How to Do Tradesmen Keyword Research: A Beginner's Guide

Find The Right List of Keywords To Build Your Website SEO Around

By: John Devlin

SEO Tradesmen

The screenshot below shows the exact search terms people type into Google to find a drainage company in London, I found these in under 5 minutes.

  • All tradesmen and home improvement professionals can repeat this step by step keyword research process.

Due to you probably being new to local keyword research it may take you 10 or 15 minutes, but you can do it too.

Firstly, what is keyword research & why it underpins all your local SEO efforts.

If the content on your website matches the keywords searched by the user then you have a chance of appearing at the top of search engine results pages.

In this case, the top of Google.

You won’t be guaranteed anything, several other critical factors go into any successful SEO campaign, but it’s the first step.

When done right it can easily be enough to get a local tradesmen website moving up the rankings, with hyper-local keywords (smaller towns and villages) it can be enough alone to hit the top five search results.

One thing is for sure, a website targeting the wrong keywords will struggle and will almost certainly be leaving money on the table.

So we need to get this right.

Let’s dive in.

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Step 1 - choose your primary industry keyword

For example:

  • Roofing Contractor
  • Landscaper
  • Electrician
  • Builder
  • Kitchen Fitter
  • Drainage Company
  • Fencing Company
  • Plumber
  • CCTV Installer
  • Tiler
  • Garage Door Company
  • Bathroom Company
  • Bedroom Company

You get the point.

Step 2 - add the biggest city to those search terms like so

(You want one of the top cities in your country)

  • Roofing Contractor London
  • Landscaper London
  • Electrician London
  • Builder London
  • Kitchen Fitter London
  • Drainage Company London
  • Fencing Company London
  • Plumber London
  • CCTV Installer London
  • Tiler London
  • Garage Door Company London
  • Bathroom Company London
  • Bedroom Company London

We ignore our cities, towns and villages because, with local keyword research, the data from even the best keyword research tools will be too low.

I live near Newcastle with nearly 250,000 people in and around the city alone.

Of course, there will be loads of people searching say “Electrician Newcastle” but these keyword tools don’t start recording until they have at least ten exact searches every month.

Bear in mind, everyone searches differently, and the way they search varies.

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Searchers looking for the above electrical business might type the following.

  • Electrician Newcastle
  • Electrician Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Electrician in Newcastle
  • Rated electrician Newcastle
  • I need an electrician Newcastle
  • Find me an electrician Newcastle
  • Newcastle electricians
  • Recommended electricians Newcastle


And so on.

So as you can see, search volumes start to get diluted.

Meaning keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush struggle to collect enough data for smaller cities and towns.

In a city like London, With a population of nearly 9 million people the data collected is a lot more accurate, and we can see which would be the best keyword to target for our page.

Note – To do professional keyword research and get this right first time you are going to need to use keyword tools, like everything the best tools are not free.

In my opinion, Ahrefs is the best keyword research tool out there are and our use it every day. Their packages start at £99 a month, but they do offer a $7 – 7-day free trial which should be more than enough for you to complete this exercise.

If you don’t want to sign up for the trial and pay the $7 then there are loads of ways to do free keyword research out there. I will link to some great resources below.

Best Free Keyword Research Tools

Step 3 - Find the top ranking business for your keyword in the large city

Things to note:

Ignore listing sites like YELP, Home Advisor, Checkatrade, Yell, Rated People and any other site that has a long list of companies. 

Ignore the map pack.

Follow the images as I go through the process for a local drainage company. 

Hover over the listing, right click the mouse and select copy link address.

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Step 4 – Using Ahrefs to reverse engineer keywords 

So yes, we are going to take a look at a company in the same industry like ours, pitching for the same services we want just in a much larger city.

Head over to Ahrefs and follow these instructions 

Top left click site explorer, you should go to this screen. 

Right-click, paste the link address copied earlier in here. 

Set the drop-down in blue to URL and hit the orange button.

So, the Ahrefs keyword tool will look at just the keywords this top-ranking page appears for and not all the keywords that the site ranks for. 

Bear in mind this site might have 20 services and cover 8 locations, we don’t want all that data, well not yet anyhow. 

Step 5 - On the next page select "Organic keywords."

Step 6 - Change 1-2 settings so we get just the local keywords

Add the location in the blue square box, in my example London and uncheck the box next to it “URL”, so we only see keywords. Click apply.

Now we have the correct list of keywords and these are the most important search phrases people type in for our business, there will be one or two in there that are not relevant like words around “jobs” but we can just remove those from the list. 

Click export and download the list to an excel spreadsheet. 

Step 7 - Changing the locations and cleaning the list

I use Google Docs for everything, but if you use excel, you can do this to it.

Delete out all columns of the spreadsheet keeping 

Filter column B to show the highest value first and you should end up with something like this.

And this is why we do keyword research! 

  • Column A – Keyword 
  • Column B – Volume 

Who knew that the most searched keyword for drainage company was “blocked drains”

Most people would have thought it would be drainage services or something like it. 

Step 8 - Last step

Click the first column and follow these instructions. 

Top left select edit > find and replace 

Enter your city or town in the “Replace with” box and hit replace all 

In this case, I have changed London, to my town Gateshead.

This way, I have all the top searches for a drainage company in Gateshead that no tool would have given me due to lack of data. 

If you are a drainage specialist, then go ahead and use these keywords for your homepage or main location page. There good!

 If you have followed all the steps, you will need to move on to the next part of the process.

How To Use Keywords On a Page.


Last note: This is the process of finding tradesmen keywords is for your leading service.

You can repeat the research for all of your additional services and go on to build a fantastic website built on solid keyword research and one that search engines will clearly understand.

Good Luck  

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SEO Tradesmen

John Devlin

With over 20 years working in the home improvement industry, I have successfully transitioned from a small trades business owner to a digital marketer. I knew very early that the secret to growing a trades business would rely heavily on learning scalable lead generation strategies and marketing the business better than others online. This blog is where I share everything I learned (and continue to learn) on my journey.