11+ Ultimate Google Ads Tips For Your Local Business

Are you running a local business?

Or do you offer a service that is specifically targeting certain suburbs?

Here’s some tips to make Google Ads working for you.

Tip #1: Act like a local!

You probably don’t have a marketing like the “big guys”, so you’ll have to be smart. By emphasising the fact that you’re a local business you can beat them on your turf.

Nobody knows your area as well as you. 

See this example of a locksmith on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. They mention in their headlines, description lines, ad extensions and even brand name that they’re locals!

No big company with an office in the CBD will be able to compete with this.

Screenshot of local Sydney business on Google Ads.

Tip #2: Split out your campaigns

Being a local requires you to split out your Google Ads campaigns. 

You want to create 2 separate campaigns:

  1. A location targeting campaign. In this campaign, you can use more generic keywords (eg. “plumbing service”) but only target the area that you service. 

  2. A location keyword campaign. In this campaign, you use suburb specific keywords (eg. “plumbing service sydney”) and target a larger area.

Tips #3 to #5 will dig deeper into these 2 campaign types.

Tip #3: Use geo-targeting

For the location targeting campaign, you only want to target the area that you actually serve.

You can either use radius targeting (where you draw a circle around your business address), put in each of the suburbs individually, or use postcodes for this. It depends on your business which option you want to use.

Screenshot of radius targeting in Google Ads.
Screenshot of radius targeting in Google Ads.

Tip #4: Expand keyword list with location keywords

Once you split out your campaigns, you can expand your Google Ads keyword list with location related keywords.

Location keywords are related to a certain suburb, council, city or even country.

They can be described as long tail keywords, meaning there’s likely to be less competition than the more generic keywords in your list. Therefore there will be a lower cost-per-click (CPC) on these keywords and you will be able to achieve higher ad rankings.

Although one of these keywords won’t give you that much extra traffic, all together they can significantly increase your reach. Also, as they’re more relevant you’ll be able to write better ads, improve your average click-through rate (CTR) and improve your conversion rate (CVR).

As they’re more relevant you will also be able to achieve a higher Google Quality Score, which could potentially reduce the CPC of all the keywords in your account.

Tip #5: don’t limit yourself

How many keywords can you add you ask? A lot!

For example, for a business servicing North Sydney and Sydney’s Northern Beaches you will already be able to add the following suburb keywords:

  • Manly

  • Palm Beach

  • Curl Curl

  • Dee Why

  • Collaroy

  • Narrabeen

  • Mona Vale

  • Warriewood

  • Newport

  • Avalon

  • Frenchs Forest

  • Forestville

  • Belrose

  • Davidson

  • Terrey Hills

  • Beacon Hill

  • Allambie Heights

  • Balgowlah

  • Seaforth

  • Clontarf

  • Cammeray

  • Cremorne

  • Crows Nest

  • Kirribilli

  • Kurraba Point

  • Lavender Bay

  • McMahons Point

  • Milsons Point

  • Neutral Bay

  • North Sydney

  • St Leonards

  • Waverton

  • Wollstonecraft

Depending on where you’re potential customers are, you would be able to extend this list further. For our clients were able to significantly improve the performance of their Google Ads campaigns using location keywords.

Tip #6: Use negative keywords

To filter out irrelevant traffic, make sure that you create a list of suburbs/areas that you don’t service.

By adding this as a negative keyword list to your campaigns, people who include this in their search query won’t see your ad, even if they’re located within your location targeting. 

This will help you focus on clicks that will give you actual potential customers. 

Tip #7: Track your phone calls

You want to make sure that you track all of your conversions.

If you’re a local business that has a phone number on your site, make sure that you track your phone calls. Google offers free forwarding numbers to local businesses in Australia. All you need to do is add the script to your website.

Tip #8: Monitor your search queries

Although you would want to set up a tight keyword list, your ad might pop up for irrelevant search queries.

Especially if you’re working with a small budget, you want to filter these out as much as possible. 

Google Ads allows you to pull a search query report. By going through this report you’ll be able to identify irrelevant search queries and add them as negative keywords to your campaigns.

You’re able to find this report in Google Ads by going to your Keywords tab and then go to Search Terms.

In the Added/Excluded you’re able to see if a keyword is added already or not:

Screenshot of search terms report in Google Ads.

So if I’m not servicing Adelaide, based on the example above I can add the keyword “adelaide” to my negative keyword list.

Tip #9: Use ad scheduling

If you’re running a local business, it might not make sense for you to get leads when you’re not there to follow up straight away.

Google Ads gives the opportunity to use a time schedule. That way you can turn off your ads during certain hours. For example in the weekends or even during the week outside office hours.

Tip #10: Use location extensions

The big benefit as a local business is that you’re close to your customers. You want your customers to know that as well!

Google Ads gives the opportunity to show your address within your ad. These are called location extensions. As a local business, it’s highly recommended to set this up.

Screenshot of location extension within Google.

To enable this you will need to set up a Google Business Profile and link this with your Google Ads account.

Keep in mind, that to process to verify the location in your Google Business Profile will take a few weeks. Google will send a postcard to your address with a unique code to verify this.

Tip #11: Use local search ads

Local search ads will show up when customers are searching on Google Maps.

It promotes your Google Business Profile, using the location extensions. You will need to include Search Partners in your campaigns to make sure local search ads will show.

This setting is on a campaign level in your Google Ads account. 

Extra tip: Optimise, optimise, optimise

Google Ads has a lot of data available.

There’s no such thing as set and forget. To get maximum results out of your campaigns you will need to constantly optimise based on this data.

This means that you will need to change your keyword bids, pause underperforming keywords, add new keywords, test different ad copy’s, tweak your campaign setting and much, much more.

It’s the only way to improve your ROI.


What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google's pay per click (PPC) advertising platform, formerly known as Google AdWords. By using Google Ads you can reach potential customers on the Google Search and Display Network.

What is the Google Quality Score?

The Quality Score is a number from 1 to 10 that shows how relevant your keyword to a particular search query. A low Quality Score shows that your keyword is totally irrelevant, while a high Quality Score means that it’s spot on and that you’re offering exactly what visitors are looking for.

How does the Google ad auction work?

Google uses hundreds of factors to decide the ad ranking and this is being re-calculated for each search query. In general, Google looks at the bid and the relevancy of each advertiser for a particular keyword.

How can I improve my Quality Score?

If you can increase the relevance of your campaign, you will get higher Quality Scores. This will significantly decrease your cost per click so that you can squeeze more clicks and conversions out of your budget.

About Vazooky Digital

Vazooky Digital is a boutique Google Ads agency based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. If you need any help with improving your local Google Ads campaigns, please get in touch.

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By Jeroen

With over years of experience in digital marketing, Jeroen helps businesses to get more results out of their online advertising budgets.

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