As we go further into the future, investing in SEO is more beneficial now for your business more than ever. Devoting efforts into organic SEO benefits any business by providing authority, reputation, and visibility to help attract new customers. Pursuing different SEO strategies will take time to grow organic traffic and produce the same goals. However, it can be hard to know where your business stands and what strategies are best to utilize and start with in SEO.

Understanding local and national SEO is a good place to start. Businesses differentiate in factors and characteristics that separate them from their competitors. Local and national SEO have a purpose in common in optimizing search engines and characterizing which strategy is more effective for specific businesses to use. 

Both types of SEO strategies share similar principles in ranking higher on search engines and receiving the maximum amount of traffic. They also differ in factors such as producing content or  how they reach a certain goal. With all these different factors, how do you know which SEO platform is best for your business to use?

In this article we will discuss 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 and National SEO

Search engine’s, such as Google, purpose is to provide relevant information to their users. One factor that helps build credibility to a user is familiarity with their query. Having results that share a close location to the user becomes more relevant and trustworthy to the user. Users who find a similarity with their search intent, trust search engines more with their future search queries.

Having location be a key component in your business’ search query helps build a leading connection with future customers. Local and national SEO focus on targeting local, national, and global audiences to help produce potential customers for your business. When businesses don’t utilize these SEO strategies, they lose the opportunity to grow their audience. 

While local and national SEO share the same goals, what makes them different in an SEO strategy?

Local SEO

Local SEO optimizes a business’ online presence to rank for local searches. Small to medium-sized businesses who utilize local SEO increase their exposure to local customers online and influence their local markets. It’s important 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.

Having local SEO optimizes your online presence to drive traffic to your website from a specific location. So if your business wants to fully focus on local customers, local SEO provides long-lasting growth while targeting potential customers within a specific geographic area.

The strategies for local SEO are very similar to traditional, but can involve business listing sites. Some of these listing sites include Yelp, Angie’s List, and Manta as well as social campaigns to help rankings and visibility. With this, you’re interacting directly to the people who are in 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. These strategies also include ranking for locational queries in order to pull local traffic to a physical location. 

google my business computer screen with directions

National SEO

National SEO reaches customers and drives website traffic and conversions on a national or global level. It is more useful for businesses who focus not on servicing a specific geographical area, but on a national or global customer basis. Very few businesses need to utilize a national SEO campaign. However, national SEO is really more of a hybrid that utilizes a number of local tactics along with 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 step into a bigger platform such as national SEO, your business will have a much wider target audience. There are more businesses that try to rank on a national level which ultimately means more competition. The best area to focus on in national SEO is your brand. You’re constantly competing against other national brands and it’s important to make sure your brand is just as strong (if not stronger). Improving your brand helps improve your national SEO.

 

SEO Strategies

When analyzing any SEO strategy to use, taking a step back and looking at your business is the first step you need to take. Both SEO strategies could end up benefiting your business, but for most cases it’s important to focus on which one fits your businesses needs.

fried chicken

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 won’t be as beneficial as local SEO will be. Utilizing local SEO through cheaper methods, 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 take a look at your businesses standings and then decide what SEO strategy best aligns with your goals.

Local SEO

When planning your local SEO strategies, you should determine where your potential customers live, understand what appeals to them, and establish your business as part of a local community. Investing in local search can help you establish a competitive advantage over your competitors and gain more customers. However, your business should keep in mind that local SEO is an ongoing process. Educating and staying up to date 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 area to reach potential customers. These campaigns are much 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 harder to manage and gain engagement from a local standpoint. However, reaching out through the community and other small businesses can help ground a presence.

Some of the 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 as much domain authority (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.

National SEO

While local and national SEO have a lot in common, their strategies don’t always work the same. National SEO should focus being strategic, methodical, robust, 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.

Here 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 larger budget than smaller businesses and a lot more power. This is what helps them succeed when trying to rank for more generic keywords. Oftentimes, national SEO also has more 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 crucial to have these marketing tools available to help compete. While 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.

 

Having a solid foundation of SEO should be a priority for your business. It can be difficult to know where to start or how to move forward through SEO. If you’re in need of assistance, look no further! Visit Boostability’s partner program to discover opportunities to grow your businesses SEO strategy together.

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Kelsi has been with Boostability since 2015, working as an account manager on both the Websites and SEO team before moving into partner management. She is passionate about helping small businesses and finding creative ways to problem-solve. An avid roadtripper, Kelsi grew in Charleston, South Carolina and attended Utah Valley University where she studied Marketing and Public Relations.