What Is BigCommerce?

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Don’t Want (Or Were Denied) An EIDL Or PPP Loan? Here Are Your Best Small Business Loan Alternatives

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14+ Unconventional Ways To Find New Keywords To Outsmart Your Competition

This post originally appeared at 14+ Unconventional Ways To Find New Keywords To Outsmart Your Competition via ShivarWeb

find new keywords

Traditional keyword research has a tragedy of the commons problem. The more people that use a common keyword research sources, the less valuable those sources become.

When everyone is using Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Google Autosuggest – the keywords from those sources will become either too difficult or will lose their intent. Big players, or Google itself, will show up and rank for those keywords.

As a small to mid-size publisher – you have to either become more creative, become more “long-tail,” or seek out more sources to find new keywords.

I’ve written before about “pre-qualifying content.” That process used different sources to confirm your own keyword ideas.

Finding new keywords from new sources is the reverse. It’s finding keywords that you have literally never heard of.

You would never know the root, modifier, or topic. It’s doesn’t show up in Google Suggest, and you’d never know how to search for it in traditional keyword tools.

Here’s where I’ve been looking lately.

Bing / DuckDuckGo Search

Bing and DuckDuckGo are usually seen as Google alternatives. But they have audiences in their own right.

And those audiences are different enough from Google that you can usually find new, interesting, and different keywords there that you won’t find on Google.

Head over to Bing / DuckDuckGo and try out their autosuggest with broad modifiers (how to, what is, etc).

Search within a broad topic that you are looking at and explore their related searches.

Lookalike Online Publishers

You might be familiar with the idea of a lookalike from Facebook Ads. They take a person that you want to target and tries to find other people who share that person’s characteristics. It’s a powerful idea.

And it’s an idea that you can use to find keyword ideas.

Many SEOs know to look at the big industry publisher for keyword ideas, but never think to find “lookalikes” of their big industry publisher…in an adjacent industry.

And adjacent industries can be a goldmine for both keyword roots and modifiers.

For example, imagine that you own a small fishing website. You probably know the trick for mining Field & Stream for content ideas.

But what about looking at the Field & Stream equivalent in the backpacking, boating, or wildlife magazine segments?

If you had a Venn diagram, you’d see that they all have an audience overlap, even if they don’t have a keyword overlap. And that represents an opportunity.

Remember, the best keyword research understands the question behind the keyword. Explore those publishers to find content strategies and audience questions that you could use.

Look at their top performing content and think about what you could swap in that would fit your website.

If Backpacker magazine did a profile on the top trails in the Southeast US, why wouldn’t a profile on the top rivers in the Southeast US work for your fishing website?

I would argue that it would. And best of all, any new keywords, headlines or modifiers that you find function as pre-qualified content, since you know it has already worked for someone else.

Wikipedia Analysis

I’ve written an entire post about using Wikipedia for SEO & Content Marketing. But Wikipedia is an especially good place to find keyword ideas because it is structured.

The process is to pick a category and systematically explore all the entries along with how they are related.

Read entries with an eye for keywords and concepts that need further exploration.

YouTube Search

YouTube is a popular place for How To’s, tutorials, and visual content. You can (and should) use YouTube autosuggest to mine for keywords. They’ll have a different dataset from Google search.

But I recommend that you go a step further. Look at (or scrape!) top ranking videos. Read their transcripts, tags, comments, and descriptions with an eye for new keywords and concepts.

If the video narrator uses a term that needs context or further explanation, note it. Look for how the narrator and video presents information.

Even the best YouTube videos leave gaps that need to be filled. And those gaps usually produce Google Searches.

It’s a great way to find high-volume, long-tail keywords.

I wrote an extended guide to use YouTube for SEO & content here.

Pinterest Search

I would argue that Pinterest is one of the top search engines on the Internet, even though it is thought of as a social network.

Millions of people use it to start their search and bookmark their favorite answers.

While it does work better for some segments than others, I think it’s worth checking out for nearly every industry.

Like YouTube, you should look at both their autosuggest and their suggested topics. But go a step further and look at top performing pins & boards.

