Thoughtful strategy and data analysis stand side-by-side with branding, visuals and messaging as an essential focus in marketing. When it comes to strategy, one of the easiest and most impactful efforts brands can focus on right now is with local search engine marketing (SEM). And, instead of daydreaming about SEM success, Commit Agency has a few top strategies and insights to get started—and get ahead of the curve.

Local Marketing

For years, we’ve heard about how the internet can eliminate the distance between a brand and consumer. Why, then, should you put such a heavy focus on local marketing?

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In local marketing, success is determined by phone calls, foot traffic and web searches for everything from directions to reviews to hours of operation. Local ads on digital channels and social media are valuable because they can appear anywhere and everywhere you want. Local campaign ads show in standard Google searches, on YouTube, in Google Maps and as part of the Google Display Network, just to name a few opportunities. This allows increased reach while staying local.

Tim Watrous is the director of digital at Commit Agency.

Local Service Ads

Marketing on the internet has always been challenging, but no less rewarding when executed correctly. However, there are countless channels available and knowing which one is right for you and your brand is key.

Local service ads are Google’s answer to this dilemma. Much like traditional paid search ads, local service ads show up in the SERP (search engine results page) of relevant searches. That’s right: no worrying about keywords. Instead, Google will automatically display local service ads when someone makes a relevant search. Instead, Google will automatically display LSAs when someone makes a relevant search for a service. The ads that get included in the SERP will have a green “Google Guaranteed” badge, showing that these are credible companies. One of the biggest perks of LSAs is that you only pay if you receive a phone call directly from the ad.

The algorithm behind local service ads is primarily governed by proximity to the searcher and the company’s Google rating. Proactively encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews is a great way to ensure that you will be able to use local service ads to their maximum potential.

Location Extensions

Location extensions help businesses get even more out of SEM by bringing in additional information that can be displayed in the ad. As the name suggests, using a location extension means expanding your ad to leverage whatever information might be included in your Google My Business account. Depending on the device, the business address or phone number might appear in an ad; a call button or store hours might also be displayed.

Structure Campaign and Ad Groups by Location

Sometimes, the best SEM strategies are the ones that don’t require you to jump through additional hoops. Instead, all you need to do is execute what you’re already doing in a slightly different way.

In the same way email marketing is tailored to different segments of the market, SEM can also be segmented. Google, in its perpetual effort to return high-quality search results to users, prioritizes search intent above all other factors. And in local SEM, location is by far the most important factor in user intent. Therefore, it’s often beneficial to run multiple versions of the same campaign, with location being the sole difference.

SEM agencies use location-based structuring where it works for their clients. For instance, at Commit Agency, we might have separate campaigns running in multiple locations for a client. By doing this, they gain the benefits of local traffic, and searchers get the most relevant information available.

No matter the size or situation, you can leverage local SEM strategies right now to improve your standing in the marketplace. You don’t even have to be heavily invested in paid search. You simply need to understand the tools at your disposal and how you can best utilize those tools to generate the results you want.


Tim Watrous is the director of digital at Commit Agency.