“Near Me”: How to Optimize Your PPC Campaigns for Local Search

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While the Internet is a powerful tool for reaching a worldwide audience, one of the best ways for businesses to leverage digital advertising is to think locally. As the use of mobile devices becomes more prevalent, the ability to serve location-specific PPC ads is more relevant and beneficial to your business than ever. Google searches that include the phrase“near me” has nearly doubled since last year, and increased 34 times over since 2011. Most of these location-focused searches for goods and services come from mobile devices, making locally-focused, mobile-optimized PPC ad campaigns a great bet for businesses looking to grow their lead pool and reach a more focused audience. Whether you’re looking to boost business in a specific geographic area, or you simply want to take advantage of the browsing habits that many mobile searchers have adopted, running local search campaigns can be an effective way to increase your lead funnel.

The Benefits of Optimizing for Local Search

By optimizing your ads for “near me” searches, you’ll be able to improve the overall performance of your PPC ad campaigns. As many as 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase. By focusing in on this highly active segment of PPC traffic, you’ll be able to decrease your wasted ad spend by reaching searchers who are primed for a purchase, and increase your CTR and conversion rate significantly. You’ll also be able to gauge where your business is most in-demand based on ad performance. This information allows you to hone in on specific markets and optimize your advertising efforts to where they’ll make the most significant impact. Convinced that it’s time to start honing in on local searches with your PPC campaigns? Here are some of our top tips for optimizing your PPC ads for local search.

How to Optimize Ads for Local Search

Use a Custom Blend of Localized and Nationwide Campaigns

If you’re using AdWords, setting up ad campaigns to target specific geographic locations is a relatively quick and simple process. However, the exact techniques you use to set up your campaigns may differ depending on your goals and how you want to manage your campaigns. The simplest way is to set up straightforward location-based ad campaigns. This type of campaign allows you to pinpoint very specific locations — such as neighborhoods and zip codes– but their granularity also requires a larger time investment and more careful maintenance. For businesses who are targeting a single location or small set of locations, this can be a very effective method. But if you want to cast a larger geographic net, managing a multitude of local campaigns may be overwhelming, especially if you’re managing your own campaigns. Another option is running nationwide ad campaigns and using location-based bid modifiers to adjust when and where your ads show up. However, this method gives advertisers far less specific control over their campaigns overall. For some businesses, a combination of both techniques can provide a good mix of granular and more generalized ad campaigns.

Be Precise with Location-Based Keywords

Your keywords should reflect the location you want to target, which can be as specific as you like. For instance, “Manhattan legal services” will help you hone in on an even more targeted audience and “New York legal services” would. Experiment with city and neighborhood names (and variations) to find what searchers are looking for. Additionally, make sure that your location information is correct and consistent. One study showed that having mismatched or incorrect location information for your business online can negatively affect the performance of your campaign overall.

Leverage Multiple Landing Pages for Multiple Locations

If you’re focusing in on more than one location, make sure that your landing pages are customized for the correct location. Customizing your landing pages by location helps to reinforce and confirm your brand’s relevance people searching for local businesses. Even simply swapping out bits of landing page copy to reflect the viewer’s location can have a big impact on your conversion rate — and going the extra mile and offering even more geographically specialized content can help improve ad performance even further.

Optimize Your Advertising Assets for Mobile Search

With over three-fourths of all location-based searches being conducted on mobile devices, optimizing your landing pages to be mobile-friendly is a critical part of ensuring that you don’t just get clicks, but conversions. Up to 40% of mobile browsers are likely to bounce if they land on pages that take more than just a few seconds to load, so your assets absolutely must be mobile-ready if you want them to perform well. Take the time to mobile-optimize your ads, landing pages, and any other assets that are a part of your digital marketing funnel to help keep prospects interested and moving towards a conversion.

Take Advantage of Location-Based AdWords Extensions

Be sure to take advantage of mobile ad extensions for AdWords — Google’s locationbased ad extensions allow you to display your business’s address, phone number, and map location and lets viewers see how close your business is to their location. Google reports that these extensions can give your ads as much as a 10% boost in CTR.

Getting from “Near Me” Searches to Conversion with Webrageous

Maintaining local search ad campaigns can be time-intensive, but running effective location-based PPC campaigns will help you attract more local business and take advantage of the growing trends in the mobile search habits of consumers. Webrageous can help you get the best results from your local search campaigns by setting up and maintaining your geotargeted campaigns. Our team of PPC experts has years of experience optimizing digital ad campaigns across a variety of industries and can help you hone in on potential customers that are searching for businesses like yours online. Contact us for a PPC consultation and we’ll get you started on the path to better advertising results today.

