Keyword Research & Finding Local Keywords

There are a million and one keyword research tools out there. And everyone of them claim to find the hidden gems that the other tools overlook.

I’ll admit, I have purchased dozens of these over the years! What can I say, I’m a sucker for good sales copy.

While some of them have some pretty cool features, I always end up just going back to the tried and true method of using Google’s own data. This tutorial shows the process that I use to discover the best KWs for any local client.

The best part is that these don’t cost a dime to use. They do, however, require a little time to compile a comprehensive list but once it’s done, you’ll have all the data you need for several months worth of content marketing.

Here are the three tools I use:

1. Google Trends
2. Google KW Planner
3. Google Suggest Tool

Step 1: Enter your seed KWs into the Trends tool and filter by location. You can go broad or narrow all the way down to a city level. I generally try to get as narrow as possible by going all the way to the city level. But there are times where there won’t be enough data so you have to widen the area by going up a level to a region. This is the hierarchy that I would follow:

city – region – state – country

In other words, look at city level first and if you have a good amount of data, then your golden. But if thereis little or no data, move up to region. If not enough there, move up to state, and so on.

Once you have a good data set to work with, take notes on the “Top” terms as well as the “Rising”. These will be used as seed KWs in the KW Planner.

And be sure to take advantage of the ability to compare up to 5 KWs at a time. You can get a great list of seed KWs based on their interest level in your target location.

Step 2: Go to the KW Planner and set the Targeting to your target city. Paste your list of KWs that you generated from Trends and click “Get Ideas”.

After it thinks for a moment you be served with two tabs, “Ad Group Ideas” and “Keyword Ideas”. Both of these tabs can provide valuable insights into the KWs that Google determines are relevant and in fact, the Ad Group Ideas can be used to help design website silo structure, but that is for another blog post!

Go to the Keyword Ideas tab and look at the results to get more of a feel for the related terms. Or just go ahead and export the list because next you’re going to want to go through the exported csv file and eliminate all of the KWs that aren’t relevant.

This can take a while! The csv file will usually contain about 800 KWs! After you filter them you may still end up with several hundred KWs.

Step 3: Go to and enter your top level KW (usually the one with the highest search volume) along with you city name (i.e. insurance atlanta) and hit search. You’ll have to go through that list, too, but you’ll find some awesome KWs in there to target right away in an SEO campaign. Remember, always go for the low hanging fruit first.

Just click on the green + sign for each KW that you want to keep and then when you’re done you can copy the resulting list and add to your csv file in a separate tab.

Step 4: This is something I recently started doing that also gives great ideas. Take some of the local terms returned by Ubersuggest and do a Google search on them. Look at the top 2 or 3 sites in the Google results page and click through to the website. Copy the URL and go back to the KW Planner and paste into the field labeled “Your Landing Page”.

The results you get from these landing page queries are the KWs associated with the top ranked websites for your target terms! This is a great way to spy on the top ranked competitors. Think about it, they have already done a lot of the research, so you might as well model their work.

Download those as well and copy them into another tab of your Excel workbook.

By the way, I have to give credit to Dan Shure for this idea that he revealed in his recent article:

Now you should have a comprehensive local keyword list that you can use for building a site and for content marketing. This also helps you to gain a good understanding of the market for that industry which will help you design better campaigns.

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Bradley Benner –

Set Up a CDN Using Amazon CloudFront

Sometimes using a caching plugin alone isn’t enought to get your WordPress page speed to a reasonable level. Fortunately Amazon CloudFront can be used as an easy and affordable way to improve load times considerably.

In this video, I show how to setup a CDN using Amazon CloudFront with about 10 minutes of work.

You will need:

  • W3 Total Cache
  • Amazon S3 Account (for CloudFront)
  • Access to your Domain DNS Editor

Before you start, be sure to run a test on your site at
to create a point of reference.

