Keyword research lies at the heart of any successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, and when it comes to local businesses, it takes on a whole new level of importance.
With search engines becoming increasingly sophisticated and users relying on them to find local products and services, mastering local keyword research has become essential for businesses seeking to optimize their online presence.
Find out what it takes to find the most important local keywords to rank your business and reap the rewards.
What is local keyword research?
Local keyword research is the identifying and targeting of specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to your local business and its target audience.
While traditional keyword research focuses on broader terms and overall search volume, local keyword research narrows the scope to capture the unique characteristics of your local market.
Search volume still plays a role, but it’s more about search intent. Which keywords resonate most with the customers around you?
Understanding the intent behind local search queries is crucial. Users may be looking for business information, seeking directions, or attempting to make a purchase.
By conducting thorough local keyword research, you can align your website content, meta tags, and other online assets with the specific terms and phrases your target audience is likely to use.
Why does it matter?
Local keyword research has a host of useful benefits for your business. Including:
Greater search engine visibility
By incorporating location-specific keywords, search engines can better understand your business’s relevance to a particular area, resulting in higher rankings for local searches.
Highly qualified lead generation
Local keyword optimization helps drive qualified leads to your website by aligning your offerings with the intent of local users actively seeking products or services in their area.
Stand out from the competition
By tailoring your keyword strategy to your local market, you can differentiate yourself from national or global competitors and capture the attention of potential customers in your immediate vicinity.
Increase online and offline conversions
When your website is optimized for local keywords, it becomes easier for users to find your business, driving more foot traffic, phone calls, appointment bookings, or online purchases.
How to get started doing local keyword research?
Local SEO is all about location relevance. The websites that do the best job of this will win.
The keyword research phase is a great opportunity for businesses to start on a positive footing, uncovering terms that local people are actively searching for.
Define Your Target Local Market
Determine the specific geographic area(s) you want to target. This could be a city, neighborhood, or even a radius around your business location.
Consider factors such as population density, competition, and the demographics of your target audience within the chosen area(s).
Identify Your Ideal Customer Persona
Develop a clear understanding of your target audience. Consider their preferences, needs, and behaviors specific to your local market.
Research your customer persona’s pain points, interests, and the keywords they are likely to use when searching for your products or services locally.
Brainstorm Seed Keywords
Begin by generating a list of seed keywords related to your business. These are general terms that describe your products, services, or industry.
Include location-specific keywords relevant to your target local market. For example, if you own a coffee shop in Greater Auckland, consider including terms like “coffee shop in Auckland” or “best Auckland coffee.”
Leverage Local Keyword Research Tools
Utilize keyword research tools specifically designed for local businesses. Platforms like Google Keyword Planner (a FREE tool), Keywords Everywhere (another FREE tool), Ahrefs (paid), and SEMrush (paid) offer features to explore local search volume, competition, and related keyword suggestions—more on these later.
Enter your seed keywords and analyze the search volume, competition level, and variations specific to your target area.
Analyze Local Competitors
Identify local competitors in your market and analyze their websites, content, and keywords they are targeting.
Look for gaps or opportunities where you can differentiate yourself by targeting keywords that your competitors might have overlooked.
Local directories and competitor websites can give you useful information about local keywords that are pertinent to your industry. Look through regional business directories for your target region and sector.
Examine the directory listings’ keyword usage and notice any recurrent phrases. Identify the terms that rival websites are using to rank for local searches by analyzing their competitor websites. This might serve as an inspiration and point out any weaknesses in your own keyword plan.
Refine and Expand Your Keyword List
Analyze the search volume, competition, and relevance of the keywords you’ve gathered.
Narrow down your list by prioritizing high-volume keywords with moderate competition and high relevance to your business and target audience.
Expand your list by exploring long-tail keywords (more specific and less competitive phrases) that align with user intent and local searches.
Consider User Intent and Localized Modifiers
Understand the intent behind local search queries. Consider whether users are looking for information, or directions, or are ready to make a purchase.
Then, incorporate localized modifiers such as city names, neighborhoods, landmarks, or other location-specific terms into your keyword list.
Think of phrases like “Los Angeles bakery,” “LA pastry shop,” or “bakery near me in Los Angeles.”. These keywords are particularly useful to local searches because they combine the location with the business’s industry.
