08 Nov Google Ads for Local Business
Tap Into the Power of Google Ads to Boost Your Local Business
Being a small business owner in any city can be one of the most rewarding, and simultaneously challenging, endeavours of any entrepreneurs’ life. The small business landscape is often hyper-competitive, and requires businesses to not only create an exceptional product or service, but identify (and subsequently exploit) the most effective methods and mediums to advertise that offering. Although the marketing and advertising landscape is always changing and evolving, there is one segment which has stood the test of time and, in turn, demands the attention of any business eager to attract local leads: Google Ads.
Google Ads (formerly known as Google Ads) is Google’s advertising platform which places ads in the results of search engines (like Google) and across other websites, mobile apps, and videos via a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model. The platform was first launched in 2000 and, since then, it has evolved to a self-service portal uniquely equipped to cater to the advertising needs of small businesses. Now a billion-dollar venture, more than 80% of global businesses trust Google Ads for cost-effective PPC campaigns to build brand awareness, improve their reputation, and drive more sales.
In fact, research shows that consumers are four times more likely to click ads on Google (63%) than any other advertisement network. Moreover, despite other alternatives, 80% of businesses across the globe trust paid Google ads for their PPC campaigns, and paid campaigns drive 65% of clicks received by Google Ads. If you’re still not convinced, consider this – a 2021 eMarketer Analysis report suggested that Google Ads held a whopping 29% share of digital ad spending that year.
As the saying goes, “If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist” – and Google Ads ensure businesses are not only on Google, but everywhere else, too. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive breakdown of Google Ads best practices for local business, with some of the best tips and tricks to get your business started with Google Ad campaigns.
#1 Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google offers businesses a free Business Profile (better known as a Google My Business page). Upon signing up, local businesses can personalise their Google profile with business photos, information (location, hours, website, logo, reviews, service descriptions etc.), special offers, and more. GMB is a perfect – and exceptionally easy – way for businesses of all size and scale to highlight essential info and stand out from local competition. In simple terms, if Google is an elevator which your business and prospective customer have entered at just the right time, your GMB can serve as the elevator pitch to that customer. Using Google My Business, brands make it easier for customers to do business with them.
Pro Tip: Businesses should continue to leverage their GMB listing by creating posts, offers, events, as well as responding to reviews and posting answers to frequently asked questions. Brands that are clearly engaged and responsive on Google are generally a favourite amongst consumers, and adding high-quality images and pertinent information to a GMB page will help to attract new interest. To claim your GMB listing, click here.
#2: Set Up Your Google Ads Account
Of course, the first step (after listing your business) is setting up a Google Ads account. To begin, businesses must plug in the email address and website associated with their brand, and choose between two modes for account creation: Smart Mode or Expert Mode. Smart Mode is the default setting given to new business sign-ups; however, professional marketers (or businesses working with a professional marketing team) can select Expert Mode if applicable.
Once a Google Ads account is created, businesses can begin creating their first campaign by identifying their campaign goal, business name and website, ad copy (headlines, descriptions, and a phone number), keyword themes, location settings and, of course, the budget. Ready for some good news? Each new client of Dalli Digital receives a $500 ad credit towards their Google Ads campaign.
#3: Optimise Your Landing Page for Ads
The landing page is the webpage where people end up after they click your ad and, as you might have guessed, a strong conversion rate from Google Ads traffic cannot be achieved without an effective landing page.
To optimise your landing page for conversions, adhere to the following steps:
– Make sure the URL of your landing page is the same as your ad’s final URL (Google’s policy dictates that your landing page and display URL must share the same domain)
– Check for the page’s mobile-friendliness (If a landing page is not deemed mobile-friendly every time by Google’s Mobile-Friendly test, the percentage in the “Mobile-friendly click rate” column will be less than 100%)
– If the page loads as a valid Accelerated Mobile Page (AMG), utilise Google’s AMP Validator test for the page to determine its AMP status
– Make sure your landing page is easy to navigate, and provides consumers with useful, relevant, and unique content and links
– Ensure the landing page is closely related to your ad and respective keywords, as this will stand out to consumers who searched specifically for those words
– Always include a strong call-to-action (CTA) to encourage consumers to take the desired action
#4: Ensure Location Targeting is Correct
Google Ads should never be a shot in the dark, but if your business is targeting the wrong area, that is precisely what they become. If the desired outcome of a Google Ad is to drive local business, your campaign should target customers within the surrounding area; after all, the average consumer will only travel so far to purchase the product/services they’re looking for. With this in mind, it’s important to build your Google Ads using location-specific insights – what region does your business typically serve? Do you operate a downtown storefront or a rural shop? What surrounding radius is most likely to attract nearby customers?
