Master Local Keyword Research for Google Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide

by | Dec 18, 2023 | Google Ads

In the realm of digital marketing, geographical targeting has taken center stage, making local keyword research for Google Ads a game-changer for businesses aiming at specific geographic areas. Mastering this art with Google Ads tools can significantly boost visibility in search results, driving relevant traffic to your doorstep. But how exactly can you navigate this? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Local keyword research is essential for optimizing Google Ads campaigns, providing businesses with enhanced conversion rates and improved local presence.

  • Utilizing tools such as Keyword Planner, Trends and Search Console can help identify high-value keywords to incorporate into ad copy optimization, landing page optimization and location targeting & bid adjustments.

  • Tracking & analyzing performance of local keywords enables businesses to optimize their campaigns for better results in the local search environment.

Understanding the Importance of Local Keyword Research for Google Ads

Local Business Owner Conducting Local Keyword Research

Local SEO keyword research involves identifying and analyzing search terms specific to a geographic area, attracting leads and customers in those locations. Acquiring knowledge about the local search landscape provides insights into traffic-driving potential keywords. These are often referred to as explicit local keywords and implicit local keywords, which aid in tailoring SEO strategies to cater to users demonstrating strong purchase intent.

The selection process entails prioritizing terms based on search volumes, competition, and relevancy, while incorporating location terms to address explicit local searches.

Benefits of local keyword research

Focusing on relevant and specific keywords through local keyword research can lead to:

  • Enhanced conversion rates

  • Appealing to local customers

  • Boosting presence in local search results

  • Optimizing potential to convert website visitors into customers

Additionally, by targeting local-specific keywords through local keyword research, businesses can face reduced competition. It results in fewer businesses vying for the same search terms, especially in geographically focused markets. This significant advantage improves local SEO efforts, making local keyword research a powerful tool in the arsenal of any business aiming for geographical relevance.

Challenges in local keyword research

Despite the benefits, local keyword research isn’t without challenges. Understanding user intent is one such challenge, as it aids in identifying the specific phrases and keywords used by individuals when seeking local products and services. Another hurdle is the rising use of voice search, which has greatly influenced the way businesses approach keyword strategies.

Avoiding common mistakes in local keyword research involves businesses:

  • Not focusing exclusively on high search volume keywords

  • Aligning with search intent

  • Not neglecting long-tail and locational-modifier keywords

  • Carefully considering keyword competition levels

  • Conduct local keyword research to identify the most suitable keywords for their local business requirements.

Utilizing Google Ads Tools for Local Keyword Research

Person Analyzing Local Keyword Data On Google Keyword Planner

Effectively using Google Ads tools is the key to unleashing the potential of local keyword research. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Search Console can be utilized to analyze search volumes and difficulties of selected keywords, conduct thorough local keyword research, and integrate these keywords into various aspects of a website.

Let’s explore in depth the contribution of each tool to this process.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner plays an indispensable role in identifying local keywords. It provides data on search volumes, which are invaluable for making well-informed decisions. It’s a powerful tool for conducting keyword analysis, offering valuable insights into keyword ideas and their corresponding search volumes.

To conduct research using Google Keyword Planner, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Google Ads.

  2. Navigate to the tool through ‘Tools and settings’.

  3. Select ‘Discover new keywords’.

  4. Input the desired location and category of the product or service to get keyword suggestions and estimated search volumes pertinent to the local business.

  5. The tool also facilitates the identification of local keywords by enabling the filtering of searches based on country, territory, region, or city, catering to the needs of businesses targeting specific geographical areas.

Google Trends

Another useful tool to gain insights into local search trends and seasonality is Google Trends. This tool can offer insights into geographic search trends specific to your area by gathering data from Google Search queries, aiding in understanding the local search environment.

Google Trends provides insights into location-based audience interests by displaying the geographic spread and popularity of particular search terms and topics. This enables businesses to:

  • Customize their strategy to align with the preferences of the local audience

  • Gain valuable insights into the seasonality of key terms by visually representing the search patterns for those terms over the course of a year

  • Guide the timing of marketing initiatives and the creation of content

Google Search Console

Identifying the local keywords that drive the most traffic to your website is facilitated by Google Search Console, a crucial tool. It provides performance data, such as local search rankings, features, and user engagement metrics like click-through rates, to aid in understanding the influence of local keywords on website traffic.

