How To Do Local Keyword Research For Metro Detroit

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We are all familiar with the huge role keyword research plays in a website’s SEO. It’s easy to know what people are searching for by identifying the local search volume of keyword phrases. We already know what keywords will drive traffic to the website. But the challenge is driving the right traffic to the website.

As a company based in Metro Detroit, you want your website to appear in your local market. Unless you run an eCommerce website, someone who views your site across the country is of little to no benefit to you. Even though someone may come across your website based out of California, what good is that to you? You’re most likely never going to do business with them.

That’s where the importance of local keywords come in to play for your local SEO.

Local Keyword Research Tools

There are many popular keyword research tools out there that contain geo-modifiers. They can be used to help identify the most searched for keywords in your local area.

  • SEMrush
  • Wordtracker
  • SEO Book Keyword Tool
  • Keyword Eye
  • Ubersuggest

However, no one can really determine how accurate the data is, or how successful these keywords can be for your specific location using these tools. Each tool has different parameters, sources and data pool sizes. If you do wish to rely on a keyword research tool, you can judge their accuracy by setting up a Google AdWords campaign and comparing the data with the tools feedback. Of course, there isn’t always time to do this, let alone pay money for an AdWords campaign or the tool in general. So, this guide is here to teach you how to do local keyword research for Metro Detroit.

Local Keyword Research With Google

Google Trends is where you should start. Google Trends shows you the interest levels in a keyword people have over a certain period of time. Better yet, you can pinpoint the geographical location. Google Trends shows you what people are searching for in a particular area. For example, if you are a sporting goods store based out of Troy, MI, you can set the geographical location to see how people are searching in regards to your industry. It helps you identify the regional interest for the Metro Detroit area.

So, if you have a keyword in mind you can see local search volume for that keyword in the Metro Detroit area. Google Trends is also a good tool for identifying seasonal trends. You can see when during the year the keyword phrase you are considering using is performing best.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner is another Google tool that can help with your local keyword research. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a combination of a keyword tool and a search traffic estimator.

Google logo and magnifying glass
The easiest way to do local keyword research using this tool is to create your own AdWords account and choose the option to “Search for a new keyword and ad group ideas.” You enter main keywords that pertain to your industry. Then you have the ability to pinpoint where you want ideas to come from. Google AdWords Keyword Planner allows you to pinpoint the geographical location of your choosing. Easily select or deselect areas with a click of a button.

This tool will generate ideas for keyword phrases based off of the search results from your local market. It is easily customizable and can help you pinpoint exact locations.

How To Do Local Keyword Research For Local Business Through Analyzing Competitors

In a metropolitan area as big as Detroit, you most likely have a few competitors in your surrounding area. Use this to your advantage. Go online and search with a keyword that is related to your business. Google pulls your location and will give you the top results for the Metro Detroit area.

These are the competitors that you will be competing with. By analyzing their website, you can identify elements that can give you ideas for your own local SEO keywords. Menus, title tags, metas, H1s and H2s are examined by Google’s ranking algorithms. See what you competitors are doing and use that as inspiration for your own local keyword research.

Blogs are often used as another strategy for pulling the right traffic into your website. Competitors who have optimized blogs with proper titles and headings are another good tool for inspiration in identifying the best local keywords to use for you own site.

Using Google Search Suggestions As A Local Research Tool

example of google search results
When you start typing a new Google Search you will notice that about 10 suggested search phrases appear underneath where you are typing. This is Google’s Suggest and what you are seeing is referred to as long-tail keyword phrases. Now, Google pulls these as the most related and searched keywords for the phrase you are typing in. Since your location is set to Metro Detroit, it is most likely Google pulls these suggestions based on their search volume.

Although it is not always 100% accurate these long-tail phrases are most likely searched by people in the surrounding area, you can use this as a way of researching other terms and keyword phrases people are using in the Metro Detroit area.

Executive Summary

As business owners in today’s day and age our success relies solely on being page one for search engines. However, even though we may be bringing in heavy traffic we need to focus on our local market. We need to be at the top of search results for customers in our surrounding area. They are the ones we end up doing business with most. Optimizing your website for local keyword phrases is critical to appearing in the first search results pages. By using the tools Google provides for us along with analyzing our local competitors, we can get inspiration for knowing what local keywords will work best for your company in the Metro Detroit area.

The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital.  Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.  

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