Published on: March 15, 2021
SEO vs. Local SEO – What Should Your Business Focus On?
By now, you probably know that getting SEO is a great idea.
But as you start doing your research, you’ll find that SEO isn’t set in stone.
Every business’s SEO strategy looks completely different from others.
And you’ll also find multiple branches of SEO that you can go for.
So much so that you might be wondering:
“What should I focus on?”
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we will look at the two major categories of SEO – national and local.
And by the end of it, you’ll have a clear idea of what you should be working on for your business.
Let’s dive in.
What’s the Difference Between National and Local SEO?
The main difference between SEO and local SEO is the target audience. SEO, also called national SEO, targets people from all over the country or world. On the other hand, local SEO only targets people in your state, city, or even neighborhood.
Both of these strategies accomplish the same thing: get more people to find your business organically – whether that be your website or your store location.
Often, the first step in crafting an excellent search engine optimization strategy is to identify which of these two categories you should focus on.
It shouldn’t be too difficult.
Should Your Business Focus on National or Local SEO?
To answer this question, all you need to ask is whether proximity to your customers is essential for business.
If you have a restaurant, local SEO will reign supreme.
You’ll want everybody in your neighborhood and city to know where your location is. That’s why pouring in your effort into local SEO will be key.
The same is true for tax preparers.
You don’t want to work for someone across the state border, do you?
No, you’ll want people in your city to find you through search engines.
However, it’s vital to know that even though you rely solely on local search, you should NEVER abandon national SEO.
Because even though someone from California may never get your New York tax preparation services, strong national SEO is a HUGE help for your local SEO efforts.
We’ll explain why this is so below.
But for now, keep in mind that ALL businesses should work on their national SEO to some extent.
Local SEO – How to Do It and Why You Should Care
For physical shops and offices, local SEO is an absolute must.
The ultimate goal of it is whenever someone uses search engines to look for “pizza parlor” or “tax preparer,” your restaurant or office will be the first to show up.
You want people to find you through local search.
Usually, when people are doing a local search, Google will give them the map-pack.
With thousands of people searching for local shops on search engines every day, appearing on top of the map pack will be huge for your business.
Furthermore, good local SEO will also put your website on top of local search queries.
Say someone wants to know about property taxes in your city.
With the help of local SEO, your website will be the first to show up whenever someone searches for something like “property taxes in Orlando.”
With good local SEO, you’ll rank in Google for local search terms that’ll bring you your target audience.
So how exactly do you do local SEO again?
Let’s have a look.
Local SEO Basics
But if you want a general overview of how you can rank locally on Google, read on.
Perhaps the most crucial part of local SEO is creating a Google My Business profile.
With it, your business can start appearing on the map pack (again, this is critical).
The good news is that creating a Google My Business profile is extremely easy.
All you have to do is head over to Google.com/business, click on “manage now,” fill up your details, and wait for verification.
Once you verify your address, you can start ranking!
But don’t stop there!
Unless you’re in a super low-competition niche or city, just creating a GMB profile won’t be enough to win local search terms.
You’ll also have to go after citations.
Citations are anywhere on the internet that your NAP (name, phone number, and address) appears.
There are many directory websites – such as Yelp, YellowPages, or Apple business – where you can quickly put your NAP.
If you want Google to push your business up the map pack, you’ll need to get as many citations as possible.
So go and start adding your name, phone number, and address to these directory sites!
Next up, reviews.
It’s no secret that the more positive reviews you have, the more Google will trust you.
That’s why one way to boost your local SEO is to get genuine reviews from customers.
Note, we said genuine reviews. If Google catches you incentivizing positive reviews, your strategy could backfire badly.
Finally, there are the local SEO keywords that we talked about.
You could also create location pages if you have multiple stores/offices.
This way, you can target more keywords and get more traffic for all of your locations!
What if Your Customers Aren’t Local?
But what about if your customers are all online?
What if you’re doing something like SaaS?
Should you just ignore your local SEO altogether?
Well, it depends.
If you don’t have a physical location, then there’s no point in creating a Google My Business profile.
In fact, you won’t be able to.
However, local SEO is not entirely useless for some 100% online businesses.
If you have a physical office for your business, working on your local SEO can build brand trust.
If you’re charging high prices, people will want to know you’re legit.
By creating and optimizing your Google My Business account, people can search for you and see that you’re a real business with an actual location.
