Keyword Research For Local SEO: Tools, Tips & Strategies To Get It Right

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Ever feel like you’re shouting into a void about your local business’s online presence? You’ve set up your website and social media channels and even started blogging, but still – crickets. It’s as if you’re stuck in the shadows while competitors soak up all the sunshine.

You might wonder what they know that you don’t. The secret weapon? They’ve likely mastered the art of keyword research for local SEO – an untouched strategy with big payoffs.

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of mastering local keyword research.

Why Is Local Keyword Research Important?

Picture this: You own a small bakery in Boston. People around the town love your pastries, but you’re looking to expand your reach beyond just foot traffic. When people in your area type these local searches, your bakery is more likely to appear in the search results, helping potential customers find your business and boosting foot traffic to your bakery.

76% of people who conduct a local search visit a physical place within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.

If you think about it like fishing, keywords are essentially the bait that attracts potential customers. But not all bait is created equal; what works well in one pond may not be as effective elsewhere. This same principle applies when doing region-specific SEO.

The power of location-specific keywords

Your Boston-based bakery won’t gain much from people searching “best bakeries near me” from San Francisco streets. However, if someone searches “best bakery in Boston,” then bingo – you want them to find their way to your business.

This scenario highlights why incorporating location-specific keywords can significantly enhance your visibility among audiences within specific geographical areas—your targeted customer base who could actually walk through your doors.

Fueling business growth with relevant traffic

Beyond just drawing more eyeballs, quality local keyword research also ensures those eyes belong to interested buyers rather than casual browsers. For instance, ranking high for ‘gluten-free cakes’ will likely pull gluten-intolerant folks actively seeking these treats – resulting in higher chances of conversion and ultimately boosting sales.

Nailing down your competitive advantage

A successful local SEO strategy requires a thorough understanding not only of what consumers are asking but also of how your competitors are answering.

So, if all the Boston bakeries are battling it out for the ‘best pastries’ title, maybe there’s a chance to reel in your customers using a different bait. Try going more location-specific with ‘French Bakery Boston Downtown”.

Key Thought

Think of local SEO like fishing. Your bait? Keywords specific to your area, drawing in customers nearby, not miles away. This approach makes you shine among numerous local listings in search results and attracts interested buyers—like those looking for ‘gluten-free cakes’. Plus, it’s smart to keep tabs on successful strategies used by rivals.

Basics Of Local SEO Keywords

Exploring local businesses

In simplest terms, local SEO keywords are words or phrases relevant to your business geographically. They help connect users’ searches with nearby solutions – think ‘pizza delivery in Brooklyn’ or ’emergency plumber near me’. The right use of such locally focused keywords can make sure that potential customers find their way to your door (or website).

Types of local SEO keywords

One thing is clear- Local keywords help businesses get found by nearby customers. Now there are a few types of local keywords. they may contain a city or area name or in some way indicate local services. There are two main types:

  • Geo-Modified Keywords: These include a geographical term along with the service/product, for example: “Los Angeles coffee shop”. Users searching this way usually have the intent to visit or buy from a physical store.
  • ‘Near Me’ Searches: Google has reported that “near me” (explicit local terms) searches have seen exponential growth. This highlights how GPS technology and mobile search go hand-in-hand for finding immediate solutions.

Steps To Perform Keyword Research For Local SEO

Finding keywords using Google Autocomplete

Finding the perfect set of localized key phrases might feel similar to looking for pearls in an oceanic bed—intimidating but rewarding.

But the question is, “How can you identify the correct keywords to bring targeted visitors to your website?”

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how we at Authority Ventures conduct keyword research for local SEO.

Determine your service areas

The first step in local keyword research involves identifying your service areas. You need to understand where your potential customers are located and then target those geographical locations specifically. For example, if you’re running a pizza delivery business in Chicago, you’ll want to target neighborhoods within your delivery radius rather than all of Illinois.

Create a list of relevant topics

To start creating topic buckets relevant to your business, ask yourself what types of topics potential customers would search for when they’re looking for the products or services that you offer. Using our pizza shop as an example again: “Best deep-dish pizza in Chicago,” “quick food delivery,” and “local Italian cuisine” might be good starting points.

