For any marketing campaign, search engine optimization starts with some extensive keyword research. After all, before you generate content and optimize it for search, you need to know which search queries drive the highest ROI. To marketers out there, there are several tools available for mining and identifying keywords but you will find that sometimes, the best place to start looking for keywords is the search engines themselves.
3 Ways to Use Google for Local Keyword Research
1. Google Autocomplete
If you need ideas on locally based keywords, Google Autocomplete is a good place to start. It is an incredible resource for mining keywords, especially in the case of local keyword research.
Basically, here is how Google’s Autocomplete works: For each keyword you type in, Google produces a list of similar keywords using an algorithm that works to match the intent of a user to indexed pages. Using this tool, you can easily identify new keywords that are related to your primary keywords but you would not have thought of them on your own.
For example, if I type in “new york iPhone repair” in Google’s search bar, Google will suggest some other related search queries. In the image below, one of suggestions is “new york city iphone repair”. If I create content around this particular search term then more power to me. It was a previously overlooked keyword.
2. Shifting Search Queries
Google is constantly updating the way searches are performed. One recent change to the way searches are performed is that if you enter a specific query in Google’s search bar and you then click on a link to Google Maps, Google may or may not change the search query as you follow the link to Google Maps. Once on Google Maps, if you click to view the top results, the search query may or may not change again.
In the example used above, if you follow a link from the search results page to Google Maps, the search query changes to “iphone repair near New York, NY”.
This is yet another resource you can use to identify which keywords you should use for your marketing campaign. They are search queries Google is encouraging people to use;
3. Use a Different Location to Search for More Keywords
This is related to what we discussed above for Google’s Autocomplete feature but with a twist. Let’s say, instead of tying in “new york iPhone repair”, you type in “Manhattan iPhone repair”. Changing your location from New York to Manhattan will affect the suggestions in Google’s Autocomplete but the search terms are still valid keywords that you can target.
Equally possible if you want to look up search patterns is to use “phone repair” instead of “iPhone repair” in your search query. This will yield yet another list of suggested search queries, all viable keywords.
About Google’s New Adwords Keyword Planner
For local keyword research, marketers often use the Google Keyword Tool with geo modifiers, for example “City Name + Keyword”. The problem with this tool is that keyword research gets tricky when the keywords don’t already have a geo modifier. Plus, say for example your keyword is “iPhone repair” but you want to know how many people in the city of New York are searching for your services.