Solid local keyword research is often the make-or-break factor in a successful SEO campaign. As vital as it is, it’s amazing how little time and effort is often put into it. Unfortunately, it’s one of those “hidden” aspects of SEO that businesses tend to regard as industry gibberish.
In many cases, a business wants to get their website up and running quickly. They throw up a bunch of content that is semi-related to their industry, often focusing on things they think their customers might search for. A few short weeks or months down the line, they’re disappointed by the slow trickle of traffic and minimal results.
A tactical approach
For a really successful campaign, each local area should be analyzed separately. Why? Well, you might just be surprised to find that search queries vary quite noticeably from one area to the next.
For example, let’s say you run a veterinary office in Cheltenham. You might logically assume that folks would search for “veterinarian in Cheltenham”. Through keyword research you might discover that the most common search phrase is actually “Cheltenham veterinarian.”
As you narrow your focus even further to a specific district within a city, this difference is even more noticeable. Your local customers are likely looking for a service right nearby, and thus, they will search by neighborhood rather than by city.
The variations can seem almost insignificant, but a tactical – almost surgical – approach, can make a significant difference in the traffic you see.
In optimizing a page, most folks will run a quick report on their preferred keywords tool, and select the top dozen or so from the list. Sure, that’s a good step; but consider that your competition is likely following an identical process. So what gives you the edge in search results?
Well, there are a huge number of local keywords that are often disregarded since they don’t have a high level of search volume. Since search volume isn’t high, Google doesn’t bother tracking these words.
The thing is, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo use those “insignificant” local keywords to learn more about your brand. Search engines operate largely off IP location, which gives the search engine a specific idea of where a searcher is located. The more information you give the search engines about your business (using those undiscovered keywords), the higher you will rank in local search results.
Back to our example, “Cheltenham veterinarian” might be a good keyword phrase to target, but you can get much more specific with some undiscovered keywords. Using postcodes, neighborhoods or specific areas, or even streets (e.g.: “GL53 veterinarian”, “Pittville veterinarian”, “Gloucester Rd veterinarian”, etc.) can direct traffic to you that is spot-on and highly targeted.
Again, the key here is RESEARCH. You can’t throw keywords up scattershot and hope that they’ll bring in traffic. After all, you want results, and results will only come through a methodical, tactical approach.
Google (and other search engines) are just getting smarter, and SEO has to get smarter and more targeted as well. That means choosing “golden” keywords – keywords that are backed up by good solid research.
Pick keywords that:
- Are highly relevant to what you offer
- Receive sufficient traffic
- Aren’t in a high-competition bracket
- Are “buyers keywords” – closely linked to services or products that people want to buy
All of these aspects require careful research. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful SEO campaign. But a solid, well-researched campaign is what will get real, quantifiable results.