When it comes to local SEO one of the toughest parts of the job is keyword research. Oftentimes query volume for keywords with locations as modifiers is so low that Google's keyword tool, and now keyword planner simply don't have any data to provide on the keyword.
When working with keywords that don't have a lot of query data, the hardest part is oftentimes deciding what variation of a keyword to target. One example would be the use of "pest control" versus "exterminator" in your local keyword targeting for a pest control company.
If you don't have any analytics data or keyword tool data, it might be hard to decide which term to use. This is where Google Trends can come in handy.
Google Trends can provide some pretty granular insight into the kinds of terms people are searching in a region.
After typing in a term, or a handful of terms, you can see trends behind the usage of keywords and then drill down further by region. This can help you better understand the behavior of searches in the area and the terminology they are using.
For example, let's say you have a client located in Chico, California, and need to understand how to target their local SEO. Would it make more sense to target the keyword "exterminator" or "pest control"?
Low search volume will prevent any data from showing up in Google's keyword tool. And the company has never optimized for the area, so there's no analytics data to provide any insight either.
In such a case, you can turn to Google Trends.
By typing in "exterminator" and then "pest control", you're able to drill down to Chico/Redding and see what sort of trends, if any, there are behind the two keywords.
While Google's data set likely is very small, since it couldn't provide any further regional information related to the query, you'll learn that the term "pest control" had a tendency to be used more than exterminator:
While this is obviously a small data set, it at least helps us better understand how people in the region search and the terminology they are using for this particular type of business.
When you don't have any other data to go off of, this is oftentimes a great way to start and then build from. Better yet, the technique doesn't have to be limited to keyword research; it can be used simply to better understand words are using to describe your brand, product, or service in a particular region.