local seo keyword research: step-by-step

follow our easy to step-by-step guide to local seo keyword research.

Male wearing a white shirt typing on a keyboard with a holographic search bar

Local keyword research is crucial in optimising your website for local search. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct effective local keyword research:

We’ll consider a local bakery in London called “London Sweets & Treats.” The goal is to conduct local keyword research to optimise the bakery’s website for London-based customers.

  1. Understand Your Business and Audience
  2. Brainstorm Seed Keywords
  3. Use Google Autocomplete
  4. Explore Related Searches
  5. Utilise Google Keyword Planner
  6. Spy on Competitors
  7. Localise Your Keywords
  8. Explore Online Forums and Communities
  9. Check Social Media
  10. Ask Customers and Staff
  11. Use Local SEO Tools
  12. Create a Local Keyword List
  13. Check Trends and Seasonality
  14. Test and Refine

1: Understand Your Business and Audience

  • Define your products or services and understand your target audience.
  • Identify specific locations or regions you want to target.


  • “London Sweets & Treats” specialises in custom cakes, pastries, and artisanal desserts.
  • The target audience includes individuals planning events, local businesses, and residents looking for high-quality baked goods in London.

2: Brainstorm Seed Keywords

  • Generate a list of broad, general keywords related to your business.
  • Include products, services, and terms relevant to your industry.


  • Custom cakes London
  • Artisanal desserts
  • London bakery

3: Use Google Autocomplete

  • Start typing your seed keywords into Google search.
  • Take note of the autocomplete suggestions, which often reflect common local queries.


  • “Custom cakes in London”
  • “Best artisanal desserts London”
  • “Local pastry shop London”
  • Scroll to the bottom of the search results page to find “Searches related to…”.
  • Identify additional keywords that may be relevant to your business.


  • “London bakery delivery”
  • “Wedding cakes London”
  • “Birthday cake near me in London”

5: Utilise Google Keyword Planner

  • Access Google Keyword Planner (requires a Google Ads account).
  • Enter your seed keywords to get suggestions and insights.
  • Filter results based on location to get local keyword ideas.


  • Use Google Keyword Planner to get insights on search volumes and competition for terms like “London bakery” and “custom cakes London.”

[include link, screenshots and more of a breakdown on how to use Google Keyword Planner]

6: Spy on Competitors

  • Identify local competitors in your industry.
  • Analyse their websites and content to discover the keywords they are targeting.


  • Analyse websites of local competitors in London, such as “London Cake Co” or “Sweet Delights London.”
  • Identify keywords they target, such as “bespoke cakes” or “London wedding desserts.”

[how can you do this, and what tools are there to use]

7: Localise Your Keywords

  • Add local modifiers to your keywords (e.g., city names, neighbourhoods).
  • Consider variations like “near me” or location-specific terms.\


  • “Custom cakes in central London”
  • “Artisanal desserts delivery London”
  • “London pastry shop reviews”

8: Explore Online Forums and Communities:

  • Visit local forums or community websites related to your industry.
  • Identify language and terms used by locals when discussing products or services.


  • Visit local London-based foodie forums or community websites.
  • Identify phrases locals use, like “best London bakery” or “London cake recommendations.”

9: Check Social Media

  • Monitor social media platforms for local discussions.
  • Look for hashtags and phrases used by your local audience.


  • Monitor hashtags on social media platforms used by London residents.
  • Discover terms like #LondonBakery or #LocalDessertsLondon.

[how to look for popular hastags]

10: Ask Customers and Staff

  • Speak with your existing customers and staff. 
  • Inquire about the terms and phrases they commonly use when looking for your products or services locally. 


  • Engage with customers and staff to understand common local terms. 
  • Collect insights like “popular wedding cakes in London” or “favourite pastries in the city.” 

11: Use Local SEO Tools

  • Utilise local SEO tools like Moz, BrightLocal, or Ahrefs.
  • These tools can provide insights into local search volumes and keyword difficulty. 


  • Leverage local SEO tools like BrightLocal or Moz Local for insights specific to the London market. 
  • Discover additional keywords like “London dessert catering” or “local bakery events.” 

12: Create a Local Keyword List

  • Compile your researched keywords into a list. 
  • Organise them based on priority and relevance to your business. 


  • Compile the selected keywords into a list:  
  • Custom cakes in London  
  • Artisanal desserts delivery in London  
  • London pastry shop reviews 
  • Consider seasonal variations in local search behaviour. 
  • Check Google Trends to understand when specific keywords are more popular. 


  • Consider seasonal variations in London, such as “Christmas desserts in London” or “summer pastry specials in the city.” 
  • Use Google Trends to identify trending searches in London. 

14. Test and Refine

  • Implement the selected keywords on your website. 
  • Monitor their performance using analytics tools. 
  • Regularly review and refine your local keyword strategy based on changes in search behaviour and business priorities. 


  • Implement selected keywords in meta tags, headers, and content on the bakery’s website. 
  • Monitor performance using analytics tools. 
  • Regularly update the keyword strategy based on customer feedback and changes in search behaviour. 

By tailoring the local keyword research to a UK example, specifically London, “London Sweets & Treats” can optimise its website for the terms that matter most to its London-based customers, improving visibility and attracting local traffic in the UK market.

Remember, local keyword research is an ongoing proce

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