national vs local seo

Search Marketing started in the 1990’s and has gradually gotten more intense. Back then, it was as simple as keyword tags and keyword stuffing for you to rank well. In 2004, link farms started and helped you rank even higher on the search engines. In 2011, social media marketing joined in and since then, search engines have gradually intensified their algorithms, making it harder to rank using the tactics above.

In 2018, none of the things listed above will fly in your SEO strategy. If anything, doing these things will hurt your efforts. Understanding the strategy and techniques behind an effective SEO campaign is imperative for you to survive in the ever-changing online world. Whether you’re a national company or a local brick and mortar store, SEO will help your business succeed. However, there are different strategies and techniques for both of these types of campaigns (hence the reason for this blog post). Let’s dive into differentiating your strategy based on national vs local SEO.

What is National SEO?

National SEO is useful for businesses that aren’t focused on servicing a specific geographic area but want to reach a national or global clientele. Your main focus here is your brand. You’re constantly competing against other national brands, so you need to make sure your brand is just as strong if not stronger.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is about bringing visitors to your business or area. So if your business wants to focus 100% on local clients, local SEO will provide long-lasting growth. Local SEO allows you to target potential customers within a specific geographic area. With this, you’re speaking directly to the people who are in proximity to your business and therefore more likely to buy your product.


Local and national SEO share the same goal – rank higher in the SERPs to increase conversions and traffic. The differences they have has to do with how they reach this goal. Since the purpose of both national and local SEO is to optimize for search engines, it’s clear that they would have some similarities.

National and Local SEO Similarities

SEO Strategies

Backlinks are effective for both local and national businesses; they continue to weigh heavy in the ranking factors. The means to which you get backlinks differs slightly for both of them though. It’s important to focus on keywords/key phrases when writing guest posts. Depending on whether your campaign is local or national will affect the types of keywords, phrases, localization you use. As with the guest post itself needing to be specific, it’s also important to choose the websites you post to carefully. For a national campaign, I wouldn’t recommend using local directories or local websites.

Both local and national SEO campaigns can benefit from backlinks from resource pages and also creating resource pages on their own websites – each campaign will just be targeting different sites for different reasons.

National and Local SEO Differences

Keywords

National SEO: these campaigns typically have a much larger budget than small businesses and a lot more manpower which is what helps them succeed when they try to rank for generic keywords.

Local SEO: these campaigns have less manpower and would be smart to focus on geo-specific keywords since that makes more sense in terms of who their potential client would be.

Citations

National SEO: the algorithm runs a little different for a national campaign and having local citations won’t help their campaign at all.

Local SEO: Maintaining NAP consistency throughout citations is important and any inconsistencies can decrease your local SEO value. These citations weigh heavily in regards to local search results and the algorithm behind it. There are an enormous amount of citation sites available to add more value to your campaign.

local listings

Social Media

National SEO: Often times, national campaigns have more resources available which in turn usually means that they have better management of their social media accounts.

Local SEO: Social media can be a hard thing to manage or gain any sort of engagement from on a local level. It’s important to at least have business pages set up.

**For both national and local campaigns, social media can assist with your link building efforts in terms of social sharing.

The future is uncertain. Algorithm changes happen hundreds of times a year and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Having a solid foundation of SEO should be a priority for your business. SEO is not dead, as some people believe. Websites will continue to compete for attention and placement in the SERPs. If you have knowledge and experience to increase your rankings, traffic, and conversions, you’ll see reap the benefits. First things first– choose a national or local SEO strategy.