Local SEO Keywords: Definition & 5 Step Process

A vast majority of people use the search engine for local searches to find the product or service they require. Those businesses with a well-structured local SEO would appear higher up the rankings and thereby drive more traffic to their websites leading to potential revenue. This is one of the main reasons local SEO keywords […]


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A vast majority of people use the search engine for local searches to find the product or service they require. Those businesses with a well-structured local SEO would appear higher up the rankings and thereby drive more traffic to their websites leading to potential revenue. This is one of the main reasons local SEO keywords are vital for ranking in the search results. To put this simply, Local SEO keywords basically cater for the needs of each unique local business or service, thereby providing the users exactly what they are looking for.

Before we dive into the topic of finding and using local SEO keywords let’s have a quick refresher of what actually Local SEO is.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is basically a subset of traditional Search Engine Optimization. This means that it takes all the components and blueprints of traditional SEO and incorporates that to searchers of your product or service in a certain locality.

Let’s put it this way, suppose you are the owner of a small restaurant in Los Angeles and someone does a search for “restaurants in Los Angeles”. Ideally speaking, you as a business owner, would like your restaurant to appear in the top five search results because the search done by the person is related to your local domain. What local SEO does is, it utilizes local SEO keywords and ranks your business in top searches creating a win-win situation for your business as well as the person searching for his required product or service.

Now that you have had a refresher of what local SEO actually is, let’s have a look into the local SEO keywords and the intricacies involved in finding and using these local keywords.

To understand the concepts in an organized manner, we have divided the topics into the following points:

  1. What are Local SEO keywords?
  2. Finding the correct local keywords
  3. Choosing best keywords for local searches

We look into the details of each point below for better understanding the topic.

What are Local SEO Keywords?

These are the keywords containing phrases that are specific to a certain location in which your business operates. They generate search results that pertain to the identical geographical location as that of your product or service. Therefore, the search results owing to these keywords drive traffic in your area to your business.

One particular thing to be noted is that a business with multiple locations spread throughout nearby distinct areas would have their own keywords and these may or may not overlap with keywords pertaining to other locations. Therefore, it would be better to research for keywords of individual locations separately even if they are not very far apart. The point is simple, better local SEO keywords give way to increased traffic to your business.

Having established this point, let’s have an insight into techniques for finding the correct local keywords for your business.

5 Step Process of Finding the Correct Local Keywords

To find the correct local keywords, research is the vital ingredient. The process of pinpointing popular and in-demand key terms relevant to your business that will assist your business in appearing in the top search results is known as keyword research.

Now the question arises as to; How to take up this research? What techniques shall be deployed for this research? What constitutes correct local keywords? Which avenues may be explored? What tools to use? These all concerns are explored under the sub-headings listed below.

1. Understand the Campaign Goals

The first and foremost aspect of local SEO keywords research pertains to the want of the client. You need to ask your client what exactly they want us to focus on as far as their business is concerned. Let’s say your client owns a property in San Francisco and they want you to focus on multiple aspects like the size, plot number, and price category of the property for search results. This shall give you a basic idea of what your client wants the keywords to be like.

Notice that we used the word ‘want’ (want of the client) instead of ‘need’ while referring to the first and foremost aspect of local SEO keywords research. The reason is simple, you do need to take input from the client as far as the initial list of keywords is concerned but what the client ‘wants’ may not be the ‘need’ of the time. Therefore, if the client wants us to focus on the size, location, and price category of the property for search results in the example mentioned above, the better way shall be to go by the categorization of the property in question by its  type i.e. whether the property is residential, commercial, or a mix of both. This way when a person searches for property in the San Francisco area it shall narrow down the search results based on the categorization of property by its type. The size, plot number, and price category as suggested by the client in the example above shall be secondary to type of the property.

2. Use Keywords Research Tools

Having understood the initial keywords wants of the client and narrowing down your own set of keywords, you can use third party tools for looking up a wide variety of keywords. These tools are basically designed to generate keywords based on the insights of the words that people use to search for a certain product or service. They extract relevant keywords from a wide database based on historic searches done by their audience for a similar product or service and give suggestions for the keywords for the best possible results. There are tools like ahrefs, Semrush, and Google’s Keyword Planner. You can narrow down your preferred keywords for your client based on the keyword suggestions generated by these tools.

Now that you have researched and found the correct keywords for your local business, it is pertinent to sort the best possible keywords and use them to your advantage. The delicacies involved in choosing the best of the best keywords is discussed below.

Choosing Best Keywords for Local Searches

There are three basic points that cover the best keyword choice for your local level searches:

3. Make the Keywords Explicit

The keywords that use location are called explicit keywords, the very opposite of implicit keywords that have no location based keywords. Specifying location is of the utmost importance as it signifies the area that you wish to target. Therefore, when a person searches for “Property in San Francisco” as an example stated earlier, the search results would narrow it down to the location mentioned in the search.

One bonus point is that you can go even further deep into the locations within San Francisco based on keywords related to areas within the city. For instance, if your property is based in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco, you can narrow down the keywords even further to this location within the city for optimal results.

4. Choose Keywords Relevant to Your Industry:

It has been observed that in some cases the keywords are not related to the industry in which your business operates. This may be done to increase the traffic to your business due to the high search volume of those keywords even if they are not industry relevant.

The off-industry strategy is bound to lose you valuable clients in the long term as it drives those leads to your website which are not qualified. This in turn would lead to an increased bounce rate signalling Google that the search queries are inaccurate and in turn Google will rank your page lower. In other words, only using industry specific keywords would lead proper searchers of your business or service to your website instead of the off-topic searches that are nowhere relevant to the industry that you operate in. It’s important that you or your local SEO company choose keywords relevant to your industry.

5. Use Modifiers for Keywords:

Keywords modifiers are those terms that give more description to your search. You can use the following types of modifiers for best quality keywords:

  • Occasion modifiers use an event or any point in time with the keywords e.g. Summer sales in New York.
  • Quality modifiers include an adjective emphasizing the quality e.g. Lowest property prices in Washington D.C.
  • Type modifiers categorize the business into something that is on offer e.g. Residential property in San Francisco.

Such keywords are vital for those people searching for more specific products or services and can no doubt increase traffic to your website.


If you are not using the local SEO keywords, you are definitely missing out on a huge chunk of traffic to your business and therefore foregoing a substantial revenue in the process. Local SEO keywords are vital for the growth of any business operating in a local environment and that too in multiple locations.

In short, conduct a thorough research, narrow down your keywords based on the factors listed above, and deploy the best keywords for the best possible results for your local business!

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Roger Avila

Roger Avila

Roger is an SEO Manager at JetRank based out of sunny San Diego, CA.
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