Local PPC: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Starter Guide(In 2023)

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Hello there!

Hold onto your seats because we’re about to dive into the world of Local PPC, where the traffic is hot and the conversions are even hotter! 

Ever wonder why the pizza place down the road always shows up on your Google search, right when your stomach grumbles? 

That’s not magic; that’s Local PPC. 

Local Pay-Per-Click is your local business’s ticket to the big leagues, where the arena is your zip code, and the scoreboard shows metrics like click-through rates and conversion ratios. 

Now, you may be thinking, “Hey, I already know a bit about PPC. 

Is this really different?” 

The answer is a resounding, “You bet your last click it is!” 

This isn’t your grandpa’s PPC; it’s hyper-local, laser-focused, and gives even the smallest local businesses a fighting chance against the big corporate chains. 

Think of it like bringing a smart bomb to a knife fight; it’s that much of a game-changer. 

We will break down the how, the where, and the why of Local PPC, turning you into the local Don Draper of digital advertising.

So, here’s the deal. We will cover everything you need to know—from Local PPC to setting up your first killer ad campaign.

We’ll tackle the various platforms you can leverage, discuss some advanced juju for when you’re ready to up your game, and even get into the nitty-gritty of metrics and optimization. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned advertiser looking to get more local bang for your buck, this guide is for you. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

What is Local PPC? – Decoding the Jargon

Question mark, Question mark background.

Local PPC, or Local Pay-Per-Click, is essentially the sniper rifle in your digital marketing arsenal. 

It lets you target your advertisements to a hyper-local audience. 

For instance, if you own a gym in San Francisco, your Local PPC campaign could target folks searching for “gyms near me” within a five-mile radius of your location. 

This is vital for brick-and-mortar businesses that thrive on local traffic. 

It’s like setting up a billboard that only people who might walk into your store can see. 

Genius, right?

FAQ #1: “Can I choose the area I target?” 

Arrows and bullseye target.

Absolutely, you can. 

Platforms like Google Ads allow you to get as granular as targeting by zip code or even by a radius around a specific location. 

FAQ #2: “Is Local PPC expensive?” 

Money money money!

Well, that depends on the competition and the keywords you’re targeting.

But here’s a spicy little tidbit for you: according to Google, 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day. 

You can check out more delicious stats like that here. That’s targeted, high-converting traffic, baby!

Now, for my advanced brainiacs out there

Tips and tricks

Tip #1: Make sure your “Google My Business” listing is optimized and updated because it plays well with your Local PPC strategy. 

Tip #2: Use negative keywords effectively. 

You don’t want your ads to appear for these keywords. 

For example, if you’re a high-end boutique, you might want to set “cheap” or “discount” as negative keywords. 

This ensures you only attract traffic aligning with your brand and offerings. 

How about kicking your Local PPC game up a notch?

Why Local PPC Matters – Beyond the Local Coffee Shop?

Cooked chicken and goose egg

Local PPC is not just for mom-and-pop stores trying to lure in the morning latte crowd; it’s for any business that benefits from localized traffic. 

Let’s say you’re an emergency plumbing service. 

Someone’s water heater blew up at 3 a.m., and they’re searching for an “emergency plumber near me.” 

Boom! Your ad pops up, they click, and you’re there to save the day (or the middle of the night). 

This laser-focused strategy lets you go after the exact audience that needs you right when they need you.

FAQ #1: “Can Local PPC work for online-only businesses?” 

Online Business Meeting

The answer is a resounding maybe. 

Suppose your online business offers something specific to local markets, like regional merchandise or localized digital services. 

In that case, you can indeed profit from Local PPC. 

FAQ #2: “Is this effective for service areas?” 

Stewardess using phone in waiting area in airport

Absolutely. Service-based businesses like plumbers, electricians, and, yes, even dog walkers can target multiple neighborhoods or entire cities. 

And here’s a bombshell for you: A HubSpot report states that PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase than organic visitors. 

You can dive into the deep end of that report right here.

Advanced Tip #1: Geo-fencing is your friend. 

This allows you to create a virtual boundary around a specific location, so your ad appears when someone enters that area and performs a search. 

It’s like laying a digital trap, but the good kind. 

Advanced Tip #2: Utilize ad extensions for even better results. 

These could be call extensions, site link extensions, or location extensions that provide extra information right in the ad. 

This makes your ad bigger, more comprehensive, and thus more likely to snag that click. 

Trust me, size does matter—in PPC, anyway!

Platforms – The Local Marketplaces

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When it comes to the platforms for Local PPC, you have choices, but think of them as your “local digital marketplaces.” 

Google Ads is the Times Square of these marketplaces, bustling with activity and opportunities. 

