Google Adwords Location Targeting Guide For Recruitment Agencies

If you are an active user of search engines like Google, I bet you must have experienced location based marketing.

In the context of search, Google adwords location targeting is just one form of it.

The other option is organic local search engine optimization.

Interestingly, not everyone outside the digital marketing space knows there are effective strategies for making their website links visible when people are searching for related product and service information.

This is what SEO is all about. Search for ‘’local SEO strategies’’ and you’ll understand what I mean.

location based search engine marketing

Below these paragraphs we’ll explore how location targeting works in the context of search engine advertising with Google adwords.

Jane Daniel is a marketing manager in local niche staffing agency. Every three months, she goes to a local radio to promote their training services. As expected, thousands of people listen to that station according to the managers.

At the end of the last program before I met her online, she got 17 phone calls.

NOTE – This post is about 3,695 words long. Consider the usability option below.

Hidden Content

From the conversations, it turned out 11 out these callers were in locations where it will cost 4X the training fee in order to get to the specified location.

When I asked her what was her main objective, she responded ‘growing brand awareness, generating leads and attracting new trainees’.

Yes, some people are now aware of their brand, including unqualified prospects. But the number of registrants who paid as a result of the radio promo was less than expected.

In effect, it seems like looking for needle in the haystack.

One newspaper advertising pitch reads like ‘our readership spans across an estimated 650,000 high networth individuals, professionals and executives in any sector you can think of.’

Obviously, your recruitment services are not meant for anyone and everyone.

For example, if 100% of the people you are reaching out to are demographically qualified but can’t afford your services, you’ll end up wasting your marketing budget.

On the other hand, sharing your promotional videos, blog posts and images on free social media pages won’t make much difference either.

If your value propositions are mismatched with my current interests, needs and pain points, why should I care?

In a bid to leverage online marketing, many people resort to and depend on sharing blog posts, videos and promotional images on free business pages within social media.

Clarification; i am in no way saying that is is not good. Effectiveness depends on how well you do it.

But the unfortunate thing is that if no one sees these pieces of contents or the people that see them are not within commutable distance, the return on resources spent creating and posting them will be flat zero.

The point is; content marketing goes beyond content creation and free organic promotions.

Among many others, one great benefit of using google adwords advertising is right timing. For instance, selling recruitment services to me just after hiring a consultant won’t move me to any purchase action.

With Goolge adwords location targeting, you can begin to attract only the qualified prospects within reach exactly the moment they are searching for your services.

Now let’s explore the options below.

Google Adwords Location Targeting: The Best Options

  1. Country Targeting

Except search engines and social networks, there seems to be no other affordable advertising medium for reaching an entire country.

That is the reality for the majority of recruitment agency owners. However, that reach somehow still depends on the size of your budget, target location and demand for what you are selling.

The other options here are television and online versions of national newspapers.

But in case where your staffing agency doesn’t have the capacity to deliver services across an entire country, there is no point in targeting an entire country with Google adwords paid search advertising.

As for businesses that can deliver their products or services within an entire country or set of countries, country targeting is a perfect option.

Example, if your company provides online courses that could be bought, sold and taken from anywhere in the world, you should consider targeting a selected number of countries that appeals to you.

Google adwords allows advertisers to target multiple countries for each campaign at a time.

Here are some tips to maximize ROI from country targeting.

  • Change the default location recommended by Goolge from ‘People in, searching for or viewing pages about my target location’ to, ‘people in my target location’.

This is to exclude people who are searching for and viewing pages about your target location from the countries you don’t want to reach.

  • Use country specific search terms. Examples are ‘recruitment agency fees UK’, ‘staffing consultant charges USA’, ‘nationwide recruitment agencies in usa’. By using country specific search terms, you’ll begin to have some control over the location of leads that will be generated through your website or landing pages.
  • Create different campaigns for each target country. If your company has presence in multiple countries, using one campaign for all of them isn’t the best practice.

Among other things, engagement and purchase patterns are bound to be different.

So by targeting different countries with different campaigns, you’ll be able to discover which ones deliver better ROI than the others.

You may discover that you have better competitive edge in a country different from your home base.

