Finding Local Keywords | Local Keyword Research | How To SEO

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There are a million and one keyword research tools out there. And everyone of them claim to find the hidden gems that the other tools overlook.

I’ll admit, I have purchased dozens of these over the years! What can I say, I’m a sucker for good sales copy.

While some of them have some pretty cool features, I always end up just going back to the tried and true method of using Google’s own data. This tutorial shows the process that I use to discover the best KWs for any local client.

The best part is that these don’t cost a dime to use. They do, however, require a little time to compile a comprehensive list but once it’s done, you’ll have all the data you need for several months worth of content marketing.

Here are the three tools I use:

1. Google Trends
2. Google KW Planner
3. Google Suggest Tool

Step 1: Enter your seed KWs into the Trends tool and filter by location. You can go broad or narrow all the way down to a city level. I generally try to get as narrow as possible by going all the way to the city level. But there are times where there won’t be enough data so you have to widen the area by going up a level to a region. This is the hierarchy that I would follow:

city – region – state – country

In other words, look at city level first and if you have a good amount of data, then your golden. But if thereis little or no data, move up to region. If not enough there, move up to state, and so on.

Once you have a good data set to work with, take notes on the “Top” terms as well as the “Rising”. These will be used as seed KWs in the KW Planner.

And be sure to take advantage of the ability to compare up to 5 KWs at a time. You can get a great list of seed KWs based on their interest level in your target location.

Step 2: Go to the KW Planner and set the Targeting to your target city. Paste your list of KWs that you generated from Trends and click “Get Ideas”.

After it thinks for a moment you be served with two tabs, “Ad Group Ideas” and “Keyword Ideas”. Both of these tabs can provide valuable insights into the KWs that Google determines are relevant and in fact, the Ad Group Ideas can be used to help design website silo structure, but that is for another blog post!

Go to the Keyword Ideas tab and look at the results to get more of a feel for the related terms. Or just go ahead and export the list because next you’re going to want to go through the exported csv file and eliminate all of the KWs that aren’t relevant.

This can take a while! The csv file will usually contain about 800 KWs! After you filter them you may still end up with several hundred KWs.

Step 3: Go to and enter your top level KW (usually the one with the highest search volume) along with you city name (i.e. insurance atlanta) and hit search. You’ll have to go through that list, too, but you’ll find some awesome KWs in there to target right away in an SEO campaign. Remember, always go for the low hanging fruit first.

Just click on the green + sign for each KW that you want to keep and then when you’re done you can copy the resulting list and add to your csv file in a separate tab.

Step 4: This is something I recently started doing that also gives great ideas. Take some of the local terms returned by Ubersuggest and do a Google search on them. Look at the top 2 or 3 sites in the Google results page and click through to the website. Copy the URL and go back to the KW Planner and paste into the field labeled “Your Landing Page”.

The results you get from these landing page queries are the KWs associated with the top ranked websites for your target terms! This is a great way to spy on the top ranked competitors. Think about it, they have already done a lot of the research, so you might as well model their work.

Download those as well and copy them into another tab of your Excel workbook.

By the way, I have to give credit to Dan Shure for this idea that he revealed in his recent article:

Now you should have a comprehensive local keyword list that you can use for building a site and for content marketing. This also helps you to gain a good understanding of the market for that industry which will help you design better campaigns.

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Bradley Benner –