Local SEO vs National SEO

Local SEO vs National SEO

Local vs National SEO… Which Is Best For My Business?

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts make SEO sound really complicated. They give you these long-winded explanations hinting that getting on page one of Google search results is next to impossible. They’ll tell you it takes months and months and months to get results. It sometimes sounds like it takes magical incantations or voodoo dolls with pins stuck in them to get it work. They will charge you months and months and possibly NOT get you the results you need.

Any smart business owner should be questioning themselves, “What am I getting for my money?” Right?

SEO is about communicating with Google. You need to tell Google something like, “Hey, we sell golf clubs in the South Miami, FL area.” The goal is to get Google to send you people who are searching for golf clubs in South Miami. Google becomes a connector between you and them. You might try instructions like, “We sell jewelry, and we ship it worldwide. Send us people from all over.” That tells Google to send you to anyone searching for jewelry.

You as the business owner need to determine if a local or national SEO strategy is best for you.

Similarities between Local & National SEO

Some aspects of local and national SEO are similar. They both use keywords to make your business show up higher in Google’s search results. They both work by optimizing your web content, blogs, and other copy. The key difference is this: location. Are you looking to promote a business that is local in nature or one that is looking for a national or even global audience?

Local SEO

Local SEO requires that you tell Google you have a location people should visit. If you have an auto repair shop in Orlando, FL you may be using keywords with automobile brands, services you offer and others. But will someone find you when they ask Google to show them auto repair shops in Orlando? 

This is the purpose of local SEO. You’ll need to optimize your keywords so they include the name of the city your store is in. It should focus on the area in your town where you are located. 

Below are a few examples of searches a consumer might type into Google where a local SEO strategy should be used.

Local SEO Search Examples

  • Italian restaurant near me
  • Auto repair shop in Omaha
  • Bait stores in Key West

Local SEO is best for you if you have a brick-and-mortar location. You want Google to know where your gourmet chocolate cheesecake shop is located so they can share this with the person searching for cheesecake 2 miles away. In this case, having Google My Business set up is a must. Other best practices for local SEO include adding your location to the copy of your website and every piece of content you post.

National SEO

By setting your website up for National Audience, you’re telling Google that just targeting local traffic isn’t your focus, or you don’t have a “brick-and-mortar” location you want customers showing up to.  For instance, if you sell custom LED T-Shirts out of a warehouse but it doesn’t have a storefront for customers Google can index your website to users across the nation or entire world depending on how you choose to optimize your website. 

This strategy is much different than local SEO. You are not reaching just people with 10 miles of your shop; you can reach anyone in the world searching for what you offer. That’s exciting but remember you’re also competing with every other business in the world offering similar services and products. Your strategy will be to find ways to stand out. Below are some examples of searches where a national SEO strategy should be used.

National SEO Search Examples

  • Affordable prom dresses
  • Alpaca wool blankets
  • Shirt stays for men

National SEO is best for you if you sell products or services that are either completely online or can be shipped to consumers. You want Google to know your homemade jewelry can be shipped around the world. National SEO strategies often have more moving parts than local SEO, since you have more competition and are not restricted by location.

If you’re using national SEO, you need to know who you are and who your target audience is, utilize long-tail keywords, and create valuable content to come out above the competition. 

Note: This is one of the areas where people can be misled. Long-tail keywords are keywords that are specific, but not highly competed for. We recently did a lot of SEO work to get our site to show up prominently for keyword searches like: BuddyBoss Expert, BuddyBoss Consultant, LearnDash Expert and LearnDash Consultant. We have expertise with these products and wanted to show up for anyone, anywhere searching for us. We can work with anyone across the globe that speaks English. Because these keywords are long-tail (meaning they aren’t heavily searched, in three months we had several pages showing up on page 1 of Google Searches. If you have a similar situation, there are simple strategies to follow to start showing up when people are looking for what you do.

What Strategy is Best for You?

Now that you’ve seen an overview of both, how do you know which SEO strategy is for you? It’s important to ask yourself questions about location. Do you have a physical location you want people to come shop at? Or can anyone in the country or world buy from you online?

Choose a local SEO strategy 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

Choose a national SEO strategy if…

  • You sell digital services or products
  • You don’t have a physical location people can shop at
  • You’re an e-commerce store

Implementing Your SEO Strategy

A successful SEO strategy takes time, but not an eternity. You won’t see results the morning after you update your website’s keywords. It shouldn’t be taking you 6 to 9 months. Google is an algorithm. It learns and adjusts figuring out where to best place you using the instructions you give. That can take two to three months. 

This makes getting your strategy right the first time even more important. You don’t want to get a few months down the road only to realize you chose the wrong strategy. You’ll have to spend time and money to adjust again and spend more time waiting for the results.

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 have these locational keywords included.

Get Help with Your SEO Strategy

Showing up in searches is more than just your product keywords. It’s about location. Your local or national SEO strategy communicates your location with Google. Stand out to local customers by letting Google know you’re right around the corner. Or expand your reach by telling Google you can ship to that person across the country who is shopping online right now.

Want to know more about how SEO services can help your business generate more leads? Connect with us today!


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