  1. Area Targeting

Within the country your business operates in, you already know the best locations where qualified prospects can easily come from in order to do business with you.

In the same vein, you already know the specific locations where most of your current clients come from; that is referring to their homes and offices.

Practically, Google adwords provide different options for targeting people within the country in which you are doing business.

This is another interesting scenario in which precision and intent matching makes a lot of difference.

Contrary to reaching anyone and everyone within your operating location, you’ll be attracting only qualified and interested prospects that are actively searching for your HR services

Here is one statistic that buttresses the importance of search engine traffic.

In June 2016, Search Engine Journal reported that mobile search delivers around 48% of inbound sales calls for local businesses.

Probably, you could be reading this blog post with a mobile device in your hand now. Let’s look at some of the Google adwords location targeting options for adverts within a country.

  • State/Region Targeting

Depending on geographic distances, there are lots of businesses that have the capacity to reach and serve other businesses within a state or province.

On the other hand, your own company could have the capacity to deliver recruitment services to other businesses in selected states within a region.

So it is the peculiarities of your company or business that will determine what is suitable in terms of state and regional targeting.

An example in this targeting option will be California, United States.

google adwords location targeting

You can add the name of a state you want to target in your country. Use the same form field to add multiple states within your target location.

For the purpose of split testing, I suggest you create different campaigns for each state and test against multiple states in a single campaign.

Do your research and make use of state descriptive search terms.

I bet you’ll discover some amazing facts about your market that will invalidate some assumptions.

  • City Location Targeting

For some reasons you may want to target a particular city or some selected cities within a state in your country.

And the most important consideration is the distance between your office and the majority of prospects that will see your paid search advertisements.

So in some instances, targeting every prospect within a state may not be ideal for you. In case where the majority of people clicking your ads cannot easily visit your office within a short time, the money spent generating that traffic will be wasted.

Just like the option for state mentioned above, you can create single campaign for multiple cities or different campaigns for each city.

Here is one important thing you have to note.

Some city names are just exactly the same across different states and even countries. Example is Oakland within the states of California, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee and Maryland in United States.

google adwords location targeting guide

In this case, if you are to target the search term ‘Oakland HR consultants’, but your operating area is one state, people from the other 4 states are likely to see your ads, click them and waste the budget.

Hence, the traffic won’t convert because of commuting convenience.

You can follow the preceding tips to create your paid search campaigns for targeting different counties within selected states and cities.

  1. Postal/Zip Code Targeting 

Postal code is another great option for Google adwords location targeting. By using specific zip codes, your ads will be enabled to reach people searching for promoted products or services within the target location.

All you have to do is to type in the exact zip or postal code and Google will automatically show you more codes related to the ones you already added.

In addition to the add button, you’ll also see the estimated reach (potential number of Google search engine users) within each of the suggested location or zip code. The screenshot below shows how it looks.

You can type in the zip code for your own target location to see if it is currently available. Note that zip code targeting is not available for all countries.

Like all other options discussed earlier, you can add and exclude multiple zip codes for each campaign.

Perhaps, it is better to test than assume things. Be sure to use relevant keywords containing the name of each location that appears with each selected zip code.

Examples are ‘HR consulting firms in northern Virginia’ and ‘recruitment consultants Houston TX’.

  1. Radius Targeting

With this Google adwords location targeting option, paid search advertising gets more interesting. Let me tell you the reason why.

The distance between your office and the prospects currently in need of services you provide matters a lot.

In fact, finding and comparing the service providers within their reach are some of the key intents that drive people to use search engines in the first place.

In alignment with this fact, this infographic shows that 76% of local searches results in a phone call.

Here is another interesting fact. With organic search engine rankings, your website will be visible to almost everyone searching for the targeted keywords.

And that includes people who cannot easily pay the high price of visiting your distant office or spend long commuting hours. Radius targeting in Google adwords helps to exclude such people from clicking your ads or visiting your website.

To make use of this targeting option, here is what you do.

Click Advanced Search in the first location selection box after selecting your campaign.

Click on Radius Targeting in the other window that opens up. Enter complete location name around the office you want to bring traffic to.

google adwords location targeting strategy

And then enter the miles defining the distance between your office and prospective clients who can easily visit or drive in after seeing your adverts. Examples are 10, 20 or 50 miles from your office. See the screenshot below.