Validate and Test Your Keywords
Implement your chosen keywords in your website’s content, meta tags, headers, and other relevant areas.
Monitor the performance of your keywords through analytics tools and search engine rankings. Adjust and refine your keyword strategy based on the data and insights you gather.
Tricks for Finding Additional Local Keywords
Utilize Related Searches and Autocomplete on Google: Use Google’s autocomplete tool by entering the destination location after your industry’s term. Note the suggested searches that are displayed.
These are often asked questions about your location and keyword. Additionally, the “Related Searches” area can be found by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the search results page. You can get more suggestions for local keywords that are pertinent to your sector from these linked searches.
Monitor Online Reviews and Customer Feedback: Local keywords that are relevant to your industry can be found in abundance through online reviews and customer feedback. Examine the terminology people use. Keep an eye out for words and phrases that recur frequently in these reviews. By include these keywords in your material, you might draw in regional customers who identify with the lingo used by their peers.
Keep Up with Local News and Events: Keep abreast of neighborhood news, events, and trends that are pertinent to the location and industry. Observe neighborhood blogs, regional newspapers, and social media sites. Opportunities to target regional keywords that are pertinent to your sector can be found in events, festivals, or seasonal patterns. Including these keywords in your content at particular times of the day or night can assist increase traffic and engagement.
What are keyword modifiers?
Keyword modifiers add more context and specificity to a base keyword, other words, or phrases. These qualifiers aid in narrowing the search intent and focusing on a specific market or niche. The various categories of keyword modifiers are broken down as follows:
Location-based Keyword Modifiers: Examples of location-based keyword modifiers include “near me,” “in [city/region],” or “in [neighborhood].” These qualifiers are especially helpful for companies with a physical location because they draw nearby customers looking for goods or services.
An illustration would be “plumbing services in Los Angeles” or “Italian restaurants nearby.”
Modifiers for purchases: Modifiers for purchases reveal a user’s desire to make a purchase. These phrases contain the words “buy,” “purchase,” “for sale,” “best,” or “discounted.” Keywords with buying modifiers can be used to target users who are lower in the sales funnel and ready to give you a sale.
For instance, “buy running shoes,” “best smartphone deals,” or “discount furniture for sale.”
The use or application of a good or service is specified by the modifier by Use or Application. They can assist in focusing the search intent and identifying users looking for particular features or solutions.
For instance, “CRM software for small businesses” or “best camera for landscape photography”
Adjectives or other descriptive words are added as descriptive modifiers to add more information about a good or service. They aid in focusing on users who are seeking particular facets, traits, or characteristics.
For instance, “luxury vacation rentals,” “affordable web design services,” or “organic skincare products.”
Adding specific information about size, color, or quantity are these modifiers by size, color, or quantity. They are beneficial for e-commerce sites or companies that sell goods with a range of specifications.
As an illustration, consider “red summer dresses,” “size 10 running shoes,” or “bulk office supplies.”
Time-related modifiers are employed to specifically target users looking for information or events that occurred at a particular time. Some examples of these modifiers are “now,” “today,” “upcoming,” and “2023.”
For instance, “today’s movies playing nearby” or “upcoming concerts in New York.”
When it comes to audience targeting, relevancy, and website visibility in search engine results, keyword modifiers can be incorporated into your research and content strategy. You can tailor your content to meet the needs of your target audience and offer helpful solutions by understanding their search intent and using the appropriate modifiers.
How to choose the best keywords for your business
Choose the best keywords for your business to rank for understanding search intent. In other words, ‘what is my ideal customer likely to type into their browser to find my service?’
These keywords should fit two criteria, a) they have some search volume, and b) their estimated cost-per-click is at least $5.
Search volume is slightly less important from a local search standpoint. Since you are operating within a confined area, there are fewer people searching for your product or services. But you still want to make sure there are some people searching, at least 200-300 monthly searches ideally.
Cost-per-click (CPC) is associated with paid ads, but it’s also useful for determining SEO merit. CPCs tell you the commercial value of a keyword, meaning that businesses are willing to pay X amount to receive clicks from users making those searches. The higher the CPC, the more viable that keyword will be.
Best SEO tools for keyword research
The keyword research process doesn’t have to be rocket science. There are a number of SEO software tools that measure search volume and cost-per-click of keywords, as well as showing the keywords your competitors are using to rank.
