What is keyword research?

Keyword research and analysis is the method of fine tuning your website keywords and phrases to better target your business services and your customers intent.
Local SEO Keywords

To have a highly ranked and topic focused website, regular keyword research is required. All methods of keyword research including advanced keyword research are freely available. Learning the art of research takes time but the steps below will point you in the right direction and hopefully inspire you to think of other ways to accomplish topic focus.

What is local keyword research?

The main difference between local and national keyword research is simply that you are targeting a location such as you city, town or county along with your business service or product. So there are two things to consider and to connect in some way.

With local keywords you need to learn about your area. If you are a computer technician then you may mention shops locally to buy parts for computers or at least mention on your webpages that you have worked alongside local businesses or institutions.

Search Google for local attractions, events, restaurants or anything you can add into the text on your webpages that enhances your service or gains trust. Local people like to know your local!

Why is keyword research so important?

Local keywords have considerably lower search volumes than national searches. Local searchers are more likely to convert as their intent is probably more urgent or they are looking for a service that can only be found locally.

Also locally there is often less competition and as of late 2018 not many local businesses are undertaking any SEO and are missing many new opportunites to gain more clients.

However to stay ahead of the pack, Google advises that you do regular keyword analysis to discover more avenues to connect with your audience.

Keyword research is vital to local business success and many opportunities are being missed for the sake of a few words.

Keyword research for a new website.

For a new local website finding keywords can be difficult. Here are some ways you can learn new ideas. Firstly though go and create a Google Webmaster Tools account and link it to your website. This will set you up for much of your future keyword research which I will come back to later in this article.

1) Ask Friends

Crazy right! Well not really. Just ask 3 friends what they would type into the search or speak into SIRI to find your service in the area. For instance if you are a plumber seaking work in Birmingham then they may search for 'local plumber in Birmingham', 'Birminghams best plumbing service' or even 'plumber near me'. Ask them and you could learn much!

Here are 3 questions to ask your friends.

  1. Which keywords would they use?
  2. How would they usually refer to your type of business?
  3. Would they search for best quality or lowest rates?

2) Use Google keyword planner tool

Google keyword planner tool is a free resource aimed at advertisers.

Because the data is based on advertisement searches the keyword search volume statistics may not be accurate.

Google keyword planner tool

This tool is very handy for finding topics and sub headings for local services. In this example above you may want to use '24 hour locksmith' as a pages sub heading such as in an H2.

3) Ask Google for keyword ideas!

Here is a very simple way to gather new key phrases and that is simply search Google for a simple term connected to your business. Lets say your a locksmith in London, so you search 'locksmith london'.

Ask Google for keyword ideas

Now look toward the bottom of the search results page and you will see related search suggestions as in the image below. People actually look for these phrases!
related search suggestions

Be creative with your searches and see what Google suggests...

You can also use the trick of starting to type your search into the Google Chrome address bar and see what they suggest. Again these are commonly searched for local terms.

Google Autocomplete Keyword Suggestions

As you can see there are many suggestions that Google provides to get you started. I also advise you to return here now and again to see whats new!

4) Analyse Your Competitors Website!

Be carefull with this as your competition may be stuffing keywords. So look for the page title, meta description and heading title (H1). Also look for lists on the page that indicate that they have carried out local research.

If they have a blog see what topics they have written about and which categories they use. See what titles they use and find out if anyone is linking to these pages and if they are ranking for the keywords you discover.

Do a search and see common keywords your competition are using in the results. The image below (using the search 'London Locksmith') shows a strong correlation between Locksmiths and a 24 hour service. This seems to be very important to Google.

Google SERPS

You should try towns around your area in your search too and see what the competitions keywords are further afield. If you lived in Torquay then you might also try targeting Newton Abbot for example.

Webmaster Tool Keyword Research

Remember the fist thing you did on your new website was to setup Google Webmaster Tools? Well now it will come in very handy indeed. Since you set this up Google has been monitoring the amount of times your website appeared in the SERPS (search results) and that data is now at your disposal.

Webmaster Tool Keywords

This tool collects many phrases that are and are not already on the webpage itself so present new keyword opportunities or article ideas. It also shows the amount of impressions your webpage has had on Google Search and for which phrase.

How to target local keywords for SEO?

To do keyword research for local business websites takes on a slightly different format than national research. The first thing to note is that you are targeting two very different keyword types:

  1. 1) Your Service
  2. 2) Your Location

Unlike national websites who may only target their service, you have two dimensions to consider. Your website may target your service keywords but does it target your town or city? To truly target your location and service you need to read SEO tips for local business.

Local SEO James

SEO James

01752 846168