Guide to Google Ads for Small Businesses

Mar 14, 2024

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Google Ads for small businesses, with a special focus on the newly introduced Branded Local Service Ads (LSAs).

Understanding Google Ads

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an online advertising platform that allows businesses to create and display ads across Google’s vast network. These ads appear in search results, on websites, and within mobile apps. Here’s how it works:

  1. Keyword Targeting: Businesses select relevant keywords related to their products or services.

  2. Ad Creation: Advertisers create compelling text or display ads.

  3. Bidding: Advertisers bid on their chosen keywords.

  4. Ad Placement: Google displays the ads based on relevance, bid amount, and other factors.

Benefits of Google Ads for Small Businesses

  • Targeted Reach: Google Ads allow precise targeting based on location, demographics, interests, and search intent.

  • Cost-Effective: You only pay when someone clicks on your ad (Pay-Per-Click or PPC).

  • Measurable Results: Detailed analytics help track performance and optimize campaigns.

  • Quick Results: Ads can appear within minutes of setup.

This list of twenty specific tips from experts in the field will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts. They cover everything from picking the right Google Ads network to combining ads with organic results. Here is an in-depth guide for small business marketers on how to master Google Ads.

Pick the Right Google Ads Network:

Consider where your audience spends time online. Google Search Network, Display Network, and YouTube are popular options. For instance, if you’re a local bakery, focus on Search Network to capture intent-driven searches like “best cupcakes near me.”

Advertise High-Intent Keywords:

Prioritize keywords that indicate strong intent to take action. For a plumbing service, target phrases like “emergency plumber” or “fix leaky faucet.”

Display Social Proof on Landing Pages:

Display customer reviews, ratings, or testimonials on your landing pages. A roofing company could highlight successful roof repairs with before-and-after photos.

Local Ad Targeting First:

Use location targeting to reach nearby customers. A yoga studio can target ads specifically to users within a 10-mile radius.

Be Selective with Keywords and Test:

Start with a focused set of keywords. Test variations and adjust based on performance. An online bookstore might test keywords like “buy mystery novels” and “best thriller books.”

Enhance Insights with Conversion Tracking:

Set up conversion tracking to measure actions like form submissions or purchases. A landscaping business can track leads from their “Request a Quote” form.

Target High-Converting “Near Me” Keywords:

Optimize for local searches. A pet grooming salon can bid on keywords like “dog groomer near me” or “cat grooming services.”

Set clear marketing goals for your bids:

Adjust bids based on campaign objectives. If your goal is brand awareness, focus on impressions. For sales, prioritize conversions.

Link Ads to Thought-Leadership Content:

Create informative blog posts or videos. A digital marketing agency can link ads to a guide on “Effective Social Media Strategies.”

Optimize Geographical Targeting Precisely:

Use radius targeting or specific ZIP codes. A food truck can target areas where local events or festivals are happening.

Experiment with Dynamic Keyword Insertion:

Customize ad headlines dynamically based on user queries. A car rental service can use dynamic insertion for specific car models.

Precisely target geography:

Long-tail keywords are specific and less competitive. A boutique selling handmade jewelry can target “rose gold gemstone necklaces.”

Conduct extensive keyword and audience research:

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and explore audience demographics. A fitness studio can research keywords related to “pilates classes.”

Campaigns to clean up to boost ROAS:

Regularly review and pause underperforming keywords or ads. A home cleaning service can remove keywords related to commercial cleaning.

Use Responsive and Standard Display Ads:

Create visually appealing display ads. An art gallery can showcase paintings with captivating visuals.

Optimize campaigns with A/B testing:

Test different ad variations (headlines, images, CTAs). A coffee shop can compare “Get 20% off” vs. “Try our new latte.”

Increase Conversions with Remarketing:

Target users who previously visited your site. An e-commerce store can show ads for abandoned shopping carts.

Customize Audiences with Competitors' Sites:

Target users who visit competitor websites. A travel agency can create ads for users researching rival tour packages.

Utilize Dynamic Search Ads on SEO Pages:

Use dynamic search ads to automatically generate ads based on website content. An online bookstore can promote specific book categories.

Integrate Google Ads and SEO:

Optimize your website for SEO alongside running Google Ads. A tech repair shop can benefit from both paid ads and organic search visibility.

Bonus: Branded Local Service Ads (LSAs)

3.1 What Are LSAs?

  • LSAs are designed for local service providers (e.g., plumbers, electricians).

  • They prominently appear in search results, showcasing ratings and contact information.

  • Opt-out options are available for businesses not interested in LSAs.

3.2 Optimizing LSAs

  • Claim Your Business: Set up or verify your Google My Business listing.

  • Accurate Details: Provide accurate service information, service area, and hours.

  • Prompt Responses: Respond promptly to inquiries.

Tips for Successful LSAs

  1. Claim Your Business: Ensure your business is listed on Google My Business.

  2. Accurate Information: Provide accurate details about your services, service area, and hours of operation.

  3. Prompt Responses: Respond promptly to enquiries from potential customers.

What are some common mistakes businesses make with Google Ads?

Here are common mistakes that businesses often make with Google Ads, along with solutions to avoid them:

Not Understanding Your Target Audience:

Mistake: Failing to grasp who your customers are and what they’re looking for.

Solution: Conduct thorough audience research. Understand demographics, interests, and search intent. Tailor your ads accordingly.

Using the Wrong (or No) Conversion Actions:

Mistake: Neglecting to set up conversion tracking or using irrelevant conversion actions.

Solution: Define clear conversion goals (e.g., purchases, sign-ups) and track them accurately.

Pairing Smart Bidding with the Wrong Goal:

Mistake: Misaligning automated bidding strategies (like Smart Bidding) with campaign objectives.

Solution: Choose bidding strategies that align with your specific goals (e.g., maximize clicks, conversions, or ROAS).

Auto-Applying Recommendations:

Mistake: Blindly accepting Google’s automated recommendations without evaluating their impact.

Solution: Review recommendations carefully and apply only those relevant to your business.

Using Only Broad Match Keywords:

Mistake: Relying solely on broad match keywords, which can lead to irrelevant clicks.

Solution: Use a mix of match types (broad, phrase, exact) to refine targeting and reduce wasted spend.

Neglecting Negative Keywords:

Mistake: Ignoring negative keywords, resulting in ad impressions for irrelevant queries.

Solution: Regularly update your negative keyword list to filter out irrelevant traffic.

Not Having an Ad Copy Testing Strategy:

Mistake: Not testing different ad variations to optimize performance.

Solution: A/B test ad headlines, descriptions, and CTAs to find what resonates best with your audience.

Underfunding Your Campaigns:

Mistake: Setting insufficient budgets that limit ad exposure.

Solution: Allocate adequate budget based on campaign goals and expected costs.

Remember, successful Google Ads campaigns require continuous monitoring, adjustments, and staying informed about industry updates. Avoid these pitfalls, and your ads will be on the path to success!


Google Ads, including LSAs, offer immense potential for small businesses. By strategically using these tools, you can boost your online presence, attract local customers, and grow your business. Remember to monitor your campaigns, adjust your strategies, and stay informed about any updates from Google.

Relevant Article:

Optimizing Your Ad Strategy - The Top 10 Google Ads Best Practices

Your Complete Guide to Hyperlocal Social Media Marketing Tactics

 Why Is Understanding Your Target Audience Vital for Business Success?



No Comments Yet

Secure free consultancy service