If you are new to Google Ads then you will probably be looking around and wondering just what everything means, and likewise if you are experienced and knowledgeable with PPC systems like this, it can still be a challenge to make sure you get everything perfectly in place to make sure your campaign is successful and generates results.

Google Ads can be, if you get it right, an instant money maker, but if you get it wrong, or even one part of it wrong, it can really start to throw your money down a drain with little or even no results from it. And the line really is that thin, as one or two things done incorrectly when you implement or tweak your campaign can make it a disaster, which if you don’t spot early doors could be a costly mistake for your business.

And one of these key “I have to get right” settings is location, as if you get your location targeting wrong, or you miss it out altogether, then your advert is going to be seen by millions of people and probably 99.9% of which will never want to or need to use your services or products. And yet the problem is oh so common, as when you start your campaign you have a lot to think about and getting your locations spot on can often get overlooked.

And this is why your location targeting settings in Google Ads are quite simply crucial, as you need to make sure you nail these and get them spot on, as if your location targeting is correct, then you have far more of a chance of getting results at a ROI that is worthwhile to your business.

So, here are some aspects you really need to consider.

Add Your Location Settings

When you start a campaign or amend a campaign, you have the chance to tell Google Ads where you want your adverts to show, whether that’s specific grouped areas, radius based campaigns, postcodes, counties, towns or countries, you are in charge of telling the system where your adverts need to appear. This is so important to get right, as if you are a local shoe shop in Bristol, then customers getting to see your adverts in Nottingham is obviously going to be wasted spend. Yet, if you are an online retailer that covers the UK, narrowing your location down to a small town next to your office is going to hinder and pretty much stop your campaign from working.

You need to make sure you add your locations right from the start. If you only want to serve your own town or city, then make sure you add this, if you want to spread a bit further, then again, add these locations, but make sure you have the correct targeting in place from day one, otherwise you might forget to sort this and by then the money will be spent.

One Often Overlooked Setting

One commonly overlooked setting is tucked away in Location Options (Advanced) and it looks like this:

By default, it will be set to “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location (recommended)”. But I don’t recommend this, as it means people searching anywhere in the world can see your adverts, as long as they show an interest in your location. And this is an issue, as many sales companies all over the world might search “IT Support Bristol” and if your settings are like the above image, they will see it, whereas if you choose the “People in my targeted location”, ONLY people in your targeted locations will see your adverts.

I take over many campaigns where clients have been caught out here, and whilst the damage is often minimal, you can save yourself the wasted spend by changing this option.

The Catch With Radius Targeting

Radius targeting, as the name would suggest, is where you target a radius from a location. So, for example, you could set your campaign to appear within 60 miles of your office or shop, and whilst this works for some, it can be a nightmare to work for others. The key thing to remember here is that this radius is as the crow flies, so does not take into account the “real” aspect of 60 miles, as driving 60 miles might seem ok when you consider radius, but this is often not the real distance when you actually get into the car to drive it!

So, for example, if I were to run a campaign for my company based in Bristol and I set a 60 mile radius, it would look like this:

Now, anyone that lives in Bristol will tell you that you cannot drive to Bournemouth in an hour, but when you think of 60 miles, you often associate this with driving time, so you really need to make sure that if you are running a radius campaign you take this into account. There are also many physical aspects to take into account, like bridges, tunnels, congestion and the list goes on, so just because in your head 60 miles sounds ok, check the blue circle and make sure its realistic for your business to work in these areas!

Going To Narrow With Location And Keywords

There are also times when if your location is quite narrow, say a small town or a small area and your keywords are really exact (via exact match) then you might find the search volume is just not there to warrant getting any results. Whilst you cannot up and move your shop to a bigger area just to get more online searches via Google Ads, you might want to look at the options of maybe expanding your coverage, opening your keywords or looking at extra aspects you can add to a campaign. For some businesses, they know what they want and if the volume is not there then so be it, but for most businesses, there might be other ways to utilise Google Ads to get more traffic even with strict locational targeting.

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