• How to Show Up on Search: Local vs National SEO

Local vs National SEO

Optimizing your website to attract organic search traffic is a best practice. But, taking it a step further and considering factors that play into your local versus national search results really amps up your effectiveness in reaching your target audience.

Related: Search Engine Optimization for Business (free eBook)

Local vs National SEO

What is Local SEO?

When we talk about local SEO (search engine optimization) we are referring to various tactics that will get your business to show up for location-based searches. This includes:

Google Searches

If you’re a shoe repair business in Jupiter, FL, you can optimize your website such that your homepage or other page on your website shows up first for the query “shoe repair jupiter FL”. This requires adding location-based keywords to specific parts of your website such as titles, headings, image tags, and the body of your website content.

Related: Local SEO Pocket Guide (free eBook)

Directory Searches

Getting your business listed in review sites and directories is also a type of local SEO practice. Having a complete and accurate listing, as well as an active presence and a steady flow of positive reviews can help your business to show up first (or ahead of your competitors) for location-specific directory searches.

Related: Business Listings eBook (free download)

Maps Searches

Maps searches, such as through Google Maps, are the third way in which your business can get found by nearby customers. Local SEO for maps searches involves getting on Google Maps, embedding a map on your contact us page, and adding keywords to your business description.

For more maps optimization tips, check out How to Rank Higher on Google Maps.

Benefits of Local SEO

Foot Traffic

In a commuter city or a location that has heavy foot traffic? Local SEO tactics will work to your benefit if potential customers nearby are looking for what you’re selling. Google has made great efforts to use our mobile device’s location services to provide location-specific results.

Get Recommended by Google

Consumers don’t want to look for a carpet cleaner just to be directed to company three states away. That’s why they trust Google searches (which yield local results) and Google Maps searches. To that end, showing up in a local search in this manner is like getting recommended by Google— a highy trusted source.

Get Discovered

While the above practices can help to drive traffic to your store, you don’t have to have a brick and mortar establishment to benefit from local SEO. Showing up for local searches, in general, helps your business to get discovered by people who don’t know to search your exact business name.

Attract Local Customers

Even if you are a business that provides services in other regions or even states, you can increase your appeal to nearby customers who might prefer a company that is in close proximity to them. On your side of things, it’s always nice to have local customers who can attend in-person client meetings and who may share more things in common with you than, say, a customer across the country.

What is National SEO?

National SEO is less focused on location and more focused on the content of the search. It’s particularly important for businesses who offer non-tangible services to outfit their sites keeping in mind that their content is going to be the primary draw in an online search.

Benefits of National SEO

Wide Reach

Having more people know your name is a good thing regardless of your location. Casting a wider net is never a bad idea, unless you can’t deliver your product/services across state lines in which case you’d only benefit optimizing for national searches by establishing yourself as an…

Industry Authority

Regardless of whether or not someone can do business with you locally, you can still become an authority in your field by becoming nationally known. Providing useful information about your industry using your blog or creating downloadable content can make you an essential online partner for other professionals.

Side note: If one of your main goals is to become a subject matter expert, it’s crucial that you include evergreen content – information on topics that will always be relevant and not strictly on trendy subjects that yield “of the moment” searches and then quickly become obsolete.

Which one is best for you?

Not every organization will benefit from both local and national SEO. Ask yourself what your goals are to determine how to proceed. Are you looking to have more customers walk through your doors? Do you want to check an item off your bucket list by shipping to all 50 states? Are you trying to increase the number of hits you receive on your blog?

Using both tactics is, of course, on the table too! Just because you want to turbo-charge your local search traffic results doesn’t mean you can’t also establish yourself as an online authority. Or, that you can’t focus on increasing online sales from your hometown even though you’re strictly an ecommerce company. Do some experimenting and testing if you’re unsure which strategy will work best. You may find a new revenue stream!

Mallory Adkins
Mallory Adkins
Mallory is a professional fundraiser, writer, and marketer for a non-profit organization based in Phoenix, AZ. She has developed website content for multiple national organizations and focuses most of her energy on fundraising through special events. She is passionate about small business development and the ASU Sun Devils, her alma mater.

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