Note any unique keyword angles, audience questions, etc. Usually, they have a completely different angle from Google that will provide a window into an audience’s true intent – which, again, will help you answer the “question behind the keyword.”

I wrote an entire guide to use Pinterest for SEO & Content here.

Instagram Search

Unlike Pinterest, Instagram is a pure-play social network. But it still throws off a lot of keyword data, especially for consumer industry segments.

Use the autosuggest on Instagram for modifiers, but also check out the Explore to find trending hashtags.

Take those hashtags and use them to understand trending topics, angles on existing keywords, and to find new, trending ideas.

Twitter Search

Using Twitter search for keyword research is a bit like using Instagram, except that it’s heavily biased towards right now.

Twitter doesn’t have the same breadth that any other tool has. But Twitter’s speed and recency and analytics can help you keep your content up to date and cutting edge.

Quora Search

I’ve written a full guide to use Quora for SEO & content. But the short version is that Quora has a bunch of experts answering specific questions with plain, human language.

You should mine both the topics and the keywords that contributors use in their answers.

Quora Drip Tray

As a bonus, if you sign up for Quora Ads, you can see the exact search interest that a question has.

Reddit Analysis

You can use Reddit with a similar process as Quora. I’ve written a guide to use Reddit for SEO & Content here.

But the short version is to find one or several subreddits that your target audience is interested in. Sort by Top or Hot and start mining both titles and responses.

Everything is written in plain language, so you’ll find plenty of keywords that your audience uses, but that might not show up in a keyword research tool.

Content Ideas from Reddit
Some noise, but also some great ideas

There are also plenty of automated Reddit research tools like Keyworddit.

Amazon Reviews

Next to Wikipedia, Amazon probably has the largest repository of user-generated content on the Internet.

Their reviews are a goldmine for finding keywords that your audience uses while searching for products. In other words, they have the intent to purchase, which is critical for many publishers.

Amazon Read Reviews

I’ve written a full guide to using Amazon for SEO & content here. I recommend starting with the Bestsellers in your category, and then manually looking through the user reviews and their questions.

There are a few tools that can automate parts of this research, but it does not work as well as manually read reviews & questions.

Google Scholar Autosuggest

Google Scholar is one of Google’s most powerful, but least understood products. It searches the universe of scholarly journals, magazines, patents, and more.

9 Google Scholar

In other words, it searches content that is actually rigorous and right. It’s a huge opportunity to find academic jargon, theories, data, and more.

Podcast Directories

There is a universe of podcasts that cover every niche, market segment, and industry. But episodes are not indexed or analyzed in any systematic way.

Head over to any of the big podcast directories including Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher. Look for podcasts in your industry. Look through top episodes, reviews, and descriptions. Listen to episodes that catch your eye.

Harvest & use any new keywords that you find.

Physical Books & Magazines

I cannot stress how underestimated physical books and magazines are for keyword research. They are structured, comprehensive, edited, fact-checked, and exist in every industry for every market segment.

The problem is that they are inaccessible for quick research. You have to, you know, read them? But that’s your competitive advantage over big publishers working at scale.

Buy some physical books and magazines specifically for keywords and topics that are not coming up in your traditional keyword research.

There are a couple of ways to speed this process up. One way is to use ebooks. Convert them to HTML or text. Search them quickly, or use an algorithm to parse it.

Another way is to use Google Books. I wrote a guide to using it for SEO & content research here.

Customer Surveys

Google Surveys and Survey Monkey both make customer surveys much more accessible than ever in the past. They are still fairly costly, but can be a good value when planning an expensive content or ad campaign.

One idea here to ask open-ended questions and word association type questions to help trigger unique, qualitative keywords from real people.

Next Steps To Find New Keywords

There are a million variations of the cliche that “if you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll get what everyone else has.” Keyword research is no different. It takes work to find new keywords.

If all you do is go to SEMRush or Ahrefs, drop in a big keyword and sort by keyword difficulty…then you’ll never get ahead. Same with Google Autosuggest or Keyword Planner.

But searching out new sources to find keywords that your audience is using, but that you don’t see will help you get ahead.

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What Is Square Marketing & Is It Right For My Business?

