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Wasteful Wednesday #22 – Keyword of the Week “Local Intent”



Watch Episode 22 on “Local Intent”:

← Watch Episode 21 on “Google vs. Bing”

Read the Transcript of Episode 22 on “Local Intent”:

What’s up folks Wil Reynolds back for another Wasteful Wednesday.

This Wednesday, we’re going to show you how you might be wasting money on local intent searches, if you are not a local based company. 

What we’re going to show you today is we’re going to go through about 5 million-ish keywords, and we’re going to show you how by joining your SEO data to your PPC data, we can find clues for words that show you that maybe you’re slightly off on the intent of the searcher.

Because that’s what we’re in this for — search helps people to find things. So why would you want to show your ad to people who don’t want what you offer?

Example Walkthrough: SEO Companies

Query: “SEO company”

I’m going to use this example — it’s an example that I’ve learned from trying to optimize for words like “SEO company”.

So you type in “SEO company”, see this little box right here…

…that tells you it’s a local based query, Google already knows that. If you’re bidding on these words, it might be good to be a local company, right?

Well, I started clicking on some of the paid ads…

…and, Inseev is in San Diego, Search Berg is in New York, Smart Sites loaded a database error and paid for the click. Bruce Clay, who I love, they’re definitely not like a local based business, right?

I show that to say even SEO companies and Seer made this mistake too with bidding on words where Google’s organic is already telling us, Hey, yo dogg, this is a query where people want somebody local.

I’m not saying it doesn’t work for all those folks, but when we were bidding on those words, didn’t work for us.

When you bring in that organic data that says, Hey, where’s this snippet? You should say, if I’m not a local based business, and Google’s already learned that a local answer, it could be the right answer. Why would I want to bid on that word? That’s what we’re showing here.

As you can see here, we have almost 300,000 search terms where a map showed up and I can look at different clients to see what their CPA looks like. I can use the map as a clue to see, does that potentially invalidate my client being a good answer for that customer’s query?

So I went through some of the queries and what I want to show you now are a few, just a few queries out of that 300,000 search terms that we analyzed, where the word near me, if you just negated that you would be missing out on the local intent for these other keywords that you could negate.

And save some money on.

Query: “wholesalers”

Let’s take our first word “wholesalers”, right? It doesn’t have near me, It doesn’t have any city or state next to it, but Google believes that query just might be local. So you probably want to check to see if that’s happening to you.

So you can see all these weird words showing up for wholesaler — crazy, that all these are showing up.

But you can see that Google has in this top spot a map. Now I’m not saying that these words can’t convert and make money for you, but wholesalers is a pretty broad word to show up for 768 blue buckets. So these are the kinds of things where you can use this map as a clue that maybe just, maybe this isn’t the right answer.

Query: “Graphic design”

Okay, same thing, bunch of people spending money on it right now.

if you’re local, cool. If you’re not local, Google believes that searching for graphic design at this time could be a local query. So just be a little careful that’s all.

At no point am I saying like, you got to negate these, I’m just saying wouldn’t you want to know?

Example Walkthrough: Security Companies

Query: “Top security companies”

“Top security companies”, you got all these companies…

…bidding on, security, home security, etc. What’s interesting to me is that when you look at the local results…

…they’re all security guard services.

See my friends, this is why you have to join your SEO and PPC data — security guard services are different than alarm services for your house.

It’s these little inconsistencies between PPC and SEO that I believe costs people, millions and millions of dollars and only puts money in Google’s pocket — which they just don’t need.

Example Walkthrough: Collection Agency

Query: “Collection agency”

Google showing a local result does not mean that this is a waste of time to go after, but you have to understand that Google has learned something about this customer and Google has learned that there’s a good chance that some of those people might be looking for local based solutions.

Example Walkthrough: Special Education

Query: “Special education”

The word is pretty broad, but now the map is down at the bottom. So that map placement is pretty low, but Google believes there’s some amount of local intent for words like “special education”.

Example Walkthrough: Ecommerce

Let me show you a few others that surprised me specifically in the Ecommerce space.

Query: “Rocking Chairs”

“Rocking chairs”,  I want a rocking chair, this seems like the right answer, right?

Google’s learned something that says, maybe you want to go to a local store that has “rocking chairs”.

That’s interesting.

Query: “Bissell CrossWave All in One Multi-surface wet dry vacuum 1785”

I was shocked when I saw words like “Bissel CrossWave All-in-one Multi-service wet drive vacuum 1785”, and here we go, products…

…local,

…very interesting.

As I was going through these hundreds of thousands of queries, I was finding these kinds of things time and time again.

My point here today is quite simple, I’m not saying that these words are wasteful for everybody, but I showed you examples of mismatch in intent.

So you at least want to be purposeful about going after those words and/or talking to that customer with local intent in mind. Google’s already told you that they believe there might be some local intent on these words, so use that knowledge to improve your PPC strategy.

All right, see ya next time — have a wonderful day and save that cash.


  • Combine SEO and PPC data to identify and align your ads to user intent.
  • Leverage our Saving Benjamin™ Lite tool to find more negative keywords in your PPC accounts.
  • Keep watching Wasteful Wednesday episodes here!


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