Local SEO Keywords for Beginners
What are Local SEO Keywords?
Local SEO keywords are search terms or phrases that are specifically targeted toward a local audience. These keywords often include location-based terms such as the name of a city, town, or neighborhood, and they are used to optimize a website or page to rank higher in search engines for users searching in a particular geographic area.
For example, a local keyword search term could be "electricians near piccadilly circus, london", which reveals the following map pack results in Google:
Why are Local SEO Keywords Important?
Local SEO keywords help businesses attract customers within their service area or target market and can be highly effective in driving local traffic and generating leads or sales.
Here are some benefits of using local SEO keywords:
By using local SEO keywords, your website or content is more likely to rank higher in search engine results for users within your target area. This increased visibility can help your business get noticed by potential customers in your community.
Local SEO keywords attract users who are actively searching for products or services within a specific geographic area. This targeted traffic often has a higher intent to purchase or engage with a local business, resulting in better conversion rates.
Increased Customer Engagement
When your website or content is optimized with local SEO keywords, it becomes more relevant to local users, which can lead to higher engagement, more positive reviews, and repeat business.
By focusing on local SEO keywords, your business can gain an advantage over competitors who may not be optimizing their content for local searches. This can help your business stand out and capture a larger share of the local market.
Local SEO is often more cost effective than traditional advertising methods, as it targets users who are already searching for your products or services within a specific area. This means you're reaching potential customers with a high likelihood of conversion, maximizing your return on investment.
Builds Local Reputation and Trust
Optimizing your content for local SEO keywords can help establish your business as an authority in your area, building trust with local customers and improving your reputation within the community.
Implicit vs. Explicit Local Keywords
Implicit and explicit local keywords are two types of location-based terms that can be used in local SEO. They serve different purposes in targeting local audiences and optimizing content for search engines. Here's a brief explanation of the differences between the two:
Implicit Local Keywords
Implicit local keywords are search terms that do not directly mention a specific location but are related to the local context. They target a local audience by focusing on the services, products, or topics that are relevant to the business or specific area. These keywords can help you rank for location-specific searches without mentioning the location itself.
Below is an example of an implicit local keyword, as the location is not within the search phrase, but rather determined by the searcher's current location:
For example, a search query like "best coffee shops" might be an implicit local keyword because it doesn't specify a location but implies that the searcher is looking for coffee shops in their local area.
How does Google determine the implicit location?
Here are 5 different ways:
Explicit Local Keywords
Explicit local keywords, on the other hand, directly include location-specific terms within the keyword phrase. These keywords explicitly mention the name of a city, town, neighborhood, or other geographic identifiers, making it clear that the search is intended for a specific area. They can also mention “near me” which then uses their device location to determine which local area they intend to search.
Below is an example of an explicit local keyword, as the location (Westminster) is within the search phrase:
Another example, a search query like "best coffee shops in London" is also an explicit local keyword because it specifically mentions the location "London" within the keyword phrase.
How to Do Local Keyword Research
To do effective local keyword research, there are a few essential steps to follow:
List Your Business Solutions
In this step, you want to come up with a list of all the products or services that your business offers, along with what your business is about.
For example, if your business is a bicycle shop:
…and the list could go on! Of course, list only those products and services that you actually offer.
Now we’ll move on to the next step:
Add Keyword Modifiers
Next, you want to modify your phrases with keyword modifiers, that fall into the following categories:
Quality: Best, Top
Price: Cheap, Cheapest, Lowest Price
Occasion: Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall, Birthday/Wedding/etc, Easter/Christmas/etc
Type: [A Product or Service your Business Offers]
Features: Same-Day Shipping, All-Inclusive, Gluten Free, etc.
Intent: Buy, Order, Reserve
Add Location Modifiers
The next step is to add location modifiers that explicitly mention a landmark, street, postcode, neighborhood, town, city, county, or area, for example:
Modifier + Keyword + Location Combinations
Based on the previous steps, you can now generate a large list of keyword phrases based on the modifiers, business keywords, and locations. You can also leave out modifiers or places if you want a more broader term. Here are some examples:
Note: There could be hundreds of possibilities, so you might want to use a spreadsheet to generate these automatically using simple concatenate formulas.
Validating Local SEO Keywords
Once you have a comprehensive list of local keyword phrases, it’s time to validate whether they have local intent.
You can tell if a local keyword has local intent if when you do a local search in Google, you see:
- 1A “Map Pack”
- 2Local Businesses Ranking in the Organic Results
Finding Local Competitor Keyword Gaps
Another way to find the best local keywords to go for is by discovering local businesses in the SERPs that rank for the keywords you are looking for and then using an SEO keyword gap tool to compare all of the top 5 or 10 competitors to spot keyword gaps.
For example, using Hike's Competitor Analysis tool, you can see which keywords your competitors are ranking for, allowing you to spot keywords that you could use on pages for your own website:
These keyword gaps show you what keywords most competitors are not ranking for, giving your business the opportunity to rank for those keywords, after you create pages and content around them.
Filtering Local Keywords
Once you have your list of keywords, it’s time to prioritize them. As with any keywords, the most valuable keywords are the ones that have low difficulty scores, and high search volume. Along with this, they should have local intent, and be relevant to your business, products, services, and local areas.
This should give you a shortlist of keywords that are the highest priority to start with in terms of your content strategy.
Mapping Local Keywords
Finally, it’s time to map the keywords to existing pages on your website, or if you don’t already have those pages, to create new ones. You want to have useful, helpful information on each of those pages that relate to each page’s primary keyword. Write for the user always, then think about optimizing for search engines last.
Remember the one unique topic per page rule: Every page should target a keyword that is unique enough to warrant its own page, otherwise if the keywords are too similar in meaning, Google and other search engines might get confused as to which page to return in the search results.
How to Handle Multiple Locations
If your business serves multiple locations, it’s important to map location-specific keywords to individual location pages.
For example, if you have a bicycle shop in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, and you offer repairs and rentals, then you could have the following pages:
Don’t use boilerplate (template) content for location pages. Instead make each page as unique and relevant as you can to that location and service, so that it’s useful and valuable for local users landing on those pages.
Local SEO Questions
When you are doing research for the content on each of the pages that you are optimizing for local keywords, check for common questions that relate to that keyword.
Potential customers searching for your products or services most likely want to get a few questions answered before they buy anything.
You can view existing commonly asked questions within the Google search results, or use Answer the Public to come up with question ideas. Or use your industry knowledge to think about what customers would ask if they are considering buying your product or service.
Hike + Local SEO Keywords
You can use Hike SEO to conduct your local keyword research to discover keywords with low difficulty scores and high search volume. From there, you can map these local keywords to existing pages on your website or new pages that you will be creating soon.
Hike makes it super easy for small businesses to improve their local SEO. With a plethora of tools that even beginners can use and a list of actionable steps they can take within the time they have available each week, it empowers small business owners to take SEO into their own hands and start getting more organic traffic and sales to their businesses.