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Local Keywords: How to Do Local Keyword Research

Local keywords

Leverage local keywords for targeted SEO. Incorporate city or region-specific terms, optimize local business information, and use relevant keywords to enhance visibility in local search results.

Home / Blogs / Local Keywords: How to Do Local Keyword Research
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

March 7, 2024

Embarking on a digital journey tailored to your local audience begins with mastering the art of local keyword research. Whether you are a small local business looking to enhance local visibility or a regional enterprise seeking to strengthen ties with your audience, local keywords become pivotal.

But as you narrow down your target market and aim to rank higher in your vicinity, there are several different aspects you need to consider. There’s business listing, local link building, competitor analysis, and much more you need to do in the right manner. And in the end, all of these are related to local keywords. Let’s explore the importance of local keyword research, the steps to take to do it, how to track its success, and more.

Understanding the Importance of Local Keyword Research

Local keyword research becomes critical because it improves your visibility in your local area and increases the footfall of your store. But if you look closely, several other factors make local keyword research essential. Here’s a breakdown of the importance of local keyword research:

  • Targeted Audience Reach: Local keywords enable businesses to tailor their online content to the preferences and search habits of a specific local audience. This targeted approach ensures that your content resonates with potential customers in your immediate vicinity.
  • Increased Relevance: Search engines prioritize relevance in their algorithms. By incorporating local keywords, businesses signal to search engines that their content is specifically crafted for a particular location, increasing the likelihood of appearing in local search results.
  • Competitive Edge: Local keyword optimization allows businesses to outshine competitors in local search rankings. When users search for products or services in a specific area, businesses with well-optimized local keywords are more likely to be prominently featured, attracting potential customers.
  • Enhanced Local SEO: Local SEO hinges on the strategic use of local keywords. By integrating location-specific terms in your content, meta tags, and business listings, you boost your chances of ranking higher in local search results, ultimately driving more traffic to your website.
  • Improved Conversion Rates: Users conducting local searches have a higher intent to make a purchase or engage with a business. Optimizing for local keywords ensures that your content aligns with the immediate needs of local consumers, leading to increased conversion rates.

The Basics of Local SEO

Businesses looking to win the competition in their vicinity need to master the local SEO. And this journey begins with understanding the basics first. Here’s a concise breakdown of the key elements of local SEO:

  • Google My Business: Ever searched for an office on Google Maps? Remember how you get all the details about it, like working hours, reviews, location, etc.? That happens due to Google My Business. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. Complete all information, including your business name, address, phone number, and business hours. Regularly update it with photos and respond to customer reviews. This looks trivial, but having an optimized GMB profile leads to better local keyword rankings. Eventually, this results in more visibility in your locality.
  • Local Keywords: Identify and incorporate relevant local keywords in your website content, meta tags, and online profiles. This helps search engines understand your geographic relevance and enhance your visibility in local searches.
  • On-Page SEO: Optimize your website’s on-page elements with local keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. Ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information is consistent across your site.
  • Local Citations: List your business on reputable local directories, ensuring consistency in NAP information. This provides valuable backlinks and reinforces your business’s local presence.
  • Online Reviews: Encourage and manage customer reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and other industry-specific review sites. Positive reviews enhance your reputation and contribute to local SEO rankings.
  • Mobile Optimization: With the increasing use of mobile devices, ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Google prioritizes mobile-responsive sites in search rankings, especially for local searches made on mobile devices.
  • Local Link Building: Build relationships with local businesses and websites to secure backlinks. Quality local backlinks boost your authority in local searches and are also a key factor in rankings. So, along with the authority, building quality links will also help you climb the search rankings ladder.
  • Local Content: Create content that addresses local interests, events, and news. Generating content your local audience resonates with increases engagement on your site, makes you a credible source of information, and uplifts your local SEO rankings.

Step-By-Step Guide to Local Keyword Research

Here’s a breakdown of the steps local businesses can take to conduct local keyword research thoroughly:

Identifying Your Target Market

Before diving into keyword research tools, it’s imperative to understand your target market. Clearly define the geographic area your local business serves. It could be a city, region, or specific neighborhood. Consider the preferences, needs, and search habits of your local audience. Understanding your target market lays the foundation for picking effective local keywords.

You can start by identifying and deeply understanding your business’s core products or services. For example, if you run a bakery in downtown Seattle, your primary offerings can include artisan bread, custom cakes, or pastries. Tailor your keywords to reflect the unique aspects of your business and the local demand.

