Local search is becoming increasingly important as consumers look to find information about the products and services near to them.

For example, 81% of UK smartphone internet users have looked for local information with their devices, and these people are just as likely to purchase in your store as online.

There’s an extremely valuable amount of traffic available for local queries, so if you are a local business it becomes extremely important to deliver your messaging to these searchers.

Google has focused heavily on improving its local search results experience, and queries that trigger a local results page have increased in number, so that the location no longer needs to be part of the search query.

Google integrates data from Google+ to its map listings, so the easiest way to make sure your business is appearing on a map search is to ensure your Google+ business page is set up and using the correct address.

Here are five examples of PPC ads using location to enhance listings and (hopefully) increase CTR...

Hotel Direct

On this listing, the phone number is prominent in both the ad and the landing page.

The copy also reassures searchers that they can access a mobile website where they know that booking will be easier. A nice touch.

It backs this up with a clear value proposition with the copy shorter for mobile, while the path to conversion is smooth. 

Hotel Direct has thought about the whole journey here and, crucially, has realised the importance of mobile in a localised search like this, actively targeting mobile users. 


Search for office space in Manchester and, even though it isn't the first paid result, the Regus listing stands out: 

This is because Regus (or its PPC agency) has been smart enough to make the most of reviews and local ad extensions. The reviews not only provide some useful social proof for searchers, but also have the effect of making the ad stand out from the others. 

In addition, extra details such as the map link, directions and phone number provide useful tools for customers, and have the bonus effect of knocking the natural search results further down the page. 

NB: Google has recently announced that the phone numbers can no longer be added to AdWords text, and call extensions must be used instead. This means that searchers will see click to call links as in the Hotel Direct example. 

The reviews don't show on mobile but the click to call link and directions are a great way call to action for mobile searchers


This result, for hotels in Newcastle, shows the value of local ad extensions. 

Local extensions increase your share of the results page and increase your CTR. If your business has relevant physical addresses, it is worth taking advantage of this functionality.

Local ad extensions are set up at campaign level within the AdWords interface. Details of how to add these extensions to your campaigns can be found here

As well as the map marker, ads with location extensions also receive an extra couple of lines of ad copy with the business address, telephone number and a link to directions.

In the example above, the red map markers (labelled alphabetically) correspond to the business listings you can see in the organic search results. The blue map markers (just visible on the screenshot) correspond to paid ads that are running location extensions. 

This, with the addition of review scores, gives Booking.com's result greater visibility. 


Again, we have two results which make use of local extensions - you can see the locations of the practices using PPC in blue: 

This means that the top two PPC listings have location information and contact numbers, which is useful for searchers. The second result has managed to squeeze some prices and offer details in there, which may give it the edge.  

Now let's look at the landing pages. Here's the page that Zero Seven sends you to: 

All very clever from a design perspective, but pretty useless as a landing page. If customers, like me, have to spend that much time working out where to click, then the money spent on the PPC ad is wasted.

Let's hope people choose to phone instead. Oh, and it's terrible on mobile. 

Smile, the second result, isn't much better, though at least the site is easier to take in, and there is some useful information and clear contact details. 

In both these cases, while the PPC ads were good, best practice didn't extend to the landing page. 

Airport parking

Airport parking is a competitive PPC term, and this example shows a couple of different approaches. The top result is taking up as much SERPS page real estate as possible with extra information on proximity to terminals etc. 

However, the second may be more persuasive to some, thanks to the review scores and the call to action to receive offers by email. That said, having entered my email address, I'm still waiting for my offers 20 minutes later. 

Both go to landing pages with clear calls to action. Here's the landing page for the top result: 

So which is the best tactic? The persuasion that comes with reviews, or having the top result? 

Graham Charlton

Published 26 March, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (6)

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Rakesh Patwari

Nice compilation thank you for sharing. I liked the Regus case the most, as it nails down the local result with a map and a quick CTA that enables a smooth journey. Great job #Regus team.


over 5 years ago

Steve Morgan

Steve Morgan, Freelance SEO Consultant at Morgan Online Marketing

Great post, Graham. However, with the news that Google's no longer allowing phone numbers in the text of AdWords ads (only as call extensions - see here: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2256992/Phone-Numbers-No-Longer-Allowed-in-Google-AdWords-Ad-Text), Hotel Direct may have to change its strategy with that first ad.

over 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks Steve, I've updated accordingly. I assume this is so people have to click to call rather than noting down the number so Google gets the cash?

over 5 years ago


P.K Bibi

Hi Graham

Google's click-to-call extension feature is now free. They (Google) do not get any cash when people click to call.

over 5 years ago


Richard Fullerton

Very interesting, Graham, thanks. Don't know much about PPC and this was very illuminating especially as we are helping local businesses at present.

over 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@PK Thanks.

over 5 years ago

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