Keyword research is an integral part of any SEO strategy. It is the foundation upon which your campaign will be built. Without proper research, you won’t know what your target audience is searching for, and therefore, your content won’t be optimized for the right keywords. However, it’s not enough to only conduct general keyword research. If you’re a local business, then you need to focus your SEO efforts on local keywords. In this post, we’ll go through the steps of local keyword research and provide you with a step-by-step guide for SEO success.
Step 1: Identify Local Search Terms
Before you can even begin keyword research, you need to have an understanding of the local search terms that are relevant to your business. These are the phrases your prospective customers would search for when looking for a local business like yours. A good place to start is Google Trends, where you can enter a term related to your business and see what related keywords people are searching. You can also use tools like Ahrefs, which has a local keyword tool that shows the search volume and difficulty of ranking for specific keywords in your area.
For example, let’s say you own a restaurant in New York. You could use Google Trends to see that people are searching for “Italian restaurants in NYC” or “Best pizza in Brooklyn.” From there, you could use Ahrefs to see the search volume and competition for these keywords in the New York area.
Step 2: Analyze Your Competitors
Now that you have a list of local keywords, it’s time to analyze your competitors. See which keywords they are currently targeting and ranking for by using tools like SEMrush or SpyFu. Look for gaps in their content that you can fill, such as targeting specific neighborhoods or taking advantage of long-tail keywords that they may have overlooked. You can also use Google Maps to see which businesses show up in the local pack when searching for specific keywords related to your business. This will help you understand who your biggest competitors are in the area.
For example, let’s say you’re a plumber in Los Angeles. You can use SEMrush to see which local plumbing companies are ranking for keywords like “emergency plumber in LA” or “plumbing repair in Santa Monica.” Use this information to create content that targets areas or long-tail keywords that your competitors may have overlooked.
Step 3: Use Location Modifiers to Narrow Your Focus
When conducting local keyword research, it’s important to use location modifiers to narrow your focus. This means adding specific locations to your keywords to target people searching for businesses in that area. For example, instead of targeting “pizza restaurants,” target “pizza restaurants in Brooklyn.” Location modifiers can include neighborhoods, cities, ZIP codes, or even landmarks.
Using Google’s “related searches” feature can help you discover more specific location-based keywords you can target. Simply search for your primary keyword and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see related searches.
Step 4: Find Long-Tail Keywords
Not all local keywords need to be short and general. Long-tail keywords, consisting of three or more words, can be more specific and targeted for your local audience. They may have less search volume, but they often have less competition, making them easier to rank for. Long-tail keywords can also be more effective at driving leads because they reflect more specific searches. Focus on the keywords that your target audience is searching for, and make sure to include them in your content.
For example, if you own a pet store in Chicago, you could target long-tail keywords like “organic pet food in Logan Square” or “dog grooming in River North.”
Step 5: Create Content Based on Your Research
Now that you have a list of local keywords, it’s time to create content based on your research. This includes creating landing pages, blog posts, and other content that targets your local audience. Make sure to include your target keywords in your content, but don’t stuff them unnaturally. Instead, make sure your content is engaging and informative, providing value to your audience. This will not only help with SEO but also with building trust and authority in your niche.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Denver, you could create a blog post titled “The Best Neighborhoods in Denver for Families.” This post would target the keywords “Denver neighborhoods,” “best neighborhoods in Denver,” and “family-friendly neighborhoods in Denver.”
Local keyword research is an important part of any local SEO strategy. By identifying local search terms, analyzing your competitors, using location modifiers, finding long-tail keywords, and creating targeted content, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results. Remember, focus on creating content that provides value to your audience, and the SEO rankings will follow.