How to Rank Higher on Local SERPs with 3 Local Marketing Tips

A local search marketing strategy is essential for small, regional businesses to run effective PPC campaigns. By restricting reach with geographic parameters and keyword modifiers, you’re actually mitigating the power of national competitors with comparatively unlimited resources. Don’t let size hinder your advertising success: use it to your advantage.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Local SERPs – the search results pages that appear for queries modified with a location – can be insanely competitive. But usually, this competition comes from those same national competitors who spend blindly on broad, unfocused keywords and use bland ads. Rather than focusing on value proposition, they’re relying on brand recognition.

For example:

If you’re a sartorial artisan who forges custom sportcoats in Cambridge, Google Ads would be an excellent way to attract new customers. Before diving in, perhaps you check out a blog post or two.

As a result of bidding on terms like “custom menswear” and “tailored jacket,” you consistently see your ads buried beneath those of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A Bank. Furthermore, you’ll notice that these juggernauts appear to be using the exact same ads on both desktop and mobile.

As a clever individual, you begin adding “Cambridge” “Boston” “Newbury Street” and the like to your tailoring terms.

The same keywords appear in your compelling, localized ad copy. In addition, you schedule custom fittings at your shop through call-only advertisements.

It’s true that the volume is lower, but you’re paying for hyper-relevant and cheaper clicks.

There is an improvement in Quality Scores. The conversion rate improves. There is an increase in revenue.

In a nutshell? To beat your competition if you’re not operating nationally, focus on local.

Tip #1: Dominate Local Business Marketing with Call-Only Ads & Calls from Your Website

Locksmith services for residential properties are in high demand. Additionally, it is hyper-local and almost entirely mobile. Therefore, our strategy for these campaigns would be exclusively focused on mobile searchers. After launching call-only campaigns, we would expand into local search campaigns targeting specific neighborhoods and suburbs based on our initial success.

adwords call only ad local for business marketing

With bid adjustments and mobile preferred ads, these campaigns cater aggressively to the mobile market. In the face of low mobile conversion rates, we pivot. Rather than driving quote completions, we aim to generate more phone calls from landing pages. In order to optimize bids and ad copy for these leads, we used Media Bamboo’s  keyword level call tracking software.

Here’s how you can do it too…

Your business might benefit from call-only ads if your prospects have urgent needs, such as being locked out at 4am in a flannel nightgown or having broken teeth.

Using the “Campaign” tab, click the big red button to create your own call-only campaigns…

adwords new campaign button

After naming your new campaign and selecting your desired network (Search), use the final radio button on the right to select “call-only.”

adwords call only ad creation

A call-only ad differs structurally from a standard or expanded text ad by featuring your phone number as the headline. The description lines are limited in length, so you have less text to work with.

creating call only ads adwords

As a side note, I am curious to see if/how call-only ads change once Expanded Text Ads become the standard. In terms of structure, I’m not sure how two headlines would work: maybe a phone number paired with a bolded CTA? Furthermore, any long, elaborate descriptions would be truncated due to the mobile-exclusive nature.

Call-only ads will only appear in the first two positions. By utilizing the keywords you’re bidding on in the abridged ad copy space, you’ll be able to reduce cost per click (which, in this case, is really cost per phone call).


Rather than driving phone calls from the SERP, you should set up call tracking software on your landing page. A developer (or, if you’re a MediaBamboo client, our Implementation Team) can be extremely helpful in setting up call tracking.

wordstream keyword level call tracking for paid search

Set up call tracking by following these steps:


      • Create a pool of phone numbers for use. Depending on your site’s traffic levels, you may need more or fewer numbers.

      • Use JavaScript to replace the HTML phone number on your website.

      • A JavaScript code dynamically inserts one of the phone numbers from your pool of numbers when a PPC visitor clicks on your ad. When a visitor returns to your site, that number will remain with them for a predetermined period of time, regardless of what page they navigate to.

      • You can tie the phone call back to the keyword that triggered your ad by using the JavaScript code that was installed on the site.

      • The number gets recycled after a while so you don’t have to keep adding new numbers

    Tip #2: A Little (Local) Optimization Goes A Long Way

    Many businesses struggle to differentiate itself on the SERP alongside a number of “fake, spammy advertisers.”

    To distinguish a brand from competitors using black hat tactics, we can create a Google listing (known as a Business Profile), which helps organic rankings and allows location extensions in paid ads. Furthermore, we can curate real reviews from past customers and the Better Business Bureau to highlight the legitimacy of their listings.

    Here’s how you can do it, too…

    The first step to creating a robust listing like the one above is to create a Business Profile on Google, but you should also create a Google My Business account so that you can claim and optimize that Business Profile. Among the many Google My Business optimizations you can perform are:


        • The phone number, website, and hours of operation (including special hours) should all be added

        • The selection of primary and secondary categories

        • Maintaining a regular upload schedule

        • Publish posts on a regular basis

      The Google My Business service is completely free, provides more real estate on the SERP for branded keywords, and serves as a resource for future customers. Create an account now and dominate local business marketing!

      Google Local Services Ads are also available via GMB listings.


      You can add location extensions to your Google Ads (a great way to emphasize that your business is just around the corner) by selecting “Location Extensions” in the “Ad Extensions” tab in the Google Ads UI. If you have never added a location before, you’ll need to sync your Google My Business account first. As soon as your ads are completed and enabled, they will look like this:

      location extension adwords ad

      Tip #3: Geo Ad Customizers, Hyper-Specific Copy Without the Legwork

      As part of our keyword strategy, we often create ad groups around different services, such as residential, auto, and business services, as well as cities, neighborhoods, destinations, and routes.

      As a result, we can tailor our ads and landing pages to meet the specific needs of local searchers.

      local business marketing map mid Atlantic region

      Nevertheless, updating local ads frequently became prohibitively time-consuming. By utilizing geo-ad customizers, we are able to better address a user’s local search query and better manage our messaging while speeding up things.

      geo customized adwords search ad for local business

      Adding location-specific language to our headlines improved many client’s CTR and Quality Score.

      How You Can, Too…

      Geo ads can be customized in Google Ads by building a feed and uploading it to the Business data section of the Shared Library.

      adwords shared audiences business data tab

      As long as you include the fields you’re trying to modify in your feed, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

      Create a new text ad in the campaign where you wish to implement geo-specific ad copy after uploading your feed:

      adwords create text ad

      The following step uses Dynamic Keyword Insertion similarly (exactly the same as before). Simply insert a bracket, like so ‘{‘, and a list of feeds will appear. Select the feed you’d like to reference and then choose the attribute for the values you will want to show in the ad.

      While the UI will display a confusing mess of text…

      adwords geo customizer ad feed

      Your prospects will be served an ad that speaks to both their needs and their location.

      adwords geo customizer ad SERP

      Remember: Character limits will apply when creating the ads, so keep the attribute values and ad text within the Expanded Text Ad limits.

      Leveraging the techniques highlighted above, expect an increase in conversion rates and, perhaps more important, a vast improvement in call quality. Click to learn more about MediaBamboo’s marketing services.

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