Geo-Targeting AdWords PPC Campaigns : Part 2 - Keyword Targeting

In my previous post I covered geo-targeting PPC ads by IP but mentioned that the IP tracking system has flaws that let some users fall through the cracks. Here we will be creating new ad campaigns that attempt to cover these searchers. We’ll also expand on the ideas to apply them to ad and landing page copy to help improve click through rates and conversions.

Geo-Targeting with Location Keywords

For all the ads you’ve created using IP targeting you want to create another set, without setting the location preferences, that uses the same ad copy and landing pages except your keyword list will be slightly different. Here you will add the city name or community name into all your keywords. So, keeping with our previous examples in Houston, “kitchen cabinets” becomes “houston kitchen cabinets” for the ad groups that are targeting Houston metro and “pasadena kitchen cabinets” for the ads that target the community within the metro area.

Half of local searches use the city name in the search along with the service term. So we should catch a fair number of those who slipped through the cracks of the IP filters. Those who just search for “kitchen cabinets” without the local qualifier will likely get poor results (and no local ads because their IP is not delivering them). They may then add the local qualifier on the second search to get closer to what they are looking for.

Use Country, or State/Province, IP Targeting to block some traffic

This is optional but can be beneficial in some cases. By setting your location keyword targeted ads to only be displayed in your country (country level IP databases are much more accurate than city level) you can cut down on some of the unwanted clicks that might occur from traffic in other countries. Depending on your actual keywords, and your negative keyword list, this may or may not be much of an issue.

For some cities and communities where there may be another similarly named location in another state (Pasadena, Texas vs. Pasadena, California) you may need to use the state level IP targeting to avoid that problem. But now we may start to get into some of the problems with inaccuracies of IP level targeting.

In many cases where there are multiple cities of the same name users quickly get used to that and many will add the state name or abbreviation to the search. So include these keywords too - “kitchen cabinets pasadena tx” and “kitchen cabinets pasadena texas”.

In extreme cases you may need 3 sets of ads. One that targets to city by IP, one that targets to state by IP and uses city name keywords and one that uses no IP targeting and uses state names and abbreviations along with the city name as keywords.

Here are some interesting cases of duplicate cities to watch for;

  • “Ontario, CA” could be Ontario, Canada or Ontario, California
  • Springfield - there are 53 Springfield’s in 34 states with Missouri and Illinois having major cities by that name

Using City Names in Ad Copy to Increase Click Through Rates

Put your city name in your ad copy! Even for the ads that are using IP targeting to the city level. It will instantly distinguish your ad as local to a viewer looking at all the links on the page. For many local searches there are many national level advertisers who are hitting the local areas in a broad manner. They bid high to get exposure but their copy tends to not be very locally targeted. Adding the city name inside your ad can greatly improve your click through rates.

Using City Names in Landing Pages to Increase Quality Score & Conversions

Just like adding the city name inside your ad copy be sure to include it on your landing page. This way your page speaks to your local audience. If targeting multiple locations within the one metropolitan area then use some server side scripting, like php, to automatically place the relevant city name on the landing page as it loads in the users browser. This will save time when creating your landing pages as one page can cover many locations yet be individually targeted to each city.

I am of course assuming that your building landing pages that are specific to your PPC ad groups. Don’t just send the clicks to your home page. That’s a whole post that i’m not going to cover as there are oodles of resources out there about building landing pages for PPC.

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13 Comments to “Geo-Targeting AdWords PPC Campaigns : Part 2 - Keyword Targeting”

rimroll on October 8th, 2008 wrote:

ON Canada or Ontario Canada
Ontario, CA
the (1 and only) comma is always placed before the state/province name.
as a general rule “Canada” is not abbreviated in refferance to location
unlike the United States of America (AKA USA US America)
Canada is not commonly refered to by a shortend name due to its length
6 characters vs 24 characters including spaces

the only thing you didnt cover was googles use of query parsing and how it affects geotargeting in adwords

Stever on October 9th, 2008 wrote:

well, rimroll, the thing is, regardless of proper grammatical rules people do all sorts of odd things when typing a search. And some do use the CA abbreviation for Canada, partly influenced by the .ca domain extension perhaps. May not be common but it happens.

Query parsing, you are right I neglected to cover it. Update to come.

rimroll on October 9th, 2008 wrote:

when ca is entered into a search bar typiccally the person is looking for a .ca website
that being said the only people i have seen abreviate canada to ca (not in referance to .ca) are american and american programers specificly

rimroll on October 9th, 2008 wrote:

like springfield a better example is

rimroll on October 9th, 2008 wrote:

here is a working link

rimroll on October 9th, 2008 wrote:

like springfield a better example is

Stever on October 9th, 2008 wrote:

I’m not a programmer, but as a search marketer using Google all day long I know I’ve used ca as an abbreviation for Canada when searching at times.

Nice example on Toronto.

antonio on October 16th, 2008 wrote:

i did a search for ontario canada for a flight and i kept getting results for Ontario California, because of this same instance.
I was typing Ontario,CA therefore returning Ontario California.

Sounds like the filters would display all but they didnt.

rimroll on October 17th, 2008 wrote:

i think you missunderstood what i said i was refering to american software programmers who add support for other countries as an afterthought
and use 2 letter abreviations for country

i dont know why i reasponded so agressively at first

even if your condensing canada to CA why would you bother typing a comma at all

rimroll on October 17th, 2008 wrote:

a kitten died when i went to antonio’s website
at least there nofollow on the link

Stever on October 17th, 2008 wrote:

Improper use of grammatical syntax would be the reason for using the comma. I are guilty 2.

Think of all the money you could have made with antonio’s site. Enough to buy a million new kittens.

Ya, was rather bad so I deleted his URL.

rimroll on October 19th, 2008 wrote:

my grammar is just as bad
i forgot “is a” in my last comment
as in “there ^ nofollow on the link”

Geo-Targeting for Search by Domian, Host, and Google Webmaster Tools | on March 4th, 2009 wrote:

[…] Geo-Targeting AdWords PPC Ads by Keywords… […]

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