Local Keyword Research: How to Find and Use the Best Keywords

HomeDigital MarketingSEOLocal Keyword Research: How to Find and Use the Best Keywords


Key Takeaways

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and local SEO tools to discover keywords specific to your location and industry.

Integrate local keywords into title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and throughout your content to boost local search visibility.

Ensure your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are consistent across all local citations and directories.

List your business in local business directories to increase your online presence and improve search engine credibility.

Complete and regularly update your Google My Business profile, encouraging customer reviews to enhance your local search rankings.

Tailor your content to meet the specific needs and questions of your local audience, making it more relevant and valuable to potential customers.

In today’s digital landscape, local keyword research is crucial for businesses aiming to attract local customers through online searches. By identifying and using the most relevant local keywords, you can significantly improve your website’s visibility and draw in more potential customers from your area. But how do you find and use the best local keywords to ensure your business stands out in local search results?

What is Local Keyword Research?

Local keyword research involves identifying and analyzing the keywords and phrases that potential customers use when searching for products or services in a specific geographic area.

This process helps businesses optimize their online presence to attract local traffic and improve their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

By understanding the unique search behavior of local users, businesses can tailor their content and SEO strategies to meet the needs of their target audience, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.

How to Get Started with Local Keyword Research?

Identify Your Target Audience and Location

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

The first step in local keyword research is to define your ideal customer profile. This involves understanding the demographics, preferences, and behaviors of the customers you want to attract.

Consider factors such as age, gender, income level, and interests. By creating a detailed customer profile, you can better understand the search terms they might use when looking for your products or services.

Specify Your Service Area

Next, specify the geographic area you want to target. This could be a city, neighborhood, or even a specific radius around your business location. Knowing your service area helps you focus your keyword research on the most relevant locations, ensuring that your content reaches the right audience. For instance, if you operate a bakery in downtown Chicago, you should focus on keywords that include “Chicago” and nearby neighborhoods.

Brainstorm Local Keyword Ideas

Core Services and Products

Start by listing the core services and products your business offers. Think about the terms your customers would use to find these services. For example, a local plumber might consider keywords like “emergency plumbing,” “leak repair,” and “water heater installation.” Including your core services in your keyword research ensures that your website is optimized for the primary reasons customers seek your business.

Location-Specific Keywords (City, Neighborhood)

Incorporate location-specific keywords into your research. These keywords include the names of cities, neighborhoods, and other relevant geographic markers. For instance, if you own a dental clinic in Los Angeles, keywords such as “Los Angeles dentist,” “Beverly Hills dental clinic,” and “downtown LA dental services” can help attract local patients. These location-specific keywords help search engines understand where your business operates, improving your chances of appearing in local search results.

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User Intent (Informational, Transactional)

Consider the intent behind the keywords your potential customers might use. User intent can be informational (seeking knowledge) or transactional (ready to make a purchase).

For example, someone searching “best Italian restaurant in San Francisco” is likely looking for information, while “book a table at Italian restaurant in SF” indicates transactional intent. By addressing both types of intent in your keyword strategy, you can attract users at different stages of the buying journey.

Tools for Local Keyword Research

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a popular tool for local keyword research. It provides valuable insights into keyword search volume, competition, and trends. By entering your business location and industry, you can find specific keywords relevant to your local market.

This tool also suggests related keywords, helping you expand your keyword list and optimize your content for local SEO. Utilizing Google Keyword Planner ensures you target the right audience in your locality, increasing the chances of attracting potential customers.

Moz Local

Moz Local is another essential tool for local keyword research. It focuses on improving your local search presence by managing your business listings across various directories. Moz Local ensures your business information is accurate and consistent, which is crucial for local SEO.

Additionally, it provides keyword research features that help you identify high-performing local keywords. By using Moz Local, you can enhance your local search visibility and attract more local customers to your business.

Ahrefs and SEMrush

Ahrefs and SEMrush are powerful tools for comprehensive keyword research, including local keyword research. Both tools offer features like keyword difficulty analysis, search volume data, and competitor analysis.

By using Ahrefs and SEMrush, you can identify the most effective local keywords for your business. These tools also provide insights into your competitors’ keyword strategies, helping you stay ahead in the local market. With detailed reports and data, Ahrefs and SEMrush are invaluable for optimizing your local SEO efforts.

Other Free and Paid Tools

In addition to the major tools mentioned, several other free and paid tools can aid in local keyword research. Ubersuggest, for example, offers keyword suggestions and SEO analysis, making it a great option for small businesses on a budget. BrightLocal specializes in local SEO and provides tools for keyword research, citation building, and review management.

These tools offer diverse features to help you find and use the best local keywords, ensuring your business stands out in local search results. By leveraging a combination of these tools, you can create a robust local SEO strategy and drive more traffic to your website.

Advanced Local Keyword Research Techniques

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is a crucial aspect of advanced local keyword research. Start by identifying your top local competitors, those businesses that consistently rank high in local searches for your industry.

