The Ultimate Guide to Local Keyword Research: Dominate Local SEO
Local keyword research is the linchpin that holds your Local SEO strategy together. Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketing manager for a larger organisation, understanding the finer details of local keyword research can make or break your online visibility. In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into this crucial aspect of Local SEO. Giving you actionable advice and helpful tips to help you take over your local market.
Table of Contents
- What is Local Keyword Research?
- Why is Local Keyword Research Important?
- How to Conduct Local Keyword Research
- Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
- Case Study: A Personal Experience
- Trends and Future Predictions
What is Local Keyword Research?
Local keyword research is the meticulous process of identifying and analysing specific search terms that people use when looking for local businesses, products, or services. Unlike general keyword research, the focus here is on localised search queries, such as “best Italian restaurant in London” or “plumbers near me.”
- Local Intent: Keywords that indicate a user is looking for something in a specific geographic location.
- Search Volume: The number of times a keyword is searched for in a given time frame.
- Competition: The number of businesses targeting the same keyword.
Why is Local Keyword Research Important?
Boost Local Visibility
One of the most compelling reasons to invest in local keyword research is to increase your business’s visibility in local search results. Studies have shown that up to 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
Drive High-Quality Traffic
Local keyword research helps you attract customers who are actively looking for your products or services. These are high-intent users, more likely to convert than those arriving through generic search terms.
How to Conduct Local Keyword Research
Tools You’ll Need
- Google Keyword Planner: A free tool that provides keyword ideas and search volume data.
- SE Ranking: This is an all-in-one SEO platform that offers a range of features including local keyword research. It’s particularly useful for businesses and agencies looking to streamline their SEO efforts. Learn more about SE Ranking’s capabilities here and click this link for a two-week free trial: https://mikem.uk/seo
- SEMrush: Offers advanced features like competitor analysis and keyword difficulty scores.
Steps to Follow
- Identify Your Target Location: Know the geographic area you want to focus on.
- Brainstorm Initial Keywords: Think about what your potential customers might be searching for.
- Use Keyword Tools: Input your initial keywords into tools like Google Keyword Planner or SE Ranking to get more ideas.
- Analyse Competition: Look at what keywords your competitors are ranking for.
- Finalise Your Keyword List: Choose keywords with high search volume but low competition.
Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
One common mistake is over-optimising your content for local keywords, which can lead to penalties from search engines. A keyword density of 1.5% is generally considered safe.
Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific search queries. They may have lower search volumes, but they often have higher conversion rates.
Case Study: Baked to Perfection
If there’s one thing I love more than keyword research, it’s cakes. So you can imagine how pleased I was when we were approached by a local bakery struggling to attract customers. They had a website, but after running analytics we found their online presence was virtually non-existent. Our audit uncovered that they were only targeting highly competitive, generic keywords. They had got themselves lost in the sea of Belgian buns that is nationwide bakeries. Making it rock hard to rank locally. We conducted thorough local keyword research for them and shifted their focus to long-tail, location-specific keywords. Within months, they saw an almost 50% increase in local traffic and a 30% increase in sales (although that could have been down to me!).
Trends and Future Predictions
Much like SEO in general, keyword research is an ever-evolving art, influenced by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviours. Here are some trends and predictions to keep an eye on:
Voice Search Optimisation
With the increasing popularity of voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, voice search is becoming a significant factor in local keyword research. People tend to use natural language and full sentences when conducting voice searches, which means long-tail keywords with local intent will become even more crucial.
Google has already moved to mobile-first indexing, which means it primarily uses the mobile version of a site for ranking and indexing. With more people using mobile devices to conduct local searches, optimising for mobile is no longer optional. This trend will influence the types of local keywords that work best. For example, we think shorter, more direct phrases will be in demand, as they suit the mobile medium.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Search engines are increasingly using AI and machine learning algorithms to understand user intent better and deliver more accurate search results. This advancement could lead to a shift in how local keywords are identified and targeted. Businesses will need to focus not just on the keywords themselves but also on the context in which they are used.
As GPS technology becomes more accurate, search engines can pinpoint a user’s location down to the street level. This level of precision will lead to an increase in “hyperlocal” searches, where people are looking for businesses or services within a very specific area. Keywords will need to be even more location-specific to capture this kind of search traffic.
Personalisation and User Experience
Search engines are moving towards delivering personalised search results based on a user’s past behaviour, location, and other factors. This trend will make it essential for businesses to understand their local audience deeply to target keywords that not only have local intent but also align with the user’s behaviour and preferences.
What is the ideal keyword density for local keyword research?
The ideal keyword density for local keyword research varies depending on various factors like the length of your content and the competition for the keyword. However, a safe range is around 1.0% to 1.5%. Over-optimising can lead to penalties from search engines, so it’s crucial to maintain a balanced keyword density.
How often should I update my local keyword list?
The digital landscape is ever-changing, and so are search trends. It’s advisable to review and update your local keyword list at least once a quarter. Tools like SE Ranking can help you keep track of keyword performance and trends, making it easier to update your list effectively.
Can I use the same local keywords for multiple locations?
While it might be tempting to use the same set of local keywords for multiple locations, it’s generally not recommended. Each location will have its unique set of local competitors and search trends. Customising your local keyword research for each location will yield better results in terms of local visibility and traffic.
Local keyword research is not just a one-time activity but an ongoing process. It’s the backbone of your Local SEO strategy, helping you stay relevant in a constantly evolving digital landscape. By avoiding common pitfalls and using the right tools and techniques, you can significantly improve your local search rankings and drive high-quality traffic to your business.
I hope this comprehensive guide provides you with all the information you need to master local keyword research and dominate your local market. If you are looking for a helping hand with anything SEO, get in touch with us at More Leads Local. We are a local SEO agency, that means we focus on helping local businesses dominate their local markets. Using techniques just like local keyword research! We also offer an audit of your website TOTALLY FREE. We think that’s a pretty good place to start.