Local SEO and national SEO are two different types of search engine optimization (SEO) that target different audiences. Local SEO is designed to help businesses rank higher in search results for local searches, while national SEO is designed to help businesses rank higher for national searches. These rankings and the success of your SEO all start with the foundation of how your website is structured and your Google My Business (GMB) is set up.
This article is going to focus on two important steps to creating the foundation for local SEO and national SEO. The first is setting up your Google My Business Listing and the second is setting up your website for either local SEO or national SEO.
How Local SEO Works
For search purposes, Google factors in Relevance, Distance, and Prominence..
Relevance: How closely the search criteria meets your company’s keywords.
Distance: How far away are you from the guest.
Prominence: How important your business is to the user.
Mapping plays an important role in GMB, setting up areas by state, city, county, parish, and radius of areas you serve. When people are searching for your product or service and want a local company, Google will determine if you qualify within the search criteria.
Because GMB is map based, Google makes the assumption that you are looking for a local company.
How National SEO Works
National SEO focuses more on the product and service without a focus on geographic location. Ranking on a National SEO level is more of a challenge than local, however it is possible to achieve success.
Choosing the right keywords and setting up the foundation on your website can help create successful SEO campaigns. Monitor your progress, you may need to make adjustments to your national SEO campaign. This could include changing your keywords, optimizing your website further, and building more national based backlinks.
Let’s Get Started!
Now that you know the basics, let’s dive in and get started with setting up your SEO. Let’s focus on your Google My Business and how it is set up.
Setting Up Google My Business
GMB is not just a business listing, it is associated as a Google Maps function. How you set up your location is critical to your local SEO vs national SEO.
If you want to focus on local SEO, then you need to set up by state, city, county / parish, and radius of areas you serve. When people are searching for your product or service and want a local company, Google will know you qualify within the search criteria.
If your company is national, when setting up your GMB you do not want to be specific about areas. You want to check the box that reads, “I serve customers at their location”. This will let Google know you are a national organization.
You may want to consider setting up several GMB’s to target specific regions. I will talk more about linking specific website pages to location GMB’s later in this article.
Foundational SEO on Your Website
Now we are going to breakdown setting your website up for SEO success.
Local SEO on Your Website
When setting up your website, you want to include local geographical keywords. If you need help determining keywords for your industry and what your competition is using, I recommend using the Google Keyword Planner.
Design your website to appeal to the local market. Your keywords should contain a local geographical qualifiers. If a user types in a search criteria, “Clothing Boutique Baton Rouge” or “Youth Sporting Equipment Near Me” Google will show the local results based on your SEO.
Local SEO on your website also places a big emphasis on your contact information, Name, Address, and Phone Number and embedding a Google Map.
National SEO on Your Website
National SEO on your website is a bit more complicated. You want to stay away from anything that will compartmentalize you to one specific area. Yet, you still need to appeal to a larger, more broad audience.
I suggest creating your base website with the national keywords embedded. Then decide on your target areas (region, state, cities). Once you narrow down your key areas, create landing pages based on your target regions. These pages should be specific to appeal to each area. Use these pages as your website links on the regional GMB listings.
Essentially you are creating a national website but can break down into appealing to chosen regions. To a certain degree this will help you gain both local and national SEO. While you want to have contact information on your website, you want to refrain from placing too much emphasis on your location.
Key Differences Between Local SEO and National SEO
Target audience. Local SEO targets customers in a specific geographic area, while national SEO targets customers all over the country. For national SEO utilize landing pages that are specific to your target regions.
Keywords: Local SEO focuses on keywords that are relevant to a specific geographic area, while national SEO focuses on keywords that are relevant to a national audience. Choose the right keywords. When choosing keywords for your national SEO campaign, it's important to choose those that are relevant to your business and that have a high search volume.
Optimize your website for search engines. Once you've chosen your keywords, you need to optimize your website for search engines. This includes things like adding relevant keywords to your website's title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. You should also make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Content. Local SEO content should focus on topics that are relevant to a specific geographic area, while national SEO content should focus on topics that are relevant to a national audience.
Build Backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They are important for SEO because they help to improve your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). You can build backlinks by creating high-quality content, guest blogging, and participating in online forums and directories. Local SEO backlinks should come from websites that are relevant to a specific geographic area, while national SEO backlinks should come from websites that are relevant to a national audience.
Monitor your progress. It's important to monitor your progress so that you can see how your national SEO campaign is performing. You can use a variety of tools to track your progress, such as Google Analytics.
Monitoring your progress is critical to your success because you will need to make adjustments to your national SEO campaign. This could include changing your keywords, optimizing your website further, or building more backlinks. SEO is not static, it is a dynamic marketing campaign that needs to be analyzed and adjusted.
By following these tips, you can set up a successful national SEO campaign that will help you to reach more customers and grow your business.