How To Target Local Keywords in Content To Boost Your Rankings

December 19th, 2023, 10:00 AM

Ecommerce businesses aren't the only ones that need to worry about incorporating keywords into their content — local businesses can also attract more customers by targeting local keywords in content.

In fact, many general content marketing strategies can also be applied to creating locally-targeted content for local SEO

The main difference between content marketing for organic SEO and local SEO is that the keywords you use for the latter are going to be more specific to your region or even to a very small area you do business in, such as a commercial district or city block.

This can make it a little trickier to work keywords into your content naturally, but with the right preparation and some practice, you can use locally relevant search terms to boost your rankings in local search results.

What Are Local Keywords?

Local keywords are specific words or phrases that are relevant to a particular geographic location. 

Businesses and marketers may use local keywords to optimize various types of online content, such as website pages, blog posts, or online business listings, so they are more likely to appear in search engine results when people in a specific location search for related products, services, or information.

Local keywords can include city names, neighborhood names, abbreviations, or any other terms that help narrow down the search to a specific geographical area. 

For example, if a pizza restaurant in New York City wants to attract local customers, they might target local keywords like "best pizza in NYC," "NYC pizza delivery," or "top pizzeria in Manhattan" to optimize their online presence for local searches.

Optimizing for local keywords is especially important for businesses that rely on attracting customers from a specific location, such as local brick-and-mortar and service area businesses.

Why Are Local Keywords Important?

Local keywords play a vital role in helping businesses reach their target audience by improving their online visibility in specific geographic areas and helping them stand out in competitive local markets.

Considering the fact that approximately 50% of users who conduct local searches from their smartphones and 34% of users who search via other devices visit businesses they find online within a day, it's crucial for local businesses to appear in search results to remain competitive.

Targeting local keywords in content is one of the best ways to help your business show up more consistently when these users are searching for local goods and services online.

There's a lot more that goes into a comprehensive local SEO strategy, including mastering Google Business Profile and maintaining NAP consistency, but incorporating local keywords into content can go a long way towards boosting your rankings in local searches.

Key Benefits of Targeting Local Keywords:

  • More targeted audience reach — allows you to connect with an audience interested specifically in local products and services!
  • Improved content relevance to local search queries
  • Helps you stand out from competition in local markets by optimizing for specific geographic terms
  • Contributes to overall local search engine optimization for better search rankings
  • Increases visibility on online maps and directories
  • Attracts more mobile users seeking nearby and "right-now" solutions
  • Conveys local involvement and understanding, building stronger community ties
  • Often leads to more valuable leads and higher conversion rates

How To Get Started with Local Keyword Targeting

To effectively target local keywords and boost your online presence in specific geographic areas, prepare by following these steps:

  1. Understand Your Local Audience
  2. Conduct Local Keyword Research
  3. Carry Out Competitor Analysis
  4. Look At Google Business Profile Insights
  5. Explore Location-Specific Long-Tail Keywords

1. Understand Your Local Audience

Identify your target local audience by considering the unique needs and preferences of the community and individuals you serve. Try to define your ideal customer(s), being as specific as possible, as this will help you choose relevant keywords and craft content that resonates with them.

There are a number of ways you can conduct market research to understand your local audience, including surveying past or current customers, reading local forums or community boards, and even hiring a third-party market research firm to put together some buyer personas.

2. Conduct Local Keyword Research

Use keyword research tools or a local rank tracker to discover locally relevant search terms with the right amount of search volume. Look for keywords that include city names, neighborhood identifiers, and other regional specifics.

Any local SEO strategy should involve optimizing for a mix of some broader search terms, such as general product and service keywords, as well as geo-targeted phrases, which will be some of these same terms, but with different names for the geographic area you serve attached to them.

For example, a dentist in downtown Chicago offering teeth whitening services would want to use a mix of keywords like "teeth whitening," "teeth whitening Chicago," and "teeth whitening downtown Chicago."

3. Carry Out Competitor Analysis

Analyze competitors in your local market to identify keywords that they are targeting successfully. This can provide valuable insights into effective local terms, as well as help you identify vulnerable competitors to try and outrank for certain terms.

For this, we recommend using a local rank tracker, such as Local Falcon, to get highly visual, AI-powered competitor analysis and optimization recommendations. 

While Local Falcon is specifically built to analyze Google Business Profile and Apple Business Connect rankings and provide listing optimization recommendations, the competitor analysis it provides can also help you identify local keywords to target in your other content.

4. Look At Google Business Profile Insights

Leverage Google Business Profile Insights to understand how people are finding your business online on the world's most-used search engine. Identify popular search queries and incorporate them into your content.

For this, you can go to the "How customers find your profile" section of Insights and check the "Discovery searches" section, which shows different searches for a category, product, or service that caused your profile to appear.

5. Explore Location-Specific Long-Tail Keywords

Look beyond generic, short-tail terms and explore long-tail keywords specific to your location. These may have lower competition and attract more highly targeted local traffic.

Long-tail keywords typically consist of more than three words and have lower search volume, but users who use them may have stronger purchase intent and be easier to convert than those searching for short-tail terms.

How To Optimize Website Content Using Local Keywords

After you've identified different locally-relevant keywords you want to target using the methods outlined above, the next step is to integrate local keywords naturally into your website content, including in meta tags, headers, and throughout the body text.

Look for opportunities to incorporate geo-targeted keywords in creative ways on different pages, including the home page, service pages, contact page, and about us page.

If you don't already have a blog, now's the time to start one! A blog is an excellent place to create locally-relevant content that not only includes local keywords, but also provides customers with news, updates, and other useful information.

You may also want to consider developing dedicated landing pages for different locations you serve, optimizing each with relevant local keywords.

Once you've done all this, don't forget to monitor your website's performance in local search results, regularly assessing the effectiveness of your chosen keywords and adjusting your content strategy as needed.

By implementing these steps, you can strategically target local keywords, enhance your visibility in local search results, and effectively connect with your local audience.

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