How to do local SEO keyword research

Local SEO Keyword Research

Most people visit a local business within a day of searching for it, and at least 1/3rd of them are converted into customers. Local search is a gold mine for businesses, and if you are a locally-focused business, you need to have an effective local SEO strategy in place.

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When it comes to appearing higher on search, both overall SEO and local SEO are vital aspects to have a competitive edge over other businesses in the same field. For this whole strategy to be implemented, the keyword research needs to be solid.

Let’s delve deep into this topic and understand what local SEO is, why exactly do you need local SEO keyword research, and how to do it effectively.

What is the local SEO?

Local SEO is basically optimizing one’s website to enhance the incoming traffic, increase lead generation and create brand awareness by using local search. Local SEO keyword research, optimization of GMB (Google My Business) profile and NAP information, creating local content, etc., are key aspects of optimizing a business for local search.

If you have a huge customer base in a particular area or plan to establish your business that way, local SEO is crucial to your business. It doesn’t matter if your business is located in a small remote area or a metro city; local SEO will always be an important part of your marketing strategy.

If your website is not optimized enough to come up in local searches, the only thing you’ll see when someone searches for your name is a google map.

If you are making a local SEO strategy, you want to make sure that you’re spending your time and energy in the right direction. And that’s why we’re here with a guide to a crucial part of your local SEO strategy. I.e., local SEO keyword research.

Here are many tips to bump up your website to search engines’ first page using the correct keyword research strategy.

What is local SEO keyword research?

People enter certain words, terms, and phrases into a search engine to answer some queries. Keyword research is the process of finding those terms. One needs to optimize their website for search engines to come high up in the searches, and one of the key points in this process is to figure out the exact keywords people usually look for. 

After that, you need to optimize your site for those keywords, and your website will appear higher up in the SERPs. Local keyword research is basically the same process, but for particular locations.

Why is local SEO keyword research so important?

The first point we’d like to make here is that whenever a user searches with a location-specific keyword, they are doing it with the intent to take some action. They are looking to purchase your product at that moment. Any company that relies on local customers should leverage this intent by making the most out of local SEO, and using the right keywords is a crucial factor for this.

The second reason is that they serve fully customized results for them whenever a user searches. One of the most important factors that determine these search results is their location. If you look for a “fashion boutique” on Google, you’ll be shown the nearby boutiques before any other boutiques. That is because search engines are bound to show you the most relevant results in your vicinity.

Hence, if you don’t know what keywords to target and what physical locations will bring you business, you miss out on a lot of leads.

How to do local keyword research?

The purpose of this research is to find out the relevant terms that are frequently used by your customers or prospects. Relevance is a huge factor when it comes to high ranks in SERPs, but at the same time, your content needs to be optimized for the local search. We’ve put together a guide for you to conduct local keyword research, and it covers most aspects of this process. Read on!

Use relevant keyword research tool

One of the most crucial parts of having a great local SEO strategy is having a good keyword research tool. With billions of keywords searched for across the internet, only a powerful tool can help you stand out. The keyword magic tool from Semrush can help you do that.

While you cannot specify the location more than the nationality, you can still use the name of your location as a modifier in the Keyword Magic Tool. The result will reflect a national-level value, but you’ll get relevant phrases to keep in mind while targeting a keyword in specific locations.

SEMrush local seo keyword magic tool
Semrush local SEO keyword magic tool

Compare your competition

The Competitors Discovery tool on Semrush can help you figure out your local competition and the exact keywords they’re competing with you for. You can then easily go to the Keyword Gap tool and the Backlink tool to analyze the situation in a better way and understand what keywords they are ranking for that you don’t have on your website.

Once you are done with that, you have to fill this gap and play your game even better than your competition by including all these keywords in your next campaign.

The Keyword Gap Tool offered by SEMrush
The Keyword Gap Tool offered by Semrush

Look at it from the customer’s perspective

As a person who owns the business, you must be aware of the top services you provide, but the customers don’t always search for the keywords you aim to rank for. Make this about your customers and not about yourself.

Each of the services or keywords you want to rank for is just a broad overview of your targets and goals. A proper keyword research strategy needs to be in place for knowing what your clients or customers expect or look for.

Look for PPC keywords using a relevant tool

A good PPC tool allows you to gather and organize your keywords for your campaigns. With the PPC tool of Semrush, you can simply add a few relevant negative keywords and export your ad campaign to Google Ads.

To make the campaign customized to a locality or area, you need to change the location in your campaign’s settings. You can build a perfectly optimized strategy using the PPC tool because it allows you to choose keywords based on search volume, CPC, and other such metrics.

As you might be aware that a PPC campaign needs to have as many relevant keywords as possible, but at the same time, the keyword list needs to be relevant. The PPC tool of Semrush is just perfect for this purpose as it allows you to build a keyword list using multiple sources. You can get long-tail keyword suggestions, merge keywords to get new combinations, import keywords from .txt, .xls, and .csv files to do so.

It also allows you to avoid any duplicates, manage your keyword list, and optimize the same.

Conduct a topic research

As generic as it might sound to you, topic research is fundamental to building an efficient and effective keyword list. The Topic Research tool of Semrush allows you to do in-depth research about what other sites are covering on the internet.

SEMrush local seo topic research
Semrush local SEO topic research

You can use the modifiers to define a location or change the tool’s location in the drop-down menu. Once you do that, you’ll be receiving a lot of information on related ideas and subtopics that you might not have thought of.

The tool will probably present you with some cards based on the topic and locations you’ve looked for. Please go through them and find more topics and questions specific to your business.

Position tracking of your site for various keywords

Of all the tools you use to find the relevant keywords, you will also need a tool to track your position or progress regarding how well your local SEO strategy is performing. You can easily track your site’s daily rankings for each one of your targetted keywords by using this tool.

SEMrush local seo position tracking
The position tracking tool from Semrush

This will help you target down to the ZIP code level and help you discover local competitors alongside device tracking and find the keywords that display SERP features like featured snippets, reviews, and local-pack results. You can easily configure this tool and get going in minutes. 

You can collect Google ranking data, boost your SEO strategy by analyzing SERP features, find competitors, organize your keywords, get notifications for crucial changes in positioning, and receive a report on your progress- all by using this one tool.

Bonus tip for running a successful local business:

Be on social media! Social media can bring you huge success because what’s better than connecting with your target audience on their favorite platforms? Semrush offers two tools distinctly meant to help you with social media, and both of these tools can ease the process of maintaining your social media presence tremendously.

  1. The social media poster: Plan your content, schedule it, and stay active on a maximum number of social media platforms without any hassle. Create a smooth flow of work instead of worrying about having to manage all by yourself. 
  2. Social media tracker: Keep an eye on your competition with this tool’s help and capture the best strategies for your business. Please get to know about the local events they’re participating in, whether they are running any offers, their engagement strategies, and more with this tool.

The best benefit of these tools is that you’ll know what exactly works on social media and what doesn’t. It will save you tons of effort and time.


Semrush is a one-stop-shop for you to optimize your website for local SEO to generate business out of it. From finding local SEO keywords, organizing them, finding competitors to creating a strategy that holds a competitive edge over everyone else, Semrush would be one tool that is the go-to place for everything related to local SEO.

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