Business Advice
Posted By Joe Tellor

How To Do Keyword Research For Local Business

How To Do Keyword Research For Local Business

We invited Seb Dean from Imaginaire to give us some advice on How To Do Keyword Research For Local Business. This guide will help you understand how Seb does keyword research for his own SEO clients to find untapped opportunities for new website traffic.

Keyword Research can make our job a million times easier when it comes to getting results for local businesses from their SEO campaigns. It allows us to effectively plan out the structure of a website when we take on a new client so that they get the maximum return on their investment. If a client is getting a good return on what they pay you then guess what? They recommend you to their contacts.

This article is supposed to be a kind of keyword research for beginners article, it’s worth noting that you can go into a lot more depth when it comes to your research, but I just wanted to give you a keyword research for dummies type guide to help people get started. Hopefully you’ll be able to adapt my approach, whether you’re doing keyword research for websites or blog posts, working in this way can be beneficial for both.



This is by far and away the thing that companies do wrong when they offer SEO in Nottingham, they simply don’t understand what the ideal customers of their clients are searching for. Unfortunately, this is also the thing that is missed when sales reps are selling websites and planning out page structures with clients. I see keyword research as a vital pre-sales activity.

Good keyword research can mean that you speed up the time it takes for your clients to notice the difference since they started paying you. You can find less competitive keywords that get decent amounts of searches and optimise for them as well as the major, competitive keywords. The less competitive keywords tend to be long-tail keywords, meaning the query the customer uses is longer than something such as “concrete london”.

Keyword Research For Beginners

I tend to start from scratch. I look at the industry that a new client is in and then work out their core service offering. We’ll use a generic concrete company in London as an example because I know, from experience, it’s an industry with a lot of sub-industries. Welcome ‘WeDon’tExist Concrete’ in London (or WDE Concrete).

WDE Concrete offer the following services:

  • Concrete – Ready Mix and Volumetric
  • Concrete Pump Hire
  • On Site Mixed Concrete

By looking at the services they offer, we can form the top tier of our keyword plan. These will be:

  • Concrete London
  • Ready Mix Concrete London
  • Volumetric Concrete London
  • Concrete Pump Hire London
  • On Site Mixed Concrete London

These are the keywords that are most important to us and, more importantly, to our client. All of these keywords are likely to be very competitive however and this creates the need to look for alternatives that we can work into the website to get new traffic for them shorter term.

Personally, I use a combination of Microsoft Excel, and Google’s own Keyword Planner to build a strong list of keywords that I’d like to target. Pretty obvious reasons for using Excel, it keeps us organised. gives us a lot of alternatives to each search phrase we enter which helps us flesh out a second tier of longer tail keywords to target. Google’s Keyword Planner tells us what’s actually useful.

So here’s my process:

1. Create a new spreadsheet

Create a new spreadsheet for your client. I like to be organised so I have the client name and date at the top and then I have a section for my tier 1 keywords and a section below that for tier 2. I also have a column for keyword group — this means I can link the tier 2 keyword to the main, tier 1 keyword. I’ve also got a column for search volume which will help us narrow down our keywords later.

Here’s a screenshot of my spreadsheet:


2. Get Search Volume For Tier 1 Keywords

Nice and easy, simply go to and log in to your account. Then click the “Get search volume for a list of keywords” button and copy and past the tier one keywords. For this purpose it’s probably easier to just type the keywords, but for tier 2 you’ll want to hit the download button and download the csv file (copying and pasting saves time).

An important note: don’t take what Keyword Planner says as gospel when it comes to search volume. I use it as an indicator but I’ve had a lot of clients where keyword planner says there are no searches for a given phrase, but the optimised landing page still gets a lot of traffic.

3. Get Alternatives

Building our second tier of keywords is really what this article is about. I want to show you that you can develop a good source of traffic by hitting the longer tail when it comes to SEO. This goes for all industries. When a customer wants to find something online, they rarely type in the exact-match phrase that you’d think (i.e. ‘concrete london’); more often than not, they’ll search for something very specific such as ‘how to calculate how much concrete I need’. This is where content marketing can be very useful, but that’s for another day.

Back to the point, what we’re going to do here is run each keyword through and get alternatives for it. We’ll then use the handy ‘copy all’ button and paste these alternatives into Google’s keyword planner. Finally, we’ll download a CSV file, tidy it up a bit and then work out which keywords are worthwhile.

So, the run-through:

Head over to and type the first tier 1 keyword into the search box: Screenshot


This will then give you a big list of alternatives to that keyword.

Pro Tip: If you’re struggling to find a lot of alternatives when you’re typing in something such as ‘concrete london’, take the location off the search. The likelihood is that the alternatives that appear for the generic, non-geographic search will be emulated in your area.

Keyword Alternatives

You’ll notice that there’s a lot of phrases that aren’t really what we’re looking for (such as concrete london ontario etc.) I recommend cleaning these up by pasting the alternatives into your spreadsheet under your tier 2 section and then simply deleting any irrelevant keywords.

Copy all of your updated and cleaned up keywords.

Go to and click Get Search Volume

Paste all of the keywords you’ve just copied into the text box and click ‘get search volume’, the magicians at Google will then put together a list of your keywords, ordered by the search volume that they receive:

Keyword Planner

Hit the ‘download’ button and save the .csv file

Open the file up and you’ll see something similar to this:

Keyword Research Ideas

I tend to do a bit of a clean up here and for SEO purposes I just leave the keyword and the average monthly searches. If you were doing keyword research for an adwords campaign you’d obviously leave the competition and suggested bid columns in tact.

Copy the column containing the keywords under your tier 2 section of the keyword research spreadsheet and then copy the search volume stats under the relevant column. Put the tier 1 keyword that the new keywords are alternatives for as the keyword group.

Rinse, Repeat

Do this for each tier 1 keyword and you’ll have a nice, meaty list of keywords that you can target. It’s then a case of going through and getting rid of any that don’t apply to your client or that you genuinely don’t think will get searches (as I said, take the keyword planner stats with a pinch of salt). Then work out which pages you’re going to fit the keywords into or whether you’re going to add some new pages and then get working on the SEO!

I can’t recommend highly enough the value you’ll get out of spending time on keyword research for local SEO purposes. Having a good list of keywords lets you essentially bolt on traffic consistently for your clients and this directly translates to their revenues.

Make sure that before you launch a new website, you take care of the redirects so that you don’t lose any of the authority of the website. Check out my blog post about how to create your own 301 redirect generator.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to get back to you! Good luck!


Joe founded to help people with starting their own business and achieving success. He'll be delighted to bring articles from around the web on marketing, business advice and, of course, crm news to help you stay in touch with customers.

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