Local Search: Geo Keyword Creation Tool

When building a website for a regional business, it is often desirable to build out pages targeting the services to the many surrounding towns. David Mihm estimates that 30% of all searches have local intent and from research by Hanns Kronenberg of Systrix we know that post Venice only about 6% of all searches show pinned Places search results. That leaves a lot of purely organic opportunity for a regional business website to cover, a lot of pages to create and and a lot of towns to look up if you are going target them correctly.

Local Keyword Research Tool from Local Marketing Source makes part of that process easier. It does one thing and it does it very well. You give it a list of your keywords and a distance around your business and it auto-creates a list of geo targeted keyword phrases with all of the cities within the specified mileage radius of that business.

It has some options to add phrases and or additional cities outside the specified boundary before or after the phrases and it also allows you to specify zips or cities you do not want in your list.  After it generates the list you can export it to a .csv file.

I like free and I like simple and this tool is both. Despite the fact that the name implies more than it does, what Local Keyword Research Tool does do, it does very well. My compliments to the chef and thanks to Nigel Kay (@KMarketing) for showing me the tool!



Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Local Search: Geo Keyword Creation Tool by

14 thoughts on “Local Search: Geo Keyword Creation Tool”

  1. Its an interesting tool. There have been variations of that tool for years, though I don’t have a current link to any. Earlier derivations were built to also accommodate adwords so they did the same thing as this tool but added variations with appropriate punctuation to replicate what adwords does: i.e. [ ] and ” ” to set up advertising downloads into adwords tools. That is a valuable time saver IMHO (hint/hint to the nice folks at Local Keyword Research Tool.

    This tool is fast. I did it twice using a base of 6 keyword terms and with a lot of variations, including keyword term/town and town/keyword term. I also included state abbreviations but not state full names.

    I ran it twice for the same terminology and tied it to some smb’s we have in the same industry but different regions. Both locations are pretty urban rather than rural. I ran relatively large radii for the businesses…but they are somewhat regional so in fact they do draw from distant locations. I ran a 50 and 60 mile radius for the 2 different smbs.

    One generated over 32,000 line items. The other over 25,000. WHEW!!!

    But the system is super FAST. I had the data in no time.

    Where is the applicability???? I ask that on a serious basis. In our cases we own businesses with relatively thin or limited competition. Those industries have thin competition everywhere. They aren’t the kinds of businesses like coffee shops on every corner or restaurants, or lawyers, florists, etc.

    But can a florist in the suburbs use this to help attract business from 4 towns and 30 miles away??? Possibly.

    Of the two businesses we have one of the websites lists on the bottom of a page every relevant zip code and town in a targeted area. The other one doesn’t. Listing those zips and towns on the website looks a little spammy, imho. Only a few of the zips and towns are visible to the searcher but more visible if one expands the list. Search engine spiders though see all that data.

    I’m actually doing some research in this area to see what works better for the websites:

    The type of data that the keyword tool, in our case, for the most part represents the LONG TAIL. Both of the websites I used the tool on capture that long tail traffic to a certain degree. I’m currently testing to see if there is a better way of capturing that kind of traffic. Not sure that I’ll find an answer.

    There are other ways to skin the cat and attack this. For instance different industries or verticals have different directories or advertising mechanisms that might be stronger than other alternatives….with that vertical showing up higher relative to a search phrase with a town name and service than any individual site unless it was super powered with seo strength. The directory could show above the PAC results.

    Yelp does a good job of that with various restaurant queries with geo names. Certain hotel directories also do a relatively good job. Various industry directories are clear alternatives in this regard. Of course they aren’t FREE. Adwords is also an alternative…again not free.

    In any case the tool is interesting but the choice on how to exploit the opportunity is the critical business choice that smbs must make.

    Again–my $0.02 😀

  2. @earl

    Voluble yes, nuggets of valuable info as well…

    There are two points in your assessment that seem critical to me:

    Where is the applicability???? …..But can a florist in the suburbs use this to help attract business from 4 towns and 30 miles away??? Possibly.

    In any case the tool is interesting but the choice on how to exploit the opportunity is the critical business choice that smbs must make.

    You are absolutely correct that the tactic that this tool address (regional geo long tail optimization) is NOT for every for every business AND every business needs to think about the tactics they pick carefully!

  3. Art’s example is exactly to what I was referring as a variation. If you want to use the keyword alternatives for adwords, the tool wraps all the variations in appropriate adwords punctuation. Huge time saver.

