Oftentimes, the art of online marketing seems to employ skills which rather resemble a flair for archery.
Designing campaigns, adjusting user experience or planning out a campaign budget – all these have something in common:
They HAVE to be well-aimed. Otherwise, you lose on marketing weaponry.
To avoid this, you need to shape up a local SEO strategy with solid local keyword research at its core.
Bottom line is that it’s costly not to set straightforward targets from the get-go.
As long as you follow the local path, your digital marketing efforts will no longer look like the GIF below. You’ll aim straight, fire off and win the game.
And the proper marketing projectiles you need throughout this process are, first and foremost, local keywords. In what follows, we’ll show how Squirrly SEO Plugin’s Keyword Research Tool helps you use them to move up the local rankings.
Discovering Searchers’ Intent
It’s a commonplace thing to say you have to know what customer segment you’re addressing.
Do they need your services to be delivered in 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks?
Do they need to carry out a thorough research before picking a provider for said needs?
Do they mainly use smartphone or desktop search?
Each one of these yields its specific importance in your local search strategy, so you need to craft and sort out keywords accordingly.
As a Hubspot research points out, 50% of smartphone users who searched for a local keyword have visited a local store within a day after.
That says a lot about purchase intent. Employ the proper local search strings and the intent will convert into actual customers flooding to your local store.
To understand local search intent, the best exercise is putting yourself in the searcher’s shoes.
When you’re looking for a local service, you will most likely:
Search for business hours
Directions to the local store
Local store address
Availability of product at local store
Which means you won’t surf the net just for the sake of it. You know you have to make up your mind as soon as possible.
This being the case, do you have time to analyze a dozen Google page results to see which is the most suitable to your needs?
The most probable scenario is you’ll pick a service provider from the first Google results page.
This thought process is a bit like reverse engineering, meaning you tried to reconstitute the local customer intent, so that you can use it to devise your own strategy.
Understanding Local SEO
With local optimization, you know your KPIs are well-defined – you’re looking for more customers, plain and simple.
However, as much as we’d like it, there’s no ultimate set of rules to follow when doing local keyword ch. It’s not an exact science.
Which means, rather than looking for an ultimate guide, you should strive to develop a framework which suits your needs.
For instance, not all local businesses which manage to get ahead of their competitors also convert better than them.
It’s about the local marketing prowess you manage to master.
Conducting several types of sustainable campaigns is more beneficial than focusing only on Adwords. It will ensure you also farewell from an organic ranking point of view.
Granted, the state of local SEO in 2017 is pretty much what it used to be last year. One mention, though: getting noticed on the first page is harder since Google displays 4 paid ads you have to fight with. Plus, there’s also the local competition you need to worry about.
Getting Started on a Smooth Local SEO Path
The natural move when you have local optimization in mind is having a look at the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Then, you need to answer these questions:
Who has the most visible websites for the topics and keywords you intend to use?
How optimized is your site for near me searches?
What competitors display Google Ads?
How do the high-ranking websites’ snippets look like?
Slight details, like optimized snippet content, may be decisive factors when you are vying for those valuable clicks which really convert.
Not to mention other criteria like the country you want to rank for. To give you an idea, let’s use Squirrly’s Keyword Research Tool and see the results for the same keyword aimed at different countries:
A Blueprint for Local SEO Best Practices
If you’re a newcomer to the world of local search engine optimization, you’ll most likely welcome a brief guide to this notion. And even if you’re not, Google’s constant algorithm changes almost force you to feel like one from time to time.
But this is a good thing, as you’ll be pushed to revise and reconsider your SEO practices on a regular basis.
That said, gaining more online visibility starts with paying attention to local ranking factors like:
Google My Business (GMB) signals. Make sure you complete your GMB profile with the latest information. A Local SEO Guide 2016 study ascertains that high-ranking websites in local searches present a common characteristic: their GMB signals – like Pictures, Owner Verified or Reviews – are all in check.
