Local SEO Keyword Research

digital-marketing-strategyWith Google’s latest algorithm update putting a heavier emphasis on nearby results, local SEO is no longer an important addition, but an essential part of your search strategy. Which means now is either the time to get started with your local marketing campaign or spend a little more time making sure you get it right.

As always, keywords are the heartbeat of any SEO strategy, but local search calls for a slightly different approach. Today we’re going to look at how to use the Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics and Google My Business to get a more focused insight into keywords used within your area.

Google Keyword Planner

Always a good starting point for any keyword research session, Google’s Keyword Planner is a powerful tool for identifying keywords by search volume and competition. By default, the tool has no local preference and you will have to type in a location – eg: “Plumber London”.

If you take this option, don’t forget to play around with keyword variation, long tail keywords and even spelling mistakes. For example, “Plumber London” and “London Plumber” will yield different results for search volume and maybe even competition.

You can add local filters to your research session too – by country, county or city – meaning you can drop the location from your query and see how many searches there are specific keywords get in your area. Only define one location parameter at any one time though (eg: not county and city) or you will distort the results.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a different kind of tool altogether, but it offers up some invaluable insights into keywords that you don’t want to ignore. While the Keyword Planner tells you how many searches each keywords get per month (on average), Google Trends shows you the history of keywords in a visual graph.
Which means you can see at which time of the year certain keywords are most effective and if there are any seasonal dry spells. This allows you to determine which keywords are consistent throughout the year and others that have more to offer during specific seasons or months.

You can also use Google Trends to get regional insights into search data to see how popular keyword phrases are across the country, county or city. The most searched keyword for your location might be unique to the top query in your surrounding area, or even the country – so use this to focus your local keyword list.

Google My Business

You may already be signed up to Google My Business, which is the current name for Google Places or Google+ Local. Once you have your business page up and running there are a few extra insights you can use to expand on your previous keyword research.

For example, under the Insights section you can check to see where people have requested directions to your business location. This allows you to see where your business is pulling in customers from surrounding areas and other locales you might want to include in your SEO strategy.