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Thread: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

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    LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    In my Local SEO training course I teach how it's imperative to optimize the home page (or the specific location landing page) for the the very best key phrase variation(s). But LOCAL keyword research can be tricky. In some parts of the country certain keyword variations or synonyms get more searches than others.

    But as you know, the Google Adwords tool does not typically do local keyword research very well and often comes up with a big goose egg when you search for City + Keyword. Or if you use the Google KW tool check if City + Keyword or Keyword + City gets more searches it will show the same numbers, with no distinction. So it can be difficult to figure out which variations have the most search volume.

    Google Insights for Search WAS of the coolest tools to drill down and do some serious LOCAL keyword research. I was working on screen shots a couple weeks ago. Then last week Google merged it into the new improved Google Trends and a lot of features are different so I had to start over. I don't like the new combo tool quite as well for local, but it still shows way more local info than the Adwords keywords tool does.

    As an added bonus, at the bottom I'll share a couple other oldie but goodie keyword tools that let you get more local keyword insights than the main Google keyword tool gives you.

    OK, screenshot city, here we come...


    What get's more searches?
    Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney OR Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer?


    Google Adwords Keyword Tool



    (No distinction between keyword counts)





    Google Trends



    (That's a little better!)

    Now we can see Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney gets about twice as many searches as Lawyer does.

    NOTE: Numbers in Google Trends are not KW counts, they are relative. "The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don't represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100.





    Additionally, as I've said a few times in the past, most consumers search without a geo modifier!
    A great majority or LOCAL searches are for key phrase only without city. However if you just check keyword volume in Adwords you may be missing important geo-modified search distinctions a generic keyword search won't show you. You can't select location and search for just KW as you can with Trends.


    What gets more searches in LA with NO GEO Modifier?
    personal injury attorney OR personal injury lawyer


    Google Trends



    (Attorney by a good margin)





    What gets more searches in NEW YORK with NO GEO Modifier?
    personal injury attorney OR personal injury lawyer


    Google Trends



    (Ha! East Coasters like PI Lawyer better than PI Attorney. Good to know!)





    What gets more searches?
    Los Angeles Dentist OR Dentist Los Angeles


    Google Adwords Keyword Tool



    (Working blind again!)





    Google Trends



    (Trends shows same volume but give ideas of volume for plurals and other variations)



    HERE ARE A COUPLE OTHER FREE TOOLS THAT SHOW LOCAL KW VOLUME




    Los Angeles Dentist - SEM RUSH (Free)






    Los Angeles Dentist - WordTracker (Free)



    Anyone have another other good LOCAL keyword research tools to share?
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    SIDE NOTE: I'm seriously considering breaking out a separate forum section for Local SEO tools which would include posts like this one, other how to posts, updates and news about tools like Whitespark, Bright Local, Places Scout and other products and FREE TOOLS you should have in your local toolbox.

    Now that the forum is starting to grow (we're only 2 months old) and there are so many posts to dig through to find things, I just think it's time to break into a couple more sub cats.

    In the meantime I have a bunch of great Local SEO tools, many of them free - listed @ my blog.
    Places Software & Local SEO Tools
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    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Linda,

    Great article. As you have mentioned to me in the past that there are differences. Some are quite surprising in your results.

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    Linda Buquet (10-04-2012)

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Great post Linda, thanks for sharing!

    Thanks again,
    Matt

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    Linda Buquet (10-04-2012)

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Linda, I don't understand how WordTracker or SEMRush can pull local data like that if you can't see it yourself in Adwords KW tool? I thought they only had API access to the same data that Google reveals in its own tools.

    Awesome post, btw!

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    What a fantastic post, Linda!!! And I like the idea of breaking out a Tools section.

    I confess, I am still a little bit puzzled about tools like SEMRush, Wordtracker, etc., and the volumes they provide. It has always been my understanding that no keyword tool provides accurate local search volumes because, in order to do so, they would need to have data centers in each city/region. What do you know about this? Has this changed? This is my understanding of why the Google Adwords Keyword Tool can't be counted on either. I would value further discussion on this.
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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by tjmccue View Post
    Linda, I don't understand how WordTracker or SEMRush can pull local data like that if you can't see it yourself in Adwords KW tool? I thought they only had API access to the same data that Google reveals in its own tools.

    Awesome post, btw!
    Thanks!

    Ya I'm not sure. Back in the day, like 5 - 10 years ago when I was doing lots of regular organic SEO I used to keep track of which KW tool did what and where they pulled their data from. But have not looked into it for years.

    And to be honest I have not looked at WordTracker or SEMRush for local before. Just was doing research for other tools to beef up this post and checked them and saw they were reporting local counts. But have not researched beyond what you see in the screenshots.

    If anyone knows or finds out, please post.
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by MiriamEllis View Post
    What a fantastic post, Linda!!! And I like the idea of breaking out a Tools section.

    I confess, I am still a little bit puzzled about tools like SEMRush, Wordtracker, etc., and the volumes they provide. It has always been my understanding that no keyword tool provides accurate local search volumes because, in order to do so, they would need to have data centers in each city/region. What do you know about this? Has this changed? This is my understanding of why the Google Adwords Keyword Tool can't be counted on either. I would value further discussion on this.
    Well the way I look at KW research is the same as I look at comparing different analytics tools. They all count stuff differently and typically none of the numbers are exactly right.

    So I look at them more for relative comparative analysis. In general if 3 tools tell me "this key phrase" pulls better than "that key phrase" I'll believe the 1st phrase gets MORE searches, but I'm not betting on anyone's numbers being accurate per se.

    "It has always been my understanding that no keyword tool provides accurate local search volumes because, in order to do so, they would need to have data centers in each city/region. What do you know about this? Has this changed?"

    Well Trends seems to do a decent job in major metros with GEO targeting search volume, but again who knows how they get that data.
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Hey Linda,

    Great post! I really like your method of triangulating. I tend to lean too much on Google Keyword Tool, so weaving some Trends into it would be a good idea.

    Thanks for the intel!

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    Re: LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

    Thanks Phil,

    Just realized I should have mentioned at the start how I NORMALLY do keyword research. I just use the Adwords tool and don't worry about city to just find the most popular core keyword combos, realizing that based on the size of city it will naturally get a certain percentage of those searches.

    So all these tools are just icing on the cake for when you are in a situation where you want to get more granular data. I would not waste time using all these for every client, just in certain situations were I need to dig a little deeper.
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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