Click Search and then the red Add button. The opening map will show you how the whole thing looks between your office and surrounding locations.

You’ll also have option to add nearby locations just around the address or the map.

To test things out, try creating different campaigns for 10, 20 and 50 miles and discover which one converts more than the other. With this option you can as well use relevant search terms containing the locale names within and around your target radius.

If you use specific address, endeavor to use Google adwords location extension to make the same address visible within your paid search advertisements.

  1. Location Groups

Just like many others discussed earlier, this Google adwords location targeting option makes it possible to group and target selected locations for a particular campaign.

The only difference here is that it provides another layer for advertisers. So you can reach your prospects based on household income data for each of the location selected.

With location group targeting you can group selected countries, states or cities within a state. And then select the average household income level of people that will see your ads within those selected locations. This is for Demographic option.

See this image below for a selection of three states within USA.

google adwords location targeting tips

The household income data is being derived from Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That is for United States, you can check to see if this option is currently available for your own country.

The assumption around affordability is why location groups look appealing. But as for me, I am yet to test that.

For now, the options I use are working well for me.

In order to use My Location option to build location groups, you have to go first and create location extension feed in Google My Business Location Manager.

  1. Bulk Locations Targeting 

Within the space provided for this option, you can enter selected number of countries, states, cities, counties or postal codes per line.

The second approach is to copy and paste a list of locations you want to target for your ads.

After the entries, you click Search to confirm if the selected locations are available for targeting via this bulk approach. Make sure to enter on top, the code of the particular country to which the selected locations belong.

For example, if all the bulk locations you select belong to United Kingdom, you enter UK in the space provided above.

Besides precise location targeting, the following strategies will help you get more from your Google adwords advertising budget; but only if you put them to work. Yes I said that because having good information is half the battle.

Sure you haven’t forgotten that marketing implies a career in competition.

How To Maximize Google Adwords Advertising ROI

Keyword Segmentation

This is simply a process of grouping target keywords into different segments in order to increase click through rate, conversions and ROI. The premise is that all search terms or keywords are not equal in terms of the potential for quality lead generation and conversion rate.

While some people using certain keywords could be looking for information only, others at the end of the funnel are usually ready to make a purchase within 24 hours – 30 days.

The conversion data in our client adword accounts provides much evidence of this fact.

Besides segmenting your keywords based on the buyer journey, the other variable factors worth considering are the following.

Product/Service: If your company has different pages for each of the services you do provide, you can segment your target keywords based on those unique services.

For a whole lot of reasons, this is far better than using generalized set of search terms for your adwords campaigns.

For example, a company that provides both recruitment and training in HR services niche will have different pages for each service.

Create two separate lists of target keywords.

Add your keywords to unique ad groups, create individual ads and then link to appropriate Urls or web pages for each keyword list.

Location keyword segmentation: Location is one determinant variable that influences purchase decisions. Depending on the size of your target market, you can segment your location keywords based on country, state, city or county.

Examples of location based search terms are ‘HR training Sydney Australia’ and ‘recruitment consulting fees Liverpool’.

Long Tail/Head Search Term: Head terms are very short, usually one or two words, that describes a broad topic. In the context of search engine usage, these are mostly informational keywords; meaning that the searchers are usually looking for information only.

Keywords like laptop computer and apple computer are examples of broad head terms.

commercial intent search terms

Based on the keyword sample researched via Ubersuggest, you’ll see that a thousand persons searching for ‘apple computer’ at the same time will certainly have different needs and intents.

While some are intending to make a purchase within 24 hours – 30 days, others are merely looking for information. I am sure you don’t need a soothsayer or data scientist to tell you this. Think about search terms like ‘Apple computer history’.

Now let me ask you, if you are an Apple computer store owner would you pay to attract people searching for keywords like the example give above?

Long tail keywords on the other hand are search terms that contain three or more words in them. Think about apple computer repair Miami FL, apple laptop computer under $2000.

This same pattern of segmentation also applies in your niche. So learn to segment and test your keyword lists – long tail buyer keywords vs the rest, buyer keywords vs informational.

