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Local SEO Keyword Research: How to Engage Customers in Your Area


Climbing the ranks of Google and other search engines can be tough if you’re not using every tool at your disposal. As part of your overall digital marketing and SEO strategy, keywords, especially local keywords are very important to help local customers find your business. 

At My SEO Sucks, we’re all about helping businesses in various industries skip the queue and jump straight to the front of the line. This helps to give you an edge over your local competition, ensuring that you’ll get more traffic, new leads and a higher chance of conversions. 

Why Are Local Keywords Important  

You may think that local keywords are low volume and won’t provide you with sufficient traffic to your website, but – that’s where you’re wrong. Keyword tools often provide inaccurate data when it comes to local keywords, making it difficult for businesses and marketers without sufficient knowledge and experience to cherry-pick the right keywords. 

The key to beating the local competition can be found in local keywords. Local keywords equate to search queries that are more specific than queries with high volume keywords in. Local buyers that are looking for local businesses are more prepared to buy so it’s important to make sure you’re taking advantage of local keywords. 

Let’s take a look at an example: imagine you’re looking to purchase a new tailored suit in
Manhattan. You’re likely to enter a search query such as “where to buy men’s suits in New York” or simply “men’s suits New York” to see what’s available to you. Manhattan is a big place, and there are a lot of places that men can purchase clothing and suits. 

To narrow the search down, you can use local keywords, for example, if you live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, to narrow the search parameters down, you can enter search queries that are relevant to the local area and neighborhood to make sure the search engine shows local results. Your new search query would be “men’s tailored suit in the upper east side.” As a marketer or business,  you can use SEO research tools to discover the best local keywords in the area and rank for those long-tail keywords to gain an edge over the local competition. 

Long-tail keywords: search queries with longer word counts, their length makes them low volume and more specific than search queries with fewer words. 

Buyers that are more ready to purchase straight away or further down the sales funnel are more likely to use local keywords and long-tail keywords, especially combined together. Buyers that are searching with specific queries, along with local keywords represent buyers that are more prepared to buy. For example, a long tail keyword for local search could be “best tailored suit upper east side”.

Why Are Long Tail Keywords Important for Local Business

Researching local keywords is still vastly important (even if your business operates on a national scale). E-commerce businesses and direct to consumer brands should take advantage of local long-tail keywords to rank higher in their niche when producing top and middle of the funnel content. 

3 Ways to Start Your Own Local Keyword Research 

Local keyword research doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg, there are a few tools that you can use to help you find long-tail keywords for local business. 

Google Trends

As far as free keyword research tools go, Google Trends is up there and is one of the most effective and easy to use. You can take generic phrases and see how they trend in different regions, allowing you to optimize your content strategy to give you more exposure in searches. 

Answer the Public

A website with tools that are designed for PR professionals. After searching for a keyword phrase, the website gives you a map of related keyword phrases and similar terms. The free version of the tool gives you the ability to research keywords, check monthly volume and CPC. You’ll need the pro version if you want to take advantage of local searching. 

Keywords Everywhere

An automated search tool that comes as a Chrome plugin, it’s a great little addition to your SEO tool belt. The plugin works by showing listing related keywords for what you enter into the search field. Furthermore, the tool shows competitor data, CPC and volume data. 

How to Get Started with Local Keyword Research 

Understanding your customers is vastly important to local keyword research. Furthermore, you need to understand your market, competitors and also be able to create a holistic customer journey that allows you to implement attribution models to each touchpoint. 

It’s always best to start with basic keyword research to understand which keywords in your niche rank best in the region and geographical niche. Furthermore, don’t undervalue the benefits of competitor research and understanding who your local competitors are and if they rank higher than you.

frequently asked questions

Good examples of local keyword research tools are Google Trends, Ask The Public (paid version) and Keywords Everywhere. You can also use the Moz local category tool to uncover niche services people are searching for. Often the competition is limited for these keywords. Using Google´s keyword planner with the location set is also good for doing this.

Google reviews are good for local SEO. They are a big part of Google´s Expertise, Authority, and Trust (EAT) algorithm. A set of criteria they use to work out how trustworthy a company is. The fact you have reviews also makes it more likely people visit your website, which is good for SEO. If handled properly even un-flattering reviews can be helpful. They give you a chance to engage with customers and demonstrate to searchers that you are willing to rectify issues.

Social media is critical to local SEO. The links you get from each platform are helpful on their own. Google will also include your social profiles where appropriate in their listings. You can also use your social media accounts to get people talking more about your business. When that happens, you will get more visitors to your website, which is good for SEO too.

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