- Links and website content. These are organic SEO aspects which seem to be a differentiating criteria for GMB rankings. It does matter what keywords you optimize for or how many words you have on a page.
- Well-written location pages
- Off-site local signals
- Citations. Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP). Although they’re not quite high on the priority list, you shouldn’t neglect them.
Depending on your business niche and competition, the above factors can be prioritized to different degrees. In some cases, basic practices suffice, while in busier markets there are more local SEO efforts required of you.
All in all, local link building and optimized website content are – still! – the pillars of local rank-boosting.
To turn your site content into a Google Local magnet, make sure you start off with good old local keywords.
What a Local Keyword Research Has in Sight
Local keyword research is based on volume data. You have to make sense of what high vs low volume means in terms of local search intent.
Low volume can mean anything from zero volume to a few searches which are actually converted into purchases within a small perimeter.
To make sense of this, you’d normally have to compare the search volume for that keyword in larger surrounding areas. If in the latter case search volume is still reduced, you’ll know the “low” qualifier stands for a keyphrase people don’t type in a search engine bar.
This rationale, though, is based on a search psychology principle which states people in neighboring areas are likely to present a similar search behavior.
Another DIY technique here is letting Google Suggest offer you hints.
Start your phrase with a domain-related term, then add the name of the area you’re interested in. Google will retrieve a few phrases which post high volume search in the respective area.
Pay attention that results might show different items for mobile and desktop devices.
You can also look for related phrases which will be displayed in related SERPs. These are similar results, while what Google Suggest displays are similar topics. In both cases, you can gather useful keyword suggestions.
The only thing is, testing all the above for your local keyword research takes some time.
And, let’s face it, when you are delivering loads of content per week, you don’t have as much time as you’d like.
We’re excited to come up with some good news, though.
Squirrly SEO Plugin’s Improved Keyword Research Tool
A Squirrly SEO plugin user can optimize all the pages in their WordPress site by utilizing our keyword research tool.
The tool has been recently updated for finer insights.
What resulted was an uber powerful feature – we’ve heard it’s even more effective than some other keyword research tools out there. And to think this is only one of Squirrly SEO Plugin’s features (besides many others).
First, it retrieves 3 times more long-tail keywords, which increases the chances of getting the best local keyword to use in your pages.
Plus, Squirrly Keyword Research instantly analyzes your local competition and displays the likelihood you rank high.
Let’s see it in action now.
First, make sure you go to the right upper side of the tab to select the country you want to rank for – Squirrly now offers you 26 options:
When digging for local keywords, even the last minute details are important. Word order is one of them. It matters if you choose to optimize for “bookshop Atlanta” or “Atlanta bookshop” on Google.com.
Squirrly Keyword Research algorithm knows that and acts accordingly by displaying keyword insights which help you pick the best phrases:
Although this keyword is easy to rank for, you can see the exact search is low, which means people in Atlanta don’t search for books using the keyword we exemplified above. So, you should go further and explore other options.
Let’s try out “Atlanta bookstore”:
Voilà, it seems this is something which looks more like what you’d wish for. You get the number of exact matches, so that you know the volume that specific keyword has been searched for.
But how about going further with your research? Let’s reverse word order and we’ll get something better:
This time, you find out the trend is steady, so this phrase is more reliable long-term.
Let’s add more words to enter long-tail territory. For “bookstores in Atlanta” you get:
How about “best bookstores in Atlanta”?
Out of all the results we got above, the one to go for would be “bookstore Atlanta”, the one for which Squirrly Plugin’s research has retrieved the most specific data.
Not Your Average WordPress SEO Plugin
When you go for local SEO as a main rank-boosting strategy, the first impulse is to rely on a separate tool for keyword research.
But it turns out, your plan can be fulfilled in a more cost-effective and time-saving manner using Squirrly’s SEO plugin.
As shown in this article, there’s a whole range of possibilities the Keyword Research Tool provides.
Ready to smarten up your local efforts and get your products seen by the right customers? Then try out the SEO features Squirrly has to offer and drop us a line in the comments section to let us know how it went.