Last week, we received a question (well, a series of questions!) from a faithful reader regarding PPC geo targeting. Her questions were based off a post that I wrote last year, and were really focused on strategy. In lieu of responding only to her, I felt this would be a good excuse to recap some of the PPC geo targeting best practices!

I set up a campaign, using different Ad Groups to target different locations; including location in keywords: [party hire yorkshire] exact matches. Had planned to target whole of UK. But would like to try Location Targeting different areas of UK instead. I would modify campaign to include both general & geographic keywords. What do you mean by ‘Companion Campaign’; does this mean a duplicate campaign targeting the whole of UK instead of specific areas. What are geographic modifiers? Thanks for the help!
– Jessica

Well Jessica, I believe I can help you out! First of all, it’s important to note that there are 2 distinct strategies for targeting searchers by location: IP Targeting and Keyword Targeting.

  • IP Targeting: As the name implies, the search engines have systems in place to recognize the IP address of each user. This IP address includes their geographic location. When you set geographic restrictions at the campaign level in Google or Yahoo!, the keywords in that campaign will only display ads for users within the specified location! When working within an IP Targeted campaign, you should employ the use of broad, phrase or exact match keywords that cover the spectrum of general to long tail keywords. All of your normal keyword savvy still applies, but my point is you don’t have to append a location to every keyword with this strategy.
  • Keyword Targeting: This method involves appending what I call “geographic modifiers” to your keywords (as Exact Match) as to only display ads to searchers who are looking for your product/service within that location. To use Jessica’s example, [party hire Yorkshire] contains the core keyword “party hire” and the geographic modifier “Yorkshire” – which will only display ads for users who enter that exact search – regardless of their physical location. That being said, when trying to target searchers by location with keyword targeting, your geo targeting settings should be open to all users in your area (i.e. US or UK; Indiana or Cornwall, etc.) for maximum effect.

In most cases, I would recommend creating campaigns to account for both methods. Be aware that when using IP Targeted campaigns, each campaign can only target a single location – be that Country, State, City, or custom region. The IP Targeted campaigns should be your top priority. The Keyword Targeted campaign(s) are what I call “Companion Campaigns” and they serve as a safety net to catch any searchers who may have slipped past your IP Targeted campaign!

Jessica, I hope this helps to answer your questions and gets you headed in the right direction! Does anyone else have anything they would like to add to help Jessica out?