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SEMRush Review: Pros, Cons & Use Cases

This post originally appeared at SEMRush Review: Pros, Cons & Use Cases via ShivarWeb

SEMRush Review

SEMRush is a suite of digital marketing software covering organic search (SEO), paid search (PPC), social media, and more. The company has been around for more than 11 years, and is a mainstay among many marketing agencies & consultants.

See SEMRush’s Current Plans & Pricing

I’ve been and off & on user of SEMRush for more than 7 years. While I’m a current subscriber of Ahrefs, one of their semi-direct competitors, I’ve recently reactivated my subscription due to volatility and massive changes among marketing data vendors.

What is SEMRush?

SEMRush is a suite of tools for digital marketers, so it’s hard to say precisely what it is. It’s almost like a Swiss Army Knife – a general purpose data & analysis tool for digital marketing.

Background on SEMRush

Their tools revolve around their backlink index, their keyword index, and their domain database. Their tools mix, match & cross-reference all these datasets to help marketers make better decisions about building content, building links, running ads, and running social media campaigns.

For example, their Keyword Explorer takes keywords that people are searching for in Google and cross-references their backlink index & ads index to determine how difficult any given keyword will be to rank for.

Here’s their official overview of their products.

SEMRush has been around for a long time. They have seen their share of controversy and can generate some extreme opinions among the digital marketing community.

Their one thread of consistency (and the reason they are still around) is that they have a very good sense of their target market. They have always sought to be the best all-around, single toolset. This will be the general theme and tl;dr of the pros & cons below.

They are not the “best” for any single one of their tools, but their strength is that they are really strong across a bunch of different tools…and they bundle it all into one.

How SEMRush Works

SEMRush has three subscription tiers. The higher tiers are meant to almost exclusively appeal to agencies with more reporting options and sharing limits…which they helpfully explain right on their pricing page.

Once you sign up, SEMRush revolves around Projects. Your website would be a single project. All the tools revolve around auditing your current domain, finding domain competitors, understanding your current link profile, your current keyword targeting, and all your opportunities.

SEMRush works by pulling data and attempting to help you convert that data into actions that you can take to improve your marketing.

Their Dashboard is busy & cluttered – but does show all the tools that you have available. They show all the use cases & example tasks that you can do to prevent decision overload.

Like a Swiss Army Knife, their tools work best if you know exactly what you want to do. It helps to start small to solve a single marketing problem.

For example, I needed a way to audit and share local citation opportunities with a client. SEMRush not only has that dataset, but it also provides recommendations on what to do – and it will create an automated, white-label PDF report to send my client.

I’ll get into these examples in my pros / cons, but in general, SEMRush works by taking your problem request, pulling data, converting that data into potential actions, and letting you take those actions to improve your digital marketing.

Pros of Using SEMRush

The broad upside of SEMRush is that it’s a full toolset from dataset, to recommendation engine, to automation tool, to reporting tool.

They are consistently focused on being the *one* tool that any agency, freelancer, or in-house marketer can buy and dramatically speed up their marketing operations. Here’s how that general upside plays out.

Feature Breadth

SEMRush has an incredible breadth of features – much more than I can write out and summarize.

They really lean into the “but wait, there’s more!” vibe.

Usually, a customer (like myself) joins for a specific tool, but quickly finds out that they have much more to offer.

For in-house marketers, it’s useful to have SEO, PPC, Social, PR, and Content tools all in a single software suite.

You are likely running multi-channel campaigns, so to have PPC & SEO keyword metrics are useful…but also to have link building & prospecting tools.

For solo freelancers on a budget, it’s useful to have a variety of tools to solve whatever marketing issue that you’re dealing with at the moment.

It has all the tools from a social media scheduler to toxic backlink checker to site auditor so that you can solve & diagnose any marketing issue that a new client is having.

For growing agencies, it can be shared by your PPC and SEO team to cut costs. Additionally, the reporting tools are invaluable for saving time and money while increasing client value & transparency.

They even have a lead generation tool to help agencies recruit new clients.

Here’s what the SEMRush Dashboard looks like –

Here’s what their backlink tool looks like.

