addition to creating local business listing for search engine visibility, getting listed aids in building an array of online citations for your business, which are also Google local ranking factors in the 3-pack. We suggest creating profiles on sites like Yelp, YP, Merchant Circle, Superpages, Manta, etc. to help validate your business and boost your company’s search rankings.
Earn Positive Reviews on Local Business Listings
Particularly with respect to your business’s Google listing, earning customer reviews influence both SEO and your the local online reputation of your brand. In addition to Google, pointing happy customers to your Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! listings offer greater credibility with the search engines.
Getting your customers to leave reviews can be as easy as just asking, but don’t be afraid to get creative and establish certain discounts in return – their effort can be worth incentives for some business looking to employ a review generation program. In the example of above, review generation can be a pivotal strategy for Google Maps marketing, especially when your business ranks under your competitors.
Leverage Local PPC Advertising
Local Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising using Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter is one of the most effective and efficient means of driving highly-qualified search traffic. Local PPC ads can be precisely-targeted to only local search engine users in your area. Because local PPC advertising only reaches people you’re targeting, it provides a high success rate and return on investment.
Engage Local Users on Social Media
Social media platforms are a great tool that can help increase the brand impressions for your small business. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can help your web content go viral and in turn increase the link popularity of your website and your business.
Establishing a social media presence and actively engaging with users is easy, and creating accounts is 100% free on most of these platforms. Like all social media outlets, staying active and engaging other users is key to a successful strategy that will help fuel local SEO and search marketing as a whole.
These local SEO strategies can provide a great starting point for your local search marketing strategy and can greatly benefit the overall success of your organic search optimization efforts.