Should You Optimize Your Website For A Local Or National Audience?
Article brought to you by Tom Johnston’s national search engine optimization.
Oftentimes, website owners aren’t sure whether they should pursue a local or national SEO strategy. In order to understand which approach is right for you, you need to first have a better understanding of what each strategy entails. Search engine optimization is already complex enough. Adding in the need to decide between local and national SEO can make it even harder to know how best to proceed.
Fortunately, this article has helpful tips that should clear up any confusion that you may have while at the same time giving you a better understanding of what each of these different approaches to SEO can offer your business.
What Are Local SEO And National SEO?
Perhaps the best place to start is by first defining local and national SEO. Getting a good grasp on the basics will make the rest of this article easier to understand.
Local SEO: This type of SEO is geared at optimizing a website for a specific location. For instance, this strategy might be used to optimize a website for a local car repair shop in Tacoma, Washington so that it comes up at the top of the search results when people in the Tacoma area type in relevant keywords.
National SEO: this strategy involves optimizing a website so that it competes at a national level. In most cases, this type of optimization centers around promoting a brand rather than the location of the business or the service that they offer.
Keep in mind that the ultimate job of the search engines is to provide their users with relevant information. In many cases, the location of the person conducting the search plays a key role in how relevant a particular result is.
For instance, if you are spending your day riding bikes around the Houston area and happen to fall down and get injured, you may go to your favorite search engine and type in the search “Urgent Care”.
Imagine what would happen if the search engine returned results for the Austin area rather than for the Houston area. Chances are you aren’t going to drive clear across Texas just to get your injury looked at. Instead, you need faster care right in your area. In this case the search engine has let you down by not providing results that are relevant to your location.
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of why it is so important for search engines to take location into consideration. Having to type in the name of the place where you are with every search will quickly become tedious. It is easy to see why search engines focus on providing location-based results whenever possible.
Understanding Which Type Of SEO Is Best For Your Business
Ultimately, the type of SEO strategy that you choose depends largely upon your goals as well as the industry that you are in. In almost every case, it is best to focus your efforts on optimizing your site for local search results rather than taking a national approach. Even businesses that are trying to appeal to a national audience will benefit from incorporating local SEO techniques into their overall optimization strategy.
Think about whether your business would do best with local or national traffic. In most cases, the answer will be local.
Things To Think About With Local Search
One of the benefits of focusing on local search is that it is generally easier to rank. The factors that determine how high your site appears in the search results are nearly the same for both local and national searches. Getting your site listed in business directories, adding it to Google Maps, and writing location-based content can all help boost your site’s ranking in the local search results. In most cases, it takes about six months before you will start seeing results. However, this figure can vary greatly depending on your location and your industry.
One great option is to use long tail keywords as part of your overall optimization strategy. These are search phrases that typically contain three or more words. They usually get less search volume than shorter keyword phrases, but are also far easier to rank for. For instance, imagine trying to rank for the keyword phrase “auto repair”. There is so much competition for that phrase the coming up at the top the results would be practically impossible. A keyword phrase such as “where can I get my oil changed” is much easier to rank for. It is also easier to understand what the customer is looking for so that you can provide them with the information that they need.
One of the factors that determines how well you will rank in the search result is the age of your website. Generally, older sites do better than younger sites. However, when it comes to local search, you still may be able to rank well even if you have a newer domain name.
There is also usually less competition in the local market, meaning that you need to beat out fewer businesses to achieve a top listing. Instead of trying to compete with every company in the world, you are just trying to compete with the businesses in your own backyard.
Local search makes a lot of sense when you think about it. After all, the goal of the search engines is to provide the most relevant results possible. Factoring in a user’s location allows them to bring up businesses that are right in their area. Generally, these businesses are more relevant than businesses in another area.
Things To Think About With National Search
Trying to optimize your site to compete on a national level is far more difficult. Instead of just competing with businesses in your area, you are competing with businesses throughout the world.
Not only that, but you will be competing with major national retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and eBay. Chances are their advertising budgets far exceed yours. This can make it extremely difficult to rank well for national searches.
Typically, if you want to compete on a national level, you need to incorporate a multipronged marketing strategy that includes content marketing as well as paid advertisements. Along with that, you still need to incorporate local search into your strategy. Achieving a high-ranking at a national level usually takes a lot of time and money.
The fact is, there aren’t many businesses that will benefit from a national SEO campaign. Most companies will get far better results by focusing their efforts on local search marketing instead. Even businesses that are seeking a national audience should consider incorporating local search tactics into their overall marketing strategy.