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Local vs National SEO - What is the Difference?

Published on:

Thursday, December 22, 2022

We don’t need to tell you how important search engine optimisation (SEO) is when it comes to your digital marketing strategy and the success of your business. Google is, unarguably, one of the biggest authorities that can make or break your website – with your ability to harness the best SEO strategy integral to securing a top spot in Google’s search results time and time again.

But while keywords and quality content can help Google to decipher what you offer and what kind of value you present to users, without the right geographical focus the search engine could well be losing you potential customers.

In this article, we’re focussing on the importance of local SEO, before turning our attention to national SEO and what it means to build an online business with a national or even global customer pool.

What is local SEO?

Imagine an individual in your town was searching for bike hire, and you are a bike hire store. You might be just a couple of hundred metres away from them, but if Google doesn’t know your location, it will be unable to show you as a local search result for them.

Local SEO is what channels local searches towards your business.

Local SEO

In terms of a local SEO strategy, this means that you need to be thinking about the kinds of searches users will be making in and around your local area – for example, if you’re based in London, it could be “bike hire in London” or something more specific depending on your exact location.

Local SEO tips

To build this kind of SEO focus into your strategy, you need to be using those keywords on your website in different formats to allow for different search styles and search functions. Consider voice search and the way users might phrase their local searches, and make sure that you are also making full use of your Google My Business page (a tool that specialises in supporting local search SEO).

Another thing you can do to boost your local SEO strategy is to create content specifically for your area – for example, cycling routes in and around London.

What is national SEO?

For those businesses that operate on a wider scale, national SEO forms an important part of your marketing and digital strategy.

National SEO lets Google know that your business is not exclusive to a certain location – rather, that you are marketing and selling to customers across a much wider area. What this means is that a user searching for your products or services, anywhere in the country, could find your business or brand as one of their top search results, provided you engage the right SEO strategy.

The biggest difference between this and the local SEO strategy is that your keywords should not focus on location but should compete with other national brands who sell the same things and market the same services as you. Instead of creating content specifically for a local audience, your content should be much broader and more generic, designed to appeal to and be shared by users across the internet.

National SEO tips

A few things you can do to nurture an effective national SEO strategy include making sure that your website is accessible to all users, with a mobile-friendly site and the ability to translates your website if necessary. You should also invest more time in link-building outside of your website to drive more traffic, and consistently monitor keywords that your competitors are using to great success.

Local vs. National SEO

National SEO is often harder to get your head around and to employ to great success, simply because the competition is much greater and the chances of fine tuning a perfect strategy are relatively slim. While local traffic will often fall into the laps of small businesses who use the tools available to them effectively (namely localised keywords and Google My Business), gaining a spot on the national stage is usually much more challenging and requires a much more consistent strategy with updates and new content released regularly.

For those businesses which operate on a national scale but also have a local presence, a combination of the two different strategies can be an effective way to drive traffic. Otherwise, determine which plan best suits your proposition and business model, and create an SEO strategy which appeals to the right audience for you.

Here at Social Loop, we work with businesses both locally and nationally to build effective SEO strategies, determining the best keywords and creating an online presence that doesn’t just appeal to customers but to Google as well. Reach out to us directly to learn more about our services and to find out how we could help you.