It’s interesting how they not only pull basic backlink metrics, but also categorize them for you. It provides a quick snapshot of whatever domain you’re looking at.

Their link building tool takes your existing backlink index and generates ideas for new link building campaigns.

Here’s what their CPC Map tool looks like to help you generate new CPC ideas.

Here’s their local SEO tool – which is truly a “but wait there’s more” tool for any agency or freelancer.

Local clients are very hard to work with & scale due to the limited (and usually expensive) tools on the market. The fact that this tool is bundled is huge. It competes with Moz Local, but I found it to be solid.

Here’s their Market Explorer tool to help gather a better picture of any given industry so that you know who to copy, who to avoid, and who to learn from.

Again, I could go on. SEMRush’s biggest strength is their breadth of tools. No single tool can compete with a direct competitor, but on whole, they are a solid fit for the people most likely to use / need their product.

Feature Depth & Accuracy

Now – SEMRush has a wide breadth of tools. But even on their own, their tools are solid and have industry-leading depth & accuracy to them.

With their SEO tools, their backlink and keyword indices are not necessarily the best, but they are industry-leading. Comparing backlink indices is notoriously difficult. I will leave the academic research to others.

But from a day to day keyword research and link building perspective, SEMRush is good enough to do almost any job.

They are at that point where the person using the tool matters more than the tool itself.

I use Ahrefs on a day to day basis. They consistently have a more useful, and more complete keyword and link database than SEMRush.

But I also know how to effectively use Ahrefs’ data. In fact, one reason that I pay for both Ahrefs’ and SEMRush is that I like to collate their data with my Search Console data. Having 3 indices is better than 1.

But either way – SEMRush is a solid #2 or #3 in keywords & link database world…and they have depth in their PPC, Social, and Content tools.

Their PPC tools have a universe of data that other SEO-focused tools like Moz and Ahrefs (or Majestic) simply do not have. It has data that only Google’s Keyword Planner has.

But again – it’s a top tier dataset & PPC tool that also comes with SEO and everything else.

Having a range of robust tools might not be the best fit for everyone, but it’s a good fit for many others. With a growing agency that cannot afford multiple subscriptions, SEMRush has everything all in an overall value bundle. And that’s a huge pro.

Consistency Over Time

SEMRush has been around since 2008. For a marketing SaaS company, that is positively ancient. And that’s a good thing. There are lots of marketing software companies with a good product, and a good culture…but don’t really make it.

They get distracted and overextended. They try to become more than they should. They take venture capital and try to go beyond what their core market wants.

SEMRush has always been focused on the same core market with the same core suite of products. I was using them as a freelancer in 2011. The agency where I worked at in 2013 used them for their PPC and SEO teams. A friend who runs an in-house marketing team uses them today.

Their software suite has gotten bigger and better through incremental improvement and customer feedback.

They have been a bit tone deaf in their product launch communications and their own marketing tactics, but it’s never been a distraction from their main product suite.

When I commit to a tool, I want it to be around for a while. The fact that SEMRush has been around is a solid advantage.

Reporting & Recommendations

Marketing data can be just undecipherable noise unless you’ve worked at an agency or spent some time learning from someone who does digital marketing for a living.

That’s a huge problem with a lot of tools. There are two responses to this. One is to provide all the education and training yourself. That’s what Ahrefs does. They have the best SEO & content blog on the Internet.

The other response is to build in recommendations and reporting. That’s the route that SEMRush takes. I’ll get to the downsides of this approach, but overall, it’s really helpful.

If you are an in-house marketer or freelancer who juggles lots of marketing responsibilities, it’s incredibly useful to have reminders, recommendations, and reporting built into your software.

It provides actions in addition to education so that you can make fast decisions and understand the value of the data.

Cons / Disadvantages of Using SEMRush

There are a *lot* of highly charged opinions about SEMRush online. They have certainly courted plenty of controversy in the SEO community with their own “gray-ish hat” marketing tactics.

But they do have some downside and negatives as a tool set. Most of these are simple tradeoffs that they’ve made to get the pros that they have. But it’s important to be aware of the downsides & tradeoffs to understand what you’re getting and whether they align with your own goals and needs.

