Keyword Research for Local SEO
I briefly explained this topic on the homepage but given its importance, I’m going to describe it in a little more depth.
When you hear me talk about keywords I am referring to those words that people type into Google when looking for something (intent). As an example, I would like my homepage to rank for ‘local SEO specialist’. Why? for numerous reasons:
- I am a local SEO specialist and therefore my ideal customers are those who are looking for these types of services
- There is search volume behind this phrase (i.e people do actually search for this)
- Even if they do not become a client I can still provide free information which can help them if they wish to do it themselves (like this page I hope!)
How to carry out your own Keyword research
The main areas which need to be fulfilled before targeting a keyword are:
Is your content relevant to the keyword? Google’s primary aim is to provide users with the content they are looking for. Once this has been satisfied the Quality of the content is vital, ask yourself some questions like:
- Has the content been written by an expert?
- Does it consider more than 1 point of view?
- Are the spelling and grammar accurate?
- Is it written in terms that your target audience would understand?
A good process to go through is to imagine yourself as a car salesman. When a customer is looking to buy (client typing in your keyword online) and walks through the door it’s great that you’ve got the photogenic brochures, smart outfit and come out with statements like ‘this is the best car in the country right now’ but if you were the customer wouldn’t you like to know more?
You will probably want to know why. Does it have awards for its comfort, driving pleasure or everyday use? How about its practicality, build quality, financing options, emissions, and efficiency? If the salesman is well informed (your website) and can explain all of the above in detail with professionalism and it’s easy to understand he’s much more likely to make a sale.
Now try to apply the same methodology to your own website. For example, If you offer counseling services what exactly is it you offer? What makes you qualified to counsel for that condition, do you have any awards, reviews, availability and contact times? If you position yourself as an expert and provide users with a comprehensive answer to what they are looking for your much more likely to rank highly in Google.
Do people actually search for the term?
It sounds obvious but when your typing away filling your site with great content it’s easy to lose track. Start by typing the search term or keyword into Google’s keyword planner
Here you can find out whether the keyword you’re targeting has search volume. It’s important to note here that the tool isn’t perfect so take the results you see with a pinch of salt. Also, if your keyword term is coming back with zero search volume – have faith! chances are you are targeting a long-tailed keyword which will be quite specific. If your content is valuable enough, chances are it will start ranking for other keywords and begin collecting multiple small volume terms – hopefully adding up to decent traffic. This is a good strategy for local SEOs as these keywords generally have low competition and therefore easier to rank for.
Check the Keyword Yourself on Google
Sometimes the most effective way to analyse a keyword and gain insights into how difficult it is to rank for open up your Google Chrome in incognito mode (this way it won’t take into account your previous searches and skew results).
Type in the keyword and see what comes up! If you see a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) flooded with sponsored adverts, the search term in titles of the page and full of authority sites (large, well established businesses most people have heard of) it will be very challenging to rank for this keyword (type in ‘Mortgages’ and you’ll see what I mean!).
However, if you see the opposite of the above example (few ads, small sites etc) chances are you will be able to rank for that term in a relatively short period of time. But don’t go so low competition that no one will search for it! I.e. ‘felt covered microwave for adults’. An alternative to this could be ‘creative microwaves’. if there is very little to no competition try broadening your term a little to try and find a balance between traffic and competition.
Keyword Research FAQ's
Including your main keywords in prominent sections on your page (such as the header) and occasionally throughout the webpage is important. Although sometimes if they keyword is too broad (such as men’s bags) it can cause a number of issues.
The first being you may attract the wrong customer. someone may just want to find out information on the product. Secondly, you could be targeting a phrase which is highly competitive and unlikely to rank for.
We find the balance between bringing you the right people (this will also have the positive effect of good ‘user experience’ in Google’s eyes) and competition so you can rank on the first page.