How to prepare keywords and zip codes for your Google Ads campaign

Before you start spending  money with Google Ads, I would recommend that you undertake some preparations. Google Ads Campaign will ask you to add keywords which you want to advertise, and also will inquire as to your target audience. If you are doing a campaign for someone whose business you don’t really know, you need to do your due diligence. The best source of keywords is the company’s employees. They are well aware of the ins and outs of their company (at least we will hope so) and can generate keywords more abruptly than any Google keywords planner. 

Keyword Analysis

When I begin a google ads campaign, I first collect a report of keywords from employees who are familiar with the best selling products. I also work with them in identifying the most common  search terms, and discuss what our overall goals are. Then, I download a report of keywords from the Google Search Console to get more insights and check Google Keyword Planner. 

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Lastly, I keep an eye on competitors through Competitor Analysis software, in order to discovery the keywords they invest in. For this purpose you can use spyfu, ahrefs, alexa analytics or any other keyword tracking software. 

Keyword Grouping

Be mindful that after you combine all your magic keyword database, you will most likely find out (unless it is not a narrowly targeted industry) that keywords have some different segmentation. Google wants your potential ad viewers to have the best customer journey and you want to get higher quality ad scores. Therefore it is likely that you will have to group your keywords to the ad groups by theme or specification to have more relevant ads. Accordingly, you should prepare your ads groups in advance. Experienced advertisers advise that the best practice in google ads is to use not more than 15 keywords per ad group. If you follow this keyword routine, most likely your list should be sexy enough to move forward with your campaign.

Zip Code List

The next step of our preparation is a zip code list. Actually, you  are not supposed to have a zip code list, as you can simply pick the radius around a city where your target audience is located. But if you want to be as specific as possible and run your ads in certain areas, I recommend you do some zip code research. 

Each industry is different and everyone has a different kind of target audience. Very often a client will start paid ads because it wants you to attract a specific type of traffic, in addition to the current organic traffic. Here are some tips about how to pick the most profitable zip codes if this is your client’s “ideal target” audience and you don’t have any existing data about that. I usually get ratings of the “most expensive zip codes in (city/state/country)” from open sources like Forbes, Investopedia, Property Shark and others who specialize on current real estate/household income data. After you copy this data to a spreadsheet you can compare it with and its information about where the most expensive homes are located. This strategy usually works for businesses who target homeowners specifically (like home service industries). If your target audience is, for example, interior designers, lawyers, or office workers, research zip codes or neighborhoods with the larges amount of office buildings on websites such as, which provided you with data about office space for lease. 

Use Local Citations

For pretty much all service industries you can use Yelp maps as inside information. Simply type in the search bar what you are looking for (restaurant for example). Then type in the city or specific neighborhood and, voilà, you can see all pointers with restaurants on a Yelp map. 

Yelp is one of the most useful data sources, so keep an eye on it. Also, any citation platform for local listings like foursquare, trip adviser, chamber of commerce, or ziplocal will provide you with a lot of data about the locations of your target audience. 


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