Google’s Pigeon update emphasized the importance of local search, which is an indicator for search marketers to adjust both organic and paid search marketing tactics.  We gave advice on local organic search last fall, but wanted to expand on an important complement: local paid search.

Google updated its algorithm for local

Google’s Pigeon algorithm update in July 2014 put more emphasis on location-specific criteria making it easier for users to find web pages that were geographically “close” to them. For marketing managers responsible for local or field marketing, simple steps to account for the change in organic listings are a great first reaction. Implementing a local paid search program is the second.

Some marketers are afraid that local paid search campaigns will compete against their national brand campaign and drive up cost-per-clicks (CPCs). It’s a legitimate fear according to the experts – but only if the efforts are unorganized.

“Without coordination, local and national paid search campaigns can and will compete against each other which costs everyone more money in the long run,” said Adam London, Brandmuscle’s Digital Marketing Sr. Manager. “You need to set clear guidelines at each level to make sure you minimize competition. The good news is, that’s pretty easy to do.”

London advises his clients to open a dialogue between local and national marketing departments. While some departments fear a political battle, London says internal battles are virtually non-existent when the conversation focuses on the same goal: delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time.

“There are a lot of different ways to organize local and national paid search campaigns so they work together without competition,” said London.

Here are a few ideas:

Four ways to coordinate your local and national paid search campaigns

  1. By Geography – exclude the local target market from your national campaign via location settings; keep the local campaign “local” by setting a radius limit.
  2. By Keyword – add a local spin to branded keywords creating long-tailed keywords; include specific details about the local store/location (business name, city, specialties, etc.)
    • National keyword: hardwood floor
    • Local keyword: local hardwood floor store, hardwood floor store [CITY]
  3. By Negative Keywords – include specific national keywords as negatives within the local campaign.
    • NOTE: this will limit the reach of the local campaign but still allows local stores/locations to establish a PPC presence. Utilize keyword planner tools and get creative at the local level.
  4. Suppress by schedule/budget – Work with your ad network rep(s) to set up custom rules that allow both local and national campaigns to run simultaneously.
    • Allow local ads to take precedent by suppressing national ads within the target market. Then, allow national ads to resume once the local campaign is outside of its ad schedule or daily budget is exhausted.

Using schedules to plan national and local paid search is much easier when you leverage your partnership with an ad network, London says. “Since schedules are set at the campaign level, using a suppression feature allows you to adjust schedules to optimize campaigns later on without creating conflict between national and local efforts.”

And that’s just a list to help you get started, says London.

“A recent Google study found that 3 out of 4 consumers who found local information in search results were more likely to visit stores, so there’s clear value in running both national and local search campaigns. If executed properly, both can be successful at the same time.”

What do you think? Do you run national and local paid search campaigns? What’d we miss?

To chat with London or another digital Brandmuscler, contact us here.