The 5 Best Free Tools for Effective Local Keyword Research

Your local SEO strategy is only as good as the local keyword research you do. Here are 5 free keyword research tools that will make your SEO efforts more effective!
Doug Luna
5.5 mins.

Let's skip the obvious question of whether you want to attract more customers in your area, because I know the answer is undoubtedly yes (or at least it should be).

One of the best and proven ways to get more customers is to have a strong local SEO strategy. But here’s the problem that most businesses experience with local SEO strategies - they don’t know where to even start to develop one.

Lucky for you, the solution to creating a strong SEO strategy is only 3 words.

Local Keyword Research.

In this blog, I am going to breakdown for you what local keyword research is and where you can do your research (for free). Who doesn’t love free things?

What Is Local Keyword Research?

Local keyword research is an important part of SEO, especially for businesses trying to improve their online presence in their area.

It's all about finding and analyzing the specific words people type into search engines when looking for local businesses or services. These words usually contain a city or town name. The goal is to find out what words local customers use when they search for products or services like yours, and then use these words to improve your website.

For example, instead of using the general word "seafood restaurant," you could use "seafood restaurant in Miami." This method is especially useful for small to medium-sized businesses who want to compete locally instead of nationally or internationally.

By researching local keywords, you can connect with local customers, get more website visitors, increase sales, and improve your local search ranking. That’s money!

But now the question is, how do you do it?

How To Execute Local Keyword Research?

Local keyword research can be easy if you have the right tools and a systematic approach. Here are some simple steps you can follow:

1. Identify Your Service Areas: Before doing keyword research, figure out the specific locations you serve. This could be a city, town, or neighborhood. Knowing your service areas will help you target your keyword research effectively.

2. Brainstorm Basic Keywords: First, make a list of basic terms related to your business, products, or services. For example, if you own a bakery, your list might include "bread", "cakes", "pastries", and so on.

3. Add Local Terms: Add the names of your service areas to your basic keywords. Using our bakery example, you might come up with "bread bakery in Miami", "Miami cake shop", or "pastries in Miami".

4. Use Keyword Research Tools: Use keyword research tools to refine your list. These tools can provide you with data on search volume, competition level, and more. They can also suggest additional keywords that you might not have thought of. I’ve got a list of free tools for you in the next section!

5. Look at Your Competitors: See what keywords your local competitors are using. This can give you ideas for additional keywords and help you understand what terms are popular in your industry.

6. Think Like Your Customers: Try to imagine how your customers would search for your business. Consider conversational queries or questions a customer might ask.

7. Review and Update Regularly: Keep your keyword list up-to-date. Local keyword research is an ongoing process. As local trends and search patterns change, you'll want to make sure your keyword strategy changes too.

Remember, the goal of local keyword research is not just to increase traffic to your site, but to increase the right kind of traffic — the kind that's likely to convert into customers. So, focus on quality over quantity when choosing keywords.

Pro-Tip: It's better to rank highly for a less popular search term that brings in the right customers, than to rank lower for a more popular term that isn't as relevant to your business.

5 Of The Best Free Tools For Local Keyword Research

1. Google Trends

A screenshot of the homepage of Google Trends
Google Trends Homepage

Google Trends is a keyword research tool that helps you see how search queries change over time. It shows how many people are searching for your keyword compared to total searches. This information can help you identify seasonal trends and predict changes in demand.

Google Trends allows you to see interest by subregion, which is useful for local keyword research. You can compare different keywords and see their popularity in different areas, giving you a clear picture of what local users are searching for.

2. Google Keyword Planner

A screenshot of the homepage of Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner Homepage

Google Keyword Planner is another great free tool from Google. While it's primarily designed for Google Ads campaigns, it's also a powerful tool for SEO keyword research.

You can find keywords related to your business or industry and see historical metrics like average monthly searches, competition, and suggested bid. One of its standout features is the ability to filter keyword suggestions based on location. This makes it an excellent tool for local keyword research, allowing you to target your SEO efforts more effectively.

3. Answer The Public

A screenshot of the homepage of Answer The Public
Answer The Public Homepage

Answer The Public is a keyword tool that shows search questions and suggested autocomplete searches in a search cloud. It's useful for discovering long-tail keywords and understanding the questions people are asking about your topic.

For local keyword research, you can use Answer The Public to find questions related to your service or product in your area, and then create content that provides the answers. This helps attract local traffic and boosts your chances of ranking higher in local search results.

4. SEMrush

A screenshot of the homepage of SEMrush
SEMrush Homepage

SEMrush is a suite of tools that includes keyword research, competitor analysis, and website audits. Its Keyword Magic Tool allows you to enter your seed keyword and then get millions of related keyword suggestions. You can narrow down these suggestions by location to focus your local keyword research.

SEMrush offers limited features in its free version, but it still provides enough data to get started with your local SEO efforts.

5. Moz Keyword Explorer

A screenshot of the homepage of Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz Keyword Explorer Homepage

Moz Keyword Explorer is another freemium tool that offers some features for free. It provides keyword suggestions, Search Engine Results Page (SERP) analysis, and a 'keyword difficulty' score.

For local keyword research, Moz allows you to filter by city, state, or country to get more location-specific keyword suggestions. This can help you to find local keywords that aren't as competitive but still have a good search volume.

While the free version of Moz limits you to 10 queries per month, it provides a wealth of information that can be beneficial to your local SEO efforts.


If you are the type of business owner who loves having an overflow of local customers (which I’m sure you are), then you need to have a strong local SEO strategy. This only comes from good local keyword research. When it’s done right, you’ll find your website attracting more visitors. But not just any old visitors. You’ll be attracting the right visitors - people who are likely to purchase from you or work with you because your business offers exactly what they're searching for.

Pick any of these free tools and get started on your keyword research today.

I promise you, your enhanced online visibility will thank you for it.

Does reading this blog make you want to level up your business? Let's huddle up and work together to get your business into victory formation!

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