How to Get Local Keyword Search Volumes for a City or State

Getting accurate search volume statistics is an important part of SEO research.   Unfortunately, almost all of the popular free keyword tools on the web only give you keyword volume statistics for a whole country.  Why is this?  Simple, almost all keyword tools use Google’s API to get keyword search volume data from the primary source, Google.  There is only one problem,  Google’s API only allows you too select a country and language.  This means all the free keyword tools using Google’s API don’t show local keyword search volumes.  So how do you get accurate, local keyword search volume data for cities, states and counties? Well, have two options:

  1. Use any free keyword tool and some math to get ballpark estimates (local population / country population) * country keyword volume [not recommended]
  2. Sign up for a Google Ads account and use Google’s official keyword planner to get accurate data. [recommended]

The first method is both fairly inaccurate and not recommended, but if you like to try, here it is. First, use any keyword tool that gives you accurate search volumes for a country.  Second, Google the population of your country and population of your target local market (city, state, county).  Third, divide the population of your target city or state by the population of your country and multiple by the search volume of your keyword/s.  Local Market Population / Country Population * Country Keyword Volume.  Example: Local SEO has 6600 monthly searches.   The United States population is 300 million.  Colorado’s population is 10 million.  (10 / 300) * 6600 = 220.  Ballpark estimate of people searching in Colorado for local seo is 220 monthly searches.

The second method is accurate and recommended.  Simply, sign up for a Google Ads account and use Google’s official keyword planner to get accurate local keyword data.

Google’s keyword planner is already the keyword research tool of choice for many SEO professionals for several reasons.  Here are the main reasons we prefer Google’s Keyword planner for our agencies SEO keyword research.

1. Local Keyword Search Volumes.  Unlike most keyword research tools, Google’s keyword planner allows you to see geographically specific keyword search volumes on a country, state, county, city or Nielsen DMA region level.  In addition, you can add any number of specific locations or languages together to get an accurate total search volume for your keywords in those locations.

 

Keyword Planner Local Search Volume

 

2. Relevant Keyword Ideas.  Google’s keyword planner offers hundreds of relevant keyword ideas for you based on a set of keywords of your choice.  Keyword ideas can be sorted by relevancy, search volume, competition, and bid range or download into a spreadsheet for further analysis.

 

Keyword Planner Relevant Ideas

 

3. Keyword Trend Data.  Understanding the trend of a keyword can be just as critical as its search volume or competition statistics for properly position your SEO campaign.  Google’s keyword planner allows you to see keyword trend data for 12 months, 24 months or “All Available” which could be 5+ years of keyword trend data.

 

Keyword Planner Trend Data

 

4. Google Ad Bid Range Data.  An important aspect of assessing keyword relevancy and competition is understanding what advertisers are willing to pay on clicks.  Google’s keyword planner allows you to see the Google Ads bid range data on the high and low side.

 

Keyword Planner Ad Bid Ranges

 

5. Data from the Direct Source.  Using the keyword planner assures your data is up-to-date, accurate and directly from the 800 lbs gorilla of search marketing, Google.

Instructions to get local keyword search volume:

  1. Sign up for a Google Ads Account
  2. Follow the Steps to Create a Search Campaign.  We recommend creating a simple brand campaign.
  3. Access the Keyword Planner in “Tools & Settings”
  4. Click “Discover New Keywords”
  5. Add your primary keywords
  6. Click the edit pencil next to “Locations”
  7. Enter your target locations and click save

So why don’t more people prefer Google’s keyword planner?  Well, although setting up a Google Ads account to get access to the keyword planner is free,  if you don’t run active campaigns in your Google Ads account, Google may limit the keyword planners search volume data to vague ranges.   This is the main reason many people opt for free keyword research tools.  So what is the solution?  This is the best solution we have found.

  1. Create a Google Ads Account
  2. Create a Brand Campaign for Your Business
  3. Limit or Restrict the Campaign to Spend as Little as You’d Like
  4. Get Access to The Full Features of the Keyword Planner.
  5. Bonus – Consider actually running search campaigns for your business.   Search marketing is one of the most effective types of advertising if done correctly.

Conclusion:

Google’s keyword planner is the direct source for pretty much all accurate keyword data and one of the only places to get accurate local keyword search volume data.  It is the creme de la creme of keyword tools, but requires you to either run a legitimate search marketing campaign or jump through a few odd hoops to make it free.