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Local SEO Keyword Research (Step-by-Step Guide)

Have you heard the line ‘ if you build it, they will come’? In case you don’t know, it’s from the late 80s Kevin Costner movie ‘Field of Dreams.’

It’s an inspiring quote, but when local business owners set up their websites, it doesn’t really hold true. They believe once they’re set up online, prospects start flocking to their doors wanting quotes, making orders, or signing up for their mailing lists. However, that isn’t the case for many people.

All it takes is some careful local keyword research and a detailed local SEO strategy, and that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about today.

For example, if you own a home repair business, you would want to target people in your local area who may need your services. In other words, local keyword research targets potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer.

When done correctly, local keyword research:

That’s not all, though. The research shows that 21 percent of consumers use the internet daily to find local businesses.

These stats demonstrate that as a local business, you need to be visible online, but perhaps you need some more evidence? Okay, here goes.

There are plenty of case studies showing how small businesses can benefit from local keyword research and SEO optimization. Just search for ‘local SEO case studies’, and you can see what I mean.

As I’ve already detailed, the main focus of local SEO and local keyword research is attracting more leads and gaining more customers.

The most obvious is Google’s ranking factors. With local searches, the search engine giant considers several vital areas, such as:

Google also considers relevance, distance, and prominence (your overall web presence), including content, backlinks, and directory listings.

Another factor that makes local keyword research unique is the emphasis on modifiers. The search terms you integrate into writing must be super specific to your location. For example, if you’re a business in Austin, Texas, you would want to use keywords like ‘Austin restaurants’ rather than just ‘restaurants.’

The above graphic also includes some useful tips you can introduce into your local keyword research strategy.

You know the importance of local keyword research, but how do you discover the best ones to use? Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it may seem. Just follow these tips.

To do this, first, consider what you offer and what services or products you want to promote; then brainstorm a list of keywords related to your business.

Alternatively, a simple way to find local-based keywords is using Google search results. Type in your main keyword and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There, you’ll see a section called ‘related searches.’ For example, a small business located in Miami could target the keyword ‘Miami dentist.’


These modifiers can include location-based terms like ‘near me,’ ‘in my area,’ or ‘local.’ Or you might use ‘car mechanic Cincinnati’ or ‘local mechanic Cincinnati.’

Again, use Autosuggest, related search, or competitive keyword research to see the terms others are using.

When you do a geographical search by entering a location in the search bar, you get a ‘pick list,’ which includes places and likely search terms.

Once you have a list of keywords, it’s essential to analyze them and determine which ones are the best fit for your business.

When doing local keyword research, there are two main ways to target your audience: implicit and explicit.

Implicit targeting is when a user searches for a term like ‘hardware store’ or ‘DIY.’ but doesn’t include specifics like location.

In simple terms, Google basically guesses what you’re looking for and offers your location-based results.

To find out what implicit local keywords might be important to your business, do some research online and talk to your customers. Ask them how they would search for a company like yours if they were looking for one in their area.

On the other hand, explicit local keyword targeting involves search terms that people use when looking for your product or service. For example, ‘Dentist in Santa Barbara’ or ‘Hairdresser in Venice Beach.’

There are a few ways to assess and use your competition in your local keyword research:

1. Look at the keywords they are targeting and see if there are any that you’re also targeting. Chances are, if your competitors are targeting a keyword, it’s because it’s profitable and has a lot of search volume.

3. Review what content they are creating around their target keywords.

4. Look at the SERPs and pay attention to keywords. These terms are usually in bold.

Now let’s look at some tools to make your local keyword research easier.

I’ve already referenced my tool. Ubersuggest, but it’s worthy of another mention here. It’s an easy-to-use tool that delivers:

You can also choose from ‘prepositions,’ ‘related,’ ‘comparisons,’ and ‘questions,’ to get a better idea of search intent.

Other tools to consider:

Ultimately, the best way to find the right keywords for your business is to experiment with different tools and techniques and analyze what works for you.

Local keyword research aims to identify relevant keywords that people are likely to use when searching for businesses like yours online. 

Using the right tools is essential. After all, if potential customers can’t find you in your area, you’re missing out on a lot of business. Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, and Moz’s Keyword Planner all get you off to a great start. Then there’s competitive analysis, viewing the SERPs to see what’s ranking, and using autocomplete.

When it comes to doing local keyword research, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Consider what your customers might search for when they want to find your business and brainstorm. Then, conduct local keyword research with tools like Ubersuggest, Google’s Autosuggest, or People Also Ask. You can also view the SERPs and look for keywords.

By understanding the keywords people in your area are searching for, you can create content and advertising that speaks to them directly, and by using the right tools like Ubersuggest, it’s easy to find out what those keywords are.

Do you use local keyword research? Share how you got your business on the map below.


What do you think?

Written by robert

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