Keyword Research for Local Service Business Google Search Ads

Digital Marketing » Managed PPC Marketing » Keyword Research for Local Service Business Google Search Ads

Keyword research is a critical component of any successful Google Search Ads campaign that involves identifying the most relevant and best-performing search terms that your target audience is using in Google Search. This information makes it easier to create targeted ad campaigns that drive high-quality traffic to your website and increase conversions.

The process of selecting the most valuable keywords to target is called the keyword research process. By identifying relevant keywords and analyzing their search volume and level of competition, you can determine which keywords your business should be targeting. Keyword research also involves monitoring and adjusting your chosen keywords over time to optimize your campaign’s performance and maximize your return on investment.

This article will guide you through the process of conducting effective keyword research and optimizing your keyword strategy to ensure you are maximizing your Google Search advertising efforts. Improving the quality of your keyword research is an excellent way to better your understanding of your customer base and identify new market opportunities, ultimately enabling you to develop more successful Google Search Ads campaigns. 

Understanding Keyword Types and Match Types

Keyword match types are parameters that you can set for the keywords in your Google Ads campaign to control which search terms trigger your ads. There are four main keyword match types:

  • Broad match: Your ads can appear for searches that include any word in the key phrase in any order. Broad match is the least specific match type and may result in a lot of irrelevant traffic. Keep in mind that broad-match keywords can eat up your advertising budget quickly, so it’s important to monitor them closely.
  • Phrase match: Your ads can appear for searches that include the whole key phrase, even if the exact wording is slightly different, as long as the meaning of the phrase is not significantly changed. Phrase match gives you more control than broad match, but it can still result in some irrelevant traffic.
  • Exact match: Your ads can appear for searches that match the exact keyword or keyphrase, or very close variations of it. Exact match gives you the most control over which searches trigger your ads.
  • Negative match: Your ads will never appear for searches that include negative words or phrases. A negative match is useful for avoiding irrelevant or low-value searches.

By selecting the appropriate match type for each keyword in your campaign, you can ensure that your ads are shown to the most relevant audience, which can optimize your click-through rates and overall campaign performance.

Identifying Your Core Keywords

Starting with a solid foundation of core keywords is essential for any business that wants to run effective Google Search Ads campaigns. Core keywords are the main search terms that your ideal customers use to find products or services like the ones you are offering. Leveraging these high-value keywords is crucial for ensuring your ads are being displayed to the right audiences.

To identify your business’s core keywords, start by brainstorming a list of relevant terms and phrases related to your products or services. You can also research competitor keywords and use tools like Google Trends or Google’s autocomplete feature to generate more ideas.

Google’s Keyword Planner is another excellent tool for identifying high-performing core keywords. It provides information like search volume, competition, and estimated cost per click for each keyword. You can use this information to determine which of your relevant keywords are being searched most frequently by your highest-value potential customers and which ones could be the most cost-effective to target.

Expanding Your Keyword List with Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are more specific and are usually longer than regular keywords. You can use long-tail keywords in your Google Search Ads campaign to target a more specific, niche audience. More narrowly-targeted keywords can improve conversation rates and lead to lower cost per click.

To find the most effective long-tail keywords for your business, you can brainstorm unique and specific search terms related to your products or services. You can also analyze customer search queries using Google Search Console.

You can incorporate long-tail keywords into your Google Ads campaign effectively by creating specific ad groups for each keyword and writing targeted ad copy that directs users to landing pages that align with their search intent.

For example, an effective long-tail keyword for a local service business might be “emergency plumbing services near me” or “24-hour locksmith for car key replacement.” By targeting specific search terms like these, you can attract qualified leads and improve the overall performance of your Google Search Ads campaign.

Analyzing Keyword Performance and Competition

After you’ve chosen which keywords to target, it’s important to use the right keyword metrics to evaluate performance. The best metrics to track will depend on your goals, industry, and other unique factors, but two of the most important keyword metrics for nearly every business are search volume and cost-per-click (CPC). 

  • Search volume indicates how many times users have searched for a keyword in Google Search during a given timeframe.
  • Cost per click is the average price your business pays each time a customer clicks on your ad, calculated by dividing the total cost of a paid ad by the total number of clicks it has received. High CPC indicates low relevance or search volume, while low CPC indicates high relevance or search volume.