Tools like Google My Business, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help you pinpoint these competitors. Once identified, delve into their keyword strategy. Analyze the keywords they are targeting, the content they are creating, and how they structure their SEO efforts.

This analysis can reveal gaps in your own strategy and provide opportunities to target keywords that your competitors may have overlooked. By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can refine your Local Keyword Research and develop a more competitive edge.

Long-Tail Keywords vs. Short-Tail Keywords

When conducting Local Keyword Research, it’s essential to understand the difference between long-tail and short-tail keywords and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases, often containing three or more words, that target a narrower audience. They usually have lower search volume but higher conversion rates because they match more precisely what potential customers are searching for.

On the other hand, short-tail keywords are broader terms with higher search volumes. They are more competitive and can attract a larger audience, but they often result in lower conversion rates due to their general nature. Balancing long-tail and short-tail keywords in your strategy can help you capture both broad and specific search intents, ultimately improving your local SEO performance.

How to Find Local Keywords

Effective local keyword research is essential for businesses aiming to attract nearby customers. It involves various strategies to identify the most relevant and impactful keywords. Here are some key methods to find local keywords:

Analyzing Competitor Keywords

One of the most efficient ways to find local keywords is by analyzing competitor keywords. By examining the keywords that local competitors rank for, businesses can gain insights into what works in their specific market.

Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz can help identify these keywords. This analysis can reveal gaps and opportunities, allowing businesses to target keywords their competitors might have overlooked, thereby improving their local search rankings.

Using Google My Business Insights

Google My Business (GMB) is a valuable resource for local keyword research. GMB Insights provides data on how customers find your business listing, including the search queries they use.

By reviewing these insights, businesses can identify common search terms and trends. This data is crucial for refining keyword strategies to better match the actual terms potential customers use, enhancing local visibility.

Social media platforms are treasure troves of local trends and keywords. By monitoring local hashtags, community groups, and discussions, businesses can uncover popular topics and terms in their area. Tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social can assist in tracking these trends.

Engaging with local communities on social media also provides direct feedback and insights into customer preferences, aiding in the discovery of effective local keywords.

Conducting Surveys and Feedback

Direct customer feedback through surveys and questionnaires can provide valuable insights into the language and terms customers use when searching for products or services.

Businesses can use tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to gather this information. Understanding the specific words and phrases customers use can help tailor keyword strategies to better meet local search behavior, enhancing the effectiveness of local keyword research.

Using Local Keywords Effectively

On-Page Optimization

Local keyword research is critical for enhancing your website’s visibility in local search results. On-page optimization involves strategically integrating local keywords in key areas of your website. Start by incorporating these keywords into your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers (H1, H2, etc.).

This helps search engines understand the relevance of your content to local queries. Optimize your content for local search intent by addressing common questions and needs of your local audience. Additionally, ensure that the location is mentioned throughout the content to reinforce its local relevance.

Building Local Citations

Building local citations is another crucial aspect of effective local keyword research. Citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, especially local business directories.

Consistency in NAP information across all platforms is vital as it helps search engines verify the legitimacy and location of your business. Accurate and consistent citations can significantly improve your local search rankings. List your business in local directories and ensure your NAP information is correct and up-to-date to maximize the benefits.

Google My Business Optimization

Optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile is essential for local keyword research success. A complete and accurate GMB profile can enhance your visibility in local search results and Google Maps.

Make sure to fill out all the details in your GMB profile, including business hours, services offered, and high-quality photos. Encourage customers to leave reviews, as positive reviews can boost your local search rankings and attract more potential customers. Regularly updating your GMB profile with new information and responding to reviews also shows your active engagement with your local community.


Local keyword research is essential for improving your business’s visibility in local search results. By integrating local keywords into your on-page content, building consistent local citations, and optimizing your Google My Business profile, you can attract more local customers and boost your search rankings. Implement these strategies to effectively find and use the best local keywords for your business.


What is a local keyword research tool?

A local keyword research tool helps identify keywords specific to a geographical location, enhancing local SEO efforts by targeting local search queries.

How can I find a local keyword research tool for free?

Many tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest offer free features to help discover local keywords for your business.

What is a local keyword research template?

A local keyword research template is a structured document or spreadsheet used to organize and analyze local keywords, making the research process systematic and efficient.

Can you provide examples of local keyword research?

Examples include keywords like “best pizza in Brooklyn” or “hair salon near me,” targeting specific local searches relevant to a business’s location.

How does SEMrush help with local keyword research?

SEMrush offers tools to discover local keywords, analyze competitors, and track local search rankings, making it a robust platform for local SEO.

What is a free keyword research tool?

Free keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest help find keywords without any cost, providing basic but useful insights.

What are local keywords?

Local keywords are search terms that include location-specific phrases, used to attract traffic from a specific geographical area, such as “plumber in Chicago.”

How do I use Google Keyword Planner for local keyword research?

Google Keyword Planner allows you to filter keyword searches by location, helping you find keywords that are popular in your targeted geographical area.

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