They’ll also trust you more since they know that if they have complaints, they’ll have somewhere to bring them to.
Now, you won’t have to do anything more than the basics.
But that’s why even if you’re running a SaaS business, working on local SEO can help you.
National SEO – How to Do It and Why You Should Care
Think about the #1 keyword you want to rank for in search engines.
Is it “tax preparer?”
“Short-term loan company?”
“Online calendar software?”
Whatever it is, the only way you can win is by having great national SEO.
Now, we’re not saying that just by working on your national SEO, you’ll automatically rank for these enormous keywords.
That’s not how SEO works.
In fact, SEO’s real value comes by ranking for as many good keywords related to your business as possible.
This way, whenever someone goes to a search engine and looks for something related to your business, your website will be the first to show up.
So how exactly do you “win” search terms?
How do you rank on top of search engine results?
Let’s have a look.
National SEO Basics
SEO, or national SEO, will look completely different from business to business. But here are the usual elements of a good SEO strategy:
- Outstanding content
- Perfect on-page SEO
- No technical SEO errors
- Link building
Good SEO always starts with great content.
In a nutshell, you want to write the best content on the internet for topics related to your business.
We covered how to do this in-depth in our content marketing guide for business owners.
It takes a lot of work to write good content.
Everything from research to tone to editing all needs great attention to detail.
This is because the #1 ranking factor for Google and other search engines is high-quality content.
Another vital aspect of national SEO is good on-page SEO.
On-page SEO is about making sure your title and meta tags are optimized, you have good images, and you don’t have any broken links on the page.
While you can’t “see” errors of on-page SEO, Google and other search engines will have a much harder time finding and indexing your site if it’s filled with these.
Then there’s technical SEO.
Technical SEO deals with the website developer side of things.
It deals with things like code and schema markups.
We highly recommend hiring a web developer that knows what he’s doing for your technical SEO.
Last but not least, there’s link building.
Link building is a big part of digital pr.
Essentially what it is is getting other websites to link to your website.
The more high-quality websites link to yours, the higher Google and other search engines will push you up the rankings.
Again, those are just a rundown of national SEO basics.
Doing those – and doing them well – will push your website up search engine rankings and bring many potential customers to your website.
What If You’re Running a Local Store?
Should a pizza place care about national SEO?
The reason for this is because your national SEO has a profound effect upon your local SEO.
You should never think of these two as completely separate strategies.
Just because we say SEO vs. local SEO doesn’t mean they’re against each other.
They go hand-in-hand a lot of times. And they help push each other up.
That’s why even if your business has 100% local customers, you should never neglect your national SEO!
National SEO builds up the domain rating of your website.
And with a strong domain rating, ranking for local SEO terms will just be so much easier.
Local SEO vs. National – How to Balance Your Effort
SEO is terrific in that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy.
Every business will need a different take to get the success they’re after.
So how should you balance local SEO vs. national SEO?
1. If Your Business is 100% Local
As you can guess, if your business is 100% local, most of your efforts should be on local SEO.
You should go after every citation you can.
Get as many reviews on your Google My Business profile as possible.
And maybe even get local SEO tools like Yext if you’re in a challenging market.
However, again, you should never neglect your national SEO, of course.
You should at least do the basics so that when you write local articles, a search engine like Google will still rank it well.
But really, almost all your efforts should be local.
2. If Your Customers Are Mixed
This is perhaps the most tricky one.
If you have a mix of online and offline customers, you need to figure out how to balance things just right.
Ask yourself how tough your local competition is.
If it’s not bad, you can get away with doing the basics while focusing more of your efforts on national SEO.
But if you’re in a highly competitive area, then unfortunately for you, you’re going to have to spend quite a lot to win in both national and local SEO.
However, the rewards you will get from it will be very handsome.
So don’t fret!
3. If Your Company is 100% Online
We already touched on this above, but we’ll repeat it:
Unless looking legit is critical for your business, you can completely ignore local SEO.
Local SEO won’t bring you any new customers. But seeing your physical office can tip your potential customers into paying customers.
Ready to Work on Your SEO?
So what will it be?
Are you going for local search?
Whatever the case, you’ll need a comprehensive SEO plan to ensure your website reaches your audience and converts them.
Want the professionals to do that for you?
Sign up for our FREE audit today, and we can help you craft the perfect plan to get to your target customers!