Try these 10 expert tips our team uses every day to dominate local search results.

Here you’ll find:

  • What local PPC is
  • How this type of PPC advertising works
  • Local PPC strategies in action
  • What to look for in a local PPC agency partner

Whenever I visit a new place, one of the first things I Google is “best restaurants.” With location services turned on, I’m met with a list of search results for local eateries — and some sponsored ads via Google Maps.

These ads are an example of businesses using local pay-per click (PPC) ads to reach their audience. And when done right, they’re a powerhouse in online advertising. 

In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, professionals are always on the lookout for new ways to reach their audience. PPC advertising has emerged as a powerful tool to drive leads, traffic, and sales. 

While PPC is known for its global reach, it’s also paved the way for the more targeted approach known as local PPC. Let’s take a look at what this tactic is, the benefits of local PPC, and some examples of awesome local PPC strategies in action.

What is local PPC?

Local PPC is a digital marketing strategy that allows marketers to reach an audience in a specific geographic location.

This tactic uses location targeting to help you increase lead generation, gain new customers, and dominate search engine results pages (SERPs) with local campaigns.

Also known as geo-targeting PPC, this tactic is a powerful tool you can use to attract a highly-relevant audience in specific locations. It involves showing ads to users based on their location or in the place they’re searching for (think: search queries using local keywords like “best restaurants in Manhattan”).

google search results for "optometrist"

Local PPC ad example. (Image: Google Search results)

How does local PPC work?

Local PPC operates the same way as traditional PPC, the crucial distinction being the targeting criteria. 

In conventional PPC, businesses bid on keywords to display their ads to users who are searching for those specific terms, regardless of their location. 

Local PPC uses additional targeting parameters like location-based keywords, location extensions, and radius targeting, to narrow down the audience and display ads to people in a particular geographic area.

Let’s go back to the example from above. Let’s say I’m visiting a friend who just moved to Missoula, Montana, and we’re looking for a bite to eat after a long day of unpacking. 

Businesses in the area that want to attract more customers within a certain radius of their physical store might use local PPC to set up a campaign that’ll display ads only to users in that specific area. Targeted terms might be “best restaurants in Missoula” or “cafe near me.”

This focused approach helps businesses connect with potential customers who are more likely to visit their store and convert into paying customers. 

Pro tip: While Google still ranks “near me” searches, it’s no longer recommended to optimize for the phrase and others like it. Don’t worry though, Google will still pull up “near me” results.

Benefits of local PPC

Local PPC is a game-changing approach for businesses with physical locations. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of local PPC and why it’s a must-have for your digital marketing strategy.

Enhanced relevance 

Tailoring ads to a specific audience allows businesses to create more relevant messaging that resonates with customers’ needs and preferences (not to mention deliver a top-notch user experience).

Highly targeted audience

Local PPC ensures that your ads are displayed to users who are most likely to be interested in your product or service, meaning you have to spend less time on developing a buyer persona profile. 

Increased offline conversions

For businesses with a physical storefront, foot traffic is essential to success. Local PPC excels at driving folks to places like restaurants, retail stores, and service centers. 

Clicking on a local PPC ad has the potential to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds. This seamless integration of online and offline efforts can significantly boost foot traffic and lead to increased offline conversions, making it a valuable asset for local businesses.


Local PPC enables businesses to focus their advertising budget on specific regions, avoiding wasteful spending on audiences outside their target market – Ultimately leading to a more cost-effective campaign.

Geo-fencing opportunities

More advanced local PPC strategies will sometimes use geo-fencing, a technique that sets virtual boundaries around a certain location. With this tactic, businesses can create customized campaigns within these boundaries. This can be especially effective with seasonal promotions, special offers, and other time-sensitive events.

Competitive edge in local markets

Local PPC offers a competitive advantage by allowing businesses to be present at the exact moment customers are searching for a product or service. This strategic placement gets businesses more visibility, can help attract a local customer base, and compete effectively with larger companies.

Brand awareness

Consistent exposure to local audiences contributes to increased brand awareness and recognition within the community. This can lead to stronger brand loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.

Flexibility & customization

Local PPC campaigns can be easily customized and tailored to suit specific business objectives. Whether you’re promoting seasonal offers, announcing local events, or showcasing new products, this gives you the flexibility to adapt your ads to match your unique marketing goals.

