Use Negative Keywords to make up for the Advanced Location Setting limitations:
An often overlooked setting in Google AdWords is the “Advanced Location Settings”. This setting can get rather confusing and Google recommends you just leave the setting at the defaults. If you do this, you will show your ads to “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about your targeted location.” Depending on the type of business you are in, you may not want to show your ads to everyone under the sun. Let’s break down why.
What this AdWords setting means and how it will affect when your ad’s show up.
- “People IN” my targeted location
This means that anyone physically located IN your targeted area will see your ad. This is determined by the users I.P. address. On the surface this sounds great, but what if a user is physically in your area and searching for one of your chosen keywords with a Geo-Modifier that is OUTSIDE of your targeted location?
For example – a Hardwood Flooring Company in Denver would not want to show their ad to a person sitting in Denver searching for “Hardwood Flooring Seattle, WA”. Why not? This would be a completely wasted impression. Wasted impressions lower your Click Thru Rate – Lower CTR = Lower Quality Score, Lower Q.S. = Higher Cost per click.
Maybe not a big deal for 1 keyword, but if you have hundreds or thousands of keywords, this could come up a lot and have a very negative effect on a campaigns overall performance.
- People “Searching For” my targeted location
This means that your ad can show to anyone OUTSIDE your targeted area that searches with a geo-modifier that includes your targeted location name in it. This is good because maybe the I.P. address is out of your area. Or maybe someone travelling to your area will be searching for services in your area and you want the opportunity to capture that business. In a nutshell, you always want to show up for searches that include your targeted location in the search term.
- People “viewing pages about your targeted location”
This means that if someone is viewing pages about your area (looking up “tourist activities in Denver”) your ad would have a chance to show to that person if they later search “Hardwood Flooring, Seattle, WA”, regardless of where they are physically located. Most local, blue collar, businesses would not want their ad to show to these people.
Note: Google does not state how long they take a users interest in a location into account. We don’t know if Google will show ads to a user based on an area of interest they had yesterday, last week, or last month.
In a perfect world, you would show your ads to people that are physically in your area, OR searching with a Geo-Modifier in the name of their search. However, the 3 targeting options that Google provides don’t allow this. You can either target all 3 (in, searching for, or view pages about) or you can target JUST “People IN’ your area, or just people “Searching for or viewing pages about” your targeted area. Enter Google’s “Exclusion OIptions”
Exclusion Options and Definitions:
- “Exclude people in, searching for, or viewing pages about my EXCLUDED area”
If you leave this default box checked, and you exclude certain cities – you will exclude everyone in that EXCLUDED city, or anyone searching for info about that EXCLUDED city. This means that if someone is sitting in Seattle and searches for “Hardwood Flooring Denver” your ad would not show for that person.
- “Exclude people in my excluded location”
If you check this box, then you will exclude people physically in your excluded area no matter what. Again – not ideal. You will surely miss some relevant searches.
So what do you do about these shortcomings in the Advanced Location Settings.
As you can see it is not possible, with the available inclusion and exclusion settings, to accurately target ONLY people “physically in” OR “searching for” your keywords. So what do you do about it?
The solution: Leave the default settings but use negative keywords for the top 100 cities (by size) in the United States). This will eliminate the vast majority, if not all, of the irrelevant searches. If you setup a Denver Campaign, with a “Hardwood Flooring” ad-group – and on the campaign level your inclusion options are set to the default “people in, searching for, or viewing pages about” my targeted location – but you put a negative keyword your ad will not show to a person sitting in Denver but searching for “Hardwood Flooring Seattle” because the negative keyword will exclude that ad.
The reason using negative keywords for the top 100 cities will eliminate virtually all of the irrelevant searches with a Geo Modifier or to someone that is “viewing pages about” that location (regardless of where they are physically located) is because Google also shows ad’s for “related cities” which means that by included the top 100 cities (by size) in the USA – you will also eliminate most of the surrounding suburbs.
This work will be tedious, but in the long run it will give you a leg up on your competitors because they are most likely NOT going to bother. This means their ad’s should have a lower quality score, which means you will have a better chance at better placement at a lower cost.
Good luck, and as always – if you need EXPERT AdWords Help at one of the lowest prices around, don’t hesitate to get in touch.