How to Discover Local SEO Keywords
When you are a start-up business, your local audience is your most important one.
Consumers are increasingly seeking products and services in their local area, which means they have a vested interest in your business.
The internet is the place consumers go to research local businesses, and what products and services are available to them.
It can be tough going getting your brand seen on the web, and this is where SEO keywords come in to help. Research shows that 77.23 per cent of local business owners surveyed struggled to get online visibility and 42.85% of people surveyed believe that Google gives an advantage to larger brands. However, it is worth noting that well-known businesses often perform better online due to higher levels of search traffic.
By choosing to focus on local SEO keywords, you can aim for a high ranking rather than competing with large, established companies for industry keywords.
The use of local SEO keywords can help you to:
- Rank higher in searches by local consumers, which in turn drives your web traffic.
- Build trust with your audience through local reviews.
- Generate more sales.
- Make it easier for consumers to find you when they conduct a local search.
- Increase your brand visibility.
How Does Google Rank Local Search Results?
Google uses several different factors to rank local searches, and some of these differ from the standard SEO metrics.
For local SEO, Google considers:
- The searcher’s location
- Online reviews
- Google Maps Star Ratings
- Social media interest
- Google My Business profiles
- Name, address and phone numbers quotations
- Directory listings
With these in mind, Google provides some tips to optimise your local SEO.
Firstly, verify your business location to ensure you are appearing in relevant local searches.
Encourage or even incentivise your customers to leave reviews, and when they do be sure to reply to them. These reviews build confidence in your brand for your audience, and for Google.
Give your audience as much information about your business as possible, including updated opening times, and product listings or photos of your business so they feel confident with what to expect from you.
Google suggests that a large portion of consumers use voice search when finding local businesses. SEMrush completed a study showing it is a good idea to optimise your SEO for voice searches.
Some actions already mentioned like updating operating hours, replying to reviews, and adding photos will assist with your voice search rankings.
In addition to this, you can implement the use of schema markups to structure your content, ensure your content is simple and easy to interpret, optimise your business listing information using keywords, make sure your Yelp Australia, TrueLocal and Yellow Pages listing contain as much information as possible, and that you are listed under the most relevant category.
Where to Find the Most Effective Keywords
Make sure your keywords are related to the industry in which your business operates.
You can determine this by thinking of words that come to mind about your industry, then expand your list by typing some of these words into google and scrolling down to see the “related searches” and what words are used in these.
Once you have the list of words completed, you now need to work out which ones are being used by your local audience.
Google Trends is a great tool for showing you how popular keywords are in Google searches.
From here you can begin to introduce keyword modifiers. These will help you to target the specific local audience that you are after.
These modifiers will usually include location-based terms, and it is how searches refine their results to only show things that are nearby. Phrases like “near me” or “in my area.”
Terms relating to place can also be found in the Google Places search bar, which is a geographical-based search. Have a look at what likely search terms pop up when you search a place or competitor business.
Based on your research, you should now have a long list of words. To narrow it down, try to think about the perspective of the user and consider which words would be most useful to them.
What is it they are actually looking for? What information would be beneficial to them? The keywords that relate to these answers will prove to be the most effective in optimising your SEO.
What are the Different Types of Keywords?
You can use both implicit and explicit keywords to get your brand in front of your target audience.
Implicit keywords refer to when a consumer is searching for a particular product or service but doesn’t add a location modifier to their search. This leaves a bit of guesswork for Google to try and offer location-based results.
Explicit keywords refer to searches that are made that include both the desired product or service and the location. With this modifier added to the search, the results are much more tailored to the local customer.
How to Narrow Down the List of Keywords
To make sure you are using the most effective keywords for your local SEO strategy, you can start by looking into your competitor’s keyword profile.
Do some searches of keywords they are using and see how well they are ranking for them. Perhaps there is an opportunity for you to be ranked highly for one of these.
Review what content is associated with the keywords that they are ranking highly for. Is there an opportunity to model some new content on this style or topic?
What keywords are coming up in bold on their SERPs? Are there any here that didn’t make your initial list? Should they be added to the shortlist?
Every word your competitor is using may not align with your brand but being in the same industry and same geographic area means there will be a fair amount of crossover, and a potential list of fresh words you otherwise may have missed.
Web tools can assist in the research phase with Google Keyword Planner finding keywords that are related to your existing keywords, and Moz Local will give you a listing score so you can determine how your current SEO is performing for your listed keywords.
There are plenty more web tools that can provide research information such as keywords driving the most traffic, content ideas related to keywords, and similar websites with their keywords.
It is important to stay abreast of the keywords that are driving your visibility and rankings, and product content that maximises them. A little bit of research can go a long way in helping you to connect with your target audience.
How important are links for local SEO?
Links are hugely important for local SEO because they help to boost your local search ranking. With a higher ranking, you’re more visible in search results, and customers are more likely to visit your page.
Should I use an agency to help with my local SEO link-building strategy?
You might find a digital marketing agency partnership helpful if you lack the time or resources to dedicate to marketing, but it’s absolutely possible to create your own strategy by following the tips I’ve outlined above.
How can I get reviewed by local publications to get backlinks for my business?
Link building for local SEO means liaising with local businesses. You could contact local publications directly, host an event and invite their representatives, sponsor a contest, or even reach out to and sponsor local influencers. It all depends on your marketing budget and what’s most likely to appeal to your target audience.
Is a blog a good way to build local SEO backlinks?
Yes! Blogging is a great way to build links naturally in the long term, so prioritize writing useful, engaging content on a regular basis. Don’t forget to optimize your articles for local keywords.