How to Do Local Keyword Research

person performing a google search on a laptop
Picture of </br>By: Brian Jensen

By: Brian Jensen

How to Do Keyword Research Using Google’s Keyword Planner

Hi everyone, today I’m going to share my process on how to perform keyword research for local businesses using Google’s Keyword Planner tool.

For this video, I’m going to define local keyword research as finding the keywords that are relevant to, or used by searchers to find a location, product or service in a specific city, county or region.

Keyword Planner Caveats

Before we get started, there are a few things worth mentioning about Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. The first is that the search volume numbers we’ll be receiving are historical, meaning that we’re really looking at averages over the last 12 months. The 12-month average is a default setting which can be adjusted.

You’ll also notice that there are no odd number figures appearing for search volume. This is because Google rounds the figure to the nearest-volume-bucket. So an average monthly search volume of 20 could very easily be a 12-month average of 15, but it’s being rounded up to the nearest bucket. Moz’s Russ Jones wrote a informative article on this “dirty little secret.”.

It’s also important to note that traffic can be influenced by seasonality. So because we’re getting a 12-month average, the keywords you’re researching may not be receiving a consistent amount of monthly searches. The Keyword Planner Tool has also started including search volume for close variants of the keyword or phrase you are researching. So we’re likely getting the broad or phrase match average for search volume.

Build Your Keyword List

If you don’t already have a list of keywords to start your research, you can use tools like Ubersuggest, Google Trends, SEMrush, competitive data and your Google Search Console account to find keywords.

Let’s Get Started with Some Research

I’ve logged into my Google AdWords account. If you don’t have an account, setting one up is free and only takes a couple of minutes. In the Keyword Planner Tool, you can see we have three options: search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category; get search volume data and trends; and multiply a keyword list to get new keywords. For this tutorial, we’ll be using both get search volume data and trends and also multiplying lists to get new keywords with local intent.

I’ve done some preliminary research, which includes competitive analysis to see the search terms top-ranking competitors are optimized for and also exported query data from Google Search Console to see what keywords my client is already receiving impressions and clicks for.

I’ll now paste my keyword list into the product or service field and will define my service area under Targeting.

Despite the tools limitations, the reason Google’s Keyword Planner is such a great tool for local keyword research is that it provides users with the ability to target specific areas that include country, cities or regions.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only free keyword research tool that has this capability. Let’s get some search volume

I can now see keywords that are relevant to my client’s services along with avg. monthly local searches over the past 12 months.

Pay Attention to the Suggested Bid

As I’m reviewing keywords, I’m also paying close attention to keywords that have a high suggested big. A suggested bid is calculated by looking at the costs-per-click (CPC) that competitors are paying for a keyword.

While not a hard and fast rule, keywords that have a high suggested bid oftentimes are converting for your competitors. So I’d take this into account for your own AdWords paid campaigns, and also for your on-page SEO optimization efforts.

So now that we’ve been able to identify some keywords that potential customers are searching for in our local service area, I wanted to show you a quick tip for question research, which can be used to inform not only a local SEO or PPC campaign, but also a content marketing strategy.

Add Modifiers That Would Indicate a Question

So if we notice down here in the left, we have Keywords to Include. By clicking Edit and adding some simple modifiers that would indicate a question, we can click save, and immediately, we’ll get questions that our potential customers are searching for in our service area.

Now at a first glance, it looks like the intent behind these keywords would be from a DIYer, but there is the option, you know, just to create some very high-level content about providing information. By being a good authoritative resource, you know, we may be able to turn a DIYer into a potential customer. It’s also important to note that Google is resolving a lot of these types of questions in search results via their Rich Answer Boxes.

Multiple Lists to Find New Keywords

The final part of my local keyword research process that I want to share is how I use the Multiply Keyword List feature to get new keywords. This is really cool, as it allows us to take our list of keywords and multiply it with our client’s service areas.

So let’s go ahead and click Get Search Volume, and there we have it. We have our keywords with services areas, and we can see that people are combining these, and there is some decent average monthly searches happening with these particular keywords.

Now, how this is actionable is you can use is to guide your on-page optimization efforts or use it to understand which city-specific landing pages you should be creating. If there’s a city I’m targeting that’s outside of the city you’re located in, you may not get a local pack result. An informative, city specific landing page can be an effective way to get 1st page visibility for these types of searches.

So anyways, that’s it. I’m looking forward to your comments and questions. Let me know if there are other ways that you’re using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool for local keyword research.

If you’re a local business owner and you’d like to hire Congruent Digital to perform local keyword research for you, please visit our website and complete the contact form.

Thanks for watching!

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