When setting up a Google Ad campaign, businesses must navigate to the “Settings” tab, then to the “Locations” tab to define the target parameters of their ad by region, city, or postal card, or using the “Advanced Search” tab to target by a particular radius.
#5: Maximise Your Keyword Strategy
Creating compelling copy is no small undertaking and, when developing Google ads for local business, copy must be equal parts compelling and aligned with keyword strategy for optimal conversion. Fortunately, businesses can use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to conduct their PPC keyword research and determine the best keywords for their campaign.
To continuously improve the performance of their Google Ads, businesses are also encouraged to create different versions of their ad to test and retest different combinations of copy, imagery, promotions, etc. With the right strategy, businesses can ensure they show up on the search engine results page at the right time, with the right messaging, for the right customer.
Avoid Broad Keywords
Google helps businesses determine the right messaging for their ad by identifying ‘broad’ keyword matches and ‘exact’ keyword matches. Broad keyword matches are the default match type that reach the widest audience. When using broad keywords, a company’s ad is eligible to appear in response to any query that includes any word in the key phrase, in any order, in addition to any word that relates to the designated keyword.
Phrase keyword matches, on the other hand, mean an ad will only appear when a user queries the designated key phrase using the designated keywords in the exact order specified, in addition to searches with the same meaning as the designated key phrase. Finally, exact keyword matches only display ads in response to queries for the exact meaning or intent of the designated keyword. These keywords typically result in less traffic, but more qualified visitors to your site.
Although broad keyword matches promise to drive lots of clicks, it’s important to note that ad campaigns relying on broad match keywords are less likely to generate qualified leads. Instead, relying on a keyword strategy that lacks exact matches, Google will likely place an ad in front of the wrong audience which, in turn, racks up a higher ad spend bill with less favourable ROI.
Remove Negative Keywords
A negative keyword is defined as a type of keyword that prevents an ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. In other words, your ads won’t be shown to anyone who is searching for that phrase, which works to ensure those ads only reach the best potential audience.
When writing ad copy, businesses have a very limited window of opportunity to convey their chosen message to potential customers. Every character counts and, with this in mind, businesses must be ready to test and tweak keywords in somewhat relentless fashion to identify those which promise high ROI, and those which are not relevant to the business or the desired outcome of a campaign.
How to Identify Negative Keywords
With this in mind, when establishing a list of positive keywords for a new campaign, businesses should also determine a list of negative keywords to better optimise and narrow down their strategy and, in turn, maximise their budget. Fortunately, the Google Ads Keyword Planner and Search Terms Report makes it easy for businesses to examine user query data.
Using this data, businesses can determine what keywords are worth bidding on (based on impressions, click-through rates and conversion rates) and, conversely, what keywords should be added to the negative keyword list. Once new negative keywords are identified, they can easily be added into the list whenever a business creates a new campaign.
#6: Leverage Google Ad Extensions
Sometimes, you just need a bigger billboard. That is essentially the purpose of Google Ad Extensions – also called assets – which allow businesses to skirt character limits and extend their ad. Simply put, an ad extension allows businesses the opportunity to take-up more SERP real-estate and provide additional business information in the main body tex of their ad.
These extensions are free, served up by Google automatically, depending on each individual search. It’s important to note that ad extensions are not guaranteed to show every time; rather, they are determined by Google’s search algorithm based on a variety of factories, including ad placement, competitor ads, and more.
Increased Click-Through Rates and PPC ROI
Information is power and, as you might have guessed, the additional information provided by Google Ad extensions can help to increase the click-through rates of an ad, maximise PPC spend, and improve ad ranking while driving more qualified traffic to a company’s website.
Google Ad extensions come in two categories: manual extensions which require manual set up, and automated extensions, which are applied dynamically by Google. Some of the manual extensions available to businesses include, but are not limited to:
– Product Extensions
– Sitelink Extensions
– Callout Extensions
– Seller Rating Extensions
– Structured Snippets Extensions
– Call Extensions
– Image Extensions
– Lead Form Extensions
Local-Friendly Ad Extensions Benefits
An integral category of Google Ad extensions is location extensions and location affiliate extensions. Using location extensions, brands can sync and list their location on its own line, which helps customers find their business. In some cases, this extension may also include a phone number or call button for mobile users.
