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The Essential Guide to Local Keyword Research for SEO in 2023

Local keyword research is a crucial part of any effective local SEO strategy. Finding the right local keywords to target can help you attract more local customers and drive more revenue for your business. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to perform effective local keyword research using the latest tools and techniques.

Local keyword research allows you to discover high-value keywords that real people are searching for in order to find local businesses like yours. With the right keywords, you can optimize your website and content to rank higher in local search results, earning you more visibility and website traffic from nearby customers.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about local keyword research, including:

Why Is Local Keyword Research Important for SEO?

Keyword research is the foundation of any good SEO strategy. It allows you to identify relevant search terms and phrases that your target audience is using to find businesses and services like yours. This ensures your website, content, and marketing is aligned with what people are actively searching for.

Local keyword research takes this a step further by focusing on geographic intent. Ranking for localized keywords helps you target potential customers in your specific area who are looking for exactly what your business offers.

Here are some of the key benefits of doing thorough local keyword research:

  • Discover the most popular search terms people use to find local businesses in your industry and location.
  • Identify keyword opportunities your competitors may be missing.
  • Understand searcher intent and what types of results people expect for different keywords.
  • Learn which keywords drive high-quality traffic that converts into sales.
  • Build a strong foundation for your local SEO efforts.
  • Optimize your pages for ranking in the Local Pack and Maps for relevant searches.

Simply put, comprehensive local keyword research allows you to focus your SEO efforts on terms that matter most for increasing visibility and engagement in your local market.

How to Conduct Local Keyword Research

Local keyword research follows a similar process to traditional keyword research, but with a focus on geographic intent. Here are the key steps:

Look for Explicit Location Keywords

Start by brainstorming keywords that explicitly include a location, such as:

  • [“plumber Denver”]
  • [“pizza New York”]
  • [“yoga studio Austin”]

These types of searches clearly indicate the searcher wants results for that specific area.

Research Implicit Local Keywords

You also want to target searches without an obvious geographic intent if you offer services to people in that location.

For example, someone may search [“computer repair”] if they’re only interested in shops near them. Make sure you research broader keywords along with more explicit location keywords.

Use Keyword Research Tools

Leverage keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, UberSuggest and Soovle to find and analyze keyword opportunities. Look at things like:

  • Local search volume and trends
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Competitor ranking analysis
  • Related and long-tail keyword ideas

This data will help you identify the best terms to target.

Analyze the SERPs

Search for your target keywords in Google and analyze the types of results that appear. Are they dominated by local pack listings, paid ads, or national brands? What positions do local businesses rank in? This can help you gauge competition and difficulty for ranking.

Compile Keyword Lists

Organize your keyword research into lists, separating keywords by theme, difficulty level, priorities for targeting, etc. Maintain thorough notes on research insights to refer to.

Track Rankings and Optimize

Track your current local keyword rankings using rank tracking software. Use your research to optimize on-page content and local listings for ranking better. Update priority keywords over time.

10 Tips for Effective Local Keyword Research

Follow these expert tips to get the most out of your local keyword research process:

1. Use a Keyword Research Tool

Relying solely on manual brainstorming gives you limited insights. Leverage tools like the Google Keyword Planner for search volume and competition data.

2. Include Keyword Modifiers

Add location modifiers like “near me”, “area”, “city name” to your keywords. This targets searches with local intent.

3. Analyze the Full Keyword Phrase

Look at multi-word keyword strings people are searching, not just individual words. Focus on full phrases.

4. Target Both Head and Long-Tail Keywords

Head keywords like “pizza restaurant” have high search volume but lots of competition. Long tails like “pizza buffet open late” are easier to rank for.

5. Only Target Keywords Relevant to Your Business

A keyword with huge search volume is pointless if it’s completely unrelated to what you offer. Stay focused.

6. Compare Keyword Difficulty vs. Value

Target keywords that provide the best return on investment – high value with enough search volume but reasonable difficulty.

7. Include Brand and Competitor Names

See what searches people make for your and competitors’ brand names as keyword ideas.

8. Leverage Related Keyword Suggestions

Tools provide suggestions for other relevant terms – use these for additional keyword opportunities.

9. Refine and Expand Keyword Lists

Continuously add to your keyword lists over time as you gather more data and insights.

