Why Keyword Research Is Important For Local SEO
We Know Local SEO
Here at Oak City Tech, located in the heart of RTP, we know what challenges local business face to rank on Google. Local SEO is an crucial for all companies who do most of their business on a local level like law firms, medical practices and residential service industries. Most people today do not have a “go to” company for these types of services and go directly to google when they need to find a trusted source. You never know you need a 24-hour plumbing company until its 3am and you’re standing in ankle-deep water. Still, in this nightmare scenario, what is the first thing you do?
The likely answer is: Go directly to Google type in, “24 hour plumbing Durham, NC” and call the first result on the list.
This is true for almost every industry. It’s why local SEO must be an extremely important part of business today. Yet, commonly overlooked in this process is what keywords should your business actually target to rank for? Keywords are the lifeblood of Google, so let’s dive into crucial importance and subtleties of Keyword Research.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword Research is the task of identifying keywords that your website should ideally be using. Keywords tell Google: This is what my website is about and what we do as a company. Sticking with the plumbing example, a local plumbing company to Durham, NC may want to bring in business to their website via google by targeting keywords like:
- Plumbing Services
- Professional Plumber
- Commercial Plumbing etc.
A successful plumbing website should and will include these words in multiple places, including the homepage, blogs, services page, testimonials and even reviews. This is the keyword selection process starts to get tricky. You may have asked yourself: ‘Well this seems obvious and all, but won’t all plumbing companies will be targeting these same keywords? Yes, that’s exactly right. Odds are that most good plumbing companies WILL BE targeting these keywords on a basic level. This is where Keyword Research comes into play and can really set YOUR plumbing company apart from the rest. By analyzing the local market and determining what keywords most companies are targeting, you can identify the “path of least resistance” to the top of Google. This means targeting words or phrases that may have been missed by other companies.
Are There Different Kinds Of Keyword Research?
Yes! There are two main ways to do Keyword research. Each method has pros and cons but both provide a much more visible picture of what keywords to target, in order to bring in organic search results to your website.
Keyword Volume Analysis
This is the most basic form of Keyword Research. This method involves looking at the raw search volume data for your local area, in order to target the most highly searched, relevant keywords. While this method does not allow you analyze potential oversaturation of that keyword by other local companies, it will allow you to get a basic glimpse of the local keyword landscape. A few years ago Google used to allow anyone to see it’s keyword volume data but that has since changed. Unfortunately, it now takes a paid account on one of the many SEO tool companies out there to gather this data.
- Pros: Fast, Cheap, General Overview, Great First Step
- Cons: Not as in depth, does not take competition into account
Keyword Gap Analysis Of Local Competition
This is where a good SEO analyst can really outmaneuver local competition. In this method, you take your top competitors in the area and scan their website for keyword density, among many other things. For example, if the top 4 competitors are targeting “Plumbing Services Durham, NC”, which might have a keyword volume of 2000 searches a month, but we find that none of them is targeting a phrase like “Professional Plumbing Durham, NC”, with a keyword volume of 1000 searches a month, we would optimize website for the latter phrase. Why? This is because there are 1000 hits with no competition, whereas with “Plumbing Services Durham, NC” we would compete for fraction of those 2000 searches. Therefore Keyword Gap Analysis will have highlighted a “path of least resistance” for your site to rank higher on organic searches.
- Pros: Most Effective Method, Extremely Targeted, Accurate Local Picture
- Cons: Time Consuming, Expensive
Why Is Keyword Research Important For Local SEO?
Keyword Research and Local SEO needs to go hand-in-hand. Without doing keyword research, on the local level, you might as well choose your Google Search keywords by throwing darts at a dictionary. By optimizing the keywords that Google sees on your website, you stand the best chance of ranking on the local level, especially in competitive industries. Here, at Oak City Tech, we have analyzed the local market countless times, for countless industries, and we know what it takes to get noticed locally. If your company is really serious about using your website to generate leads, through Google, then spending time and money on keyword research, on a regular basis (the landscape is constantly changing!) may be the effective, alternative use of marketing dollars, you’ve been looking for.