How to Optimize a “Limited by Budget” Campaign

Whether you have been running AdWords campaigns for a while or you are new to PPC, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve seen that bright orange “limited by budget” notification on your AdWords dashboard. But what you might not realize is that you can use these budget notifications to your advantage to keep your PPC campaigns running smoothly. Here’s what you need to know about “limited by budget” campaigns and how you can adjust them to maximize their performance and optimize your ad spend.

What does “Limited by Budget” Mean?

Google AdWords campaigns may receive “limited by budget” designation whenever your budget is lower than Google’s recommended budget daily budget for a given set of keywords. This could mean that your budget is too low to serve your ads at all, or that it is too low to serve your ads more than a few times per day. While it’s easy to assume that Google is simply trying to convince advertisers to spend more money on advertising, these notifications can be a helpful performance indicator for your campaigns. For instance, if you’ve set your budget for a campaign to $200 per day and the CPC for one of the most popular keywords in that campaign is $50, you might be maxing out your budget each day after only four clicks. And unless your conversion rate is incredibly high, you probably won’t see great results from that campaign.

Optimizing Your “Limited By Budget” Campaigns

You can still run successful campaigns that are technically limited by budget. However, using these built-in notifications can be a useful technique in your advertising toolbox. By using “limited by budget” notifications as indicators of campaigns that need may need some tweaking, you can optimize your ad spend and improve your campaigns overall.

In some cases, the quickest and easiest fix for “limited by budget” campaigns is simply to increase your budget allocation for that campaign. However, most of us don’t have an unlimited ad spend, so making the most of our budgets is a priority. Here’s how to optimize your campaigns to ensure you’re getting great results within your existing budget.

Use Metrics to Cultivate Your Keyword Strategy

One of the first things you should do with “limited by budget” campaigns is to investigate why your campaigns are hitting budget limitations. Determine if there are a few keywords that are sucking up most of your budget. Some industries — especially the legal and insurance industries — can have extremely expensive keywords that might be eating up your entire daily budget after just a few clicks.

Once you’ve found the keyword culprits, you can take action to keep them from derailing your PPC campaigns. If they aren’t performing up to par, determine why; are they so expensive that you max out your budget after just a few clicks? Or are you getting plenty of clicks, but for keywords that aren’t relevant enough to your services to lead to a conversion? You may want to adjust your bid or pause keywords that take up a lot of impressions, especially if they aren’t converting well.

Break Budget-Hogging Keywords Out of Campaigns

Sometimes budget limitations are caused by poorly segmented campaigns. High-ticket keywords can bring your business valuable potential customers, but oftentimes they take attention away from cheaper keywords with relatively lower traffic, such as long-tail keywords, that might be just as important for driving a healthy lead flow. Consider creating separate campaigns for these “budget hogs.” This also helps to ensure that your ads also get some airtime for less expensive keywords that may be a better fit for your advertising goals.

Build and Manage Your Negative Keyword List

Building a healthy negative keyword list is another important aspect of optimizing “limited by budget” campaigns. By cultivating a list of keywords that you don’t want to target, you can ensure that when your ads are served, they’re reaching the right audience. Making sure that your ads are a good fit for the viewers that AdWords serves them to can help decrease your average CPC and improve your conversion rate overall.

Be sure to revisit your negative keyword list on a regular basis to make sure that it is comprehensive and accurate. Consumer search behaviors can change over time, so you may need to add or remove negative keywords from your list over time.

Use Ad Scheduling to Stretch Your Budget

Another data set to examine on your “limited by budget” campaigns is when you are maxing out your daily budget. For some high-traffic keywords, you may be hitting your budget limit early in the morning. This may negatively impact your campaign’s efficacy because in some cases PPC ads demonstrate better performance at specific times of the day. Additionally certain times of day may be more competitive, driving up the cost of ads. By scheduling your ads to run during time periods that are less expensive, you can stretch your existing budget further. This can be a useful tactic if you are running call only ad campaigns, especially if you have a specific time range in which you would like prospects to call your business.

Optimizing Your PPC Campaigns with Webrageous

Managing successful PPC campaigns isn’t always a quick and easy process, but it can bring great returns if you can devote time and resources to running your campaigns well. Whether you have limited time or a limited budget, effective, affordable PPC campaigns do not have to be out of reach for your business. Webrageous can help optimize your campaigns to perform well with the budget that you have, and ensure that you’re getting the best results possible from your PPC efforts. Contact us today to learn more about how our experience and expertise can help you reach your PPC advertising goals.