Optimize Your Ads To Drive Phone Calls

Paid search advertising with platforms like Google adwords remains one of the best means of generating inbound sales calls on a regular basis.

Without being told, I am sure you already know that people who commit to call after searching and finding that you have what they need are quality leads.

And in most cases, the time between ad engagement and closed sale is usually shorter in comparison to web form generated leads.

Obviously anyone, including demographically qualified leads, can fill a web form to download your ebook or white paper and forget about you. And if you don’t have a prompt lead nurturing strategy, you won’t get much value from your current website traffic volume.

This is why inbound sales calls make a great difference in conversion rate and ROI.

Use Call Extension: By integrating with Google My Business data (name, address and phone) into a centralized management system, call extension will be readily available when you are creating your campaigns. Prospects searching for your services can call directly from the ad or copy phone number in terms of desktop visibility.

Add Click To Call Button: Whether you like it or not, a percentage of visitors to your landing pages or entire website will certainly be coming from smart phones.

Make sure your website or landing page is mobile friendly, then add click to call button.

The benefits of click to call button is not just about paid search traffic, but for your entire website traffic. And if you can afford $19 – $99 per month, put a call tracking system in place.

This will help you identify which campaign, keywords and web pages are driving the highest volume of inbound sales call.

Try Google Adwords Call Only Ads: With this form of search engine marketing, qualified and interested prospects searching for your services have a single engagement option – just click to call.

In other words, there is no landing page to visit or time consuming web form to fill and wait for your unpredictable response.

Remember to use these things in combination with location targeting and keyword segmentation.

Leverage Remarketing: Regardless of the source from which you generate your website traffic, all of your visitors can be re-engaged with Google adwords remarketing campaigns or Facebook ads.

Let’s say you generate 3000 website visitors from organic search engine rankings, 2057 from social media and 1890 from paid search, all of these prospects can be brought back with remarketing advertisements.

The fact is that majority of strangers visiting your website will not convert into leads or paying customers in their first visit.

Your current experience already proves this. So I don’t need to tell you more or why it happens in most business websites.

For one of our wedding services clients, a simple strategy to retarget only the visitors from organic search engine ranking resulted in 47% increase in conversion rate. The real results are quality leads and impressive ROI.

The key thing was segmenting the remarketing list based on visitors of most valuable pages – training and planning services description.

And then use remarketing list for search ads and display remarketing to get additional conversions.

Use Sit Link Extensions: This particular Google adwords extension provides opportunity to add multiple links to different pages on your website instead of one destination page.

Among other benefits, using multiple links increases click through rate.

Because of the fact that a typical group of 100 – 1000 persons searching for recruitment agencies in your location are abound to have different intents, using this extension makes it possible to match your ads to their intents.

Below here is a sample of site link extension used by a recruitment firm in Chicago, USA.

google adwords site link extension

If your own company has specific pages for training, service fees, employers, job seekers and locations, you can use the links to these pages in a single ad, just like the one above.


For most offline businesses, location matters a whole lot in marketing. Find a way to leverage on the documented explosion of mobile search traffic.

And you’ll begin to see the real opportunities better than before. One thing worth noting is that a great percentage of purchases and deals that happens offline often originate online.

If you are tired of your sales pipeline being filled with low quality, non converting leads, paid search advertising is one good option you can add to your multi channel marketing strategy.

At the end, the size of your target market and revenue goals will determine how to leverage Google adwords location targeting options.

You can go by country, state, city, country, radius or postal code in combination with all the ROI maximization strategies shared above. To go beyond fallible assumptions, a small sized Google adwords budget is enough to get you started with a simple split test.

In a case where you can possibly earn $2000 – $10,000 per placement, what would a single deal worth to you? That is assuming 1% conversion rate is possible with 100 – 1000 leads.

Hidden Content

And if your recruitment agency website is currently generating 1000 – 10,000 visitors per month, you’ve got an edge.

With that you have real opportunity to leverage on remarketing list for search ads as well as precise location targeting.

Share your experience or challenges in the comment section. Have you tried Google adwords before?

You can as well join our Facebook group – The Search Tribe to discuss, discover and leverage working strategies to attract only the people in need of your products/services – Now.