Local SEO Keyword Research: A Complete Guide 2020

Statistics show that nearly 46% of google searches seek local business information. And not only that, 88% of buying intended consumers who do local search, visit or call within a day. And also, 56% of local businesses still not list their business in Google my business.

So what do you think? Can you see the opportunity you will have? It’s the right time to start your journey. 

The very first step you need to perform very carefully is Local SEO keyword research.

A good approached keyword research strategy can lead you to the top of google search pages.

Local SEO Statistics
More Info : Hubspot

What is Local SEO keyword research

Local SEO keyword research defines, use a keyword for a specific location.

Local SEO Keyword Research

Keyword research generally has two types.

1.Global: Keyword targeted globally(not specify any particular location).

2.Local: Keyword targeted locally(specify a specific area)

As an example: 

  • Dog grooming service (global)
  • Dog grooming service New York (local)
Local and Global Keyword Example

Locals have lower competition than globals. So it’s easy to gain search engines’ first page quickly if you have an excellent on-page optimization approach.

According to Neil Patel,

Unless there’s no rhyme or reason to your keyword research, you need to know which opportunities will take the least amount of your limited resources to yield the highest ROI.

Before jumping into local keyword research, we need to know the processes of research.

Out of context: Here I used 3 words(word, keyword, phrase) for the same meaning. Don’t be confused.

Process of Keyword Research

Here we dive into the fundamental and significant part before starting your SEO game.

We divide them into 3 parts.

  1. Targeted keyword (Let, Dog grooming New York)
  2. Related keyword (Let, Packages of different grooming service)
  3. Back up keyword (Let, How often should dogs get groomed?)
Types of Local SEO Keyword

Targeted Keyword 

It is also called the main or primary keyword by some SEO experts. It is such a phrase you want to rank for. For every page, it must be one and unique.

You should not use the same keyword in different pages. If you do so, then google will be confused about which page is targeted for this keyword. This problem is called keyword cannibalization.


Let, you’ve started a dog grooming service in New York City. Now, how you find what should be the target.

A better way to do this, is brainstorming.

Think about your audience. How do they search? May be 

  1. Dog grooming service near me
  2. Dog grooming in new york
  3. Best dog grooming new york
  4. Cheap dog grooming service in my city

Pick each and every keyword and put it in google search bar. It can show you more results. Then pick them all. 

Go to any of the tools for finding search volume as you can use

  1. GKP(Google keyword planner)(Free)
  2. Ubersuggest(Free)
  3. Ahrefs(7$ for 7 days Trial)
  4. Semrush(Free Trial) 

Make a list for every keyword’s search volume and also have a look its competition and click-through rate(CTR).

Competition may be low or medium based on your potential.

CTR should not be low.

Primary Keyword Example One
Source : Ahrefs

Also, don’t forget to look at CPC. AS a commercial keyword, it should have some CPC.

Have a look at this image. It has a decent search volume but zero CPC. It indicates you; it does not have any commercial intent.

Primary Keyword Example Two-Low CPC

So you should avoid it. Instead, you can try this.

Primary keyword CPC
Source: Ahrefs

It has good search volume as well as medium CPC.

If you are not ready for go with Ahrefs, you can try ubersuggest for FREE.

Primary Keyword Example-Free Tool
Source : Ubersuggest

Remember: Every tool has its own metrics. So you can not find the same value to all of them. So, don’t be panic. And also, don’t entirely rely on tools in case of keyword research.

Chat with Ubersuggest
Confirm by: Neil Patel, Founder of Ubersuggest

You only need to make sure, do they have search volume, CPC, CTR. KD or SD(Difficulty) is different in different tools. Don’t worry if any tool shows high difficulty or another says it has low difficulty.

You should manually check can you be able to overcome that keyword or not. We will talk about it in another lesson on the topic “how you will do a proper competitors analysis.”


  • 1. Don’t worry about the low search volume. If you will be able to design your page semantically with LSI as well as will apply a silo structure, you will rank for other 100 to 1000’s of different phrases.
  • 2. Do not go for much higher CPC. Like 20$, 50$,100$. High CPC indicates these are so competitive. 

Final words: Just look at search volume(medium), CPC(low or medium), CTR(medium or high), Difficulty(Low or medium at least in 2-3 tools)

So, by this way, you can finalize your targeted keyword you want to rank for.

If those have no search volume, it does not make any sense to go for it. Try another word or expand your city.

For example, Buffalo is a city in New York state.

