A Brief Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is much more complex than just implementing high-ranking keywords into your website. Integrating your location is one of the most integral parts of creating an effective local SEO or national SEO strategy. You can’t expect anybody to find your new coffee shop if Google doesn’t know what part of the world you’re in. Or if you’re an e-commerce store, how will Google know you ship worldwide?
This all comes down to deciding whether a local or national SEO strategy is best for you.
Similarities Local & National SEO Share
Let’s get some of the key similarities out of the way. Both types of SEO use keywords as a way to get your business more visibility on Google search results. Both optimize web content and blog posts. The key difference is: Does your business have outreach on a national or local level? Your answer to this simple question is a surefire way to determine which route you should take your SEO marketing efforts.
What is local SEO? Great question. Local SEO is telling Google you have a location people should go to. If you are looking for the best realtor in Medina, you may use keywords in the realm of homes for sale. But will someone find you when they ask Google to show them realtors in Medina?
This is what local SEO strategies are all about. You need to optimize your keywords to hone in on the city your store is located in. Below are a few examples of searches a consumer might type into Google where a local SEO strategy should be used.
Local Search Examples
Local SEO should be your priority if you serve a smaller, more local location. You want a family of 4 with a raging termite problem to be able to find your local pest control company on Google. For cases like this, having a well-done Google Business Profile is essential. Other common practices that will make you more favorable to the local SEO Google algorithm include having your location on your website and every piece of content you put out there.
Local Ranking Factors
Many factors go into having a website that checks all the boxes on the local SEO checklist. It takes time, but if your website does all the following, you are doing very well for yourself.
- Proximity (How close is the searcher to your geographic location?)
- Relevance (Are the search terms on your website or Google Business Profile?)
- Ratings (How many 5-star reviews does your business have?)
- Page Content (Do you have pages on your website related to the search term?)
- Backlinks (How many high-quality, related sites are linking to your website?)
You can find more information detailing local SEO here.
By setting up your website to appeal to a national audience, you’re letting Google know that you have your sights set on a much wider market. Let’s say that you are a company that sells medical equipment such as TM Flow machines to doctors around the country; you need to find a way to let Google know that you need to appear on doctor’s search results across an entire country.
This strategy is much different than local SEO. You are not reaching just people within 10 miles of your shop; you can reach anyone searching for what you offer. Now that might sound fun, but it’s important to remember that you are competing with every business in the world that sells products in a similar industry. You need to be able to stand out in the crowd. Below you will find some examples of when SEO should be used in a national strategy.
National SEO Search Examples
- A Trucking Company
- Pressure Washers
- TM Flow System
- Financial Firms
National SEO is the way to go if the products you sell can be shipped to customers from anywhere or if your services are 100% online. You need Google to know that your custom iPhone accessories can be sent to customers from anywhere. Using an organic SEO strategy is often much more complex than local strategies; there are more moving parts and competition is much more fierce.
If you’re using national SEO, you need to know who you are and your target audience, utilize long-tail keywords, and create valuable content to come out above the competition.
Which SEO Strategy is Best for You?
Well now that you’ve gotten a very brief overview of both, it is time for you to decide which strategy your own business should use. You should be asking yourself questions about location, do you have an in-person store, a local service area? Or an online one?
Local SEO is for you if…
- You have a brick-and-mortar store
- You have multiple physical locations (you will need to optimize each location)
- People shop with you in person at your store
- You serve a local area (plumbers, HVAC, sign companies, etc.)
Go with the national SEO strategy if…
- You have an affiliate marketing website
- You sell digital services or products
- You don’t have a physical location people can shop at
- You have an e-commerce store
Implementing Your SEO Strategy
It is always important to remember that these things take time. You won’t wake up tomorrow morning and have triple yesterday’s customers. Google is an algorithm, and it can take weeks to update, learn and adapt.
This makes getting things right the first time even more important, you don’t want to get a few months down the road and realize you made a terrible mistake by choosing the wrong strategy. Because backpedaling from that will cost you lots of money and even more time.
Once you know which strategy is right for you, stick with it. You need to tell Google where you are located or that you lack a location. But whatever content you’re creating also needs to include these locational keywords.
Branching Out with Your SEO Strategy
Popping up in Google searches is so much more than just keywords. It’s about location. The SEO strategy you choose will let Google everything it needs to know about your location. Make local shoppers aware of you, or extend your reach by letting Google know you can ship to them from 6 states over.
Interested in learning more about SEO services or want to work with local SEO experts? Connect with us today!
Or if you want to do SEO in-house, here’s a link to some of our SEO ranking software recommendations.