  4. Mike, do you know if the list is just generated as is, or is actual search traffic considered when creating the list? Just curious if this is just a list generator, or if it does some of the heavy lifting in terms of determining value of the keywords.

  5. @Isaac
    No, this is just a US tool as it based on zip codes. Seems like a great opportunity to help the Au. local community AND get a few links. When you build it, let me know and I will highlight it.

  6. Very cool tool! It would be pretty awesome to have a variation of the tool out there for neighborhoods in larger cities as well to get hyperlocal, but that’s not as easily accessible of data.

  7. Mike: The more general topic of capturing relevant long tail keyword phrases is one I’ve spent a lot of time on over many years. The tool you referenced, the 2nd one referenced by Art, and various earlier versions are simply tools IMHO to achieve higher visibility on the long tail.

    My own specific experience on a couple of different industries is that simply a search phrase using the business/service and every town name around is typically very long tail. For any particular town the traffic is relatively small. If the business is very Town centric….then its applicable to the single town and might get traffic from the immediate surrounding towns but hardly ever from a larger geography. Alternatively if its a bigger ticket item…say auto’s its relevant to get traffic from as many towns as possible along with one’s major phrases.

    So how does one do this, keeping the tool in mind. I’ve attempted to tackle it many ways over many years in different fashions.

    Way back with a relatively stronger web site and older google algo’s in place….I could get reference merely by placing a town name in some content somewhere on a site.

    Over the years that lost effectiveness. One reason I believe is because Google (as referenced in some patents) has applied some form of categorization to web sites: i.e. if you add content that covers a different category and/or isn’t relevant google isn’t going to rank it.

    So be it.

    I have found if you add pages with titles that reference the towns that will work. Of course competition is always key.

    I looked at one of our sites that has tried something possibly a bit spammy but also something done on a lot of local type sites. On the bottom of the page we listed in small print and w/ a “more” link that opens it up for greater public viewership….every town, county name, regional description, and zip code. We introduced those geo variations with some appropriate content.

    Still in my opinion its possibly spammy and sort of dubious.

    I just tested it a bit…and possibly google considers it spammy or dubious also: 😀

    I flipped through the major industry phrase followed by various of the geo modifiers on the bottom of the page. sort of a test that mimics the tool above. Of note the site is generally weak, but the competition is also weak. The site does very well relative to important phrases.

    In working through variations of the town name/county name/zip etc with the business service I saw mixed results showing on google.

    In some cases no reference at all on the first page. In some cases a pinned map result. In some cases a pinned result plus an organic link where we had alternative content. In a case or two it appears google picked up the content on the bottom of the first page. Its certainly not consistent. My gut is that google has treated this site with this somewhat voluminous listing of every town, city, county, regional description and zip code as somewhat dubious….okay…spammy 😀

    Now we have hit a lot of those long tail phrases via ppc though. Really two alternatives on doing this:

    We seem to cover them or virtually all of them via broad phrase terms. Alternatively I could create a master list with a variation of this tool that applies adwords punctuation wrapped around the phrases and enter them all in via a tool and a csv file.

    If one searches on these phrases one might find directories that populate the top rankings for the various long tail phrases. That could be a way to go.

    In any case I had gone back to the tool entered a single industry phrase generating only one phrase per town…and for a 50 mile radius generated something like 400 towns plus even more zip codes.

    If google thinks our adding town names,etc on the bottom of a home page is somewhat spammy….I’m sure they would REALLY think that if we added content with combo industry phrases with the 400+ towns….WOULD BE EVEN SPAMMIER. I woudn’t suggest doing that.

    Its really the applications that address the issues with the tool(s) that end up producing results.

    Its actually an excellent topic for discussion to see how different folks have handled the issue.

    BUT NOT GREAT RESULTS at all. There are results, but not as thorough as I would like to totally conquer the long tail with the geo descriptions.

  8. Mike,
    Thank you for highlighting this tool. While I agree that the name of it indicates that it may do more than it actually does, it will be a good resource to link to for local business owners who are desperate for any type of help with local keyword research. Hope you are doing well. I’ve been so busy the past couple of weeks, I’ve hardly commented here. But I’ve definitely been reading…

  9. With a new website registration there is an area on the listing submission form where you can submit all of the cities/towns within a radius that you stipulate which is ideal for service related businesses that do the actual work at their clients addresses.
    As for a staic business could this info not be used in a KML file?

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