Feature Excellence

Plenty of SEOs and PPCers have done analysis on who has the “best” backlink or keyword index. You can get really deep in the weeds here. If you want to go read about crawler analysis and behavior, go check out this post or this post.

But, in general, and in my experience, SEMRush’s tools are solidly great – but they are not the best in any single category.

Their backlink & keyword index is good enough to do all the SEO & link building you’ll need to do to be competitive. But I still don’t think it’s as high quality or as deep as Ahrefs’ links or keywords.

Their PPC tools are great, but they are nowhere as user-friendly as AdEspresso or WordStream. And with their PPC keyword research tool, well, they are competing directly with Google’s Keyword Planner.

Their social media tools are great, but again, they are not as useful or usable as HootSuite, Buffer, or Buzzsumo.

Their link building & outreach tools are great, but again, they are not as usable or as useful as Buzzstream or other outreach tools.

And their local SEO tools are also solid, but not as good as Places Scout or Whitespark.

Now – this is all just the flipside of Feature Breadth.

SEMRush is the jack of all trades and master of none.*

*but don’t forget the rest of the rhyme which is “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Jargon & Feature Overwhelm

SEMRush has a lot going on. They have so many different features that they have them bucketed into different toolkits…even though the tools in those toolkits usually overlap.

The tools themselves are busy and present a ton of information.

And all that information is usually presented with industry jargon instead of plain language.

It’s confusing and overwhelming for me – and I’ve been in the industry for more than 10 years.

I’m not sure they could solve the user experience issue, but it’s a pretty big disadvantage compared to their competitors.

Automated Recommendations & Alerts

As mentioned in the pros section, one of SEMRush’s solutions to data overwhelm is to provide automated recommendations and alerts about what you should actually do.

Mostly, it’s a good thing. But any recommendation engine, no matter how smart, will only provide recommendations based on its inputs and parameters rather than actual knowledge.

And when you are working with human language and human knowledge, it gets tricky. SEMRush’s recommendations are great as an onboarding tool…but they can provide a false sense of security and accuracy.

This false sense of security could lead misinformed customers to make poor marketing choices.

For example, take their SEO content template tool.

In some ways, it’s great. In other ways, it just perpetuates some of the same old spammy tropes that have brought SEO down for years.

It is good to know semantically related words to your topic and it’s good to know about your competitors’ backlinks. And it’s good to consider text length.

But nothing about SEO is “paint by the numbers.”

It’s a bad idea to take a word salad, make a page full of those words, and throw a bunch of links at it.

That’s not what any professional SEO would recommend…but it’s the kind of thing that SEMRush’s automated recommendations would lead you to believe if you didn’t have any background or education.

It would be ideal to integrate some training directly with their recommendations. Until then, it’s a bit of disadvantage.

Workflow & Organization

SEMRush is not set up for a fast, efficient workflow…unless you really commit to the platform.

This downside can vary person to person, but it’s worth understanding. Some tools, like Ahrefs, just give you the data. The real analysis & work is done in a spreadsheet.

That’s how I like it and how most marketing professionals work.

SEMRush’s tool organization is setup to do analysis & actions within SEMRush. That’s great and can be super-handy…but only if you commit to using their workflow.

If you are the type of person who likes to work within SEMRush, it can have lots of advantages. But if you are like me and like to get the data into a spreadsheet, it can be frustrating.

SEMRush Use Cases

SEMRush has excelled by not trying to chase different markets. Here are the types of people that they are built for.

Solo Marketing Freelancer

If you have a wide range of clients & frequent projects, SEMRush’s tool variety will allow you to just have a single subscription to handle all types of clients.

In-house Marketer

If you are an in-house marketer that wants to run or knowledgeably assist your agency with multichannel campaigns, a subscription to SEMRush will give you the tool variety to effectively do that. Their pricing & reports will also be easy to sell to your boss.

Growing Agencies

SEMRush’s white label reports and team sharing options can help you provide value to clients while also controlling your overhead. It will also help you standardize agency processes with a single tool so that you don’t have a jumble of tools as your teams grow.

