How to find and use local keywords to rank on Google
If you are a local business, whether that’s a shop front or servicing customers in your local area, if you want people to find you, you need to make sure your business is visible in the top search results.
Searches for local business and services have increased rapidly and the rise of smart phones means many of us search on the go, generating local search queries.
These figures are US based but the trends are the same for the UK.
How do you get your local business to the top spot in Google?
If you want your business to be noticed online, there are several things you need to do to boost your position such as having a google business page, getting reviews, listing in directories and backlinks. Find out how to do these here:
But for many businesses, they are missing the most obvious thing. The first step in getting seen by a local audience is to tell them you are a local business!
It’s amazing how many websites I see where they are not including locally based keywords within their website content. Whether that’s wedding planners in Surrey, accountants in Chichester or landscape gardeners in Hampshire, if you don’t say on your website what you do and what area you operate it, then how can you expect your local customers to find you. You need to include keywords that describe what you do and where you are based.
How do you find and use keywords to help increase your local search rankings?
Step One: Find your local keywords
I’m going to keep this simple. Keyword research can be complex (and costly if you are paying someone to do it). But sometimes it’s just using a bit of common sense paired with some simple research.
Your aim is to identify commonly used phrases that people will use to search for your business. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to think about what they would type in search engines to find a business like yours. Brainstorm and compile a list of keywords and phrases that are relevant to your industry.
Then you need to consider the various locations and areas you service and where your customers are from. If you have a delivery service, then include those area names, counties, cities.
For most businesses, the primary keywords to target will be quite obvious.
Let’s say that you’re a plumber in Petersfield—how do you think people will search for your services?
They’ll probably go to Google and type something like:
- “plumber in Petersfield”;
- “emergency plumber in Petersfield”;
- “drain unblocking in Petersfield”
There’s a common format going on. It’s service in location (SiL).
Doing this now for your own business. Just make a list of all the services you offer and the problems you solve then list the locations you serve… merge them together to create a bunch of potential keywords.
Need more ideas or insight into what your customers might type?
Try Google Autocomplete to generate more search suggestions. Just enter your primary keyword into Google and take note of the suggested searches.
For many business, unless you are in a highly competitive area (both geographically and in terms of your offering) I would stop the keyword research there and move onto the next step – putting them in your website.
However if you think you need to niche further to get to a specific audience you might want to use some keyword tools such as:
Google keyword planner – you’ll need a Google adwords account but you don’t need to activate it or pay any fees.
Step 2: Putting the local keywords into your website
Assuming you already have a website, look at the current layout and either allocate keywords to existing pages or, if you can, for each of your main services or products create a unique localised page using your keywords.
So back to our plumbing example, you might want to create separate pages for each of the main plumbing services you offer such as emergency plumbing, bathroom installations, drain unblocking etc and then on each page, list the areas you cover, e.g. Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Hampshire.
This can be as simple as ensuring your address is present in the text (a good way to do this is in the footer so it’s on every page) and using location based keywords within your titles and copy. If you want to fully optimise it aim to use keywords in the following:
- page title
- meta description
- alt tags on images
- and of course within the content on the page.
Go one step further by adding in local customer testimonials or case studies (don’t forget to say where they are from – Joe Blogs from Horndean, Hampshire) and elsewhere on the website use your contact page, about us page and blog to keep mentioning local keywords.
Content could take the form of local promotions, news, and industry trends depending on your industry and niche. The important thing is writing helpful content that locals are seeking.
If you operate in multi-locations you should consider creating a unique local landing page for each business location. Include information specific to that location and of course the business address and local contact number.
The key message is with local SEO ( local optimisation) – keep it simple and tell them where you are from.