This Google Ad extension is especially relevant for businesses that rely on foot traffic and in-person transactions, such as restaurants, hair salons, gyms, or retail shopping locations.
Affiliate Location Extension Benefits
For businesses with multiple locations or franchises, or businesses that sell products through third-party retailers, Google Ads offers an affiliate location extension. This feature is described as a ‘templated extension’ which gives businesses the option of choosing from a pre-selected list of nearby retailers that can be attached to the ad. For example, if your business sells automotive parts at a number of retail locations, your ad may list an affiliate extension that links to nearby stores/chains which have a given item in stock.
Google Ads Phone Extensions Benefits
It’s no secret that we live in a digitally-driven, mobile-first world. Mobile advertising spending is expected to surpass $339 billion by 2023, and more than half of web traffic and two-fifths of email opens stem from mobile devices. With this in mind, the mobile experience businesses offer to consumers is integral to their success, and Google Ads call extensions helps to optimize the user experience with the option to call a business directly. Specifically, the call extensions feature allows businesses to add a phone number to their Google Ads. To set up a Google Ads call extension, businesses simply have to:
1. Sign in to Google Ads
2. Select which campaign to add call extensions to
3. Click on the ‘Ad extensions’ tab
4. Go to the View menu and select ‘Call extensions’
5. Click ‘+Extension’ and add the business phone number
Businesses can also configure their ads to ensure this prompt is only offered during operational hours and, in some cases, businesses may even opt for call-only ads. Rather than redirecting a potential customer to a website, these ads only allow users to call when clicked. Businesses can also take advantage of Google forwarding numbers, which are unique phone numbers that route to a business’s phone line, but actively track and relay call data back to that business’s Google Ads account.
By allowing viewers to know their number without having to click on a landing page, businesses are helping to streamline the consumer’s user experience. The best part? According to Google, adding call extensions to your ads can increase your clickthrough rate by as much as 5%.
Google Ads Dynamic Sitelinks
Google Ads sitelink extensions give the consumer more power by allowing them to choose where they would like to go when interacting with your ad. Instead of simply directing a visitor to a landing page, dynamic sitelinks may include a Contact Us page, Pricing page, or FAQ page, to help direct a potential customer to the information most relevant to their query.
Rolled out in 2021, dynamic sitelinks are free and awarded automatically to the top three ad positions. All ads are eligible for dynamic sitelinks as long as their campaign type is set to “Search Network with Display” or “Search Network Only.” These sitelinks are determined based on user search activity, and help to increase the relevance of a business’s ad in the eyes of a potential customer.
#7: Aim for a High Quality Score
Google wants businesses to know exactly where their ads stand, and offers Google Ads users a comprehensive ‘Quality Score’ for all PPC ads. The Quality Score is determined by the quality and relevance of a business’s keywords and PPC ads. This score is measured on a scale from 1-10, with a higher Quality Score indicating that a business has created a more relevant ad and landing page for someone searching for your keyword, compared to other advertisers.
The Quality Score is calculated based on the combined performance of 3 components:
- Expected clickthrough rate (CTR): The likelihood that a given ad will be clicked when shown
- Ad relevance: How closely a given ad matches the intent behind a user’s search
- Landing page experience: How relevant and useful a given landing page is to people who click that ad
With this information, Google will assign a Quality Score of one of three statuses: ‘Above Average’, ‘Average’, or ‘Below Average’. Unsurprisingly, average or below average Quality Scores should be viewed as an opportunity for ad/keyword improvement.
To continuously refine their Google Ads strategy, businesses should frequently analyse their Quality Score, along with clickthrough rate or conversion statistics to determine which keywords/ads get clicked on most often and generate the most conversions. Moreover, ad copy should always be carefully curated and closely related to selected keywords, as this will stand out to consumers who searched specifically for those words.
Improve Your Local Reputation and Drive More Business with Google Ads
If your business is new to the world of Google Ads, don’t worry. Dalli Digital is a recognized Google Ads Partner agency with demonstrated proficiency generating exceptional ROI on clients’ Google Ads investments.
If you’re ready to tap into the power of Google Ads and digital marketing to take your brand to the next level, schedule a call with the Dalli Digital team today.