Next Steps & Conclusion

SEMRush is a solid all-in-one marketing tool suite. They aren’t the best in any one area, but they excel at providing a bunch of tools for a single subscription.

If you do PPC, SEO, Social, and/or Local – they are the tool to buy. You can see how they diagnose your own site with this tool –

If you are solely into SEO / Content, you should also look at Ahrefs. With a head to head comparison, they are better. And if you have the budget and clients…you should just pay for both. More data gives you a competitive advantage.

SEMRush

SEMRush is a suite of digital marketing software covering organic search (SEO), paid search (PPC), social media, and more. The company has been around for more than 11 years, and is a mainstay among many marketing agencies & consultants.

Application Category: Marketing Software

Editor's Rating:
4

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The Complete Guide To Cancelling Your First Data Merchant Account & Finding A Better Credit Card Processor

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Heavy Equipment Finance Basics: What You Should Know About Small Business Heavy Equipment Loans & Leases

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The Complete Guide To Switching From Worldpay To A Better Credit Card Processing Company

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What The PPP Flexibility Act Is & How It Could Affect Your Small Business

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How To Choose a New Local Business Location with Digital Marketing Data [Case Study]

This post originally appeared at How To Choose a New Local Business Location with Digital Marketing Data [Case Study] via ShivarWeb

How To Choose New Local Business Location

So you have a rapidly growing local business, and you are looking to expand. You have the brand, the capital, and the processes to open a second or even third location.

You’re in a growing metro area with lots of opportunity and open real estate.

And yet, you know that every real estate agent and business analyst will tell you that long-term success depends on “location, location, location.”

Now, if you were a national retail chain or a franchise owner, you could hire a location consultant to comb through census data and expensive proprietary business intelligence.

But you aren’t sure it’s truly worth the price. After all, your local real estate agent knows most of the metro market. And you generally know what the Census data says…even though the Census data is almost 10 years old.

So what can you use to gather hard data about what locations are most likely to succeed?

That is the question that EZ Dent of Athens, Georgia faced in early 2020 while scoping out new location opportunities for 2021. To answer the question, my team at ShivarWeb turned to EZ Dent’s existing digital marketing data.

Here’s how we combed through the data and how you can too.

Using Google Trends

Google Trends is a tool that allows you to see the relative popularity of search queries. It’s a little counter-intuitive to use since it measures total popularity of a query or topic in relation to all queries or topics in a specific region.

For location scouting, though, it can provide a general picture depending on your industry. You can find out what cities within a metro are “hubs” for your industry.

Google Trends

In our initial research, Norcross and Smyrna both have known automobile repair shop hubs in their city. It’s good to see that observation confirmed with Google Trends.

It’s also good to see that those hubs show up in search data. Google Trends doesn’t work for low volume or specific queries.

But since our observations hold with a larger data set, we can assume that they’ll work on a smaller scale (i.e., small cities with an automotive hub will have a similar percentage of search traffic).

Takeaway: Use Google Trends to get a sense of general location trends in your area.

Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that tracks user behavior on your website. Whenever a visitor arrives on your website, it captures location data based on IP address.

Under the Audience → Geo → Location report, you can drill down to the city-level of all your website visitors. For location scouting, this data allows you to see not only where your website visitors are located, but also where your best website visitors are located.

Based on anecdotes, we knew that we had an outsized number of visitors from Hall, Barrow, and Rockdale counties.

Google Analytics

Now, that data could show that there are a lot of prospective customers in those locations. But it could also just show that the website we were working with performed well in those locations due to a range of factors.

To look at the opportunity for different locations, we needed to look at a few other data sources.

Takeaway: Use your location report in Google Analytics to find locations where you are out-performing.

Using Google Ads’ Search Performance

Google Ads will provide the largest store of information for location scouting, especially if you have been running ads for some time.

Within Google Ads, we looked at several data points. 

First, we looked at what locations drove the most clicks and impressions. From that data, we could understand both the total market (from impressions) and interest (click through rate).

Google Ads

Second, we looked at competition based on cost per click and impression share. These numbers varied wildly depending on location, so it’s a really good data point. If you see lower costs per click but consistent volume, you are likely working against less competition.

