Keyword research has long been recognized as a crucial aspect of successful SEO campaigns. However, taking it a step further with region-based keywords can significantly enhance your chances of being discovered by customers within your target area.
As consumers increasingly rely on search engines to find local businesses, understanding the specific search terms and phrases they use becomes crucial. Whether you own a small brick-and-mortar store or manage a regional service company, local keyword research has evolved into an indispensable tool for boosting your online visibility and attracting potential customers in your vicinity.
In this blog post, we will discuss the concept of local keyword research and explore why it has become a game-changer for businesses prioritizing local SEO. We will also provide you with practical aspects such as identifying local intent, performing competitor analysis, utilizing keyword research tools, and optimizing your website for local search.
What is Local Keyword Research?
Local keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing keywords potential customers use that are specific to a particular geographic area.
Unlike general keyword research, which is more concerned with broad, universal keywords, local keyword research focuses on location-specific keywords, or “geo-targeted” keywords that people use in their search queries when looking for products, services, or information in a specific location.
2 Types of Local Keywords
There are two types of local keywords: explicit and implicit:
Explicit local keywords
These are phrases that directly include the name of a location.
For example, suppose you own a coffee shop in downtown Seattle. If someone searches for “coffee shops near me” or “best coffee in Seattle,” it explicitly communicates their location preference.
Google’s algorithms take these explicit keywords into account and strive to deliver search results that match the specified location.
Implicit local keywords
In some cases, users may not include explicit location terms in their search queries but still provide implicit signals that hint at their location. These phrases imply a location, like “coffee shop near me” or “coffee shop open now.”
Google examines various factors to determine implicit location such as:
- IP Address: Google can analyze the IP address associated with the user’s device to approximate their location. While this method is not always precise, it provides a general understanding of the user’s geographic area.
- User Account Information: If users are logged into their Google accounts while conducting searches, Google can access their account information, including location data they have previously provided.
- Mobile Device Signals: When users perform searches on mobile devices, Google can leverage signals like GPS, Wi-Fi, or cell tower information to estimate their current location.
Both explicit and implicit keywords work hand in hand as Google’s algorithms strive to understand a user’s location intent and present them with search results that align with their geographic preferences.
This localization of search results ensures that users receive relevant information, services, and businesses that are geographically accessible to them.
The concept of local intent
Since we’re already discussing implicit and explicit local keywords, it’s best if we dive into the concept of local intent.
Local intent refers to the specific intention or purpose behind a user’s online search when they are looking for products, services, or information within their immediate geographic area.
When users include location-specific terms in their search queries, such as city names, neighborhoods, or phrases like “near me” or “in [location],” it indicates their intent to find local businesses or resources. This intent is driven by the desire for convenience, proximity, and relevance to their location.
Why is Local Keyword Research Important?
Just like in general keyword research, conducting local keyword research is crucial because it helps you tap into the search patterns of your local and potential customers. local keyword research takes it a step further by considering location-specific factors.
For instance, understanding the language, slang, cultural nuances, and consumer behavior associated with a particular area allows businesses to create content that resonates with local customers.
Let’s consider a scenario where you own a restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida. In this case, local keyword research proves to be more effective than general keyword research. Here’s why:
- General Keyword Research: If you rely solely on general keyword research, you might target broad terms like “restaurant” or “food,” which have high competition and national or global reach.Even if these keywords attract a significant amount of traffic, they might not be as relevant or effective for your specific location.
- Local Keyword Research: On the other hand, conducting local keyword research allows you to identify location-specific keywords that are highly relevant to your target audience in Miami Beach.For example, you might discover keywords like “best seafood restaurant in Miami Beach,” “oceanfront dining in Miami Beach,” or “Miami Beach restaurant specials.” These keywords specifically cater to users who are searching for dining options within the Miami Beach area, indicating strong local intent.
In such a scenario, the benefits of Local Keyword Research are:
- Targeted Traffic: You attract highly targeted traffic from users who are actively looking for dining experiences in Miami Beach. This increases the chances of attracting customers who are more likely to visit your restaurant.
- Competitive Advantage: Local keyword research enables you to compete effectively against other local restaurants. While national chains may have a strong online presence, your focus on location-specific keywords allows you to stand out in local search results.
- Local Relevance: Using location-specific keywords helps establish your restaurant’s relevance to the Miami Beach community. It signals to search engines and users that your business is a local, trusted option for dining, improving your SEO performance in the process.
- Better Conversion Rates: When users find your website through targeted local keywords, they are more likely to convert into actual customers than those who are from far-reaching cities or countries. They have a higher intent to visit a restaurant in Miami Beach, thus increasing the chances of them choosing your establishment.
How Do I Find Local Search Keywords?
Now that you have a better understanding of what and how local keyword research works, let’s now discuss how you find local keywords yourself. We can do that by simply following a formula:
[Business Offerings] + [Modifiers] + [Specific Location]
Step 1: Identify and list down your offerings
Start by identifying the core terms that are relevant to your business. These are the terms that describe your products, services, or industry.
If we go to our Miami Restaurant example, our core offerings are “Restaurant,” “Beachside dining,” “Seafood restaurant,” and so on.
Step 2: Add modifiers and Locations
Next, add modifiers to your core terms that indicate local intent. These modifiers can include location-specific terms such as city names, neighborhood names, or regional identifiers.
Continuing with the restaurant example, modifiers could be “Best Beach Restaurant in Miami” or “[Miami neighborhood] Affordable Seafood restaurant.”
Additional tip: You can also use landmarks to strengthen your local intent. For example, “restaurants near Lincoln Road,” or “restaurants on Washington Avenue.”
Step 3: Find relevant keywords
These tools provide valuable insights and suggestions for relevant keywords specific to your location. They also come with filtering options, making it easier for you to navigate your specific location and find relevant analytics like search volume, difficulty, and so on.
Free keyword research tools
Google Keyword Planner
You can also use free tools like Google Keyword Planner which lets you discover new keywords related to your business and see search volume ranges, keyword difficulty, and other keyword data that can guide your SEO strategy.
To use Google Keyword Planner for local keyword research, you should input seed keywords that are relevant to your business and specify your target location. The tool will then generate a list of related keywords, along with their average monthly search volume in your selected area.
Google Trends is another free and useful tool for understanding search trends and popularity over time. It can help you identify seasonal trends and emerging local keywords relevant to your Miami Beach restaurant. Explore the tool by inputting your core terms and location to discover trending topics and related keywords.
Manual Google Search
Performing a manual Google search can provide you with additional keyword ideas. Simply type your seed keywords into the Google search bar and pay attention to the autocomplete suggestions that appear as you type. These suggestions represent popular keywords that real people are actively searching for.
Additionally, scroll down to the bottom of the search results page to find the “People also ask” and “Searches related to…” sections. These sections offer valuable keyword suggestions that are semantically related to your original search term.
Additional tip: When conducting manual searches for keyword ideas, remember to use incognito mode or clear your browsing history to avoid personalized search results. This ensures that you receive unbiased keyword suggestions that are relevant to a broader audience.
Improve Local Visibility with Local Keyword Research
Local keyword research is a powerful tool for businesses aiming to enhance their local visibility. Businesses that take time to understand the search patterns, intent, and preferences of their local customers attract highly targeted traffic and gain a competitive edge in their specific area
However, it’s important to note that local keyword research is an ongoing process. Search trends, consumer behavior, and competition can change over time. Regular monitoring and analysis of keyword performance allow businesses to adapt and refine their local keyword strategy to maintain optimal visibility and relevance.
So, take the initiative to conduct thorough local keyword research, stay attuned to local search trends, and continually optimize your online content.