Find local keywords related to these topics

You now have general ideas about what topics are important; it’s time to get more specific by finding keywords that are location-specific using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner. This keyword research tool allows us to see not only suggested keywords but also their search volume and competition level in a specific location – invaluable information when choosing which terms could provide the best return on investment (ROI).

Analyze the competition level and search volume of each keyword

Avoid jumping into highly competitive niches unless there’s enough search volume or potential revenue from ranking well there to justify competing with established players who may have deeper pockets or stronger domain authority already working for them.

Use long-tail keywords

By focusing on these specific phrases, businesses can attract customers who are looking for exactly what they offer. Not only does this strategy have less competition, but it also leads to more successful conversions because the local searchers’ intent is clear and closely matches the services or products provided.

Key Thought

Keyword research for Local SEO is all about knowing your service areas, brainstorming relevant topics and keywords tied to these, and using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner for insights on search volume and competition. Finally, aim for long-tail keywords that match the searcher’s intent closely for successful conversions.

Leveraging SEO Tools For Local Keyword Research

SEO tools can help you understand what people in your area are searching for, uncover regional search trends, and highlight trending searches related to your keywords. These tools can do predictive analysis and identify seasonal keyword trends, enabling you to tailor content that resonates with your audience.


The Keyword Magic Tool by SEMrush allows you to generate a list of keywords related to your target keyword, including long-tail keywords and local keywords.

  • Competitor analysis: SEMrush can fetch data on which keywords your competitors are ranking for and how much local traffic they are driving from those keywords. Pulling such data for your local competitors using SEMrush helps you identify local keywords that you should be targeting too, and even differentiate your strategy.
  • Targeted search results: Semrush’s local keyword features help in tailoring your content to meet the unique needs and search behaviors of your local market. This includes identifying long-tail keywords and location-specific phrases that are more likely to attract a targeted audience.

Google Trends

Google Trends lets you explore search interests by region and time range, helping you identify the keywords that resonate with your regional audience. The best part? It’s free to use.

Let’s see how this tool can help you with location keywords:

  • Digging deeper into regional search interest: To get insights into regional search trends, simply enter a keyword or topic in the search bar of Google Trends. Next, adjust the ‘Region’ setting to focus on specific areas where your business operates. This method will help you uncover how often people in those regions have searched for that particular term relative to total searches from around the globe.
  • Trending searches and predictive analysis: One unique feature of Google Trends is its ability to highlight trending searches related to your keywords. These represent terms people search for which have seen significant growth over a short period of time—perfect for capturing timely topics relevant to your industry and location. You can even utilize predictive analysis by exploring ‘Rising’ queries under the Related Topics or Queries section—a goldmine when brainstorming new blog post ideas or promotional campaigns aimed at locals.
  • Picking out seasonal keywords: If there’s one thing businesses need more than ever today—it’s staying ahead of consumer behavior changes. And let me tell you, no platform does it better than Google Trends when it comes to identifying seasonal keyword trends. Just by selecting a five-year time frame, you can observe the rise and fall of interest for certain search terms. This way, you’ll be ready with targeted content right when your audience is looking for it—like being there with an umbrella just as they realize it’s about to rain.

Google’s Keyword Planner for local SEO

Using a tool- Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool that you can use to uncover high-performing local keywords. It’s like your personal treasure map, leading you toward the goldmine of relevant keywords that will help boost your business’s online visibility. Here is how it can help you:

  • Find keywords with high search volume: In our pizza parlor example, if “Best NYC Pizza” has high search volume and low competition, it might be worth targeting. Remember though: while going after popular phrases can bring more visitors to your site, focusing solely on these may lead to getting lost among larger competitors. That said, finding a balance between popularity and competition is key.
  • Predicting performance with traffic forecasts: A unique feature offered by Google’s Keyword Planner is its ability to forecast how well certain words could perform based on historical data. Think of it as weather forecasting but instead predicting the ‘weather’ patterns of keyword searches. This information helps decide whether pursuing specific terms would be beneficial or not. In short, it can aid in your local SEO strategy.
Key Thought

Tools like Semrush and Google’s Keyword Planner can be used it to discover high-performing local keywords for your business. Balance the popularity and competition of these phrases when picking the final ones for your SEO strategy. To make the most of them, you need to do some detailed research and be a bit creative.