  1. Login to Amazon account
  2. Click on name in top corner and then click on Security Credentials
  3. Click Access Keys and copy the Access Key ID
  4. Click the Show button for Secret Access Key (or retrieve if you already have one). Copy this key.
  5. Go to WP – Performance – General Settings
  6. Scroll to section marked CDN Type and select Amazon CloudFront from the Origin Pull area. Now check Enable – Save all settings
  7. Performance – CDN – Scroll to Configuration
  8. Enter Access Key ID and Secret Key from Amazon S3
  9. Click Create Distribution
  10. Go back to Amazon and navigate to CloudFront console
  11. You should see the new Distribution in the Distribution List
  12. Wait until the Status goes from In Progress to Active (10 min or more)
  13. Click on the “i” icon and then copy the domain that has been assigned in the General tab
  14. Go to your Cpanel, scroll to Domains section, and select Simple DNS Zone Editor
  15. Create an alias in the Name field for the CNAME. Ex:
  16. Enter the original URL from CloudFront in the CNAME field then click Add CNAME Record
  17. Go back to CloudFront and click the “i” button, then edit under the General tab.
  18. Enter your CNAME into the box labeled “Alternate Domain Names (CNAMEs)” then click the Yes Edit box in the bottom right corner
  19. Return to W3 Total Cache to the CDN tab
  20. Add the CNAME that you created in the box “Replace site’s hostname with:” #1. Then Save All Settings
  21. Click Test CloudFront Distribution and it should turn green
  22. Enable the settings to be cached and served by the CDN under the General settings area (same screen). Recommended settings are:
    • Host attachments
    • Host wp-includes/files
    • Host theme files
    • Host custom files

Save All Settings

Now just refresh your home page and right click to view page source. You should see most of your website files are pointing to your CDN URL.

NOTE: After step #21 it will take another 10 to 15 minutes before the Amazon server has fully deployed. During this time your site will appear broken. RELAX!!! It’ll be fine once the server fully deploys.

Now go check your site at GT Metrix to see how much of an improvement the CDN has made.

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Bradley Benner —

5 Steps For Improving Page Speed

5 Steps For Improving Page Speed –

This video shows 5 quick and easy steps that you can take to speed up your WordPress site.

Page speed (load time) has been a ranking factor considered by Google since 2010:

While there is conflicting opinions regarding how much of a ranking factor page speed really is, one thing that all can agree on is that a fast loading page means a happier visitor. Happier visitors tend to stay on the site longer (high Time On Site).

On the other hand, a slow loading page annoys most people. That’s when they hit the “back” button (considered a bounce) and find another site.

And since we know that Bounce Rate and Time On Site are considered important for SEO ranking, then it stands to reason, in my opinion, that page speed IS a ranking factor.

One of the common problems for a lot of WordPress sites are that the themes don’t always load fast. Add to that the number and type of plugins and you can wind up with some really slow load times.

After testing many caching plugins and various page speed tweaks, I have boiled down a simple and quick way to speed load times considerably with about 5 minutes of work:

5 Steps For Improving Page Speed

  1. Test Site Using
  2. Optimize Images
  3. Install W3 Total Cache
  4. Enable Caching (Browser & Page)
  5. Optimize Database – Install GD Press Tools Plugin

Re-test with GTMetrix and you should have seen notable improvement. If more is still needed at this point, you can add a CDN (Content Delivery Network). I will be producing another training video about how to set a CDN up using Amazon CloudFront in my next installment.

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Bradley Benner —

Local SEO Training & Ranking Factors

In this video I show multiple examples of what is working right now for local SEO ranking.

I show the top ranked local business sites for their respective keywords (omitting any business directory sites like Yellowpages) and then a quick analysis of their backlink profiles.

You’ll quickly see a pattern emerge from this small cross section of sites. This is by no means a thorough analysis but it does strongly suggest that the to obtain the top position, a site’s link profile has to be almost keyword free.

That’s right, I DID JUST SAY THAT.

A keyword free link profile seems bass ackwards from all that we (SEOs) have known. But guys, from my research over the past week, I have seen more and more evidence of this.

In fact, I have seen sites with really strong [traditional] link profiles drop considerably while sites that, based on traditional SEO knowledge, had no business being in the top 20 ranking in the top 3!

Why is that? Well, according to this limited research shown in the video, it seems that MORE THAN 50% of anchor text should be URL or Brand anchors. Some of these examples are 100% brand and URL anchors WITH NO MENTION of the target keyword at all.

Go research these examples yourself. And while you’re at it, look at the link profiles for the sites near the bottom of page one (and even page two) for each of the search terms.

You’ll see that the more traditionally optimized sites, with higher quantity of links and more targeted keyword anchors, are being outranked by sites with little (and in some cases no) backlinks at all.

From a pure backlink profile perspective and ignoring on-page, it’s all about Brand and URL anchors. Period.

So, while I’m not claiming that I’ve cracked the Google code, I am suggesting that we stop building keyword anchors and instead focus on brand and URL and of course, better site structure and on-page optimization.

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Bradley Benner –

Search Engine Optimization Training