Hyper Local Keyword Research
What Hyper-Local Keyword Rearch Means, Why It’s Essential for Self-Storage Brands and How to Get Started
Unless you’ve recently traveled to another part of the country (or world for that matter) you probably haven’t given much thought to what you call the carbonated, flavored sugar-water that pairs well with just about anything. In Cleveland, Ohio we generally refer to that as “pop”, but where you’re from it could be soda or coke. Regional dialects, vernacular and American history, to some degree, dictate what you call your favorite fizzy drink, and what the generations to come will continue to call it.
So what does this have to do with hyper-local keyword research, and your self-storage locations?
Not unlike the pop-soda-coke phenomenon, consumers across North America generally refer to self-storage locations as any one of the following:
- Storage units
- Storage facility, or
- Mini storage
We know this to be true thanks to a combination of tools we use. By reviewing multiple sets of data from these tools, we can uncover insights on consumer trends and organic/paid keyword click metrics. The analysis provides actionable insights for self-storage brands on the best keyword and term combinations to use on a location-by-location basis. That’s a great segue to my next point:
What is Hyper-Local Keyword Research
Hyper-local keyword research is the practice of studying the precise phrases and terms that are used in a given area (city, state or region) which are then used to optimize a self-storage brand’s location pages and directory descriptions. To say that a location page is optimized means that it will appear above, or rank higher than, a competitor’s website. This is because we’re facilitating the process between what Google and other search engines assume about your company, its products and services, and what we tell them. Going further than simply researching your target audience and its tendencies, hyper-local keyword research delves into specifics around:
- How a user refers to self-storage
- Landmarks and notable locales, and
- Neighborhoods within city limits (Ohio City, Tremont and Westpark are all Cleveland, Ohio neighborhoods)
Hyper-local keyword research is especially important for brands that have multiple locations, and often self-storage brands do. And the best part? Getting started is easier than you think.
The Quick (Free) Way to Start Researching Hyper-Local Keywords
Typically you’ll want to rely on experts to strategize and implement a full search engine optimization program, but the more you learn about your customers, the better prepared you’ll be to make small improvements on your own, as well as business decisions as they relate to digital marketing management. There are three tools that our team highly recommends all self-storage brands familiarize themselves with, those being:
- Google Trends
- Google Keyword Planner, and
- Google Search Console
These directional tools are designed to be simple to use for even the most experienced professional – and since they’re all Google products, we can rely on them to report consistently, regardless of algorithm or search functionality changes.
As mentioned above, Google Trends is a tool that allows us to research key terms and phrases relative to a given geographic area over time. Say your self-storage brand has locations across the United States, but you want to know how customers are looking for your storage solutions in Ohio over the past year; simply visit the Google Trends website, type “self-storage” into the explore topics field and compare it against another similar industry term, such as “mini storage”. You can then use the drop down arrows to specify a time frame and the interactive region map to click on the area you want to drill into – if you enter those parameters, a graph will generate illustrating usage.
Where blue is self-storage and red is mini storage, we can see that the former outperforms the latter by more than double on average. Self-storage brands can use this information to guide content strategies, improve SEO and more. An actionable tactic could be as simple as editing the Ohio location page to eliminate instances of mini storage and replacing it with self-storage.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
This tool requires a Google AdWords account, but once you’re in it will assist you in strategically researching and uncovering new keyword opportunities, rather than assuming or guessing. With Keyword Planner, you have the ability to analyze the search volume and competition for each keyword. This helps make data-informed decisions on which keywords to target for a given geographical area.
After signing into your AdWords account, click on “tools” and select “keyword planner” from the drop down menu. You can then enter your ideas related to the self-storage industry and a specific target location.
At Linkmedia 360, we use the Keyword Planner in a 2-step process:
- Search the top root keywords with a targeted location (storage units)
- Search the root keywords with a geo-modifier at a national level (Storage units in Cleveland, OH)
We do this because some users may be physically in Colorado but searching for self-storage in Ohio. This ensures that we are covering all bases with data informed decisions for our clients.
Google Search Console
While Google Trends and Keyword Planner will provide you with valuable, actionable data indicative of what your target audience is looking for, Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) gives you access to how your specific site visitors are searching for and finding your content via their queries (what they’re typing into Google and what results they are clicking on). So in other words, unlike trends or local commonalities, Search Console gives you actual data for your website.
Setting up Google Search Console
There are a few methods to setup a verify a Google Search Console account, but we’ll focus on one example if you are already using Google Analytics. Once Google Analytics is in place, you’ll need to verify your site via this link, which will lead you to the following web page:
Once you’re set up in Google Search Console, remember that because this is real, onsite information, you won’t have actionable data for at least a few weeks. Use this time to focus on other keyword research activities and creating a game plan.
Harnessing the Power of Google Search Console
From the dashboard, you’ll be given an at-a-glance view of your website’s overall health and performance, including crawl errors (how Google bots view the technical information of your site), search analytics performance (click totals over time) and sitemap information.
While Google Search Console features a suite of powerful tools, for the purposes of this post we’ll dive right into “Search Traffic > Search Analytics”. In the example, you’ll see keywords and phrases; these are the real combinations of words that users are searching for and clicking on a result to get to your website.
With these search terms, you’ll be able to think about your website and its content clearly from these perspectives:
- “Wow, it’s surprising users search for that term that drives so much traffic; let’s capitalize on it”
- “I want to build on ‘XYZ’ term that isn’t driving very much traffic now but creates a strong competitive advantage”, and
- “This keyword is driving a lot of traffic, but that page isn’t converting many visitors/users drop off after that page; perhaps we should optimize the content or create an A/B test”.
Armed with this information, you’ll be better positioned to make strategic decisions on your digital approach.
Go Granular for a Steady Increase in Results
Hyper-local keyword research, and implementing the findings across your digital properties, are small tasks that achieve SEO depth and sustainable results. We suggest you get started right away, and contact us with any questions or ideas.