Importance Of Long-Tail Keywords In Local SEO

If you’re aiming to boost your local rankings in search engines, it’s crucial not to overlook the power of long-tail keywords. These are extended phrases that potential customers might use when they’re closer to the point of purchase or when they’re using voice search.

Let me give you an example. For a bakery in San Francisco. Rather than targeting the keyword “bakery,” which has high competition and is very broad, consider using something more specific like “gluten-free bakery in San Francisco.” This phrase is what we call a long-tail keyword.

A closer look at long-tail keywords

The beauty of these longer, more descriptive keywords lies within their specificity. They let us zero in on the exact audience we want to target—those who are looking for exactly what we offer. Plus, they have less competition compared with broader terms or primary keywords.

While individual long-tail keywords get less traffic than shorter ones, collectively, as a group, long-tails actually make up the majority of searches online.

Catering to voice search users with long tails

According to BrightLocal, 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.

As voice recognition technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and widespread through devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo (Alexa), users tend towards natural language queries — often phrased as questions or statements rather than disjointed keyphrases. Therefore, ‘ Where can I find gluten-free cupcakes near me?’ sounds much more likely than ‘Gluten-free cupcakes’.

This rise in voice search makes optimizing for long-tail keywords even more critical. A survey conducted by search engines found that almost half of individuals with a voice-activated device felt as if they were conversing with another person or a friend.

Key Thought

These specific phrases, like “gluten-free bakery in San Francisco,” help you target precise audiences and face less competition. With voice search becoming more popular, optimizing for these natural language queries is critical. Long-tail keywords can be a powerful tool in your SEO strategy, especially when you’re targeting local search visibility.

Tips To Optimize Your Website With Local SEO Keywords

Adding local keywords in meta description and title

Once you have your list of local keywords, you can use it to optimize your website and content. Employing the correct keywords for optimizing your website is of great importance in local SEO. This doesn’t just mean adding your target keywords around randomly, though. Here are some tried and tested strategies to help you maximize the impact of your local keyword strategy.

Include regional keywords in meta descriptions and titles

Your meta descriptions and titles should be home for your local keywords. These areas are key when Google crawls through websites, so make sure they accurately reflect what you offer at a glance.

Create locally focused-content

Filling up on region-specific content lets search engines know exactly where you’re located and who might find your services helpful. Use long-tail keywords within this content to capture unique searches related to both your business’s location and industry.

Add location pages or a ‘contact us’ page

If you have multiple locations, creating individual pages for each one can do wonders for visibility. If not, ensure there’s a ‘Contact’ page featuring all necessary details, including address, phone number, hours of operation – basically everything a potential customer would need.

Incorporate local business schema markup

Schema markup is essentially an additional piece of code added into the backend of webpages that gives search engines even more detailed information about businesses, like opening hours or specific services offered. This information is highly relevant to show up in the local pack.

Leverage social media

Social media channels aren’t just for sharing funny cat videos. They’re also great places to showcase your business locally, engage with your audience, and further optimize for those valuable area-specific keywords. Engaging with your audience is key to building a strong online presence. Hashtag with your local keywords for better visibility.

Key Thought

Boost your local SEO: Make sure to use local keywords in meta descriptions and titles, create local intent-based content, and add location pages or a ‘Contact Us’ page. Include schema markup for detailed business info. To stay in the SEO game for the longer run, track local keyword rankings regularly.

Mistakes To Avoid In Local Keyword Research

Making a wrong decision

Local SEO keyword research is not just about finding the right keywords with high search volume or local intent. It’s more than that. But often, most local businesses make mistakes that hamper their search visibility. Let’s take a look at some of these common errors and how to prevent them.

Ignoring long-tail keywords

The first mistake many businesses make is ignoring long-tail keywords. These are longer phrases or questions that people type into search engines. While they may have lower search volumes and keyword difficulty, they typically signify higher intent.