To effectively leverage Google Search Console for local keyword research, follow these steps:

  1. Create an account and access the ‘Performance’ section.

  2. Use the Search Performance Report.

  3. Select an appropriate date range.

  4. Export the keywords to analyze local search performance.

Understanding why keyword research important can provide valuable insights for your keyword research, including the identification of relevant keywords.

Developing a Local Keyword Strategy for Google Ads

Utilizing Google Ads Tools For Local Keyword Research

Once you have a solid grasp of local keyword research and the tools that aid in the process, the subsequent step involves developing a strong local keyword strategy for Google Ads. The process involves identifying core local keywords, expanding the keyword list with modifiers and variations, and prioritizing high-value local keywords.

Identifying core local keywords

Specific phrases or terms that people use when searching for local products or services and are relevant to a local business are known as core local keywords. These are the terms most likely to drive conversions and should be given emphasis in the Google Ads campaigns.

To identify core local keywords, follow these steps:

  1. List the services or products the business offers.

  2. Check for local intent in the keywords by including location-specific terms or modifiers.

  3. Check the search volumes of the keywords to determine their popularity.

This combination helps identify the core local keywords that are relevant to its operations and have a high search volume.

Expanding your keyword list with modifiers and variations

The expansion of a local keyword list is greatly aided by keyword modifiers and variations. They refine searches to align with the specific preferences and local intent of the user, thereby enhancing the likelihood of appearing in pertinent local searches. This is why local keyword research important plays a crucial role in optimizing your online presence.

Examples of effective keyword modifiers for local businesses include terms such as the best local keywords:

  • ‘best’

  • ‘top’

  • ‘near me’

  • ‘in my area’

  • ‘local’

  • ‘buy’

  • ‘cheap’

  • ‘where’

  • ‘how’

Incorporating diverse phrases and location modifiers relevant to the same products or services is instrumental in broadening reach and enhancing the likelihood of appearing in search results.

Prioritizing high-value local keywords

High-value local keywords in Google Ads refer to those tailored for a specific local area with the capability to generate valuable traffic and conversions. These target keywords often incorporate location-specific terms, such as city names, neighborhood names, or local landmarks, along with relevant industry or product/service keywords.

To determine the most lucrative local keywords for Google Ads, one can utilize tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Scalenut to enhance their keyword list and ascertain the frequency of searches for those keywords. However, it’s essential to consider keyword competition levels when prioritizing local keywords for Google Ads.

Implementing Local Keywords in Your Google Ads Campaigns

Local Business Implementing Local Keywords In Google Ads Campaigns

Once local keywords are identified and prioritized, their incorporation into Google Ads campaigns becomes the subsequent critical step. This involves optimizing ad copy, landing pages, and location targeting to make the most of your local keyword strategy.

Ad copy optimization

Incorporating local keywords into your Google Ads is critical as it boosts the relevance of your ads by honing in on specific locations, thus amplifying ad visibility, ad relevance, and fine-tuning ad targeting. An effective way to integrate local keywords into Google Ads headlines is by utilizing the business name and including precise references to the location and business details, thereby enhancing ad rank, relevance, and overall performance.

Moreover, when it comes to incorporating local keywords into ad descriptions, it’s advisable to:

  • Use local terms for your keywords

  • Mention local landmarks in your marketing efforts

  • Embrace local symbols or pride to establish a connection with the community in your PPC advertising.

Even the display URLs for Google Ads can be optimized by ensuring that local terms are integrated into your website’s content.

Landing page optimization

Employing local keywords to optimize landing pages can considerably enhance quality scores and conversion rates. To enhance landing page titles, it is suggested to:

  • Incorporate local keywords and phrases into the title

  • Structure the page to include pertinent local keywords

  • Include the brand name in the title for improved optimization.

Incorporating local keywords in content can also enhance Google Ads Quality Score by increasing the relevance of the ads to the user’s geographic location, leading to higher expected click-through rates. However, it’s important to maintain a balanced keyword density for local keywords on a landing page, ideally between 0.5% and 3%.

Location targeting and bid adjustments

Essential components of a successful local keyword strategy in Google Ads include location targeting and bid adjustments. Location targeting allows advertisers to focus their ads on particular geographic areas, ensuring that their advertising efforts are concentrated on the most pertinent locations.