Real-time performance tracking

Local PPC platforms offer real-time analytics and performance tracking, enabling businesses to monitor the effectiveness of their campaigns and make data-driven adjustments to optimize results.

How to create a local PPC strategy: 10 expert tips

A well-crafted strategy can be a powerful tool to boost your business’s online visibility. Here’s our quick guide to creating a local PPC strategy that drives results.

laptop screen showing local ppc management

(Image: Unsplash)

1. Define your objectives

Begin by setting clear and specific objectives for your local PPC campaigns. Are you aiming to increase store visits, generate leads, boost online sales, or raise brand awareness? Understanding your goals will shape the rest of your strategy and help you measure success.

 2. Identify your target audience

Pinpoint your ideal local customers based on demographics, interests, behavior, and geographic location. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads’ Audience Insights can help you glean valuable data about your target audience.

3. Conduct keyword research

Perform comprehensive keyword research to identify relevant and location-specific keywords. You’ll want to include keywords related to your products or services, combined with local terms such as city names, or neighborhoods.

4. Create geographically-focused ad groups

Next, you’ll want to organize your keywords into ad groups based on geographic regions and relevance. This approach allows you to deliver highly-targeted ads to specific audiences, ultimately improving click-through rates.

5. Craft compelling ad copy

Highlight the unique selling points of your business while incorporating location-specific information, such as the city or neighborhood, to add a personalized touch.

6. Leverage location extensions

Take advantage of location extensions in your ads to display your physical address, phone number, and a map with directions.

googe search results screenshot

(Image: Google search results)

In the example above, the highlighted portion shows there’s a store near me and that it’s open now.

7. Set geographic targeting

Try using geo-targeting to specify the locations where you want your ads to be shown. You can select specific cities, regions, or even set a radius around your business location to reach users within a defined distance.

8. Optimize your landing pages

Your landing page should be relevant to the ad and provide users with the information they’re seeking. A clear call-to-action (CTA) will encourage users to make a purchase, fill out a form, or visit your store in person.

9. Track and analyze results

Pay attention to metrics like click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per conversion. Analyze the data to identify areas of improvement and make data-driven adjustments to optimize your strategy.

10. Continuously test and refine

PPC advertising is an iterative process. Continuously test different ad variations, keywords, and targeting settings to find what works best for your business. Use A/B testing to compare performance and refine your Local PPC strategy based on the insights gained.

The importance of local PPC management

Local PPC management is a niche tactic under the search engine marketing umbrella. It involves overseeing and optimizing PPC advertising campaigns tailored to target local audiences.

 This approach, as we’ve outlined, helps businesses with physical locations or local service areas drive more foot traffic, increase online visibility within their communities, and ultimately achieve better ROI.

Local PPC management plays a pivotal role in helping businesses target their ideal audience and maximize the impact of advertising in their local area. By focusing on specific geographic regions, businesses can avoid wasting ad spend on irrelevant clicks and reach users who are more likely to convert into paying customers.

Moreover, Local PPC management ensures that search ads are highly relevant to the local audience, increasing the chances of engagement and driving more foot traffic to physical stores or local service locations. 

chalkboard sign that reads "thank you for shopping local"

When done well, local PPC campaigns can do wonders for your brick-and-mortar store. (Image: Unsplash)

This relevance not only boosts ad performance but also strengthens the connection between businesses and their communities, fostering brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Local PPC competition can be fierce

Furthermore, local advertising can be highly competitive, especially in densely populated areas like New York or Los Angeles. Local PPC management empowers businesses to optimize search campaigns continuously, adapt to changing market dynamics, and stay ahead of their competitors in the local marketplace.

Local PPC management is an integral part of a successful digital marketing strategy for businesses with physical locations or local service areas. By utilizing location-specific targeting, customizing ad copy, and optimizing campaigns based on performance data, businesses can achieve higher engagement, increased foot traffic, and better ROI. 

Effective local PPC management allows both established and new businesses to connect with their local audience in a meaningful way, driving growth and success within their communities. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some successful local PPC strategies in action.

Local PPC strategies in action

Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of local PPC, how it can enhance your ad campaigns, and how to create one, let’s dive into some successful local PPC strategies.