10. Make Local Keyword Tracking Part of Your Routine

Consistently measure local keyword rankings to see SEO progress and update target terms.

Questions to Ask During Local Keyword Research

Here are some important questions to ask yourself during the local keyword research process:

What specific product or service keywords should I target?

Think about the specific offerings, categories and variations of keywords that are directly relevant to what you sell or do locally.

What locations should my keywords target?

Focus your geographic keywords on neighborhoods, cities, regions and other local areas your business serves.

What keywords do my top competitors rank for?

See what local keywords your top competitors rank for as inspiration for opportunities you can pursue.

What long-tail variations of keywords should I target?

Research longer, more specific keyword phrases containing your most important keywords.

How competitive are my target keywords?

Gauge how difficult it will be to rank for each keyword and temper expectations accordingly. Track over time.

How much search volume do my target keywords have?

Estimate potential traffic volume and revenue opportunity for keywords using search volume data.

How Does Local Citation Building Contribute to Local SEO Rankings?

Local citation building strategies play a crucial role in improving local SEO rankings. By creating accurate and consistent citations across various online directories, businesses enhance their visibility online. These citations reinforce a company’s legitimacy and credibility to search engines, boosting its position in local search results. Effective citation building strategies can have a significant impact on a business’s local SEO rankings and attract more potential customers.

How can I make my keywords more locally-targeted?

Add more location-specific terms and modifiers like “near me” to keywords.

Asking the right questions will help guide your research and optimize your local keyword strategy over time.

Local Keyword Research Case Study

Let’s walk through a sample keyword research process for a fictional pizza restaurant in Denver called Tony’s Pizza.

First, I’d start by brainstorming obvious keyword targets like “pizza denver”, “denver pizza restaurant”, and variants of the business name like “tony’s pizza denver”.

Using Google Keyword Planner, I’d input this initial keyword list and see the estimated search volume and competition data. I’d also leverage the related keyword suggestions to find additional phrases like “pizza delivery denver” and “denver pizza takeout”.

Going through each keyword, I’d analyze the top search results to see what positions local pack listings appear in and who ranks. I’d compile all this in a spreadsheet, separating keywords by priority.

Some phrases like “pizza restaurant” have high search volume but intense national competition. Others like “late night pizza delivery denver” have lower volume but are very locally-targeted.

I’d also research keywords for specific pizza styles, ingredients, deals and pricing. Longer phrases like “gluten-free pizza downtown denver” provide great opportunities to rank in the local pack. Brand name searches also present options.

By gathering thorough data, I’d build out multiple categorized keyword lists to optimize my site for ranking higher in local results. Ongoing tracking would allow me to monitor rankings and refine my targets.

What Are the Best Techniques for Conducting Local Keyword Research for SEO?

When it comes to conducting local keyword research for SEO, employing the best local seo keyword research tips is crucial. Start by identifying geographic-specific keywords relevant to your business. Utilize online tools like Google Keyword Planner to find popular search terms. Analyze competitor keywords and target long-tail keywords. Combine these strategies to boost your local search rankings effectively.

The Takeaway

Comprehensive local keyword research provides the blueprint for your local SEO and content marketing strategies. Taking the time to research and analyze your target customer search terms, and tailor your site to provide the best content and answers, will earn you more local visibility.

Run through the steps outlined in this guide to start discovering your best local keyword opportunities. Consistently expand your research and actively track rankings for your core target terms. Local keyword optimization is an ongoing process, but one that delivers immense value for enhancing your local search presence.

The key things to remember are:

  • Keyword research uncovers the searches that potential local customers are making to find your products or services. Identifying and targeting these is vital for local SEO success.
  • Include location modifiers and geographic intent keywords like neighborhood names and “near me” to hone in on searches from people in your own area.
  • Use keyword research tools for volume and competition data to gauge viability and difficulty for target keywords.
  • Analyze ranking local pack results for your keywords to see what positions businesses appear in and who your main competitors are.
  • Expand your seed keyword list with long-tail variations and related suggestions from tools. Continuously add to your keyword research over time.
  • Make tracking ranking positions for your target local keywords part of your regular SEO monitoring. Adjust keywords based on performance.

Focus your SEO efforts on providing the content and optimizing pages for the terms that local searchers are using to find your offerings. Consistent high-quality local keyword research is the key starting point for executing this strategy successfully.

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