It’s also a good idea to monitor the level of competition for each keyword you’re interested in. Tracking the number of other businesses bidding on the same keywords can indicate how much you can expect to pay for each one, helping you to determine which keywords will be most cost-effective.

To optimize your keyword list, try to find high-performing keywords that more-or-less equally balance high search volume, low competition, and low CPC. You will need to re-evaluate your keyword list regularly and adjust the keywords you target based on current performance.

Implementing Negative Keywords

Negative keywords play a crucial part in refining your Google Search Ads targeting by allowing you to exclude irrelevant searches, thereby reducing ad spend waste. Negative keywords are search terms that you don’t want your business’s ads to appear for. Using negative keywords helps to prevent your ads from being shown to users who aren’t interested in the products or services you are offering, which helps to improve the overall performance of your paid ad campaigns.

To identify negative keywords, start by reviewing search terms reports in Google Ads and identifying irrelevant terms that are generating clicks but no conversions. Then, you can use keyword research tools to find related keywords that you also want to exclude. Just like the rest of your keyword list, you should review your negative keywords regularly and adjust them based on current campaign trends.

The most impactful negative keywords for local service businesses often include terms like “free” or “DIY.” By excluding terms like these from your ad targeting, you can prevent clicks from users who aren’t looking for your products or services and save that ad spend for clicks that are more likely to result in conversions.

Localizing Your Keyword Research

Targeting local audiences in your Google Search Ads campaign can be a great tactic for ensuring that your ads are shown to users in your particular service area. The best location-specific keywords and phrases to incorporate in your ads include the names of the cities or regions your business serves and the names of any significant local landmarks.

By using geo-targeting settings in Google Ads, you can further refine your campaign to only display your ads to users in specific geographic areas. You can select a radius around your business or target specific cities, states, countries, etc.

In addition to leveraging location-specific keywords and geo-targeting settings, you can also use ad extensions to ensure users see the information about your products or services that is most relevant to their particular area.

Staying Current with Keyword Trends and Seasonality

Staying up to date on industry trends and seasonal market fluctuations is crucial for optimizing keyword performance in your Google Search Ads campaign. Shifts in the marketing landscape can substantially impact search volume, competition levels, cost per click, and more, which means you will need to react in real-time to keep your keyword strategy optimized.

As you monitor trends and adapt your keyword list accordingly, focus on targeting and messaging. For example, try adjusting your targeting to focus on emerging areas of your industry or incorporating seasonal keywords into your content based on popular holidays.

You can use tools like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, or SEMrush to access insights into current search trends and to generate topical keyword ideas.

By keeping yourself up to speed regarding industry trends and seasonal changes, you can give yourself a better chance of selecting the most effective keywords and outpacing the competition. Regularly comparing keyword performance against market trends and adapting your strategy accordingly is one of the best ways to maximize your Google Search Ads campaign’s ROI and drive conversions.

Continuously Optimizing Your Keyword Research Process

Keyword research is not a one-time process that occurs at the outset of an online advertising campaign. Ongoing keyword research and optimization is crucial for maintaining your Google Search Ads campaign’s effectiveness long-term. By regularly reviewing Google Ads performance data, you can identify which keywords are still performing well and which keywords are no longer valuable investments.

To optimize your campaign’s keyword performance, you should first analyze metrics like click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost-per-click. Then, you can use the data you collect to refine your keyword list and targeting strategy. It’s also important to conduct ongoing keyword research to identify new opportunities. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition can also implement innovative keyword research tactics like leveraging social media listening platforms.


Effective keyword research is one of the cornerstones of successful Google Search Ads campaigns. By implementing a strategy for targeting the right audiences with the right keywords, you can dramatically improve your business’s ad conversions and minimize ad spend waste. Ultimately, investing time and resources into effective keyword research can lead to substantial benefits, including higher click-through rates, more efficient ad spending, better conversion rates, and much more. It’s critical to remember that keyword research is an ongoing effort, not a single step in the campaign-planning process. By continuously analyzing your Google Search Ads campaign’s performance data and adjusting your target keywords as necessary, you can stay one step ahead of the competition and maximize your online advertising results.

About The Author

Masha Mahdavi

Masha Mahdavi

Masha Mahdavi has over ten years of experience in digital marketing. She has worked with clients across a variety of industries including legal, medical, retail, and local businesses. Her focus is on working with clients in highly competitive niches and generating ROI through data-driven strategies, search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and paid social media.