Then you have Bing Ads, which is, well, let’s call it the charming side street. 

Each has its merits and quirks. Google Ads reaches a broader audience, while Bing Ads often has less competition and lower cost per click. 

Ah, decisions, decisions! But why not both? Diversify to maximize your reach.

FAQ #1: “Is Google Ads better than Bing Ads?”

Drawn scales with empty cups on chalkboard

Well, that’s like asking if a cheeseburger is better than a hot dog; it depends on your taste—or, in this case, your target audience and budget. 

Google Ads offers more reach, but Bing may offer better ROI for some businesses. 

FAQ #2: “Should I invest in social media advertising too?” 

Social media addiction

If you want to cover all your bases, then yes! According to a study by Wordstream, 96% of marketers consider Facebook the most effective platform for PPC advertising. 

Check the full story here.

Advanced Tip #1: Utilize platform-specific features. 

For example, Google Ads has an excellent “Local Services Ads” feature that specifically caters to local businesses. 

These ads get prime real estate at the top of search results and show reviews, hours, and even a “Google Guaranteed” badge if you meet their criteria.

Advanced Tip #2: Don’t just set and forget your ads; platform algorithms reward active management. 

Regularly update ad copy, fine-tune targeting parameters, and adjust bids to keep your performance at its peak. 

Think of it as continually watering and trimming your money tree. 

You wouldn’t neglect a tree that literally grows cash, would you?

Setting Up Your First Campaign – Let’s Dive In

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Alright, enough dilly-dallying. I’m thrilled you’re ready to set up your first Local PPC campaign. 

I mean, who wouldn’t be? You’re about to enter a world where you can become a local legend with the right keywords and strategy. 

Picture this: Your ad pops up when someone searches “best pizza near me,” and just like that, your restaurant is the go-to spot for Saturday night dinner plans. 

To set up a campaign, create an ad account, target audience, location, keywords, budget, and ad copy for your local audience.

FAQ #1: “How do I select the right keywords?” 


Start by brainstorming terms that your potential customers might use to search for your services. 

Then use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to fine-tune your list. 

FAQ #2: “How much budget should I set aside?” 


This varies depending on your industry and location, but according to WordStream, the average small business using Google Ads spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per month on PPC.

Advanced Tip #1: Don’t underestimate the power of ad extensions. 

Google Ads lets you add extra snippets of information below your ad like a phone number, or even snippets of reviews. 

This can significantly increase your click-through rate.

Advanced Tip #2: Leverage the SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Groups) strategy. 

By having only one keyword per ad group, you can create highly targeted ad copy and landing pages, improving both Quality Score and Ad Rank. 

But remember, while SKAGs can improve performance, they also require more management time. 

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons before diving in.

Advanced Tips – When You’re Ready to Rock

a torn paper written with inscription tips & tricks on a green background

So you’ve dipped your toes into the Local PPC waters and you’re ready to take things up a notch, eh? 

Great, because with advanced strategies, the sky—or should I say, your ROI—is the limit. 

But before you dive in, there’s something you should know: Mastery takes time and experimentation. 

You’ve got to be willing to analyze, tweak, and maybe even fall flat on your digital face a couple of times before you strike gold. 

But when you do, oh boy, it’s like hitting the Local PPC jackpot. 

For instance, consider using negative keywords to exclude irrelevant search queries, or look into dayparting to run ads only during your business hours.

FAQ #1: “Should I be using Remarketing?” 

Yes, and do it now! Remarketing allows you to show ads to people who have previously visited your site, making them more likely to convert.

FAQ #2: “What’s Quality Score and how do I improve it?” 

Quality Score is Google’s rating of your ads’ relevance, determined by your click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. 

Improving any of these factors can boost your Quality Score.

According to Search Engine Land, improving your Quality Score from 5 to 7 can decrease your cost per conversion by 16.67%.

Advanced Tip #1: Consider using Dynamic Keyword Insertion in your ad copy. 

It lets you automatically swap out text in your ads to match a user’s search query, making your ads more relevant. 

Advanced Tip #2: If you’re a multilocation business, create location-specific landing pages for each of your locations. 

Not only does this improve the user experience but it also helps in boosting your local SEO.

Monitoring and Tweaking – The Never-Ending Game

Analysis Brainstorming Business Working Report Concept

Here’s a little secret: Once you’ve set up your Local PPC campaign, your job is far from over. 

In fact, it’s just beginning! 

Think of it like tending a garden; you wouldn’t just plant seeds and walk away, right? 

You’ve got to water it, check the soil, get rid of the weeds—in this case, ineffective keywords or ads—and ensure it’s getting just the right amount of sunshine. 

