Choosing my Target Keywords for Local SEO
- 19 Apr 2018
What is local SEO?
Targeting locations as part of your SEO is an effective way of boosting your rankings in your local area and can help to pre-qualify your traffic to relevant audiences.
If you’re a small fruit delivery company in Winchester, and you only deliver there, it makes sense to target the keyword “fruit delivery in Winchester” as opposed to the broader keyword “fruit delivery” which would compete nationwide.
Why should I be targeting by location?
Generally, local SEO will ensure a higher ROI for the activity, as it’s targeting a specific audience searching for a specific area that you serve. This additional layer of audience targeting will ensure a higher CTR and better results.
Local SEO is something that needs a lot of consideration to ensure that your SEO spend is good value for money.
Many companies target what we would call “vanity search terms”. It makes you feel good when you have one or several number one rankings for a search term that includes your hometown, but is this of value to your business? Should you be targeting your whole county instead?
Being top for your branded search is great, but will it generate the customers you need to thrive? Probably not. A strong SEO strategy will ensure you’re on top of the basics like brand searches, but also that you’re branching out into relevant keywords targeting new customers. This is where local SEO becomes essential, because casting your net too wide or too close may not work in your favour.
To give you an example, a private school could focus on the keyword “private school” which has on average 8,100 searches each month in the UK. It’s likely that the traffic will not be specific enough, which would lead to a low CTR, low conversion level and lower ROI.
They could also narrow their targeting down to just “private school Hertford” which is very targeted and has on average 70 searches in the UK a month. But “private school Hertfordshire” has on average 590 searches a month – this will expose the school to a wider audience that is still located close enough to convert.
Can I do my own keyword research?
Yes! There are countless tools online to help you discover new keywords, get search volumes and give you an idea of competition.
The biggest one is Google Keyword Planner, which you can see below. It’s a tool that sits within the AdWords platform, which runs Google’s pay per click advertising in their search engine. As well as average searches per month, it gives you an estimate of impressions, clicks and advertising costs. It can also show you similar and related keywords to get you started.
All in all, it’s the perfect keyword research tool. The only downside is that you must be a Google AdWords user, and you must have campaigns running on the system to access it.
Google isn’t the only company with a keyword planning tool. After a quick search, you’ll find a vast number of tools available online. The Wordstream free keyword tool is accessible and easy to use, and it pulls information from Google as well.
It gives you less information than Google, but essentially it has the search volume for each keyword – which is the most important factor for SEO. You’re able to upgrade to a plan for the rest of the information, but for initial research it’s completely free! Another website to consider is the Moz keyword explorer.
Factors to consider when choosing your SEO target keywords
- Which areas of your business are the most profitable?
- Which areas of your business need more custom?
- Which of your audiences are most likely to use search engines and which keywords can you use to target them?
- What locations does your business serve, and which are the most profitable currently?
Do I need to work with an SEO agency if I only want to target my local area?
The strategy behind local SEO is essential, as sometimes you need to be far more granular to get the best results for your spend.
There are some aspects of local SEO that you can implement yourself, like creating a Google My Business listing, so by all means if you can get the basic fundamentals done without help, we advise that you do so before seeking specialist SEO help, as this will free time up for the specialist to work on more advanced techniques.
Working with a specialist SEO agency will not only help improve your rankings, it’ll make your life easier! The first thing they will need is an idea of what search terms are relevant to you and which areas of your business are most profitable (or need the biggest push).
From here, your SEO agency will be able to undertake in-depth keyword research.
This research will help to create a list of keywords that are relevant, realistic and have a good volume behind them. It will also help identify where you rank for each of them already and allows the SEO agency to create a bespoke and effective SEO strategy.
An experienced, skilled SEO agency will never ask for a list of keywords from you to instantly start targeting – not without doing any prior research. If you do supply a list, it’s essential that the correct research is completed, analysed and reported back prior to activity starting.
Location targeting for SEO is a massive consideration when creating a master search term list to target. A good location-based SEO strategy will ensure that you rank for appropriate keywords – not spending all your budget focusing on a handful of giant, highly competitive ones. It’s great to have those keywords as long-term aims – but you need to be realistic when you first start.
Local SEO – The Rooster way
At Rooster we plan, create and implement extremely effective SEO strategies for some of the most competitive and diverse industries in the world, all managed in-house.
These industries include SEO services for personal injury, finance, private health, skip hire, property development, aircraft charter and private education. Some of these target a global audience such as SEO for aircraft charter and private education where others are targeted more by local locations to the business.
So if you would like to discuss an SEO strategy for your company, let’s get together and start planning.
Posted by Chris Tyler-Smith on 19 Apr 2018