How to Prevent Overbidding on PPC Keywords

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Keeping your PPC ads in the top position can have a huge impact on the success of your PPC campaigns overall. The average CTR for PPC ads drops significantly between the first three positions, so to make sure you’re getting the best results from your ad spend, it’s important to aim high by bidding enough to ensure that your ads win the best positions.

However, there is such a thing as bidding too high, and overbidding can be a major drain on your advertising budget. By taking steps to ensure that your bidding strategy is aggressive enough to keep your ads in high-performing positions, but not so aggressive that it eats up your budget too quickly, you can help stretch your ad spend and improve the performance of your campaigns in the long run. Here are a few tips to avoid overbidding for your PPC keywords.

Improve Quality Score to Lower CPC

In order to ensure that viewers find their ads valuable, Google doesn’t always simply give the top ad positions to the highest bidder — Google also takes into account Quality Score, or how relevant the content of the ad and landing page is to its corresponding keyword. Your Quality Score can impact the amount you spend on your campaigns, as advertisers with higher Quality Scores can pay less for a bid and still have their ads show up in a higher position than advertisers with low Quality Scores.

There are a number of ways to improve your Quality Score, from optimizing your ad and landing page copy to target specific keywords to restructuring your campaigns into smaller, more focused segments. Ultimately, understanding the factors that Google takes into account when calculating your Quality Score and continuously working to improve the quality of your campaigns is the best strategy for improving your Quality Score and lowering your CPC.

Set Your AdWords Budget Under Your Actual Budget

Did you know that AdWords campaigns can cost more than your set daily budget? In order to increase ROI of campaigns, Google allows daily budgets to be exceeded by up to 20% of your set budget. And while Google has some safeguards in place to keep this from adding up to a huge overspending in the long run, if you’re making changes to your campaigns frequently, such as turning them on and off, you’re likely to overspend. If you’re worried about overbidding, lowering your budget for high-cost campaigns can help keep your ad spend in check.

Focus on PPC Keywords that Actually Convert

One of the biggest budget drains on your PPC campaigns is paying for ads that don’t convert. In many highly competitive industries, scoring top ad positions for lucrative keywords can cost tens or hundreds of dollars. But the highest-cost keywords won’t always be the best match for your business, and oftentimes more targeted keywords will garner higher CTR and conversion rates.

Instead of bloating your bids to chase those high-cost keywords, dive into your AdWords dashboard and determine which keywords have performed best for you historically. Focus your bidding strategy on scoring the first position for keywords that you have had a good conversion rate for to make sure that your ad spend is ultimately doing what you want it to do — bring in new customers.

Understand How Bid Stacking Can Affect Your Campaigns

AdWords’ Enhanced Campaigns feature allows advertisers to use bid modifiers to adjust their bids based on time of day, location and other factors. While this feature can be a powerful tool to help you control your ad spend at a more granular level, it can also lead to overbidding if you aren’t careful. If a search matches several criteria that you have set, the bid modifiers will “stack up” and might end up costing you far more than necessary. For instance, if you have a modifier set to bid 100% more than usual for searches on mobile devices and 50% more than your base bid for searches after 9pm, then a search conducted on an iPhone at 10pm might end up costing you 150% more than your base bid.

Bid stacking can be a useful technique for scoring competitive spots without setting your baseline campaign budget too high, but it’s important to monitor how these bid modifiers are working for your campaigns very closely to ensure that they’re not wasting valuable advertising resources.

Don’t Rely on Automatic Bidding

Automatic bidding can seem like a tantalizing option, promising moderately good PPC results with a minimal amount of time and energy investment. Automatic bidding can be an effective tool for managing campaigns, but when advertisers rely on it too heavily it can lead to overspending on underperforming campaigns. Manual bidding takes more work to manage effectively, but gives you more control over how and where your advertising dollars are spent. As a result, you can avoid overbidding and ensure that your ad spend is allocated effectively.

Manual bid management can be a daunting task, especially for inexperienced PPC advertisers, or small business owners who don’t have much time to manage their advertising campaigns. Fortunately, by leveraging the experience and expertise of dedicated PPC managers such as Webrageous, manual bidding can be a manageable practice even for organizations with limited time or budgets.

Leverage Webrageous’ Experience to Decrease Overbidding and Optimize Your Campaign Results

Want to get your bidding strategy into better shape? The PPC experts at Webrageous have years of experience managing AdWords campaigns and helping our clients realize better results from their PPC advertising efforts. We can give you more control over your ad spend by managing your campaigns for you and honing in on the best strategies for keeping your ads in high-performing positions. If you’re ready to stop overbidding and start getting more out of your PPC campaigns, contact Webrageous today.

