Everything Your Local Business Needs to Know About Keyword Research

By Raubi Perilli

      Oct 15, 2021     Solutions    

When you run a local business, you have a lot of marketing options to consider. With so many choices, it may be tempting to focus on traditional marketing efforts you recognize and understand. But, do not overlook the power of marketing strategies that seem complex, but are actually extremely powerful and not as complicated as they seem -- especially keyword research.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a process that helps you identify the best ways to reach nearby customers through search. It helps you put your business in front of customers when they search for terms and questions related to what you do, sell, or offer.

The process looks at search trends and data so you can see:  

  • What terms people are most commonly searching for
  • Which brands are ranking for specific search terms
  • How difficult it will be to rank for specific terms

Keyword research shows you how people are searching and how brands are showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs).  

Related: Search Marketing 101: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Why Should You Do Keyword Research?

Keyword research is essential if you want your local business to show up when potential customers search for a business like you. Through keyword research, you can identify the terms that are most likely to drive interested shoppers and consumers toward your business. 

  • Keyword research tells you if you are targeting the right terms. Before you put work into trying to rank for a term, you want to know if people are actually searching for it. Keyword research shows you exactly what terms are most popular with customers.
  • Keyword research tells you if you can rank for a keyword. You likely aren’t the only business trying to rank for a specific keyword. Your competitors are probably trying to rank for similar terms. Keyword research tells you what terms competitors are ranking for and how much effort you will need to put in to replace them in top search rankings.
  • Keyword research helps you identify new terms to target. It’s likely that your customers are searching for phrases that haven’t crossed your mind. Keyword research helps you identify new terms that customers are searching for so you can target them to attract more traffic to your site.

Keyword research might feel like a task you can overlook or skip, but it will pay off down the road by attracting more high-quality traffic and more interested potential customers.  

Related: The SEO Strategies and Best Practices Every Business Needs to Know

How to Do Keyword Research

If you run a local business, you probably aren’t an SEO. The good news is that you don’t have to be a pro SEO to do some keyword research. Even if you don’t have paid tools, you can get an idea of what keywords will work best for your business.  

Start with your core keywords. Make a list of all of the primary keywords that are related to your business. These are the most obvious terms. They may refer to your type of business, industry, products, and services.  

Look for related terms. Next, look for terms that are related to your core keywords. This can help you uncover keywords you may be overlooking. Simply type your core keywords into a Google search and look at the related searches. Or, use a free tool like LSI Keyword Generator to generate some ideas.  

Select a few keywords and review the search results. When you identify a few keywords you think you want to target, search for them and review the results. Consider if you will be able to overtake the top rankings. Also, look at the top results to see if they match the context of your term. (For example, if your restaurant has a burger called Bob’s Burger, you don't want to try to outrank the TV show “Bob’s Burgers.") Competitor research is a great way to get an idea of what others in your field are doing and what you will need to do to outperform them.  

Check the popularity and difficulty rating of each keyword. If you have access to a more robust keyword research tool (like SEMRush), research your keyword to get scores on their popularity and difficulty. Focus on keywords that have a high popularity and low difficulty. This isn’t always easy because there is so much competition, but it will help guide your keyword choices.

Keyword Research Tips

Now that you know what keyword research is and how it can help your local business, there are a few other things to keep in mind. As you conduct keyword research, remember these tips.  

The search results you see might not be the search results other people see. Google personalizes search results. That means they show an individual the results that are most likely to interest them. Google considers where you are and what websites you’ve visited in the past, among other factors, when deciding what search results to put at the top of your SERP. Don’t assume what you see is what everyone will see. Use an incognito browser to get a better idea of what shows by default.  

Local businesses should focus more on local SEO. Local businesses need to reach customers that are near their physical business, so they will have a different SEO strategy than nationwide or online businesses with customers across the world. Keyword research is important to local businesses, but it should run in tandem with a local SEO strategy. Learn more about creating a local SEO strategy.  

Think about long-tail keywords. When many people think of keywords, they think of one- to two-word terms. But keywords can be so much more than that. Don’t forget to think about long-tail keywords when choosing your target keywords. Long-tail keywords are three or more words. They are valuable because they have less competition and have more specific buyer intent. Learn more about using long-tail keywords.

Have a separate keyword plan for paid SEM and organic SEO. Keyword research should be conducted in both your paid search engine marketing (SEM) and organic SEO plans. But, the keywords that you choose might be different for each. In SEM, you will need to consider the cost of the keywords you choose, and in SEO, you will need to consider the difficulty of ranking. It may lead you to focus on different keywords for each strategy.  

Related: How We Optimized Google Search Ads To Double Results and Cut Costs in Half

Need Help with Your Keyword Research?

Keyword research might sound intimidating, but it’s really just doing some digging to see what terms your customers use.  

Use these basic tips to get an idea of what types of keywords will help you reach nearby customers. This process will help you start to use research to make better decisions about your on-site content planning.  

If you want to take it up a notch, MyArea Network is here to help. We have a team of content and SEO experts who can help you create a keyword plan for your website that will help you rank and attract more nearby customers through search. Let’s chat. Schedule your free call with us today.