SEO investing is more beneficial now for your business than it has been ever before. Any business that decides to benefit from organic SEO is providing authority, reputation, and visibility to help attract new customers. In order to grow organic traffic pursuing different SEO strategies will take time to produce the same goal. It can be difficult to identify where your business stands and what kinds of strategies are best to utilize and start with in SEO.
Being able to understand local and national SEO is a right-minded place to begin. Different businesses have unique factors and characteristics that distinguish them from their respective competitors. Local and national SEO both have the purpose of optimizing search engines and characterizing which strategy is more effective for specific businesses to use.
Both local and national SEO strategies share parallel principles in ranking higher on search engines and gaining the maximum amount of traffic. They also vary in factors such as making content or how they obtain certain goals. Considering the differences, how do you be certain which SEO platform is most beneficial for your business to use?
Throughout this article there will be discussions about the difference between local and national SEO, the marketing strategies that go into them, and the advantages and disadvantages each platform could have with your business.
Local SEO and National SEO
The purpose of search engine’s, much like Google, is to prevent relevant and useful information for their users. One key factor that assist in building credibility to a user is comfortability with their query. If results share a close location to the user it becomes more relevant and trustworthy to them. When users can find a similarity with their search intent they begin to trust search engines more with any future search queries.
When location is a key component in your business’ search query it helps build a noteworthy connection with future customers. Local and national SEO focus on targeting local, national, and global audiences to help produce potential customers for your business. Businesses that do not take advantage of SEO strategies continuously suffer the loss of opportunities to grow their audience.
Even though local and national SEO share the same goals, what differentiates these SEO strategies to provide the best service to gain more organic users?
Local SEO optimizes a business’ online presence to rank for local searches. Businesses, described as small or medium-sized, that utilize local SEO elevate their exposure to local customers online and influence their local markets. It is crucial especially for brick and mortar local businesses to have an online presence for physical locations through local SEO. When it’s hard to compete with larger brands or businesses on a national level, local SEO is important to take full advantage of.
Choosing local SEO optimizes your business’ online presence to drive traffic to your website from a specified location. Therefore, if your business wants to narrow focus on predominantly local customers, local SEO provides long-lasting growth while continuing to target potential customers within a specific geographic area.
The strategies for local SEO are very similar to traditional, but can involve business listing sites. Some common listing sites include Yelp, Angie’s List, and Manta as well as social campaigns to help rankings and visibility. With these sites, you’re interacting directly to the people who are in a closer proximity to your business and therefore more likely to buy your product. Reputation management and review transparency can also play a large role in local SEO success.
The main purpose of National SEO is to reach customers as well as driving website traffic and conversions on a national or global level. It is more beneficial for businesses who are not focused on servicing a specific geographical area, but on a national or global customer basis. Only a few businesses need to utilize a national SEO campaign. With that being said, national SEO is more of a hybrid that uses a number of local tactics as well as a number of additional marketing strategies.
National SEO campaigns tend to be more complex, difficult to tackle, and more expensive than local SEO. When you increase into a bigger platform such as national SEO, your business will have a wider target audience. Businesses that try to rank on a national level ultimately means more competition. The best area to focus on in national SEO is your brand. Because you are competing against other national brands, it’s important to make sure your brand is just as strong. Improving your brand helps improve your national SEO.
While debating which SEO strategy to use, taking a step back and analyze your business would be the first step you need to take. Both SEO strategies could end up benefiting your business, but it’s important to focus on which one fits your businesses needs.
For example, let’s say your business is a 4 year old southern fried chicken restaurant in Atlanta. 2 new competitors have moved into the Atlanta area over the past year and you want your business to become more recognized than the others through higher SEO rankings. While it’s important for this business to build its brand and reputation through its customers, national SEO would not be as beneficial as local SEO will be. By using local SEO through cheaper methods, using geo-specific keywords in the Atlanta area, and having less competition from a local standpoint versus a regional or global standpoint will help strengthen and improve their SEO strategy and rankings. Overall, it’s important to observe your businesses standings and then decide what SEO strategy best aligns with your goals.
When planning your local SEO strategies, you should establish where your potential customers live, understand what is relevant and appeals to them, and how you are going to establish your business as part of a local community. Investing in local search can help you establish and retain a competitive advantage over your competitors and gain more customers. However, your business should keep in mind that local SEO is an ongoing process. Remaining up to date and educated within your industry helps your business stay ahead of your competitors in your ongoing SEO process.
Here are a few examples of strategies your business can utilize to help improve local SEO:
- Constantly check and update your Google My Business information.
- Use the name of the city where your business is located consistently throughout your website.
- Create your company profiles on social media websites and include your all of your business contact information.
- Include the name of your city within the content on your website.
- Make pages on your business website for each physical location.
Local keywords focus on geo-specific keywords within their targeted geographical area to reach potential customers. These campaigns are cheaper for smaller businesses to afford and take less power. Creating business pages, entering business listings, and having a social presence is important for this strategy. Social media can be more difficult to manage and gain engagement from a local standpoint. Instead reaching out through the community and other small businesses can help ground a presence.
Some benefits of local SEO include ranking in your local market is often less competitive. Growing visibility in your local area, depending on your industry and market size, typically will take anywhere around 3-6 months. It is often quicker and easier, for newer companies specifically, because you don’t necessarily need a large domain authority; which is determined by age and quality of site. If your domain does not have much authority yet, it makes sense to focus on your geographic location to start a customer base.
While local and national SEO have many similarities, their strategies do not always work the same. National SEO should focus being strategic, methodical, and aimed to promote your brand. It’s important to keep in mind that high-quality content is key in running and ranking your site for national SEO.
These are a few examples of strategies your business can utilize to help improve national SEO:
- Build a well-designed and mobile-friendly website.
- Make your website search engine friendly using on page SEO.
- Use tools such as meta tags (titles and descriptions), heading tags, and URL strings.
- Utilize keywords, keyword research, and keyword mapping into specific pages on your website. This is to use the best keywords within your industry and against your competitors.
- Create high-quality content that provides value and use it to build backlinks.
- Use tools such as guest posts, content outreach, and create infographics.
National keyword campaigns typically have a much larger budget than smaller businesses and in addition a lot more power. This is what helps them succeed when trying to rank for more generic keywords. Oftentimes, national SEO also has a lot of resources available which means having better management for social platforms. When your business/brand competes against other brands such as Walmart, eBay, Amazon, etc. it’s important to have these marketing tools available to help compete against others. Even though national SEO is more complex, comprehensive, and expensive, with the right tools and content marketing strategies put in place your national SEO will grow to succeed.