Who is the King of SEO in Manchester?

I’ve been watching a site, as have many of us in Manchester, focused on ranking number 1 on the Google for the term “SEO Manchester” It’s quite a remarkable effort. The domain is young but keyword rich and it doesn’t have great link equity. Yet it ranks. I’m in two minds whether to link out to it as it’s doing well enough already, thank you very much. But you can see some good technique in play from the chap who delivered it. However, the question that you must ask is, is this a useful term or a vanity term? Do people actually use the term “SEO Manchester” to find search engine optimisation services? It’s an issue that we come up against constantly with clients: understanding the terms that your (potential) clients are actually using to find services like yours as opposed to the terms that you imagine that they use. Clients often want vanity terms. The great thing about what we do is that we can measure and test supposition against actual results. What do we think potential client around Manchester will use to find search engine optimisation services? What do they actually use? and crucially, what converts into an enquiry? It’s the conversion that matters most to us. In many ways, selling rankings is a disservice to the client. A ranking in itself is useless. A meaningful conversion is everything and a relevant search ranking that leads to that conversion has purpose.

Using Googles External Adwords tool, we can get some data as to what is used to find a broad range of SEO services. Here’s a completely inexhaustive list using a small set of seed terms with no regional qualifier:

Keywords Local Search Volume: June Global Monthly Search Volume
internet marketing        165000 1500000
online marketing 90500 823000
search engine optimisation 90500 165000
search marketing 90500 550000
search engine optimization 74000 823000
search engine marketing 60500 368000
web marketing 33100 368000
online advertising 33100 301000
seo company 27100 135000
seo services 27100 165000
internet advertising 27100 201000
website marketing 18100 135000
seo consultant 14800 40500
seo marketing 14800 60500
web promotion 12100 135000
website promotion 12100 165000
google seo 9900 60500
web seo 9900 74000
web advertising 9900 74000
free seo 8100 49500
website seo 8100 40500
internet marketing seo 6600 12100
optimization seo 6600 60500
seo expert 6600 40500
seo search engine 6600 40500
internet marketing company 6600 33100
best seo 5400 33100
google marketing 5400 33100
organic seo 5400 18100
search engine optimisation company 5400 6600
search engine optimisation services 5400 6600
internet marketing services 5400 40500
search engine placement 5400 74000
search engine positioning 5400 33100
seo agency 4400 18100
seo companies 4400 22200
seo service 4400 40500
seo specialist 4400 14800
search engine promotion 4400 27100
affordable seo 3600 22200
internet marketing online 3600 60500
internet marketing search engine 3600 18100
online marketing agency 3600 9900
search engine marketing company 3600 14800
search engine marketing services 3600 14800
seo advertising 3600 1600
seo blog 3600 40500
seo experts 3600 12100
seo site 3600 22200
seo web design 3600 33100

Interestingly, SEO doesn’t appear in any phrase until position 9. Internet Marketing appears to generate the most queries. Whether it converts into enquiries is another matter. It is a familiarity of terminology and perhaps a vanity of our own industry that we want to be King of SEO in Manchester. But does the potential client care?