Purposeful targeting to drive traffic is the essential point of both organic SEO and paid search. Utilizing tools in each mode of internet marketing allows for the catering of specific messages to different contexts. This assists the ability to split test ads for paid search and bring localized web searchers to your web properties in terms of SEO. Now, new zip-code and location functionality out this week from Google allows for marketers using AdWords to target over 30,000 ZIP codes offering a greater ability to more specifically cater the ad message to a specific location. Similarly, “Location Insertion,” another new feature, gives marketers the freedom to establish a single ad and have information placed into that ad depending on the locations of the search queries that initiate it. The two features are considered location extensions in AdWords, and they have important implications for businesses partnering with SEO companies in an effort to increase paid search spend and traffic.

Location Extension in Use
In terms of using the postal codes, marketers can add up to 1,000 ZIP codes at a single time and will have analytic reporting for ad campaigns per ZIP code, which makes all the difference for marketers. This allows them to see, track, and make campaign changes based on actual performance. “The Location Insertion” feature will place town or city information in the displayed ad. The town name, ZIP code, and phone numbers can be put into the title of the ad, its body text, actual URL, or display URL. This feature will work as well even when other extensions have precedence over the location extensions.

Location insertion will work even if other extensions (such as sitelinks) take precedence over your location extensions. Additionally, with advance location targeting, there is a slight change that allows marketers to select “Target using physical location: Device-based location signals.” So when customers are searching something in a specific location say in San Francisco, but the searcher is in Denver, the search query intent does not override searcher location in determining which ads display. It can, but essentially there are more options now to choose if that is desired or not. If a marketer wants to have ads for San Francisco display when the search originates in San Francisco even though the query intent relates to Denver, then they can.

Further, marketers can utilize another change with location signals on the Google Display Network. Marketers can target searchers based on the content of the pages they are viewing as it relates to a specific location. So ads can be targeted to a person about a specific location if they are viewing pages that contain information about that geographic spot.

Essential Takeaway
Businesses now have more options in terms of targeting. Some verticals are impacted more than others with these changes. As a Search Engine Land article on the subject details, it appears the travel sector is potentially most impacted as users can be searching for travel or vacation information in one location but still be targeted for relevant ads for their own location. Beyond the travel sector, businesses should evaluate these changes and determine if they could benefit from maximizing them – if they cater to a specific spot, chances are they can and should be using these features.

Reach out to me at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com if you have any questions regarding how your business can utilize ppc and the advance location targeting features in your traffic driving initiatives.

Microsoft Advertising adcenter is evolving, and the latest changes move the platform closer to Google Adwords in an effort to make terminology and functionality similar to what marketers are using with Google. Ultimately, this is a good move for Microsoft, paid search, and those marketers managing pay per click campaigns and it shows that Microsoft is realistic in their understanding of adcenter’s place in paid search. The reality is that Microsoft’s advertising platform is second to Google’s Adwords, and acknowledging this allows Microsoft to use this fact to their advantage.

Aligning their functionality to that of the industry standard (Google Adwords) allows marketers to utilize both platforms without the need to learn new methodologies and applications. However, once familiarity and a degree of comfort are achieved by its users, Microsoft, in time, can introduce new features that differentiate it from Adwords in an effort to widen their offerings and slowly gain market share.  Microsoft has nothing to lose aligning their methods to Adwords at the moment as differentiation can happen in time.

What Exactly Has Changed?
We’ve discussed the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance and the adcenter before as Todd Bailey touched on its formation and the rolling out of the platform in the UK, France, and Ireland in an SEOServices.com piece from mid-January. Now, individual targeting options take the form of “language” and “target location” and the distribution channel “market” is being removed. Tina Kelleher in her adcenter blog post outlining the changes (complete with screenshots of the new features), details that marketers can receive a greater amount of relevant volume from the target location option that is now standard.

Marketers will be able to target users in a physical location as well as those that have intent to “do business in your target location areas.” This intent element widens the advertising opportunities but also allows for more focused pairings of pay per click with SEO campaigns that optimize on and off-site content to drive targeted traffic.

Those that have intent to do business in your target location area show it by the location detail they enter into their queries. Optimized content utilizing international SEO practices then become a central issue here. Further, marketers can choose all the countries where the selected language is spoken, “bundles” of countries, one specific country, and a certain state, territory, or city. Partnering with an SEO company to design a coordinated marketing effort that capitalizes on organic search of these queries as well presents additional opportunities. Doing so enables advertising companies to maximize their targeting goals.

Google released details on their official blog that the company has developed interactive ads compatible on smartphones and tablets.  The new rich media ads are designed to engage the user and create a deeper experience.

The Company announced “65% of consumers who own tablets use them at least one hour per day. Consumers are embracing them as the third digital screen in their lives.”  Apple, alone has sold over 240 iPads, with other consumers owning similar devices from Samsung and others.

The new interactive ads act as sort of a cross between mobile-ap development and pay per click management services.  Google released this video to demonstrate:

Ad formats are available through AdMob and “tablet-targeting” functions in AdWords.