Local Vs. National SEO: What To Choose?
SEO is widely known as a highly valuable and effective strategy in digital marketing, but all SEO isn’t made equal. What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another, and taking a local versus national approach to SEO can make or break the outcome of a campaign. In evaluating your SEO, it’s important to know which plan will pack the biggest punch – and where to target your strategies.
BREAKING DOWN LOCAL VS. NATIONAL SEO
Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is the use of search-related tools like keywords and metadata to boost visibility in search engine results. How this is done can vary based on company mission, industry, and competitors, but the same basic tactics generally apply.
For the most effective outcome, it’s important to determine where focus lies: on a local level, or national one. The answer can effectively guide the course of a campaign, honing in on the most likely customers and improving the likelihood of generating convertible leads.
Local SEO, as the name implies, hones in on a certain locality versus taking a widespread approach. Keywords are heavily fixated on geo-specific terms, including names of neighborhoods, cities, states, and counties. Many companies with a local approach ensure listings are current on directories like Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Yelp!, utilize language and phrases familiar to local searchers, and include specific language to trigger search results for those in the greater metro area. Local SEO is best for those with a physical location, or several physical locations, with limited exposure on a larger scale.
National or global SEO sets aside any aspect of location and focuses on optimization from a broader perspective. For national brands, like ecommerce companies or large businesses with locations scattered across the country, customers aren’t limited to one specific geographic area. Thus, marketing strategies don’t need to utilize things like local keywords or regional business directories as this can be a confusing detriment, not a benefit, for those seeking service. Instead of incorporating local terms and phrases, it’s best to put focus on an array of both broad and more specific keywords without a focus on any particular area.
DETERMINING YOUR BEST PATH
If you’re not sure where to best focus your attention, taking an objective look at your audience, your goals, and the effectiveness of your current campaigns can help guide the process. Consider the following:
- Who is your key demographic and where do they reside?
- Do you have a physical location customers visit, or do they place their orders and receive products or services remotely?
- Does your mailing address have any bearing on the nature or quality of services provided?
- Do your customers tend to come from one specific area of the country, or is there little consistency in who shops with you?
- Are you striving to create connections in your local community, or do your business objectives disregard an area presence?
How you answer these questions can provide valuable direction, helping you to isolate whether most of your goals point to a local strategy versus a national one. Bear in mind that there is no rule that your SEO can’t take multiple forms; for businesses with, for example, a physical location that attracts local customers in addition to a thriving online business, targeting SEO from both sides is likely to be most effective.