Local Keyword Research: How to Use Google

In today’s recovering economy, owning your own business can be chock full of challenges. One of those challenges is continuing to improve your online presence with limited resources. A key component in order to maintain a high level profile online is identifying the most relevant, yet fruitful, keyword terms. The tools available for identifying these keywords are extensive, but often the best places to start is at the search engines themselves.

Google Autocomplete

When conducting any keyword research, whether local or global, Google Autocomplete can often be a good resource. Simply put, it gives the user a list of similar options based on the keyword typed in using an algorithm that aims to match user intent and indexed pages.  For example, if you type in “Seattle shoe” into Google, you will get results for Seattle shoe stores, Seattle shoe repair, Seattle shoe shop, Seattle shoe outlet, etc. These options will help you to identify new opportunities that are most related to your primary keywords and ultimately help you attract new customers.

Google's Shifting Search Queries

Google is always rolling out updates and this will change the way searches are performed.  It has recently been identified that Google is changing search terms as searchers click on a link to Google Maps from a search results page on Google.com. Once you have reached the Google Maps, clicking to view the top results changes the search query yet again. Let’s use our  “shoe stores in Seattle” example again. When you use that as your starting keyword, it brings up the results as well as a map where the stores are located. When you click on Maps, Google changes the search query to “shoe stores near Seattle, WA”. Once you click the link to review your top results, the search changes to “shoe stores” on a revised version of Google Places. Knowing which queries Google is pushing users towards is another helpful tool in your keyword research in order to build your online presence.

Search Patterns by Location of User

You can also look at specific locations and their effects on what searchers see. If you change your location, it will yield different search results in Google's Autocomplete. Also,  if you use the term sneakers instead of shoes, even more suggestions are listed in terms of keywords.

Google Autocomplete

If you use Google for local keyword research, queries can differ based on Autocomplete, geographic location, regional usage, and even what part of Google you are using; so go ahead and take advantage of them all. Google is always revising the local part of their index, leading to more opportunities for discovering new keyword terms.