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5 Local Business SEM Best Practices

by | Feb 14, 2022 | AQM News

SEM (search engine marketing) can be a high-performing tactic for local businesses. Consumers often start their buying process with a search. If your business’s ad shows up and it grabs the searcher’s attention, you could gain new customers. When considering SEM for local businesses, there are some nuances to optimizing results. By following these local business SEM best practices, you’ll get better results.

Conduct Very Thorough Keyword Research

As the first step in any SEM strategy, you need to determine what keywords to target. In doing so, you’ll learn key things:

  • The volume of monthly searches.
  • The competition for each keyword, which can be low, medium, or high. The greater the competition, the more expensive the bidding.
  • The estimated cost per click (CPC) for a keyword.

Ideally, you want to target high-volume keywords with the least competition. However, that’s not always possible. General keywords like “Italian restaurant” or “hire a plumber” will be very competitive. Longer-tail keywords will be less so. It’s a balancing act to make the right decisions so that you don’t blow your budget.

Adjust Location Settings

With Google Ads, you can target specific geos, including city, state, or ZIP codes. It’s critical to make this change, as you don’t want ads to appear in cities where you don’t operate.

Structure Campaigns and Ad Groups by Location or Service

Google’s mission is to return the most relevant results to searchers, and location is a big part of that. Google Ads have four components:

  • Ad copy
  • Keywords: Words or phrases you’re bidding on
  • Ad Group: Keywords grouped by theme (i.e., services, products, etc.)
  • Campaign: The overall structure for managing ad groups and entering budgets

When developing ad groups and campaigns, you want to classify them by location. This local business SEM best practice mostly relates to those with multiple locations. If you only have a single location, organize them by services or products.

By doing this, you’ll run multiple SEM campaigns that are very specific and therefore more relevant to searchers.

Leverage Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are extra pieces of information included with an ad. They can consist of phone numbers, addresses, ratings, webpage links, and more. They can be very beneficial because they highlight essential information that could prompt someone to click.

Additionally, local extensions qualify a business to appear in the Local Pack maps. Local Pack maps are SERPs (search engine results page) that appear at the top of a page. It features a map of businesses near the searcher’s location. A person receives these results when they specifically type in a location like “hair salon Chicago” or use the term “near me.” You’ll also need to claim your Google My Business listing and optimize it with the appropriate information (i.e., address, phone, type of business).

Create Engaging Ad Copy

The copy in your Google ads has a great bearing on the click. It needs to be informative, accurate, and relevant. It needs to grab the attention of the searcher and instill confidence. Adding any text around years in business, ratings, and licenses can convey this.

Other language you use should align with a buyer’s motivations, such as affordable, same-day, or 24/7 service.

Finally, your message on the ad should match the landing page that links to the ad. If there’s a mismatch or you send people to a home page, confusion is more likely, with conversions less so.

Local SEM Best Practices: Let AQ Marketing Put Them into Action

Local SEM can be challenging and hard to manage if you’re not an expert. Thankfully, we are! We can handle all your SEM efforts, track results, and offer recommendations. Learn more about our SEM solutions today.

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