Q and A: Why is my regional keyword research so inconsistent?

QuestionHi Kalena

I feel like I am stuck with my keyword research.

I am researching SEO keywords for an Australian business that specializes in tree removal and tree felling. The keywords I chose for them were “tree removal” and “tree lopper” however when I enter these into Keyword Discovery for Australia I get nothing (although “tree removal” comes up quite a bit for global search).

These keywords best describe the business and although the tree removal operator prefers not to be called a tree lopper he is happy for me to use this term for search engine purposes. Yet when entering these keywords into Google it seems a lot of competitor sites come up. I am confused! Can you help?


Hello Louise

In my experience, most keyword research tools (such as Keyword Discovery or WordTracker) are highly inconsistent or downright inaccurate when it comes to regional search databases.

What I would do is to use the global database when choosing the best keywords to target and then see how they go in terms of bringing you traffic. You can tweak the keywords as you go based on the response and traffic you get. I would start broad e.g. “tree removal”, “tree felling” and then narrow your market based on the responses you receive e.g. “tree removal [city]” or “tree felling services”.

Another way to measure your potential regional market is to set up a basic pay per click campaign using Google AdWords, targeting Australia only and targeting the keywords you wish to test. Then monitor the number of impressions that your keywords get. Note I said impressions and not clicks. Set the budget low or design your ads in a way you don’t necessarily attract clicks (so it’s a cheap and dirty experiment).

The number of impressions you get per week will give you a ballpark idea of how many Australian searchers are looking for those particular keywords in Google per week.

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Twitter Adds Local Trends Tracking Tool

Twitter quietly rolled out a new feature today that enables users to choose a regional preference for viewing trending topics.

Called Twitter Local Trends, the new functionality gives users the option to set their regional location and view trending topics happening in their part of the world. For example, one of the screenshots pictured shows that the topic “Trafalgar Square” is trending for users that have United Kingdom set as their region (because it relates to a well known London icon), but not for users that have set their region to Worldwide.

At this stage, only seven countries and 15 cities in the US are available for selection (see screenshot below) but more will be added soon.

According to a post on Mashable, the feature has only rolled out to around 1 percent of Twitter users, but there’s nothing official on the Twitter Blog about it yet. I noticed it in my account this afternoon so I’m not sure if I’m part of the lucky 1 percent or whether it has rolled out to a larger audience since it went live this morning.

Regardless, when it does roll out to everyone, it will make a huge difference to how we use Twitter to target a regional audience. The benefits for geo-based mobile apps like Four Square and Gowalla should be immediately apparent. Add to that the ability to pinpoint regional trends in real time search and this becomes a social media game changer.

Everybody knows a business that is still sceptical about using Twitter. But when they see they have the power to follow and influence social media conversation in their specific target markets using Local Trends, I think even the sceptics could be convinced to start using Twitter as a full time marketing channel.

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Search Engine Wiki Comes Out of BETA

Did you know that Search Engine Wiki – the world’s first vertical wiki dedicated to search engines and search engine marketing is now two years old? It’s true!  To celebrate, we’ve taken the site out of BETA and given it a facelift.

Long time readers of this blog will remember when we first launched the site back in November 2007. The idea behind Search Engine Wiki is to provide a collaborative online library of search engine marketing (SEM) resources.

We’ve been spending a lot of time on Search Engine Wiki lately, adding new resources and checking for broken links. We’re particularly proud of our comprehensive list of worldwide search engines and directories, categorized by country and region.

Our list of Australian search engines has just been updated this week, so if you run link building campaigns for Australian clients, you might want to pop your head in there and make sure their sites are listed in all of them. We’ll be making a post here soon featuring all the new Australian search engines and directories.

Another popular section of Search Engine Wiki is our Niche Search Engines category. In here you’ll find lists of search engines and directories categorized by niche, industry or theme e.g. weddings, business, travel or government.

So if you haven’t visited Search Engine Wiki for a while, now’s a great time to pop in. It’s a community wiki, so if you have additional search engines, tools or resources to add, we’d welcome your contributions.

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Q and A: How do I target different regional markets using keywords?

QuestionDear Kalena

I understand how to put keyword phrases together – I think, but with my target markets in the US, Australia and the UK, how do I target those markets? I assume I want those markets to see my page and not necessarily other countries.

How the heck do I do that?



Dear Cliff

It’s a tricky business targeting different regional markets using SEO. A couple of things to keep in mind:

1) Think about how users search differently in each market. Think about regional spelling and grammar uses. Research the market and the top ranking sites for your target keywords in those markets. Then build pages that are optimized for those regional search terms and patterns.

2) Make good use of Google’s Regional Location tool.

Hope this helps!

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Q and A: Will building a version of my site in another language create duplicate content issues?

QuestionHi Kalena

I was wondering if you would be able to give me some insight on a question that I have. I am working on launching a spanish version of my company’s website. It’s a mirror of our current site where when a user goes in should they select Spanish they can view the pages in Spanish.

Will this pose a problem to SEO if the pages remain the same name?  Our hosting company has created a new folder where the spanish files sit, and the structure mirrors the English version of the site.   If the spanish version of the website is set up this way, will the search engines consider these duplicate pages?

Thank you,

Hi Heather

If the mirror pages are in Spanish, then they are not duplicates and won’t be treated as such. Smile! You have nothing to worry about.

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