Bid adjustments are customizable settings that enable advertisers to increase or decrease their bids based on specific criteria, such as location, device, or time of day. They play a significant role in enhancing ad performance and increasing the likelihood of reaching the intended audience.

Monitoring and adjusting bid strategies can maintain optimal campaign performance, ultimately maximizing the return on investment (ROI) of advertising campaigns and reaching the most valuable audience for the business.

Tracking and Analyzing Local Keyword Performance

Person Analyzing Local Keyword Performance Data

Once local keywords are utilized in your Google Ads campaigns, monitoring and analyzing their performance becomes critical. This enables businesses to make data-driven decisions, optimize their campaigns, and achieve better results.

Monitoring local keyword rankings

Tracking local keyword rankings is vital as it empowers businesses to gauge their performance and identify areas for improvement within the local search environment. The Position Tracking tool offers insight into keyword rankings by displaying current and previous rankings, identifying if keywords trigger a local pack, and determining if the business is included in it.

Businesses can transfer their local keywords into the Position Tracking tool by extracting them from Keyword Manager or a spreadsheet as a CSV file and utilizing the ‘Import from’ button.

An alternative tool for monitoring local keyword rankings is the Local Rank Tracker from Localo, which is specifically tailored for tracking the visibility of a business profile on Google.

Evaluating ad performance by location

Assessing ad performance by location gives insights into the efficacy of local keywords and aids businesses in refining their campaigns for superior outcomes. Key metrics to consider include:

  • Impressions

  • Clicks

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR)

  • Spend

  • Conversions

  • Ad impressions

  • Ad clicks

  • Cost per click

Analyzing ad performance variation by location can be advantageous for your Google Ads campaign as it helps in identifying areas that deliver strong results and those that need enhancements. This understanding enables you to allocate your advertising budget to the most profitable areas, customize your messaging and offers for local audiences, and ultimately improve the effectiveness of your online ads.


In conclusion, local keyword research is a powerful strategy for businesses targeting specific geographic areas. By understanding its importance, leveraging Google Ads tools, developing a local keyword strategy, implementing these keywords, and monitoring performance, businesses can significantly improve their visibility in search results and drive more relevant traffic. Continual monitoring and analysis of local keyword performance will ensure that your strategies remain effective and your business stays ahead of the competition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find good keywords for Google ads?

Finding good keywords for Google Ads is a crucial part of online marketing success. Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to get ideas, and follow best practices such as thinking like your customers, being specific but not too specific, adding a website to improve results, highlighting brands in your offerings, being descriptive, using multiple keywords or phrases, and using location wisely.

How do you rank keywords locally?

Ranking keywords locally requires a four-step process. Identify your core term and add keyword modifiers, specify your location, focus on industry-related keywords and check local metrics and competitors’ rankings. Finally, map your keywords to URLs.

How do I find local search volume of keywords?

To find local search volume of keywords, enter the city you want to target and ensure the drop-down says “local.” Add a list of relevant keywords and then view their search volume for that region.

What is keyword research for Google ads?

Keyword research for Google Ads involves targeting and bidding on specific keywords in your industry to ensure your ads appear when people are searching for related products or services. For example, if you sell handbags, you’d want to target common searches for those looking to buy handbags.

What is the significance of local keyword research for businesses focusing on specific areas?

Local keyword research is essential for businesses focusing on specific areas as it can help drive relevant traffic to their location, improving visibility in search results and ultimately increasing leads and customers.

About Preston Toor
Preston, the founder and co-owner of Results Digital, brings nearly a decade of rich experience in the digital marketing realm. His journey began in the world of WordPress web design, swiftly transitioning into the intricacies of SEO and Google Ads. His tenure at two prominent digital marketing agencies equipped him with invaluable insights and expertise in website design, SEO, and Google Ads management. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep-seated passion for elevating businesses, Preston ventured to establish Results Digital. His commitment is rooted in guiding businesses to achieve unprecedented growth and success. On a lighter note, Preston’s admiration for Obi-Wan Kenobi, his favorite Jedi, mirrors his approach to digital marketing – wise, strategic, and always focused on the greater good. This is subtly reflected in his bio picture, a nod to his personal interests and character.