FREE keyword research tool:
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is the main FREE keyword research tool that users go to. It can be accessed by creating a free Google Ads account.
Although it primarily focuses on keyword research for advertisers, it can also provide value for a local SEO campaign.
Keyword Planner offers data on search volume, competition, and suggested bid prices for keywords. It allows you to explore keyword ideas, analyze historical search trends, and gather data directly from Google, making it a trusted tool for finding relevant keywords.
PAID keyword research tools:
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that adds keyword data directly to your search engine results page. It provides search volume, cost-per-click (CPC), and competition data for keywords, giving you instant insights while conducting searches.
Keywords Everywhere is known for its simplicity and convenience, allowing you to access keyword data without leaving your browser. It supports multiple search engines like Google, Bing, YouTube, and more, making it a handy tool for quick keyword research.
Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers a wide range of features, including powerful keyword research capabilities. It provides detailed insights into keyword rankings, search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.
With Ahrefs, you can explore keyword ideas, analyze competitor keywords, and track keyword performance over time. Its extensive database and advanced metrics make it a popular choice among SEO professionals looking for in-depth keyword analysis and competitive research.
Most Auckland based SEO agencies use Ahrefs or this next SEO software tool for advanced keyword research…
SEMrush is another popular and highly regarded SEO tool, similar to Ahrefs, that offers robust keyword research functionalities. It provides comprehensive keyword data, including search volume, keyword difficulty, and related keyword suggestions.
SEMrush also offers features like competitive analysis, allowing you to uncover your competitors’ top-ranking keywords and identify opportunities to optimize your content. It provides valuable insights into organic and paid search data, making it a versatile tool for keyword research and overall SEO strategy.
Ranking in the People Also Ask section
Ranking in Google’s “People Also Ask” section can give your website significant visibility and bring in worthwhile organic traffic. This section gives you the chance to highlight your knowledge and draw the user’s attention by displaying additional questions associated with their search query.
The following tactics will improve your likelihood of appearing in the “People Also Ask” section:
Determine Relevant Questions
To begin, list the frequent queries people have about the subject or keyword you want to target. To understand the kinds of questions that appear, conduct in-depth keyword research and examine the “People Also Ask” section in Google search results. Note the specific wording and nuances of those inquiries.
Produce Thorough Content
Write well-researched, insightful articles that fully address the issues you’ve noted. Make sure your content answers each query succinctly and clearly while keeping the user’s intent in mind. Search engines can better understand the relevance of your content to the queries if you structure it as questions and answers or use headings to address each question separately.
Improve Your Content’s Visibility and Relevance
Make your content more visible and relevant. Naturally, incorporate the target keyword and related variations into the content. To organize your content and make it simple to scan for users and search engines, use headings, subheadings, and bullet points. Make sure your content is well-structured and offers the user a useful experience.
Include Schema Markup
Include structured data markup on your website, especially the FAQ schema. By using schema markup, you can improve the chances that your content will show up in the “People Also Ask” section of search results. You can mark up specific questions and answers using the FAQ schema, which gives search engines a clear indication of the relevance of your content.
Track Changes in “People Also Ask” Section
Keep an eye out for changes in the “People Also Ask” section and update your content as necessary. This section of Google is frequently updated and refreshed, so it’s important to stay current and update your content as necessary. Keep abreast of changing user inquiries, market trends, and potential new inquiries.
Keep in mind that appearing in the “People Also Ask” section requires offering insightful and pertinent responses to user queries. You can improve your chances of showing up in this highly visible section and bringing organic traffic to your website by comprehending user intent, producing thorough content, optimizing for search engines, and keeping your content up to date.
Dominate your local market with better keywords
Whether you’re a lawyer in Auckland or a home builder in Wellington, the formula for local keyword research is simple.
You want to match your competition’s top ranking keywords, but then find additional keywords to surpass them. Create content that is of better quality while targeting the same valuable keywords, and you’ll have a recipe for long-term success.
It’s time to dominate your local market.
Brian is a renowned SEO expert and content marketing specialist based in the United States. With a deep passion for digital marketing and a keen eye for optimization, Brian has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry. His expertise lies in exponentially boosting traffic for clients through strategic SEO techniques and compelling content strategies.