To rank at the top of local search results, you’ll also need to target local keywords on your website and in your site content.

Let’s look at an example.

If a roofing contractor in Toronto area wants to rank in more local search results, they could optimize their page titles, meta descriptions, and site copy to include the keywords “Best Toronto Roofing Company” or “Award-winning Mississauga roofing company”.

In addition, the practice may consider creating some location-specific landing pages on their site. For instance, they could landing create a page for “Mississauga roofing company” and promote work done and reviews in the Mississauga area.

Targeting location-based keywords can help your business appear in more local searches so buyer and customers in your area can find you.

How to Use Local Keywords to Rank Higher on Google

Consumers find businesses by conducting local searches.

While local searches may yield lower search volumes, it’s more about intent and driving traffic that is ready to convert (transactional search).

In fact, 76 percent of people who look for a nearby business on their smartphones, visit them within a day’s time and 28 percent of these searches end in a purchase.

Local Keyword Research

You first need to know which search queries are helping people find your business.

Optimizing your website will be a much easier task once you know the keywords you’re ranking for. You can then focus your efforts on other relevant keywords.  For instance, if your construction company is already ranking well for “home construction Mississauga”, you can get to work on other search terms like “best home renovation Mississauga”.

By improving your search results for other related phrases as well, you increase your reach to more potential customers.

Picking Local Keywords to Use

Google has taken a more local-first approach when ranking search results, it favors businesses with a local listing in proximity to the person conducting the search.

1. Target Broad & Competitive Search Terms

Previously, it would have been impossible for local businesses to feature for search queries like “florist” or “realtor”.

With the current updates, Google’s algorithm started giving a lot of emphasis to user location for local searches.

Each update has only refined the process. And with Google’s emphasis on local, you can now rank for such more competitive and generic phrases.

Here’s a three-step approach that can help you with your local keyword research.

1. Leverage Industry Keywords

Identify commonly used phrases that people will use to search for your business, identify words or phrases people use when describing your products or services.  Think about what they would type in search engines to find a business like yours and compile a list of local keywords and phrases that are relevant to your industry.

This list forms the foundation of your main keyword research.

2. Use Keyword Modifiers

Come up with modifiers that people will use in their searches, modifiers include words that can be used to describe an event, a quality, a type of product, or other associable words.

Examples that would apply to a construction company include words like:

  •  Renovations.
  • Home repairs.
  • Emergency repairs.

3. Research Local Keywords

We will identify keywords for your local SEO that pertain to your geographic location.

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, cities, etc. in your blog posts and site content.

People tend to look for businesses near them first, they also include local attractions and landmarks and regional centers in their search.

Consider where your target audience lives or works when picking these local keywords.

What to Evaluate When Optimizing Keywords

When determining which keywords to choose for your optimization efforts, there are a number of factors you should evaluate.

Keyword Popularity – When it comes to choosing keywords based on popularity, there are two lines of thinking.

  • Target the most popular keywords. This seems pretty straightforward. But the more popular a keyword is, the harder it is to gain high ranking for that keyword.
  • Target less competitive keywords. It may seem counterintuitive to go after keywords that aren’t as popular, this is often the best approach. It’s very difficult to compete with mature websites that have achieved trust and authority for the most popular keywords in competitive ranking verticals. So sites that are young typically have more success optimizing for keywords that aren’t that popular or competitive or optimizing your keywords by integrating modifiers and creating mid to long tail keywords.

Keyword Relevance –choose keywords based on how relevant they are to your products or services. If not relevant to what you’re offering on your website, they will be unable to complete the “search and reward cycle.”

Keyword Intent – You need to identify the intent of the searchers. Which stage are they at in the search cycle? Browsing, or buying.

The intent behind keywords can be broken down into three categories.

  • Navigational: company or brand queries, domain queries.
  • Informational: curiosity, question-oriented, solution-seeking queries.
  • Transactional: looking to purchase queries.

Optimize for the high intent keywords rather than low intent. Identifying, classifying and segmenting your high intent keyword groups into separate baskets of intent and eliminating the low-value keywords, you’ll generate more, qualified traffic.

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