For instance, a user searching for “Italian restaurant” might be looking for recipes or images; but if someone types “best Italian restaurant near me,” it suggests an intention to visit such a place soon—making this long tail keyword incredibly valuable.

Failing to consider user intent

Avoid the trap of choosing keywords based solely on volume without considering user intent. Google aims to provide users with the most relevant results possible, so understanding what your audience wants when they use specific search queries will help align your content better with their needs.

Neglecting negative keywords

Negative keywords, another overlooked aspect, play a crucial role in shaping your ad campaigns’ effectiveness by preventing ads from being triggered by certain irrelevant searches. By including negative keywords in your AdWords strategy, you ensure money isn’t wasted on clicks unlikely to convert.

Not updating keyword research

Keyword trends can change over time, so if you’re still relying on the same list of local keywords from two years ago, it’s time for an update. Local or not, regularly revisiting your keyword strategy allows you to capitalize on new opportunities and stay ahead of shifts in search behavior.

Avoiding local-specific keywords

If you’re a local business and not using location-specific keywords in your SEO strategy, that’s a mistake. These geographically-focused terms help attract users in your vicinity looking for products or services like yours. By including them in titles, meta descriptions, content, and more – you improve your chances of appearing higher up in searches.

Key Thought

Don’t just chase high-volume in local SEO. Embrace long-tail ones with higher intent and less competition. Understand your audience’s needs to align content and choose wisely. Include negative keywords to save ad spend, update keyword research regularly, and use location-specific terms for better visibility in local results on search engines.


Now you know all the crucial steps for finding the right local keywords to get valuable insights and are ready to apply this knowledge and rank higher.

Your website shouldn’t be lost in the shadows anymore. By identifying relevant keywords, you’re already on your way towards visibility in the local Google search results.

You now know how keyword research tools like Google Trends and Keyword Planner can be goldmines for high-performing keywords that align with your local business goals.

Remember – avoiding common mistakes during keyword research will save you time and energy while optimizing your marketing strategy.

In short, keep these takeaways close to heart as they have the power to boost not only your online presence but also connect you more effectively with local customers!

Take action


Local SEO keyword research is the process of getting implicit local keywords. Here are some frequently asked questions that can help you clear things up for your local SEO efforts.

What is the best strategy for local keyword research?

It all boils down to an effective keyword research. Start by identifying your target location and industry-specific terms (business keywords). Analyze competitors’ keyword usage, consider long-tail keywords (keywords people use more frequently), and prioritize high-search volume, low-competition terms. Continuously monitor and refine your keyword list to adapt to evolving search trends and user behavior for optimal performance.

Which keyword research tools can help me to conduct local keyword research?

The top pick for keyword research tools often goes to SEMrush. It provides detailed data about your target keyword, such as keyword difficulty and competition level, and even check search volumes. Also, this can be pretty useful in providing you with the best local keyword ideas.

How do I rank locally on Google?

Improving your local keyword rankings requires a solid presence on your Google business profile, high-quality backlinks from other businesses, and consistent NAP (Name Address Phone) across all platforms.

What is regional keyword research?

Regional keyword research targets specific geographic areas. This helps local businesses optimize their site content to appeal directly to audiences in those regions and gain traffic.

What is the difference between implicit keywords and explicit local keywords?

Implicit keywords are search terms that imply a local intent without specifying a location, like “pizza delivery.” Explicit keywords include your target locations, such as “pizza delivery in New York.” The distinction is in whether the search term explicitly mentions a place.

What are the best GMB tips that can help me rank higher in local search results?

To improve your ranking in local SERP, you must adhere to a few GMB tips. Craft a concise and informative business description that includes relevant keywords and highlights your services and products. Maintain a consistent and accurate business address across your GMB profile, website, and directories. Don’t forget to embed Google Maps.

Picture of Ajay Deep
Ajay Deep

Hi, I'm Ajay Deep, founder and CEO of Authority Ventures. I work as a strategy consultant - passionately aiding businesses in optimizing their digital presence. Apart from working with clients, I also work on some niche websites - which are my own experimental projects. One of my website recently got acquired by a Fortune500 company (for a whooping 6-digit figure). Click below to know more about me and my work.

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