Utilizing Keyword Research Tools

No keyword research can be done efficiently without a keyword research tool. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can provide insights into the popularity and competition of specific keywords.

  1. Google Keyword Planner: Enter your business category and location into Google Keyword Planner to generate a list of relevant keywords. Focus on search volume and keyword difficulty to identify the keywords you can rank on and generate high impact.
  2. SEMrush: This tool allows you to analyze organic search results and identify keywords that competitors are ranking for. Input your business and location to discover valuable insights into your local competitors’ keyword strategies.
  3. Ahrefs: You can use Ahrefs to explore the backlink profiles of local competitors. Analyzing their link-building strategies can unlock valuable insights about the keyphrases they prioritize.

Analyzing Competitor Keywords

Understanding what keywords your local competitors are targeting provides a strategic advantage. Analyze the websites of businesses similar to yours within the same geographic area.

  1. Identify Competitors: Use search engines to find local businesses similar to yours. For instance, if you’re a local coffee shop, search for other coffee shops in your locality.
  2. Analyze Their Websites: Examine the content on your competitors’ websites. Take note of the keywords they emphasize in their product/service descriptions, blog posts, and meta tags.
  3. Explore Meta Tags And Titles: Look at the meta tags and titles of competitor websites. These elements often reveal the primary keywords they are targeting.

Analyzing the keywords your competitors are using unlocks insights into the language and terminology the audience likes. With this information, you can craft content that talks to your audience in their own language, making it more relatable.

Long-Tail Local Keywords

Long-tail keywords are specific phrases that typically have lower search volume but higher intent. Adding long-tail local keywords ensures that your content aligns with the specific needs of your target audience. For example, if you operate a fitness studio in Austin, instead of targeting a broad term like “gym,” you can focus on “yoga classes in downtown Austin” or “high-intensity interval training near 6th street.”

  1. Brainstorm Long-Tail Variations: Consider variations of your primary keywords, including specific locations, product features, or unique selling points.
  2. Use Conversational Language: Long-tail keywords often mimic natural language queries. Think about how potential customers might verbally express their needs when searching online.
  3. Incorporate Local Modifiers: Include location-based terms in your long-tail keywords, such as city names, neighborhoods, or landmarks relevant to your local business.

Local Keyword Research Tips and Strategies

Local SEO keyword research is a dynamic process that involves understanding the unique nuances of your target audience’s search behavior. Here are some tips and strategies to refine your approach:

  • Define Your Geographic Scope: Clearly outline the specific locations your business serves. Whether it is a city, region, or neighborhood, narrowing down your geographic scope helps in tailoring keywords to your immediate market.
  • Leverage Google My Business (GMB): As said above, your GMB profile is the key to more exposure in your vicinity. Hence, you need to optimize your Google My Business listing with accurate business information, including your name, address, phone number, and other important details. Google often pulls local search results from GMB, making it a key player in local keyword visibility. You can also add relevant keywords in your listing description to improve rankings.
  • Use Location-Specific Keywords: Integrate location-specific terms in your keywords. For instance, if you’re a real estate agent in Chicago, include terms like “Chicago real estate,” “homes for sale in Chicago,” or even specific neighborhood names to capture localized search queries.
  • Long-Tail Keywords For Niche Markets: Identify and target long-tail keywords that cater to niche markets within your locality. If you provide specialized services or products, incorporating specific terms can help you reach a more targeted audience with higher conversion potential.
  • Customer Reviews As Keyword Inspiration: Customer reviews are goldmines for local keywords. You can analyze customer reviews for your local business and competitors. Customers often use specific language when describing their experiences, providing valuable insights into the keywords and phrases that resonate within your local audience. Moreover, try to collect as many reviews as possible since it builds credibility and portrays you as an authority in your industry.
  • Monitor And Adapt: Stay vigilant about changes in local search trends and adapt your keyword strategy accordingly. Regularly check analytics and keyword performance to ensure ongoing relevance. Trends in local language and search behavior can evolve, and your strategy should evolve with them.

Incorporating Local Keywords into Your Website

Effectively incorporating local keywords into your website is essential if you aim to capture your target customer’s attention. This involves a two-way approach focusing on both on and off-page SEO strategies.

