If you think only eCommerce shoppers use the internet to help them make purchase decisions, it’s officially time to think again.
The rise of mobile technology in a world where there’s a smartphone in every pocket means even consumers specifically interested in local businesses rely on Google for answers, solutions, and recommendations, often on the go.
That makes local online marketing and SEO absolute requirements even for traditional companies serving their communities.
But standard keyword research isn’t enough for a business to get ahead. You need to wisely incorporate local keywords into your strategy, as well.
Here’s a closer look at how to do it right.
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What are Local Keywords?
Local keywords are similar to standard keywords in that they help search engines serve up your website and marketing content to consumers looking for precisely the solutions your business offers.
However, local keywords also contain locale-specific words and phrases meant to help people in your area find you and learn more about your products.
For that reason, they’re absolutely essential when optimizing any business interested in targeting a specific location.
Although there are many variations, most local keywords are based on a core term (like you’d find in any standard keyword).
However, they often also add both a modifier (as in “best mechanics near me”) and a location (state, city, community, and so forth).
Why Do Local Keywords Matter?
Around 76 percent of people who use their smartphone to Google for business solutions located nearby will visit at least one of them within a day or so.
And roughly 28 percent of those people will decide to purchase something from the business they chose.
That’s why local keywords matter despite the fact that they’re often attached to lower overall search volumes than standard keywords.
They not only work, but they do it in a way local businesses can’t afford to be without.
- Local keywords make it easier for the right shoppers to find your business on Google.
- They help drive traffic to your business that’s extremely likely to convert.
- They help search engines better detect user intent that matches your business solutions.
- They help you build your reputation as a trusted local company.
How to Do Local Keyword Research
Now that you know a bit about why local keywords are important, it’s time to learn how to finetune your existing keyword research strategy with local key phrases in mind.
Here are a few must-know pointers for finding the right local keywords to help you meet your goals.
1. Find industry-specific keywords
The best way to get the ball rolling when choosing the right keywords for your local business is to start broad.
You’ll be finetuning many of your choices later to make them more location-specific, but begin by zeroing in on keywords related to your industry or business niche.
Consider what words or phrases customers looking for a business like yours might type into a search query.
Industry-specific keywords can be anything, including product names, service types, and highly specific industry terms (as with B2B solutions).
2. Add some keyword modifiers to the mix
Many consumers searching for nearby businesses and locally offered products or services will refine their searches by adding modifiers to their queries.
Modifiers are terms that further describe what a searcher is looking for to help ensure their search results fit their needs as well as possible.
Some popular types include:
- Quality modifiers (like “best” or “top”).
- Price-related modifiers (like “cheap” or “free”).
- Occasion or use-related modifiers (like “wedding,” “birthday,” or “portable”).
- Modifiers that specify product characteristics (as with “green boots” or “organic groceries”).
Adding a modifier to a query changes the intent behind the search, so targeting keywords that match can really help raise your click-through rates and drive highly convertible traffic.
3. Decide which locations to target
Naturally, one of the most important factors to consider when doing thorough local keyword research is the “local” part of the equation.
Modern consumers are big convenience lovers, so most want business solutions located as close to them as possible, especially if they’re looking for options on the fly.
Think about the different ways your potential customers might word a search query for a nearby business like yours.
Depending on what they’re looking for, they’ll almost certainly add a specific neighborhood, city, district, county, state, or even country to their search term.
You’ll also want to create landing pages for each of your locale-based keywords and fully optimize them for those key phrases.
Include your local keywords in your metadata, title tags, headings, and on-page content in ways that make sense. And sprinkle them throughout your blog posts and social media posts, as well.
Collectively, these are powerful signals that tell Google your business is the business to beat when it comes to the search terms you chose.
4. Mix and match to find the best options
Highly specialized key phrase options like local keywords often won’t yield the massively high search volumes that broader key terms will.
But they do serve up your website and business to local leads who are highly likely to walk through your doors in person and convert.
And the more specific the key phrase, the better the fit for the consumer in question.
So try mixing and matching core keywords, modifiers, and locations to uncover potential options that might be especially great fits for your SEO campaign.
Think options like “best coffee shop near me,” “cheap wedding dresses in Chicago,” or “divorce lawyer in Austin.”
5. Get creative when looking for inspiration
A little creativity and ingenuity go a long way when it comes to seeking out local keyword inspiration.
Try typing your primary target keywords straight into Google and taking note of the autocomplete suggestions that come up.
It’s a great way to find a few gems you might not have settled on otherwise.
It’s not a bad idea to check out what your fiercest competition is already doing in this regard, either.
- What clever keyword combinations have they thought of that you haven’t?
- How do they target their picks on their website and across their social media platforms?
- How can you build on what you see and do it better than your competitors?
6. Balance search volume and relevancy
Once you’ve compiled an ample list of fantastic local keywords, you naturally need a way to narrow things down.
Determine which key phrases you’ll target first by looking at search volume and prioritizing the ones that come out on top there. But don’t sacrifice relevancy for search volume.
The idea is the strike an outstanding balance between the two. This successfully helps raise your search rankings by showing Google your business is super relevant for your targeted terms.
Make sure you can stay ahead when it comes to more competitive key phrases by reinforcing your local SEO efforts with solid on-page optimizations, relevant social signals, and so forth.
And if you haven’t already, claim and update your Google My Business profile to help Google recognize your company as a legitimate local authority.
Supplementing your organic SEO efforts with a coordinating PPC campaign via Google Ads is a great idea, too.
4 Local Keyword Research Tools
If you’re new to researching great local keywords that get results and wondering how you’ll master the entire process, don’t sweat it.
There are plenty of terrific tools out there that take nearly all of the guesswork out of the process so you can find your keywords and get to work tailoring your local SEO campaign to match.
Here are a few every local marketer should try.
1. Google Keyword Planner
If you’re already well-versed in best SEO practices, then you’re probably already familiar with Google Keyword Planner.
Know that it works just as well for researching, planning, and selecting effective local keywords.
Leverage it to easily discover Google-approved options that are relevant for your business, get current insights on how each keyword is performing, and more.
2. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a handy Chrome add-on that makes a great companion tool to Google Keyword Planner or any of the other options out there.
It’s not robust enough to handle the compilation of your entire keyword list from top to bottom, but it’s super handy for times you’d love the ability to snag relevant options and data on the fly.
3. Moz Keyword Explorer
If you’re looking for a great high-caliber tool to fall back on that isn’t Google Keyword Planner, you really can’t go wrong with Moz Keyword Explorer.
It boasts an up-to-the-minute database that’s already over a billion keywords strong with multiple millions of additional options added each month.
It also helps you better understand why the pages you’ll see on a given SERP rank where they do, the better to help you finetune your own efforts.
This tool also helps you predict the search volume related to a specific option with over 90 percent accuracy.
The brainchild of SEO authority Neil Patel, Ubersuggest is a really handy tool for accurately analyzing what your competitors are doing and assessing how their current efforts are working for them.
Just enter any keyword or URL you’d like further information on, and you’re on your way to incredible insights that will help you make even the most effective local SEO campaign more effective.
Wrap Up: Nail Your Local SEO and Watch Your Rankings Rise
When you know how to find, choose, and utilize the best local keywords for your business, you’re well on your way to dominating localized SERPs in your niche.
However, it’s not the entire picture when it comes to crafting a well-rounded, comprehensive local SEO campaign.
Check out our guide to crucial local SEO ranking factors every local business owner and digital marketer needs to know to get ahead today.
You’ll get a complete look at everything that goes into your local business ranking, learn why each factor is essential, and discover how to make the most of all of them when it comes to your ongoing business success.