As your targeted city is Buffalo. First, try for it.

              “Dog grooming Buffalo.”

If you fail to find search volume, go for

             “Dog grooming New York.”

If you could not be satisfied with the brainstorming or they have zero search volume, then you can use tools that I will show you in the next lesson.

Bonus tips: If you find a decent search volume for a small area, you will be the king for that area. So try to find search volume for a small area.

An estimated search volume you can calculate.

Here : TC = Targeted City

            SV – Search volume

SV(TC) = population(TC)/population(state) * SV(state).

SV(Buffalo) = (250000 / 900000) * 140

                    = 4 SV

Four SV is too low. It’s up to you. Would you like to go with it or not.

This is not 100% right. You can have an idea by this calculation.

Source : Ahrefs

Related Keyword

By this time, you can have your primary keyword. Let it be “Dog grooming New York” which has a decent search volume and low competition as well as good CTR.

Emphasizing the location-based targeted keyword, you must need some related phrase, also called secondary keyword.

They will describe your local business to your audience, like your service packages, discount, offer, Testimonials.

How do you find these?

There are several ways:

  • Google related search
  • Google Auto-Complete
  • Soovle search
  • Keywordtool.io
  • Craigslist
  • LSI graph and more

You will find more free and paid tools in google. Here I will show some methods.

Before collecting them open a notepad or doc file or excel sheet for listing them.

Google Auto Complete

As you have already selected your primary keywords, put it on google search, in effect, Google will show some related words.

If you do not select it yet, then put in like ‘service + location’ in the search bar. Like: dog grooming New York.

Then collect all of them in your sheet.

You can put your phrases without location to find what your audience searches frequently.

Related Keyword Google Auto Complete
Source: Google Search Bar

You can also search by preposition like this.

See the image, Google shows what people search most by that preposition. You can try as many as preposition you want to get better zero competitive keywords. You can pick some of them if they will match with your service.

Related Keyword by Preposition

You can also try for alphabets. It will provide you huge ideas.

Related Keyword by Alphabets

 Put a then b then c and so on. Is it painful?

Then you can use answerthepublic. It will provide you with a bunch of phrases for prepositions, alphabets, modifiers and WH questions. But do not take WH questions. WH question will be used for backup keywords.

AnswerthePublic keywords

Only have a look in prepositional, alphabetical and modifier for the purpose of related words.

Source : Answerthepublic

You can also use modifiers like near, best, cheap, buy, where, top, offers etc.

Related Keyword modifiers

Google Related Search

When you search in the search bar, notice you have some related as well as suggested phrases at the bottom of the page. These are the phrases that people seek. Most of them have decent search volume with very low competition.

Google Related Keywords
Source: Google Footer

Go to each of them and you will find more related phrase.

Use Craigslist

Craigslist can be a good option for finding local keywords. Go to the service option and put your service and set your targeted location.

 Craigslist keywords

Facebook Searches

Yes, you can smartly look for phrases on Facebook. As many people engage with Facebook, and many of them also search on Facebook.

Facebook keywords

So, these are all the manual ways you can find keywords, but it can take too long to collect them. But It also surprises awarding you some such of gold that no one would target.

By this time, you would have a massive list like this.

related search keyword list

Put your list into GKP or Ahrefs, SEMRush or any other tools, and you will have the search volume and KD. Thus you can select 5 to 10 perfect keywords for your geo-targeted business.

Ahrefs Keywords
Source: Ahrefs

Or you can try for free in GKP. But it doesn’t show you the exact search volume.

GKP keywords
Source: GKP

 If you are not willing to do manual searches, then some free also paid tools are for you.

Here I am showing you two methods using the Ahrefs tool.

  1. Using keyword explorer
  2. Using Content Gap (Best Method)

Ahrefs Explorer

Go to Ahrefs keywords explorer at the top and paste your main phrase.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Then they will show you all the ideas related to your main phrase on the left side.

Ahrefs Keywords

Go to every section and pick the best based on KD, search volume, CPC and CTR. You will find huge by this way easily.

Ahrefs ranking keyword

Ahrefs Content Gap

Now I will show you one of the best ways how I do keyword research for finding hidden competitors ranking keywords.

Put your domain and click content gap showing in the left bottom corner.

ahrefs content gap

Then put your up to 10 competitors URL. This will show you the keywords your competitors rank for but you don’t.

Ahrefs Content Gap Example

BOOM! It will show all of them your competitors already rank for and which KD is so low(even Zero KD) but have a decent search volume.