The same goes for your Local PPC efforts. 

You’ve got to monitor metrics like click-through rates, quality scores, and conversion rates like a hawk, and be ready to tweak your strategies on the fly. 

For example, if you notice that your ads are getting plenty of clicks but zero conversions, you may need to reevaluate your landing pages.

FAQ #1: “What’s the best frequency for checking my PPC campaigns?” 

The frequency can vary, but a general rule of thumb is to check on your campaigns at least once a week for smaller operations, and daily for larger or more aggressive campaigns. 

FAQ #2: “How do I identify which ads aren’t performing well?” 

Look at metrics like CTR, conversion rates, and ROI. If an ad isn’t meeting your set benchmarks for these KPIs, it may be time to reassess. 

According to Marketing Dive, 40% of marketers say that data-driven advertising strategies result in better decision-making.

Advanced Tip #1: Utilize A/B testing to continuously optimize your campaigns. 

This will allow you to compare two versions of an ad or landing page to see which one performs better. 

Advanced Tip #2: Leverage Google Analytics in conjunction with your PPC platform to get a more holistic view of your campaign performance. 

By setting up UTM parameters for your PPC links, you can track not just clicks and conversions, but also secondary actions like time spent on site or pages viewed, giving you a richer understanding of user behavior.

FAQs – Quick Fixes for Common Hiccups

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Okay, now let’s jump into the wild west of PPC: the frequently asked questions and common hiccups. 

Trust me, even the most seasoned PPC samurais have stumbled upon a few roadblocks in their quest for Local PPC glory. 

So, let’s go through some quick fixes for these universal speed bumps. 

“why am I not seeing my own ads?” 

Lifestyle, people emotions and casual concept. Concerned and shocked woman find out painful truth

This has stumped many a novice advertiser, and the answer is often as simple as budget constraints or improper keyword targeting. 

If you’ve just launched a campaign and don’t see your ads, give it some time and also check the backend to ensure that you’re not exhausting your budget too quickly or targeting too narrowly.

“Why is my cost-per-click (CPC) so high?” 

Business man clicking internet search page on computer touch screen at home office.

High CPC is often a result of high competition for your target keywords or a low-quality score. 

You can either look for less competitive keywords or work on improving your ad relevance and landing page experience. 

According to Search Engine Land, 64% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online. 

That’s right, you’re not alone in your PPC endeavors!

Advanced Tip #1: Use negative keywords to filter out irrelevant queries and save on unnecessary CPC. 

This will not only reduce your costs but also improve the quality of traffic you receive. 

Advanced Tip #2: If your CPC is sky-high, consider using ‘long-tail keywords’. 

These are more specific and less competitive, which can result in a lower CPC while still attracting highly targeted traffic. 

So instead of bidding on “coffee shop,” you might go for “best iced caramel latte in Brooklyn.”

Resources and Further Reading – Keeping the Fire Burning

Business people planning resources

So, you’ve made it through the PPC wilderness, and now you’re ready to level up. 

To truly master Local PPC, it’s crucial to keep the flame of knowledge burning. 

Like SEO, the world of PPC is ever-changing and staying updated is your best weapon. 

First and foremost, you should bookmark blogs like PPC Hero and Search Engine Land. 

These resources are continually updated with the latest trends, tips, and strategies to take your campaigns to the next level. 

Additionally, webinars and online courses can offer deeper dives into specific topics. 

For example, the Google Ads certification course is a great way to solidify your foundational knowledge and learn directly from the platform you’ll most likely be using.

FAQ #1: “What are some good books on PPC?” 

Well, “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords” by Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd is a solid read. 

It offers valuable insights and strategies that even seasoned pros can learn from. 

FAQ #2: “Are there any good forums to join?” 

Absolutely, check out places like the /r/PPC subreddit or the Google Ads Community forum. 

Real-time advice from fellow advertisers can be invaluable. 

According to HubSpot, 65% of B2B companies have successfully acquired a customer through LinkedIn ads. 

This stat tells us that while Google Ads may be the most prominent platform for PPC, don’t underestimate the power of other platforms, especially if you’re in the B2B sector.

Advanced Tip #1: Stay alert for Google’s own updates and announcements about their Ads platform. 

Subscribing to Google’s newsletters can give you a heads-up on new features or changes that could affect your campaigns. 

Advanced Tip #2: A/B testing isn’t just for your ads; apply it to your learning resources as well. 

Dabble in various formats – books, courses, webinars, forums – to find which resource helps you grasp PPC concepts most effectively. Then, double down on what works.

Well that’s it for this one! click here for more SEO tips.

Till next time!

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