1. HomElectrical

HomElectrical is a shop for house contractors and folks looking for lighting-related products at competitive price points. With more than 134,000 wholesale electric supply and lighting options, this company aims to help customers reduce energy consumption through LED offerings and green initiatives.

The HomElectrical team were looking to scale their digital marketing efforts including local PPC and paid social in order to increase efficiency and return on ad spend (ROAS).

So we got to work implementing new campaign approaches to cover the entire site catalog of products more efficiently. Once those campaigns were on the right track, we were able to pivot to a hands-on approach to ensure continued growth.

This hands-on approach allowed us to customize PPC ads and thoroughly take advantage of the benefits of local PPC. 

Results of this strategy:

While partnering with HawkSEM, HomElectric was able to: 

  • Increase clicks by 32%
  • Grow revenue by 99%
  • Increase ROAS by 19%


DILO is a full-service emission-free gas handling product and service provider. The company has made a name for itself in the energy field through products that boast safety, economic efficiency, and a technological advantage. 

After conducting a site redesign in 2019, DILO lost some of their strong keyword rankings and saw organic traffic decrease. 

They knew they needed to reestablish their brand as an industry leader by regaining rankings for some of those high-value keywords. They also wanted to increase organic exposure across the board to respond to emerging competitors – and that’s where our local PPC strategy came in.

After digging into DILO’s current SEO efforts, we were able to pinpoint a handful of fixes to ensure their site was optimized, speedy, and easy to navigate. From there, we worked with their team to optimize existing site content and ensure future content is optimized with elements like targeted keywords and meta tags. 

Lastly, we helped them strategize future content ideas and helpful visuals like infographics to position them as thought leaders and grow their local organic traffic. 

SEO and local PPC results:

While partnering with HawkSEM, DILO was able to: 

  • See a 36% increase in organic clicks in 6 months
  • Increase Google clicks for high-value keywords by 24% in 3 months
  • See a 46% increase in Google impressions in 3 months

3. Happy Ears Hearing Center

Happy Ears Hearing Center is one of the most trusted audiology practices in the greater Phoenix area. When they reached out to HawkSEM, they were ready to take the next step in solidifying themselves as industry experts.

In order to do that, they needed to bring in more users and overall traffic by bringing in the local crowd.

To become the go-to resource for hearing disorders, we had to expand and improve their content  to reflect popular search terms people all over the U.S. are looking to learn more about.

Results of this strategy:

While partnering with HawkSEM, Happy Ears Hearing Center was able to: 

  • Increase total organic keywords ranked by more than 245%
  • Grow estimated organic traffic by 396% 
  • Increase local conversions by nearly 44%

As you can see, local PPC strategy and SEO efforts typically go hand in hand. SEO is usually a wide-reaching, more long-term strategy – while local PPC can get you your desired results more quickly.  

Partnering with a local PPC agency

As an award-winning digital marketing agency ourselves, we know a thing or two about choosing the right agency partner to help with your local PPC advertising. Here are some key things to consider when searching:

Expertise in local PPC strategies

Look for a team with a proven track record of running successful location-based campaigns. They should be familiar with geo-targeting, location extensions, and other essential tools specific to local advertising.

Customization and personalization

Every business has distinct goals and requirements. Look for an agency that prioritizes customization and personalization in their approach. They should be willing to take the time to understand your business and tailor their strategies accordingly.

Transparent communication 

Open and transparent communication is essential for a successful partnership. Ensure your agency team is willing to keep you informed about campaign progress, share insights and data, and discuss strategy adjustments.

Client support and relationship

A strong partnership is built on trust, collaboration, and a shared commitment to achieving your business goals. Be sure to assess the company’s approach to the agency-client relationship to ensure a lasting partnership.

Pro tip: A full-service agency like HawkSEM can provide additional benefits, like use of our proprietary technology, ConversionIQ. Consider partnering with an agency that can offer complementary services, such as local SEO, content marketing, or social media management, to create a cohesive and comprehensive marketing strategy.

The takeaway

Local PPC is an excellent strategy to employ when you’re looking to take your brand awareness, foot traffic, and revenue to the next level. Partnering with a local PPC agency can help you get the most out of this tactic – and that’s where HawkSEM swoops in.

Get in touch with us today and start a discussion about revamping your PPC strategy to reach your business and marketing goals.


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