A Needle in a Haystack
Picking the right keywords is always complicated. You might have an idea of what keywords work well for your business, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. So you have to find a way to test which keywords are used by your customers. But when you complicate things even more by looking for local keywords…well, things can get really tough. So, what is the difference between explicit local keywords and implicit local keywords?
Implied or Implode
Google will often offer local results to searches that imply a local search intent. For example, if you search for a “bakery”, Google assumes that you want something close to your location, rather than a cross-country croissant. However, if you search for “bakery Boston” Google knows where you want the bakery to be (unless you’re looking for a Boston cream, but let’s leave that for another day). What a searcher will type depends on a number of factors, but mainly “where are they when they do the search” and “how lazy are they”.
So when you’re building a local keyword list you have to take these factors into account. Building a list of explicit keywords is much easier to do in many ways because you know what the ‘extra’ information is going to be. It will be your location or opening hours or something similar. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore implied local keywords. Because people aren’t always looking to search for something in their location.
As well as being easier to think of explicit keywords are also going to be easier to rank for because they are more specific. The more specific or ‘long-tail’ a keyword becomes, the easier it should be to rank for it. There are some examples where this might not be the case, but in the main, the more specifically you optimize a page to a search query, the more likely it is you’ll see that page on page one of Google.
When you’re optimizing a page for explicit local keywords you will find that you’re getting a bit of a 2 for 1 deal, and find yourself doing much of the work needed to optimize for implicit local keywords too. However, you should be sure to keep both types of search in mind while you’re optimizing pages.
There are also some keywords that fall into the middle ground that you should make sure to optimize for. Is a term like “bakery downtown” explicit or implicit?
Why Does it Matter?
Explicit and Implicit local keywords become important when you’re looking at why the user is searching for them. The searcher’s intent should influence the content that you serve them. The closer the match between what they were thinking when they carried out the search, and what your page is showing them, the better. So make sure that you’re creating pages with that in mind when you’re optimizing your content for local searches.