Local SEO guide: How to refine local search terms to master Google search
Local SEO is a powerful way to drive high quality Google search traffic. Local search terms can be improved by refining keywords for a local target market - if you understand local search preferences in the target region, that is.
This local SEO guide will show how fairly deep marketing insight can be derived by analyzing local search trends and isolating specific search terms using the freely available Google Adwords Keyword Tool and the equally freely available Google insights for search.
How to use Google Adwords Keyword Tool & Google Insight for Search
The point of this tutorial is not to provide a Google SEO tools how to. If you aren't familiar with the Keyword Tool and Insights for Search, read the following SEO tutorials before continuing:
- "Google insights for Search" as the best free SEO tool for small business SEO
- How to research SEO keywords: Five SEO tips from top SEO experts
Why optimize local search terms?
The temptation to write content that appeals to a broad target market can be formidable. The problem with generic search optimization is that it is, by definition, not focused. People looking for the same information in one location may not use the same terms as people in another area.
Why local search terms differ
There are many factors that determine which search terms are better in which region, including:
- Language or dialect: different spelling, vernacular, etc
... and so on. It's your job to understand who it is you are marketing to and adjust your search optimization accordingly.
Example of local search using... SEO terms
Check out the following the following Google insights for search's map of regional search volumes for the search phrase SEO:
Asia generates much of the world's search traffic for the term SEO. Countries like India have a strong IT and Web based service outsourcing industry so it makes sense that they would search on this phrase more than others.
Now compare it to the regional search volume map for the phrase SEO optimization:
I understand what "SEO optimization" means, even though I wouldn't use it naturally. To me it's like saying "USA America" - United States of America America (or Amercia depending on which presidential candidate you believe).
But, it serves to demonstrate my point quite well because it shows that there are regional differences for related search. If there are regional differences then, by extension, it must be possible to refine search terms by region in order to better localize content.
These regional differences will apply across nations, across states, counties, cities and towns due to differences in local industry, communities, demographics, wealth, and so on.
Important considerations for local search optimization
Knowing that there are regional search differences is one thing, exploiting these to drive more qualified traffic through Google search is another.
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In fact, I purposefully omitted an important consideration in the above example. Can you spot what it is?
Local SEO can't be analyzed without context. There's no point in isolating a local search term that is 20% more popular in your catchment area if it only generates five searches a month. In other words:
It is important to look at absolute traffic volumes for local search terms as well as their relative volumes.
In addition, you might want to consider altering your content marketing and social marketing activities around locally search optimized content. Assuming your content is relevant to a local audience (why else would you optimize it as such), this should inform where it may be most effectively shared.
Finally, local SEO doesn't just improve search traffic coming from a local area. If you make an effort to speak people's language the way they do, then you come across as familiar, something which helps build trust.
What are your thoughts on local SEO? Have you had success focusing content on small demographic regions? Or, do you prefer to simply let inspiration guide your writing and whatever happens happens? Let's hear from you, if you have any great suggestions for how to improve local SEO too.
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