Advanced Geo Targeted PPC Advertising

Geographically focusing your paid search engine advertising to specific locations within your Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft’s AdCenter ( Bing ) campaigns is one of the simplest and most important direct marketing tools to effectively drive qualified traffic to your small business website. But on more than one occasion, small business owners create ads with their city mentioned in the headline and then display these ads nationally! ( e.g. I live in “Colorado” but I’ve seen ads for “Boston Chiropractors” while searching from my local office ). This is a good example of very POOR geo targeted PPC advertising and complete waste of marketing dollars to areas where your customers DO NOT live.

Instead, I suggest that PPC advertisers take the following steps to ensure your geo targeted PPC advertising is done properly and seen by the most “relevant” number of potential customers as possible.

  • First, look at your customer database, web logs and/or billing addresses to determine where most of your customers live. This will give you the first sphere of geographical focus for which to display your advertising.
  • If you are seeking to expand your geographical reach in search of new potential customers, consider “like” areas throughout the state, region, country or world for your next target focus. For example, if you are selling “golf clubs”, look for cities, states or areas where golf courses exist ( i.e. Alaska may not be a best place to start, but Florida is probably a good bet ).
  • Advertise in areas of the smallest increments. For example, if you are currently set your geo targeted PPC advertising for the entire U.S., consider lowering the target areas to all states or even metro areas. This trick will give you another line of copy on your Google advertisements and can separate your ad from the competition.
  • When targeting small areas within a state or region, I recommend to use both the custom geo-targeting map AND the city/state selections. By including both the names of the cites/states along with a circle radius or polygon around your business location, you will be able to show your ads more frequently to more potential customers while still gaining the advantage of the 5th line of copy underneath your ads ( i.e. your business name, address and phone ).
  • Select negative geo targeted PPC advertising locations where appropriate to avoid unwanted clicks from strange countries, states or areas where you are prohibited to advertise or not licensed to do business in that particular area (e.g. lawyers, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers). This may be especially true if you live near a state, county or country line.
  • Remember that some internet service provides ( ISPs ) reside in areas that may not be located in your target market region. Since the search engines usually segment the geo-targeting by the physical location of the ISP address, you may need to add these regions to capture your entire target market audience.

By using some of these advanced geo targeted PPC advertising techniques for your next pay-per-click campaign, you should be able to raise your click-through rates ( CTRs ), increase your Quality Scores ( which lends itself to lower bids for less expensive clicks ), and ultimately, acquire more customers within your desired market area.

About the Author: With over 20 years of experience in database marketing and searSavech engine marketing, John Pfeiffer helps small to mid-sized companies succeed online with proven and affordable pay-per-click services. In addition, he is the author of numerous articles and whitepapers on PPC advertising techniques. John can be reached at

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