Whenever you’re embarking on a local SEO campaign, keyword research is going to be one of your most important tools. After all, how can you optimize your website and content for local search engine traffic if you don’t know what local keywords people are actually searching for?
However, local keyword research can be a bit different from standard keyword research, and it’s important to know the difference.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to local SEO keyword research. We’ll cover everything you need to know about local search, from the basics of how to get started to more advanced tips and tricks. We’ll also talk about some of the best local keyword research tools and how to use them effectively. So whether you’re an SEO beginner or an experienced pro, this guide will have something for you.
What Does Local SEO Mean?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and online presence for local search terms. Unlike general or broad keywords, which can be used by businesses anywhere in the world, local keywords are specific to a particular geographic location. For example, if you own a coffee shop in Seattle, you’ll want to optimize your site for local keywords like “coffee shops in Seattle” or “best coffee in Seattle.”
This is because people who search for these kinds of terms are much more likely to be located near you and to visit your shop. Local SEO, then, is all about helping people who are searching for local businesses like yours find you easily and quickly.
How To Unearth Local Keywords
The first step in any local keyword research process is to brainstorm a list of keywords. To do this, think about what kind of search terms your potential customers might use when they’re searching for businesses like yours.
For example, if you own a pizza place, some of the keywords you might want to target could be “pizza delivery in ____,” “best pizza in ____,” or “pizza near me.” Once you’ve brainstormed a keyword list of potential options, you can start to narrow them down by using a keyword research tool. We’ll talk about some of the most popular ones below.
Top Local Keyword Tools
There are a number of great local keyword research tools out there that can help you fine-tune your keyword list. Here are five of our favorites:
1. Google Keyword Planner (formerly known as Google Keyword Tool)
One of the most popular keyword research tools, Keyword Planner can help you generate a list of keywords relevant to your local audience. Google created this free tool for businesses to use in their keyword research efforts.
In order to use this free tool, you need to set up a Google Ads account if you don’t already have one. You can find local SEO keywords related to your business here and then look at the search volume and forecasts for your list of keywords. You can see data such as monthly searches, impressions, click-through rate, and the average cost per click.
2. Moz Local Listing Score
This free tool from Moz gives you a quick way to see how well your business is listed on major local directories like Yelp, Foursquare, and Yellow Pages. The Moz Local Listing Score tool gives you immediate results on how your business is listed across a range of directories so you can audit existing location data.
Moz will search your local listings on Google, Google Maps, Facebook, Bing, and other directories to find missing or inaccurate data as well as help you to take advantage of every search opportunity.
3. Whitespark Local Citation Finder
With this tool, you can quickly find out where your competitors are being mentioned online and get ideas for new local directories to list your own business on. Whitespark Local Citation Finder allows you to claim the best local citation opportunities for your business. It discovers new opportunities by identifying your competitors’ citations.
You can quickly analyze your top competitors’ citations across the web to see where you are missing out. It makes citation building easy by listing sites you can submit citations to at the top of your results.
4. BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey
This annual survey from BrightLocal gives you insights into how consumers use online reviews when choosing local businesses. The 2022 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey shares statistics such as, “More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020).”
The survey can be extremely useful in seeing current consumer behavior that affects how you implement your local SEO strategy.
5. Google My Business
As a business owner, this free listing from Google is essential for any local business that wants to be found in search results. Google My Business (GMB), now called Google Business Profile (GBP), is a platform that collects, stores, and displays business information. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website URL, hours of operation, and more.
GMB/GBP is also directly linked with Google Maps, which is how potential customers can find your business when searching for local keywords.
How To Conduct Local Keyword Research for Businesses With More Than One Location
If you have a business with multiple physical locations, you’ll need to do a bit of extra work to make sure you’re targeting relevant keywords for each location. The best way to do this is to create a separate landing page on your website for each location.
On each landing page, be sure to include the business name, address, and phone number (NAP), as well as a unique description of the products or services offered at that location. You should also include local keywords relevant to that particular location. For example, if you have a coffee shop in Phoenix, Arizona, you might want to target keywords like “coffee shops in Phoenix AZ” or “best coffee in Phoenix.”
By creating separate landing pages for each location, you’ll ensure that your website is optimized for local search traffic and that your target audience can easily find the information they’re looking for.
Tracking Local Keyword Performance
Once you’ve selected your local keywords and incorporated them into your website, it’s important to track how well they’re performing. There are a few different ways to do this:
1. Check your website’s traffic.
Use Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or another web traffic monitoring tool to see how much traffic your site is getting from local searches. You can also use this data to see which keywords are driving the most attention to your site from organic search.
2. Monitor your rankings.
Use a tool like Moz Local or Whitespark to track your local search rankings and see how they’re changing over time.
3. Check your conversion rates.
Use Google Analytics or another conversion tracking tool to see how many leads or sales you’re getting from local searches. This data will help you see which keywords are most important for your business.
By tracking your local keyword performance, you’ll see which words and phrases are driving the most traffic and conversions for your business. This information can then be used to fine-tune your SEO strategy and ensure that you’re always targeting the most effective keywords.
Need Help With Your Local Keyword Strategy? We Make Things Simple
Markitors Powered by Elevato is a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, local search, content marketing, and Digital PR. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses increase their web traffic and achieve their goals.
If you need guidance with your local keyword research or any other aspect of your SEO and digital marketing strategy, we’d be happy to chat with you. Just contact us today, and one of our experts will be in touch.