Often when auditing accounts, we see that geography has been considered a “set it and forget it” type of setting. You can only target where you can target, right? Sure, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any optimizations to be made in order to ensure performance is the best it can be.
Of course, the best starting point for geographic optimization is to review geographic performance through the dimensions tab in AdWords and the reporting or dimensions tabs within Bing.
Each engine has two reports pertaining to geography, and it is important to understand the difference between the two. The reports look very similar, but they attribute data to geographies differently.
The simplest way to use the data is by pivoting the geographic report to see how the areas within your geo-targets are performing. It’s good to do this on a granular level.
For instance, if you are targeting states or countries, it’s good to look at smaller groups of geographies to see if there are any performance sinkholes, or even the opposite. I usually prefer to look at performance by city or metro.
There are a few different ways to use this data:
The default setting for advanced location targeting includes people “in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location.” For a lot of clients, this setting just isn’t a good fit. For instance, a lawyer who practices in one state cannot take clients outside of the area in which they are able to practice. In cases like these, I’ll automatically switch the setting to only target people “in my targeted location.”
However, some clients have a little more flexibility regarding advanced geo-targeting settings, and oftentimes it depends on how campaigns are set up.
For example, if a client can target the whole United States, and the geo-targets are set to canvass the whole US, then we wouldn’t want to include people “searching for” your target location, because they might be in other countries. However, if our campaigns were more localized, then it might make sense to include “searching for” because they might still be within the United States.
So if the advanced location setting is set to include people “in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location,” how can you make sure that this setting is performing well? What can you do to optimize?
For starters, if your client can use the advanced search setting “in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location,” don’t count it out too early. A lot of people assume that it will only bring in junk traffic, and that really isn’t the case. Now, after you’ve been opted in for a while and you have some data:
Try adding some geo-modified keywords to see how they perform in comparison to your general keywords. They almost certainly won’t have the same traffic volume but can often be very efficient.
These keywords are especially handy to use in conjunction with location of interest targeting, because they are especially indicative of geographic intent.
Since traffic volume is low, you might consider at least adding these keywords as modified broad along with other tighter match types.
The Distance report in AdWords is super-handy if you have location extensions enabled in your account. Check out this report to see what performance looks like at varying radii from your brick and mortar locations.
If your budgets are capped, this is an excellent way to look for opportunities to spend more efficiently by adjusting your targeting based upon the optimal radii. If your campaigns aren’t already localized, you might consider it, if the data from the Distance Report supports it.
On the other hand, if your campaigns are localized and you’d like to spend more money, you can always check out the Distance Report to see if performance is waning at the farthest radius or if it still remains strong. If performance is strong from the farthest radius, you might consider opening up your targeting a little bit more to obtain some more market share without sacrificing too much efficiency.
The Distance Report can also help inform other channels where such data isn’t available, including offline campaigns.
The post Are You Digging Deeply Enough Into Geographic Optimizations? appeared first on Search Engine Land.