If you have a business with a local audience and customer base then it’s essential to conduct local keyword research so that you can understand the ways in which your target audiences will search for you throughout different areas.
Importance of keyword research for local SEO
By nature, Local SEO usually comes with a certain degree of intent when compared to non-local searches. A search for restaurants, for example, is very ambiguous and pinpointing the intent behind this search is close to impossible. Stick a ‘near me’ on the end of that search however, and it’s a very different ball game. With sources saying that 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, this makes local search undeniably valuable.
Tools for local keyword research
Google Ads Keyword Planner is always a great place to start for keyword research of any kind, and it is no different for local businesses. This tool allows you to search for keywords based on specific locations and helps you see how search behaviour and keyword variations can differ across geographies.
Additional tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs are also excellent for identifying keywords and seeing how your competitors websites rank for the terms that you so desperately crave.
Knowing what is popular, and where.
We can’t expect everything to be popular, regardless of where we are looking. There will be some products and services which simply are not applicable to every region of the world. Some things are obvious in this respect, such as trying to sell a big winter coat to people living on the equator. But others will require a little more digging to determine if what you are trying to achieve is, in fact, achievable in the region from which you are operating. For example, a quick comparison in keyword planner shows how the search volume for ‘Spurs’ differs between London and Newcastle.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, (some) people in London care much more about Spurs than those in Newcastle. The key takeaway here is that it’s not always enough to understand what your audience is searching for at a national or country level, sometimes we need to get granular and look at search intent from a local level.
This principle can be applied to almost anything and the results can be quite unexpected. With each product or service, there can be pockets of surprising insight identified through keyword research. For this reason, it is worth reviewing keyword volumes in your local areas to really understand what users’ needs are in those locations.
Using the right language
Dialect and colloquialisms are not just part of spoken word, they are used in search engines too. This means that the terms you use for your service or product can differ significantly from what your target audience use. Whilst Google’s algorithm is very smart, asking it to connect the dots between words which are visibly very different but have the same meaning is asking a little too much, at least for now!
This is also something we often see where jargon is involved. An example is the legal sector, where focussing on the keyword “private client” will end up missing out on keywords such as “wills” and “probate”. Local keyword research can identify the various ways in which your target audience refers to your product or service.
Local keyword research is also about ensuring that the locations your business covers are clearly detailed on your website. Location-specific pages, such as offices or stores, provide the ideal platform for increasing the targeting for areas that the keyword research has identified. If you are providing specific services across London but the research has shown there to be popularity within surrounding towns, then it is worth including these places within the copy of that page. If the demand is great enough, it may even warrant new pages dedicated to more specific areas.
For more information on local SEO, take a look at our blog post on 7 steps to local search engine optimisation.