One of the most important ways that people will find your business is by performing a search in Google. As a business owner, you have the ability to influence how well you rank in search engines for any given word or phrase. That’s the idea behind SEO and keyword research. Many businesses are interested in ranking on Google and other search engines for local keywords that their customers will be searching for. So, how do you find keywords so that your business can rank in local searches? Here are some tips.
In order to rank higher in Google for local searches, you must first figure out what people are searching to find your business in the first place. Check your Google Analytics or ThriveHive account (if you have one) to see how people are finding your website online. Once you know what you’re ranking for, you can optimize your website and blog posts to rank for other related searches.
For example, If know that your flower shop is already ranking for “flower shop Scottsdale” then you can focus your efforts on ranking for related searches such as “florist Scottsdale” or “best flower shop Scottsdale.” Ranking for related searches means that your business reaches more potential customers.
The right keyword approach for local businesses is changing rapidly due to the ongoing efforts of Google and others to personalize search results. In the past, Google results were less personalized and the top ten results for someone in Arizona would be exactly the same as for someone in Massachusetts.
Times have changed. Google now employs a more local-oriented approach, favoring businesses with local directory listings in close proximity to the person searching. Google can see the approximate location of your computer and they are increasingly tailoring the results to your geographical location. If you are logged into a Google account, they are also tailoring the results of your search to you personally
This personalization means two things for local business owners who are trying to do search engine optimization:
1. You Can Target Very Competitive Search Terms – Locally oriented businesses can now consider targeting extremely competitive broad search terms like “florist” or “pizza”, where before it would have been impossible for them to show up in the results for those ultra-competitive terms.
2. Keyword Rankings Are No Longer the Best Way to Track Progress – The idea of tracking your rankings in the search engines for keywords really doesn’t work anymore. Because everyone sees different search results, it doesn’t really make sense to try to keep track of whether you are in position 1 or position 10 for a given search term—the person sitting next to you may see completely different results. Therefore, it now makes more sense to track your performance by the amount of traffic you receive and how that changes over time.
Now that you have some background on why keywords are important and how personalization is playing a role, it is time to actually pick some keywords! To find basic keywords for local SEO, here’s a 3 step approach that’s easy to do.
The goal here is to find keywords that identify the most common phrases that people will use to find your business. The first step is to identify the high-level words and phrases that people use to describe your products and/or services and your industry. Think of what you would type into Google to find a business. Brainstorm on this and create a list of approximately 10-50 keywords and phrases.
For example, a list of industry keywords for a florist may include: flowers, florist, floral arrangement, flower shop, and bouquet.
The second step of finding keywords for local SEO is to think of modifiers that people will search for when looking for industry keywords. These are words that people use to find the products and/or services that you are selling. Those modifiers may include words that describe quality (ex. “best”), words that describe a specific occasion (ex. “wedding”), words that describe a specific type of your product or service (ex. “roses”), or words that otherwise set businesses apart (ex. “same day delivery”).
For example, a list of modifying keywords for a florist may include: exotic flowers, beautiful wedding bouquet, best florist, beautiful flowers, wedding bouquets, wedding flowers, funeral arrangement, funeral flowers, funeral wreath, Christmas wreath, roses, exotic flowers, floral delivery, and same day delivery florist.
The third step to finding keywords for local SEO is to think of keywords that describe your geographic location. Think of the different areas that you service and where your customers come from. If you deliver products or travel for services, include those cities, towns, counties, townships, and area names in the content on your website and blog posts.
Customers look for businesses near to where they are, not for businesses who are further away but service their area. Keep in mind where your target customers live or work when picking local geographic keywords.
For example, a list of industry keywords for a florist may include: Scottsdale florist, Maricopa County florist, best florist Scottsdale, floral delivery Scottsdale, florist Greater Phoenix area, downtown Scottsdale flower shop, Fashion Square florist, Paradise Valley floral delivery, Gainey Ranch florist, North Scottsdale floral, Old Town Scottsdale flower shop
There you have it. Now you have a list that you can keep in the back of your mind as you start to do your search engine optimization. You’ll want to include these keywords in the text of your website and you’ll also want to keep them in mind for the more advanced on-site optimization and link building techniques for local business.