“Always Be Testing” An A/B Testing Rule To Improve Conversion Rate

There’s an often quoted saying in the advertising world, coined by John Wanamaker, a famed early 20th-century advertising tycoon: “I know that half my ad dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half.” Wanamaker’s words still ring true for PPC advertisers today. Developing high-converting PPC campaigns can seem like guesswork, and sometimes advertisers can feel like there’s no guarantee that their ads will perform well until after the fact.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic button on AdWords to optimize your ads and boost your conversion rate overnight. Nevertheless, improving conversion rates is a priority for many search marketers. And while there’s no secret formula to that will guarantee a high conversion rate, improving ad performance can often be achieved with A/B testing practices that follow the simple rule of “always be testing.” If you can commit to making A/B testing a regular part of your PPC campaign management, you’ll be rewarded with better CTR and conversion rates.

Why A/B Testing is Important

It can be hard to know how your audience will respond to your brand before you serve them any ads, and what you think will work best might not actually give you the best results when your ads are in action. Only about 22% of companies are satisfied with their conversion rate, meaning that nearly 3 out of every 4 marketer’s PPC campaigns are regularly failing to resonate with their audience. Fortunately, the digital nature of PPC ads gives marketers the ability to tweak and test new versions of their ads in an instant, and to run different versions of their ad simultaneously. By serving different ad variations to segments of your customers, you can find out which variations your prospects will respond to, and you can hone your message and presentation to better fit with their needs and expectations.

Oftentimes advertisers are obligated to make decisions about their PPC campaigns without having a strong foundation of evidence to support those decisions. What color should your “Download” button be? How do you select search ad copy that will garner the highest CTR? Every aspect of your campaigns has a wide range of variations from which you must make a selection. A/B testing allows you to make decisions about your PPC campaigns based on data gathered from real reactions from your prospective customers. When the results of A/B tests control the flow of your ad campaigns, you’ll be able to make better decisions based on the data you’ve collected, rather than subjective feelings and opinions.

How A/B Testing Can Improve PPC Campaigns

A/B tests can improve your CTR and conversion rate significantly, and savvy companies are wising up to the benefits  Both large and small companies can benefit from A/B testing; for example Google ran 7,000 A/B tests in 2011. It should come as no surprise that companies that are serious about advertising invest heavily in A/B testing. By leveraging A/B testing strategies to gain better insight into the preferences of your audience, you can hone in what converts best, from ad copy and messaging to landing page layout and design.

Well-tested campaigns can lead to measurably better advertising initiatives than their un-tested counterparts. In one instance, SAP was able to boost their conversion rate by over 32% by changing the color of their CTA button. Businesses with over 40 landing pages converted up to 12 times more leads than those with only 1-5 landing pages, and that’s no coincidence — testing multiple variations of your advertising and marketing materials allows you to see what works best and invest more of your ad spend in materials with a proven track record.

A Good Testing Strategy is a Continuous One

A common mistake made by novice search marketers is that they treat A/B testing as a one-time event. They run tests briefly, take a look at their results, then run their campaigns indefinitely based on those assumptions. But testing once isn’t enough. High-performing PPC campaigns are those that are carefully and actively managed. Consequently, A/B tests must evolve with your campaigns. And even if your campaigns are doing well right now, constantly testing and experimenting with your ad campaigns can keep you ahead of the curve in the long run.

Another important aspect of A/B testing is to make sure you let your tests run long enough. If you run A/B tests for a day or two and make assumptions based off the results of those flash-in-the-pan tests, you aren’t likely to see a big difference in your conversion rate. You need a larger data set to really understand which advertising materials perform the best. Marketing experts suggest running A/B tests for at least a week to ensure that you have enough information to make informed decisions about your campaigns. Your ideal test runtime may vary but, as a general rule, the longer you’re able to run tests, the better results you’ll see.

Always Be Testing with Webrageous for Better PPC Conversion

As the PPC advertising field gets more and more competitive, marketers are developing more sophisticated strategies than ever to stay ahead. 85% of search marketing professionals focused on improving their conversion rate with A/B testing this year. If you’re not using it as a tool to improve your campaigns you’re not being competitive enough.

Managing high-performing PPC campaigns and effective A/B testing strategies can be time and resource-intensive. Here at Webrageous we have a dedicated team of PPC campaign managers who can identify and manage your highest-converting AdWords materials to help you improve your conversion rate. Contact us today so we can help you achieve better results from your PPC campaigns.