On-page SEO for Local Keywords

On-page SEO is a method where you perform all types of optimization on the pages, like adding relevant keywords, links, etc. When it comes to local on-page optimization, it involves tactics like:

  • Optimize Meta Tags And Titles: Customize meta tags and titles with local keywords relevant to your business. Ensure that each page has a unique and compelling title incorporating location-specific terms. This helps in boosting search engine visibility while driving more click-throughs.
  • Include Location In URL Structures: If feasible, integrate location-specific terms into your URL structures. This provides search engines with additional context about the page’s content and enhances the local relevance of your website.
  • Create Location-Specific Content: Develop content that speaks directly to your local audience. This could include blog posts about community events, local news, or features on how your products or services cater to the specific needs of your area. Try to use language and terms that resonate with the locals.
  • Optimize Images With Alt Text: When using images on your website, ensure the alt text includes relevant local keywords. This enhances accessibility and contributes to the overall and local SEO value of your page.
  • Utilize Local Schema Markup: Implement local schema markup on your website to provide search engines with structured information about your local business, such as address, contact information, operating hours, customer reviews, and ratings. This can enhance your visibility in local search results and rich snippets.

Remember, there’s a thin line between perfect optimization and over-optimization. So whether you’re adding alt text to your images or optimizing meta titles, make sure you’re not stuffing keywords, as it will hurt the customer experience and your rankings as well.

Off-page SEO for Local Keywords

Off-page SEO is not performed on the pages but indirectly helps your pages rank higher. It involves practices like:

  • Claim And Optimize GMB: Maximize your presence on Google My Business by claiming and optimizing your business listing. Provide accurate NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information, select relevant categories, and encourage customer reviews. You know this will uplift your brand visibility in your locality.
  • Local Citations And Directories: Ensure your business is listed consistently across local directories and citation websites. Accurate NAP information on platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and industry-specific directories reinforces your local relevance in search algorithms.
  • Build Local Backlinks: Acquire backlinks from reputable local websites or community partners. These local backlinks signal to search engines that your website is a valuable resource within the community and contributes to improved local search rankings.
  • Engage In Local Social Media: Actively participate in local social media platforms. Share content related to your business and engage with the community. Social signals from local platforms can positively impact your website’s visibility in local searches.
  • Encourage Local Reviews On Other Platforms: Besides Google My Business, encourage customers to leave reviews on other local review platforms such as Yelp or TripAdvisor. Diversifying your review presence helps build credibility and reinforces your local authority in various search algorithms.

How to Track and Measure the Effectiveness of Your Local Keywords

Tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your local keywords is crucial for evaluating the success of your local SEO efforts and making informed decisions. Here are a few ways you can effectively monitor the impact of your local keyword strategy:

  • Google Analytics: Use Google Analytics to gain insights into your website’s performance. Focus on metrics like organic traffic, user engagement, and conversion rates for pages optimized with local keywords. Track the source/medium of your traffic to identify the effectiveness of local search in driving visitors to your site.
  • Keyword Ranking Tools: Employ keyword ranking tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to monitor the rankings of your local keywords over time. Regularly check your positions in search engine result pages (SERPs) to identify trends, track improvements, and assess the competitiveness of your chosen keywords.
  • Google My Business Insights: Leverage the insights provided by Google My Business to understand how users interact with your business listing. Monitor metrics such as clicks, calls, and direction requests. These insights offer a direct view of user engagement resulting from local searches and can help refine your keyword strategy.
  • Conversion Tracking: Implement conversion tracking on your website to measure specific actions taken by visitors, such as form submissions, phone calls, or online purchases. Attribute these conversions to the corresponding local keywords to gauge which terms are driving the most valuable interactions with your business.
  • Customer Feedback And Reviews: Actively seek and monitor customer feedback and reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and other industry-specific review sites. Analyzing customer sentiments can provide qualitative insights into the impact of your local keywords on the audience. Positive reviews mentioning specific local terms indicate successful alignment with customer expectations.

Conclusion: Boosting Local Visibility with Strategic Keyword Research

And there you have it. You’ve unlocked the secrets of local SEO keyword research. But the journey doesn’t end here. Regularly revisit your keyword strategy, analyzing trends and adapting to your audience’s evolving language. Embrace location-specific keywords, optimize online listings, and actively engage with your local audience.

By employing your newfound keyword knowledge, you can transform your online presence into a flare that attracts customers who are searching for exactly what you offer right around the corner. Remember, in the local SEO game, it’s not about shouting to the world; it’s about whispering the perfect words to the people who matter most – your neighbors. So, get out there, use local keywords, and outrank your local rivals!

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