How to use local targeting to place locally based PPC ads

Local SEA makes people from your region find you faster and better. You can have PPC search ads delivered locally, targeting a radius or specific locations.


With Local SEA and Geotargeting on Google Ads, you can make sure that your customers are in the right place at the right time - in your store. We'll tell you how to do it.

Local SEO and Local SEA - not so different after all

Local SEA is not so different from Local SEO. It is rather the logical development of the same idea: Our customers are located in a certain area. Therefore, we place our ads when they are in this area with their cell phones or PCs. We don't optimize the keywords on our website, but use the resources that Google (or Bing) provides us. Local SEA works as easy as pie: pretty much all smartphones and computer users send out location signals. With Google Ads, you can specify the environment in which you want your ads to appear. Potential customers for your restaurant will see your ad if they are within walking distance of your business. In combination with other keywords or additional rules you can create your own target group, which is located in your vicinity.

But what about the keywords? If you have optimized your geotargeting for Berlin, you don't need to post keywords like "Restaurant Berlin" or "Dining in Berlin". You should automatically appear in those search results. However, it can still be worthwhile to book a low-volume ad campaign for local keywords: This will allow you to target tourists relatively inexpensively and reach people who for some reason are not covered by geotargeting (privacy settings, faulty GPS, just outside the city limits ...).

Are local ads worth it for your business?

Small and medium-sized businesses don't necessarily need to advertise all over Germany. Even for eCommerce companies, there is often a specific region where most customers come from. How can you tell that local SEA is worthwhile for you?

  • You have a retail store with a physical location. Your customers come in, look around and, in the best case, buy something nice. A traditional retail business benefits from acquiring more walk-in customers through Local SEA - especially when it comes to products for special moments.
  • Businesses like yours abound - it's proximity or convenient accessibility that matters to most customers. This applies to many service providers who don't have a specialized offering, such as hairdressers, car dealers, flower stores or ice cream parlors. With local search ads, you stand out from the competition and attract undecided new customers to you.
  • The customers do not come to you, but you come to the customer: Craftsmen and service providers may not have a business with direct customer contact, but they still operate in a limited region. Even if you're potentially taking further trips to get there, you should run at least some of your Google Ads ads locally.
  • Is your online business focused on a specific region? Do you offer an online store for local specialties or do you address a regional target group with your coaching offer? If so, you can optimize your SEA locally to advertise more effectively.
  • You could potentially make customers from all over the country happy, but you don't know how to reach such a large group. Locally specialized ads offer you an easy way to activate a smaller audience and slowly build a customer base.

Geotargeting guide: How to run local ads in Google Ads

First, you need to enable geotargeting in your campaign. You probably already specified at the beginning of your work that you want your ads to appear only in Germany. This is the default option, which is often already set by default. A good start, but there's more!

Some brainstorming: A good strategy is the be-all and end-all of geotargeting. You have the choice between different targeting options to find the perfect target group:

  • All people within a radius of your location (depending on the type of campaign, we recommend a radius of 5 to 15 kilometers, although smaller radii are possible for walk-in customers in larger cities). Note: If you activate targeting with a radius, the zone is located at a predefined position in the respective city, usually in the city center. You can define the central location more precisely by specifying the address on the page.
  • You specify specific addresses. In big cities like Berlin or Hamburg you can target single streets. In Berlin, at least, there is the option to differentiate your ad groups by zip code. You can find out which locations Google Ads offers in Germany in this list. In addition to city districts, there are individual points of interest to choose from. In Berlin, for example, you can precisely focus on the Freie Universität Berlin
  • This is how the two options look in Local SEA for the radius around our office in Berlin. With the zip code mode, we can precisely target Kreuzberg, while the radius is a bit more flexible.
  • This is what the two options look like for the radius around our office in Berlin. With the postal code mode we can exactly match Kreuzberg, while the radius is a bit more flexible.

You can add individual districts with bulk editing. This saves time and nerves if you have branches in several cities and want to draw a radius around each one. You can find the options for this in the campaign menu under the "Locations" item.

5 tips to optimize your PPC ads in the region

  1. Conversion > Clicks. Clicks on your website don't bring you anything at first, except costs. Sure, with more site visitors comes a higher conversion total. But ideally, customers will contact you before they even click on the ad. To optimize your conversion rate, there are numerous ad extensions like the handy caller extension.
  2. To monitor how well your regional ads are performing (and which places aren't performing so well), you should import Analytics into your Ads account. This will allow you to track conversions and analyze your trove of data in one place. Whitespark tells you exactly how this works in their guide.
  3. Local campaigns in the display network can work - but usually they don't perform very well. We recommend to run Local SEA exclusively in the search network. Your ads will then only appear in the search results on Google or on Google Maps, not on other websites. If you still want to try it out, we advise you to use separate ad groups for the Search Network and the Display Network.
  4. Optimize the ad text for each region! If you create a separate ad group for each location, you can personalize the texts and adapt them exactly to the target group. Small bonus: If the keywords in the page title match the search query, they appear a bit thicker in the SERPs - ideal eye-catchers!
  5. You want to address people who are currently in your defined region? By default, your ad is also displayed to users who google for the region but are not currently there. To change this, you have to go to the "Advanced location options" under "Settings" and activate the option "Users in my target regions" there.
  6. Speaking of exclusion: You can exclude not only keywords, but also regions. You don't feel like driving all the way to Spandau for every job, even though geographically that belongs to Berlin? Simply exclude the district in question and concentrate on more lucrative districts!

Conclusion: Go Local! Google Ads offers many possibilities to get close to your customers

Local search ads help you target customers who come to you right after. They are excellent for attracting new customer groups and support you in remarketing: This way you stay longer in the memory and attract regular customers to your site. Google and Bing offer countless opportunities to use geotargeting to find people in your area. Small businesses in particular have a cost-effective way to run ads that hit the right people.


  • Local SEA makes people from your region find you faster and better.
  • You can have PPC search ads delivered locally, targeting a radius or specific locations.
  • Local ads in the search engine are always worthwhile if your target group can be found at a definable point.
  • With a data-based analysis, you can find out which locations are worthwhile for your business.
  • You don't have to run ads with regional keywords, but you can rely on geotargeting.
Klaus Wegener