5 SEO and Local Search Realities for Confused Marketers

google local search rankingsSure, you've been in business 10 years and you're good at what you do. You have tons of website pages about your range of services and specialties for kids and adults.

1. But sometimes it seems that no one is searching for your services.

Take this example: Google has some public data that suggests people search for "dentist columbus ohio" an average of 1,000 times a month.

But what about "columbus ohio veneers?" Nothing.

And if you're in a suburb like Worthington, Google claims there are 50 searches for "dentist worthington ohio."

2. People do search for words even when Google claims they're not.

The fact is, someone could search for "Columbus root canal prices." And if your website addresses that, you might want well and get a new patient. And while you collect your money, Google will show that no one is searching for that keyword phrase.

How can that be? Doesn't Google know all of the searches? Is there a conspiracy? What is Google concealing?

It's time to calm down.

Some searches just fall "under the radar." You have to frame it that way because not every search is going to get to be in the data Google reports. Typically, Google will show a phrase all the way down to 10 searches a month. What if your phrase is searched nine times a month or six times every two months?

3. You need to guess, hope and interpret.

It may sound like a lot of work, but you can decide on how much effort you make to understand the possibilities. I wouldn't bother, but you can.

Google, of course, doesn't show many keywords in Google Analytics (years ago they put out some not-very-convincing-story about protecting the privacy of the searchers).

How do you know?

Look at your natural search engine landing pages. Google does track how many people visit them. If you have a page about a specific service in a small community, Google will tell you how many visits the website page attracted. You can speculate that some of those searches were for very specific keyword phrases.

But you also may think that maybe that's just the page that ranks for "dentist worthington ohio." You're quick on your feet. But if you look at other landing page data and ranking reports, you could easily see that you're home page is ranking for "dentist worthington ohio," not your actual service page.

4. Don't get too excited when you rank for some keyword phrases.

You can rank any day for any word and it may not matter. If you invent a search, Google will try its best to find some relevant or semi-relevant content to honor your search. Try "teeth cleaning in worthington ohio" or something like it in your city. Odds are, Google data won't show searches for it and yet you will rank. And, there is a really good chance people aren't searching for it. Maybe you could tell if you make a new page devoted to teeth cleaning in Worthington, Ohio.

5. Focus on your foundation.

If you create or improve a website with basic words, those words will resonate with the other specific service offerings and you will rank for any number of keyword phrases (some that people actually use).

With our medical example, work in dentist, dentists, dental, dentistry, etc. Maybe you can even mention dental implants.

And then track your traffic (and rankings if you need to).

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