Local SEO keyword research may sound daunting, especially if you don’t have much digital marketing experience.
However, get it right, and you’ll see the benefits for your business.
Here are some of Bubblegum Search’s tips for local SEO keyword research that will get your brand noticed.
How do local keywords rank?
Before we dive into how to do local SEO keyword research, let’s look at how local keywords rank on search engines like Google.
Search engines use web crawlers that scan and index web pages. When someone types a keyword into a search engine, the search engine rates all relevant web pages in order of how useful it thinks the pages will be to the user.
This is a very simplistic view as there are a lot of different factors that influence local SEO, such as the proximity of your business to the user. But keywords play a significant role in where your website will appear.
How to do local keyword research for local SEO
It’s essential to do your research when looking for the best localised keywords to rank for. The more you prepare in advance, the better results you’ll see.
Here’s how to find those local keywords, step-by-step.
- Know which locations you want to target
Localised SEO keywords typically follow the structure ‘coffee shops in XX’ or ‘coffee shops near me.’ By knowing which towns and cities you want to cover, you can make sure you appear in the right searches.
Write down all the areas you provide services to. Don’t just stick to cities, counties, and regions; think about smaller towns and villages too.
You can then combine the keywords you find in the next step with the different locations you serve.
- Hunt for the right keywords
Now you have your locations, you need to brainstorm some keyword ideas.
Let’s go back to the ‘coffee shop’ example we mentioned earlier. While some people use this term to find your shop, they may also search using other keywords and phrases. For example:
- 24hr coffee shop
- Best coffee shop
- Coffee house
- Coffee shop with Wi-Fi
- Coffee shops that serve food
- Independent coffee shop
- Tea shop
It’s important to cover as many of these search terms as you can.
The best place to start is to write down the terms you think are relevant. Give yourself five minutes and scribble down as many keywords as you can. Don’t worry if you think they don’t sound right; we’ll filter through them later on.
How can I research local SEO keywords for free?
If you’re on a tight budget, you may be concerned that carrying out local SEO keyword research costs a lot of money. However, the good news is that there are many free local keyword research tools out there.
Many SEO keyword research tools like SEMRush offer free trials so you can use all the functionality without having to pay for a subscription. You may be asked to enter your credit card details though, so be sure to cancel before your trial ends!
There are also lots of free tools you can use. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools let you see what searches your web pages are appearing for, as well as where you are ranking in the search engines.
If you’re already ranking for a keyword on the second page, a little extra keyword optimisation on your site might push you onto the first page of results.
Finally, the Google Ads Keyword Planner is a fantastic way to discover new keywords. Type in words or phrases or provide a link to your website, and the planner will come back with suggestions and how often these keywords are searched for. You will need to create a Google Ads account if you don’t have one.
Which is the best tool for local keyword research?
We recommend trying two or three different tools and seeing which one you enjoy using the most.
- Filter and add to your list
It’s now time to refine your list.
Quality is always better than quantity when it comes to local SEO keyword research. Targeting a handful of high-quality words is better than hundreds of irrelevant ones.
Go through your list and eliminate any search terms that aren’t relevant to your business. For example, let’s say you want to optimise your site for ‘dog-friendly coffee shop.’ If you don’t allow owners and their pooches in, you’ll not only get negative feedback, but potentially fall down the SEO rankings.
When you’re happy with your list, you can use it to find even more keywords.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to type your keyword or phrase into Google. If you look at the bottom of the page, you’ll see some additional related search queries that might be of interest.
Alternatively, there are local SEO keyword generators that can do the hard work for you.
Answer the Public and the Keywords Everywhere plugin for Chrome and Firefox are great starting points.
- Combine your locations and keywords
Merging your locations and keywords together will provide you with additional search terms to target. You can do this manually, or there are programs that can do this for you.
Kombinator was designed for Google Ads, but it works just as well for local SEO keyword research.
- Check your keywords for relevance
This step is a bit more advanced, so it might be that if you’re happy with your collection of keywords, you skip this section and move on to the next stage.
However, we do recommend carrying out this step if you can.
Some keywords are more competitive than others. This means that other businesses in your local area will be trying to rank for them too, making it harder to claim that all-important number one spot.
Likewise, some keywords aren’t competitive at all. This means while it’s easier to rank for them, nobody is searching for those terms, meaning you’ll miss out on visitors.
Testing your keywords for relevance means you can eliminate the keywords that are hard to rank for, as well as those with no search traffic.
You can use sites like Google Ads Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to determine the difficulty and search volume of your keywords. Check all the keywords you’ve generated and make the call if you want to rank for them moving forward.
What’s the ideal difficulty and search volume for your keywords?
There are no hard and fast guidelines – it ultimately depends on your industry and who your competitors are. The best keywords are those with high search volume and low competition.
- Start optimising for your keywords of choice
Now you have the local SEO keywords you want to use, it’s time to start using them on your website.
The best way to go about this is to make a list of all the pages you have on your site. Which of your keywords can you optimise each page for?
We recommend focusing on two to four keywords on each page; otherwise you’ll end up with robotic-sounding content your prospective customers won’t read.
Got more keywords than pages?
Time to create some new ones. A blog is a great way to incorporate keywords into your website or alternatively, localised pages that target people living and working in a particular location.
- Keep checking and testing
Local SEO is an ongoing process – it’s not something you can do once and forget about.
Monitor your pages to see how they are doing. If you’re not ranking for a particular keyword, you might need to tweak your content or look at prioritising an alternative search term.
Keep an eye on potential new keywords too.
For example, if you start offering services to a new town or city, it’s essential to conduct new local SEO keyword research to see which terms to target.
Need a little extra help with your local SEO keyword research?
At Bubblegum Search, we have experience creating well-researched, high-quality SEO campaigns that bring fresh new leads and drive sales.
Local SEO is one of our specialities, and we offer local SEO packages for small businesses, which means you get the benefits of SEO at an affordable price.
As well as local SEO keyword research, we’ll optimise your online presence and recommend easy tweaks you can make to your website that will drive results.
Contact our specialists today to see if local SEO is the right option for you.
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