In this series, we are going to go over how local businesses can do keyword research for free.
Keyword research should be one of the first things you do when starting an SEO campaign.
If done correctly, it will help to inform the rest of your content strategy, optimize your current site, and optimize your various social profiles.
This guide is specifically directed at small businesses with a local focus and we’re going to do it using free tools. There are a number of paid tools that you can use to go deeper, but for most local businesses, this will be a good jumping-off point.
What is a keyword?
We say “keyword,” but a more appropriate term would be “keyword phrase” as in most scenarios, we are targeting a longer phrase, than just a single word.
As an example, “plumber” would be a keyword, while “plumber near me” would be a keyword phrase, but for the purpose of simplicity, when we say “keyword” we are including any keyword phrase in that.
Short-Tail vs Long-Tail Keywords
Another phrase you may come across is a “Long Tail Keyword.” A long-tail keyword is essentially any keyword that consists of 3 or more words. Where a short-tail keyword would be a keyword that is 1 or 2 words. Some people would argue that short-tail keywords can include up to 3 words, it doesn’t really matter, just know that short-tail are harder to rank for, but they usually will have more searches per month.
Plumber = short-tail keyword
Best plumber in Orange County = long-tail keyword
Often times, we will want to focus on long-tail keywords. We do this for a couple of reasons:
1 – Long-tail keywords often are less competitive, making them easier to rank for.
2 – Long-tail keywords allow us to be more specific in targeting our ideal customer or a specific need.
Keyword Research – Step 1
Over the next few tasks, we will be creating our list of keywords.
To start we will create a list of all of our services and the locations we serve.
I’m going to use a solar power company based in Orange County, CA as an example.
Head over to this spreadsheet and make a copy of it.
Then fill in the services you offer and the locations that you serve in the left-hand columns.
As you are doing that, your keyword list will begin to populate in columns D, E, and F.
*Note that you need at least one service and at least one location for the formula to work.
And that’s it for today!
If you didn’t do anything else for your keyword research, you would already have a great start for your local services.
Additional Keyword Research Tools
If you want to dive further into keyword research, here are some of the best free resources available to learn more:
In the coming lessons were going to look at a few different free tools you can use to gather more ideas for keywords, create a list of blog topics, and layout a content plan.
As always, feel free to post questions over on the Facebook group.
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