What To Do When Your PPC Campaigns Stop Getting Results

Love it or hate it, PPC advertising is a continuously changing landscape. Ads that converted well last month might flop this month, and it isn’t uncommon for previously successful campaigns to start to degrade as time goes on. Active maintenance is your best bet against poor PPC performance. If your PPC campaigns have stopped getting results, there are several strategies you can use to boost your conversion rate and revitalize your campaigns.

Strengthen Your CTAs

A common problem with underperforming ads is that they don’t include a strong call to action. Make sure that your CTA is strong, clear and specific. Getting specific with your CTAs is can make a huge difference; ad viewers are used to seeing (and ignoring) the same generic ads over and over again, so your ads must provide something unique to get attention.

For example, simple CTAs such as “Click Here” and “Download” are short and concise, but they don’t compel readers to take action. The best CTAs help the reader understand what they’re getting when they click. “Download Free Whitepaper” or “Sign Up Now” are examples of stronger CTAs that that will resonate with readers.

Test New Ad Copy Regularly

Even ad copy that once performed well can lose its luster over time. It’s a good idea to keep testing new ads continuously, even if your existing ads are performing well. Studies have shown that companies with many different landing page versions generate up to 12 times more leads than their competitors with only a few landing pages. The reason? More personalized landing pages have greater appeal to viewers across a wide audience, and allow businesses to test many different messages to find the ones that work the best.

To capture this high conversion rate, try diversifying your ad copy and testing new versions on a regular basis. You’ll be able to target your campaigns for a wider audience, and get a better idea of what messaging works best overall.

Run or Optimize Your Mobile PPC Campaigns

In the past, we’ve advocated for mobile PPC campaigns as an effective way to get the best performance out of your PPC ad spend. As mobile devices take up a larger market share and buyers make the shift from desktop to mobile browsing, it’s more important than ever to activate and optimize your mobile PPC campaigns. If your PPC campaigns are starting to lag, turning on mobile can help you reach a larger audience and connect with prospects that you might have been missing out on.

If you are already running mobile PPC campaigns and aren’t seeing the results you want, you might want to check to make sure that your campaigns are optimized for mobile performance. From writing mobile-specific ad copy to leveraging mobile ad extensions for better conversion rates, learning the nuances of mobile PPC management ensures that your campaigns yield the best results possible.

Adjust Your Keyword Match Strategy

Broad keyword match can be a great tool for reaching a wide audience, but that wide audience can also encompass viewers who aren’t a good fit for your business. If you’re relying heavily on broad keyword match but don’t have a high CTR, explore other keyword match options to help you hone in on a more precise audience.

Using broad keyword modifier match and leveraging negative keyword lists are two ways to make broad keyword match campaigns work more efficiently. These keyword match methods help your ads reach a more tailored set of viewers. As a result, you’ll waste less of your ad spend on viewers that aren’t interested in your business at all.

Optimize Your Ad Positions

Research has shown that the drop-off between the top three ad positions on Google AdWords is significant. In many cases, the conversion rate below the third position can drop to nearly 0%. If you’re not monitoring your average ad ranking closely, you might be paying for ad positions that don’t get any play. Because the performance of lower ranking spots can be dramatically less than the performance of top spots, ensuring that your average ad position stays in the top three positions is critical to having a high CTR.

Make sure that you adjust your bids to keep your ads in the highest positions possible, without overreaching your budget. Finding a balance between the right price point and the right amount of exposure can take some practice, but it pays off in the long run.

Review Google SEO Updates

Algorithm updates from Google can have a huge impact on the performance of your AdWords campaigns. Keeping up with Google’s near-constant updates to how their algorithm measures the overall quality of web pages can be a frustrating challenge when it comes to perfecting your SEO strategy, but it can also influence PPC ad campaigns since those algorithm changes can affect your Quality Score.

If you’ve experienced a sudden drop in PPC performance and a decrease in SEO ranking, it might be worthwhile to check to see if you’ve missed a recent Google update and adjust your SEO and PPC strategies accordingly. As a general rule, keeping tabs on what changes Google is making to their search network can help you stay ahead of the game.

Partner with Webrageous to Keep PPC Campaigns Active and Stay Ahead

Ultimately, strong, healthy PPC campaigns require regular maintenance to keep them performing at their peak. By keeping a watchful eye on your campaigns, you’ll be able to learn the signs of a lagging campaign and make adjustments to bring your conversion rates back up to the levels you want.

The PPC management experts at Webrageous have years of experience working with successful PPC campaigns. We dedicate time and resources to our clients campaigns to give them great advertising results without having to spend hours managing their own campaigns. If you’re still stumped on how you can jumpstart your PPC campaigns, call us for a consultation — we can show you how our PPC campaign management services can help you achieve optimal results for your advertising efforts.