How to use local keywords to boost your local rankings on Google

local seo

Competitive keywords and SEO direct people towards your business. The higher you rank on Google, the more clicks you’ll get, and those clicks convert to customers.

However, local SEO is often overlooked – despite being an area which has huge potential to drive traffic to your business. 

Local SEO is vital because more than 75% of people who search for a local business will visit them within a day’s time. In fact, 28% of such searches lead to a purchase, so you’ll regret neglecting this area when you are building your business.

One big thing to consider for Local SEO implementation is time. If you don’t have the time to implement any of the factors within this article, please get in touch with a SEO specialist.

It might be daunting knowing where to start though, so here’s our guide to developing a local keyword strategy. First of all, what terms are leading people to your business? Analyse the search terms that drive people to you. If you’re ranking for ‘coffee shop Cardiff for example, brainstorm other variations such as ‘best cafe in Cardiff’, or ‘Cardiff coffee shops’. 

How to discover great local keywords

Make use of tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMrush to show you search volume data for keywords in your geographical location. Discover trending local keywords and also research what keywords your competitors are ranking for by putting their contact page URL into Google’s Keyword Planner. You’ll discover the keyword Google associates with their business – if you focus on these keywords you will capture the local online traffic.

Expand your keywords to include other popular nearby locations and even to the county or region. However be realistic and don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t waste your time and energy aiming to rank for keywords that aren’t feasibly going to send more customers your way. 

Why local keywords are so good for your business

Despite local search terms generating a fairly low search volume, there’s a much higher probability of the incoming internet traffic resulting in a sale for your business. When people are searching for a specific local search term, they want to fulfil a particular need without travelling further than necessary. If you have optimised your local keywords, that traffic will come straight to you. 

Google prefers local businesses over large companies

Google has optimised local searches in recent years, tweaking their algorithms to give local businesses a boost over larger competitors. Google wants to link customers to businesses near to them. The impact of this is that local business can rank for broader and more generic keywords like ‘coffee shop’ whereas before, they would stand no chance against big brands. 

How to develop the perfect local keyword plan and rank in Google’s ‘Local 3-Pack’

To gain access to the Google ‘Local 3-Pack’, however, you’ll need to implement a flawless keyword plan. The Google 3-Pack refers to the top three of any type of business in the local area which are displayed on its search engine results page. Local competition is fierce, but if you can achieve one of these top three ranking spaces, the benefits to your business will be huge. 

So, how can you go about developing that perfect local keyword plan? Here are three steps to help you do just that: 

1. Identify Competitive Industry Keywords 
Which commonly used phrases are people searching for to find your business or services? Work backwards, imagining that you are a customer. What would they search for to come across your website? Make a list of these industry-relevant terms and try and keep it as broad as possible. These will be the foundations of your keyword research. 

2. Brainstorm Keyword Modifiers 
Now that you have your common industry keywords, you need to identify relevant modifiers. Modifiers are words like ‘best’ or ‘professional’ – they are used to add detail and describe events, products, quality and services. Relevant modifiers for a coffee shop could be organic, free WiFi, afternoon tea, cakes, etc. 

3. Research specific local keywords 
Next you need to research keywords for your specific geographical location. Where do your customers come from? How far do people travel to get to you? If you have a niche business, your catchment area might be much larger, Identify local towns, areas, and your local county and link these with your industry keyword and modifiers. Include them in your website content and your blog posts, as well as on social media. Develop local hashtags too and encourage people to use them. You could consider offering an incentive for your customers to leave positive reviews for you – it’s been shown that people rely on online reviews just as much as recommendations from friends and family. People want handy local businesses so they will come to you first. 

Bonus Tips to increase your Local Ranking:

Make sure that you have a Google My Business page – 19% of local search rankings come from My Business signals. You’ll be missing out if you don’t have your own page.

Curate informative content with a local theme, that is useful to your local customers. This could be news, competitions, offers or industry developments – target it towards your local clientele and make it interesting and helpful to them. 

Increase the number of local directories that are backlinking to you – such as Google Listings, local What’s On pages, etc. The more backlinks you have, the higher you will rank on search engines.

So there you have it, a step-by-step guide to how and why to use local keywords to boost your search engine rankings and drive more customers to you, converting clicks into solid local sales. Once you’ve followed these steps, don’t forget to track and analyse your results.

This all-important analysis will be essential for monitoring your progress – you will be able to see how much traffic each keyword is driving your way, showing you how well your keywords are working for you and demonstrating where you need to concentrate more attention in perfecting your keywords and your SEO game plan. Our guide should help you get started in capturing your local keyword potential!