Ahrefs Content Gap Example2

Using this method you can save a ton of time for finding goldmines.

But again if you are not ready for Ahrefs, go to GKP or Ubersuggest for free. They will show a lot you can use.

Ubersuggest Example

Back up Keyword

Among the three types of words, Backup keywords are the top most important weapons for pushing up your target page.

They are used in supporting pages to improve the target page’s rankings by passing juice from supporting pages by the internal linking process.

That’s why you call them supporting keywords also.

It includes any types of questions like How, Why, When, What. Here you need to help your audience by answering a couple of questions.

Keep in mind. Your aim should help your targeted audience rather than do business directly with them.
In effect, they start to trust you and you know, trust is the best weapon for business.
You can follow 80/20 rules here. 80% help, 20% business.
That means you should invest more time to create and promote supporting pages.


Again jump into the same example.


You have a dog grooming service page. And you want Google to rank your page in the first page. So you must need to give priority for that service page.

But how would you do that?

Some of the ways you can follow. The most common way is to create quality editorial backlinks as well as social shares for this page. 


Think a little bit about who wants to share your sales page? Also, who wants to provide backlinks for your sales page?

People don’t care about your business.

They only care and share informational content or emotional content or entertaining content, in short, any contents that impact on them.

That’s why you need backup contents for pushing up your targeted content.

 As you must have a good website architecture, your backup contents would pass juice or priority to your target page. 

And by doing this, you will convey google(any search engine) the importance of your sales page, and Google will rank your page higher.

So the question is, what consists of backup pages?

Your backup page may have

  • informational/people ask content
  • Podcast
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • How to guide
  • Video
  • Interview

And for this, you need question-related phrases that will answer your audience and will build trust in them.

How do you find them?

Simple, just you need to collect question types of keywords.
I showed you already Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, where you can find question phrase quickly.

The best way is to find by people ask question in google. These is the exact questions that people want to know.
And you can answer them (as much as) in your supporting pages.

People Ask Question

You can have a bunch of questions in Quora.

Quora Keywords

Also, Answerthepublic is an ocean for the question phrases.

Notice, you should use your keywords without locations for backup (question-related) keywords.

  • Ex. Dog grooming (Use it More)
  • Dog grooming New York (Use it less)

Answerthepublic questions keywords
Source: Answerthepublic

You can find questions using keywordtool.io

Keywordtools Keywords
Source: keywordtool.io

Thus you have a bunch of golds. Now put them all in Ahrefs, SEMRush or GKP to find out their search volume and competition.

Fortunately, they have very low search volume. Here CPC doesn’t make any sense. You can go with zero CPC.

Meet the Search Intent

Now you should have a list of 3 types of finalizing keywords. Well, it’s time to meet the search intent.

As simple as that, give what Google(any search engine) wants.

Again I repeat, fulfil Google’s demands.

Well, how?

Assume you want to guide your audience about Internal Linking.

So, you’ve finalized two words as your primary keywords.

  1. Inner Link(KD 5)
  2. Inner Links(KD 50)
Keywords KD

You might have a decision to go with the first one. But If so, you will get slapped by Google undoubtedly.

See Why?

Look at the image very carefully. Google does not rank any of the sites in the top 10 about internal linking. That simply means google won’t rank you for this keyword.
All of your hard work will result in vain. In short, you should not go with that.

Search Intent Example

On the other hand, have a look at the second one you have. You can go with this.

Search Intent Example2

Hope it made sense to you. So, before taking any decision make sure to meet the intent.

Check what Google shows putting your selected phrases. Mostly keywords have 4 types of intent.

  1. Commercial intent
  2. Informational intent
  3. Transactional intent
  4. Navigational intent

Have a look at the image for understanding these 4 types of intent.

Search Intent Keywords Example

So, make sure to look deep on what intent Google show. If Google shows an informational blog for the particular phrase, then write an informational blog post using that phrase. If commercial, then go for commercial.

Final words

If Google’s intent matches with you, then you should proceed. Otherwise no need to proceed.

Now it’s your turn

First of all, thanks for going through the full article. Here, I tried to show you a step by step Local SEO keyword research strategy. Hope you enjoyed it. Now start your keyword research journey by considering primary, related and backup keywords.

If you’ve found any value, share it and comment here for letting me know if you have any problems or not. You can contact me for free consultancy. It would be my honor to help you.

Regards Niks

You can also try:  Local SEO Keyword Research

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