Doing Keyword Research for Local SEO

Doing Keyword Research for Local SEO

You might have already been doing keyword research for your business. You know, looking for specific terms according to your market?

What are keywords?

Keywords are the terms people use to search things online. if someone wants to find a pet shop, he or she will type in something like:

  • Pet shops near me
  • Pet shops in (location)
  • Pet shops around me

These terms and phrases the person used to search for the pet shop are ‘keywords’ or ‘key phrases’. In order to perform effective local SEO, you’ll need to add keywords to your strategy. Keywords not only influence your SEO but can also impact your marketing strategy.

When you’ll perform local SEO, you’ll begin to appear in the top results for the targeted keywords. But you should be careful when targeting keywords. That’s because if you target the wrong keywords, you might get bad results. You want to appear in the top results of the keywords related to your business.

This way, people will find your business quickly and they will also get in touch with you. Keyword research is a broad topic in SEO. But in this chapter, we’ll be discussing keyword research for local SEO so your business can utilize it with maximum effectiveness.

Using Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is the most popular and certainly most useful tool for finding keywords. It’s free, easy to use and very helpful.

You can get started with it quickly and find keywords according to your business needs.

What does GKP do?

Google Keyword Planner or GKP gives you insights on keywords and shows you how many people are searching for the keywords.

You can enter keywords related to your business in the tool and get the insights.

Suppose you have a shoe store in Baltimore, then you can enter ‘Shoe stores in Baltimore’, ‘Buy shoes in Baltimore’, ‘Shoe stores near me’, ‘high-quality shoes’, etc.

Obviously, your choice of keywords will depend on the kind of business you do and your targeted audience. How to Use Google Keyword Planner

Follow these steps to start using the Google Keyword Planner:

  • Log in to your AdWords account
  • Select the ‘Search for new keyword and group ideas’
  • Enter the main keywords related to your business
  • Remove the default demographic targeting
  • Choose the location you want to target (city, state or region)
  • Select ‘Get Ideas’
    • You will see the results on the dashboard with the number of searches people are doing for those keywords. Now, you will have to brainstorm a number of keyword ideas for your business. Try different varieties as well as word choices to get the best results.

      GKP helps you further by presenting you ‘Keyword ideas’. Click on this button to get a list of related keywords. These keywords get a good amount of traffic and GKP illustrates how popular each term is.

      Take inspiration from the recommended keyword ideas and experiment.

      This tool clearly shows you the areas you’re targeting with the keywords. This feature is great for local business because you can narrow down the area and target the nearby audience.

      You’ll be using GKP along with the other strategies we’ll be discussing in this chapter.

      If you have sufficient marketing budget, you can use other keyword tools such as SEMRush or Moz. They all are amazing and provide you great insight into how you can get ahead in SEO.

Using Google Trends

Google Trends is an amazing Google tool which lets you know about the recent trends according to demographics. You can enter a term and search for it in the Google Trends. It will show you how the general interest has been in the term based on the area you’ve selected.

You can find out if a keyword’s popularity is increasing or decreasing. You can then, add keywords to your SEO campaign accordingly. The best thing about Google Trends is, not many local businesses are utilizing it.

This means you can get a clear advantage over your peers. You’ll be able to find out which keywords are rising in popularity and which aren’t. You can select regions for getting more accurate results. One term might be popular in a certain region while unknown in the other one.

Targeting Local Keywords

In order to perform good local SEO, you’ll have to rely on local keywords.

What are the local keywords?

Those keywords which have a local intent are called local keywords. For example, ‘buy t-shirts’ is a normal keyword but ‘buy t-shirts in Mumbai’ is a local keyword.

When you add location-specificity to the keyword, your keyword becomes a local keyword. You only have to add the name of the area or location in the main keywords you want to target for.

Here’s another example:

Suppose you’re a dentist in Chicago. Your main keywords could be:

  • Dental Clinic
  • Dentist
  • Dental expert

Now, you take these keywords and add ‘Chicago’ to them:

  • Dental Clinic Chicago
  • Chicago Dentist
  • Dental Expert in Chicago

They might not appear grammatically correct but they seem like the words people search for.

The second set of local keywords narrows down the search making it easier for you to find your target audience.

Targeting Long-tail Keywords

Primarily, keywords are of two types:

- Short-tail keywords

- Long-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords have few words. They include, ‘buy shoes’, ‘dental clinic’, ‘get a drink’, etc.

Long-tail keywords contain more than 3 words, such as ‘buy shoes in Florida’, ‘find a good dental clinic’, ‘get a drink in Chennai’, etc.

When you’re doing local SEO, you should aim at targeting long-tail keywords. Why? Because they are easier to rank for. They also provide you with a more qualified audience. For example, a person searching for ‘chairs in Delhi’ will have higher chances of buying a chair in Delhi in comparison to a person searching for ‘chairs’. The latter might have a different intent. Long-tail keywords get less traffic and you will easily get to the top results.

You might have noticed that local keywords and long-tail keywords are similar. The difference is of targeting. A local keyword can be a long-tail keyword but it isn’t necessary that a long-tail keyword is a local one. For example, ‘tips for cutting hair’ is a long-tail keyword but it isn’t a local one. Similarly, ‘hotel in Alaska’ is a local keyword but it isn’t a long-tail one.All in all, have a number of both of these keywords to devise a powerful local SEO campaign.

Keyword Modifications

There are multiple versions of keywords present on the web. Let’s take the dental clinic from the previous example, here are some modifications:

  • Best dentist in Chicago
  • Experienced Chicago dentist
  • Dental clinic in Chicago for kids

As you can see, we’ve only added a few words to the original phrases. But using this tactic enables you to widen your reach. Such keyword modifications get considerable traffic and including them in your strategy will widen your reach.

There are two kinds of modifiers you can use:

  • Adjectives: best, affordable, cheap, fast, etc.
  • Variations: like in our example, you can use dentist, dental expert, dental clinic, etc.

A great way to find keyword modifiers is through Google’s autosuggest. When you enter a keyword in Google Search, it automatically shows you some suggestions. Apart from that, you can use Google’s related results that appear on SERPs. You can use these keywords in your campaign as well.

Use your Competition

Your competition might already be using a lot of great keywords. Guess what? You can use them too. And it isn’t wrong. In fact, they might have used your website for finding keywords many times. That’s the best thing about digital marketing. You can even take the help of your competitors to get ahead of them. Research your competitors to get keyword ideas. There are multiple ways you can leverage their sites to get keyword ideas for your business:

Use their Landing Pages:

The first method is to copy the link of their landing page. You can choose any one of your direct competitors. Paste the URL in your Google Keyword Planner search bar. After going through the page, Google will show you the recommended keyword ideas. You can use these keyword ideas as the root words for your brand’s keywords. You can use these keywords for creating a better SEO campaign as well.

Analyze the Website:

Another thing you can do is to analyze their website properly. Check the categories, content categories and the headlines of their content. You will notice some keywords or key phrases present which you can use as inspiration. Take a look at their Meta titles and Meta descriptions as well. if your competitor’s a service provider, then check the list of the services as well.


Finding keywords isn’t much difficult. You’ll need to experiment a little here and there. However, after a little research, you’ll have a list of compelling keywords you can use, to begin with. Have one or two primary keywords and a bunch of variations for them.

As a local business, you’ll not have trouble coming up with the primary keywords. Now that you know how to perform the keyword research, we can start using them for local SEO. Next up, we’ll discuss what you’re going to do to perform on-page local SEO.

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