Third, we looked at actual keyword search terms in our historical data. This data will have the keywords with both location names and “near me” modifiers.

The location names can indicate how people refer to their location (e.g., city or ZIP or neighborhood, etc), and the “near me” modifiers can show how many people prefer a location nearby over a location within moderate driving distance.

Google Ads

Fourth, we looked at the Keyword Planner Forecast tool to understand seasonal and geographic variations. Google will only provide ballpark, averaged volumes. But this data exists nowhere else in the world.

Takeaway: Use Google Ads to find the most granular data about where your prospective customers are and what they are looking for.

Using Google Search Console

Google Search Console will show you how your website performs organically. If your website has more than a year of history, you can drill down in the Search Performance report not only with the geographic filter, but also with your keywords to get a sense of opportunity and performance for different locations.

With Search Console, we looked at data points similar to Google Ads.

First, even though we couldn’t drill down to city level filters in Search Console, we could connect the data to Google Analytics. We could look at search queries by location within Google Analytics to get a sense of organic search behavior and performance by location.

Search Console

Second, we could sort keywords by location modifier and by near me. Pair that data with our Google Ads to understand search behavior and terminology by location.

Takeaway: If you have a strong presence in organic search, you can find lots of useful location data within your Search Console Performance report.

Using Google My Business Data

Google My Business is Google’s hub for local businesses. It has an Insights tab that can provide data from your local listing in Google Search & Maps.

Google My Business

With Google My Business, you can pull search query data specifically from searches that trigger a local listing. It might be similar to your Search Console data, but it also might be wildly different, depending on how your website performs for local searches.

Google My Business

Even though this data can’t provide predictive data for locations that you are scouting, it can provide hidden gems to help you understand how people find your current location. You can roll those gems into hyperlocal marketing.

We were able to take those insights and roll it back into our Search Console, Ads, and Analytics data to understand how & where the best potential customers searched.

Takeaway: Google My Business is the only place where you can gather Google Maps & organic call data from Google. You can use it to understand how your customers interact with your locations on Google.

Using Facebook Ads Data

While Google operates in the world of customer behavior, Facebook operates in the world of customer demo- and psycho-graphics. Facebook’s Ads and Insights products allow businesses to see characteristics of their best existing customers…and then take those characteristics and perform a “lookalike” search in prospective locations.

Facebook Insights

We were able to take this data and find the total available market of ideal customers within a radius of our prospective locations.

Takeaway: Facebook has the best data around potential customers of any source on the Internet. Use it to carefully scout for high-impact locations.

Using CRM Data

Hubspot (or whatever CRM you use) allows you to track customers from the beginning of their journey all the way to after the sale. Hubspot and many others track location via IP addresses within each customer’s profile. Hubspot in particular has a Map My Customers integration which allows you to visually see where your best customers live – and how far they are from your current location.

In our location scouting, we were able to take this radius data and pair it our other data. We created a few location options that would provide the most productive location for the business. These locations were as far away from the current business as possible without going too far for support, all while capturing as many customers as possible within a certain radius.

Takeaway: Use your CRM data to map your existing customers. It’s a location scouting technique that large organizations pay millions for that you can do with existing digital tools.

Putting it all together with Google Maps

Google Maps is a ubiquitous tool that also has a map making tool. We used it to plot existing automotive real estate hubs in different cities.

Google Maps

From there, we ranked the best prospective locations and used Google Maps to outline rent prices and options.

From there, we found two locations that offered the best promise to move forward with a real estate search.

Takeaway: Use Google Maps to quickly narrow potential locations in areas where you aren’t familiar. Look for industry clusters to create a spreadsheet of locations to tour with a realtor.

Next Steps

Location scouting doesn’t need to be an expensive, consultant-led operation. It also doesn’t have to be an exercise in intuition or professional guessing. 

Your existing digital toolset likely has all the data that you need to make an informed decision. The key is to gather it, sort it, and make it useful along with your existing business data & business goals.

If you’ve done your job right, you’ll be set up for success beyond opening day.

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