Local SEO and national SEO – you’ve probably heard these buzzwords thrown around before. But what do they actually mean and how are they different?
Local SEO is all about optimizing your presence in local search results like Google Maps and business listings. National SEO is broader and focused on getting your website ranking high in organic search across the country.
While they sound similar on the surface, local and national SEO require completely different strategies and areas of focus to be effective. You can’t just lump them together under “SEO” and expect great results.
In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between local and national SEO, including how you need to approach keywords, content, and link building for each. I’ll also share actionable tips on developing a solid local SEO strategy versus building national authority.
Whether you’re a small business trying to drive local leads or a major brand looking to boost national search traffic, understanding these distinctions is critical for SEO success. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – local and national SEO deserve separate, specialized strategies.
Key Differences Between Local and National SEO
So what are the major differences between local and national SEO that you need to know?
First, it comes down to geo-targeting. With local SEO, you want to appear for searches within a very tight geographic radius – think of specific cities, neighborhoods, or even blocks. National SEO is all about reaching people across the whole country with broader keywords.
Next is your goal for search engine results page (SERP) placement. For local SEO, you want to rank in the map pack or local finder listings for geographic searches. National SEO is focused on ranking your website in the top organic search results.
The types of keywords also differ. Local SEO requires ultra-specific, long-tail location keywords like “coffee shop in Columbus, OH.” National keywords are more generalized like “best coffee shops.”
Finally, your content and optimization focus will be very different. With local SEO, you emphasize your Google My Business listing, schema markup, and other location-based signals. National SEO is about building domain authority through high-quality, shareable content.
Keep these key differences in mind when developing strategies for local versus national search visibility. The geotargeting, SERP goals, keywords, and content priorities vary greatly between the two.
Local SEO Strategies
Okay, so how do you actually optimize for local search and attract nearby customers? Here are some proven local SEO tips:
First, pamper your Google My Business listing. This is the foundation of local SEO. Make sure your business info is 100% complete, accurate, and updated across Google, Apple Maps, Bing, and other directories.
Next, build local links. Getting citations and backlinks from relevant local directories, partnerships with local organizations, sponsorships of neighborhood events, and local business mentions will signal you are the go-to in your area.
Also, create hyperlocal content that engages your community. Blog about local events, highlight your connections to the area and embed neighborhood keywords. Optimize your website for searches including “near me” as well.
Encouraging customer reviews and local brand mentions on social media provides powerful word-of-mouth marketing. Aim to build a buzz around your business locally.
And of course, use very targeted, location-based keywords. Think of local streets, neighborhoods, city sections, and landmarks. Optimizing for voice search with these keywords can also connect you to local mobile users.
Focus on these areas, and your local SEO results could end up on the map!
National SEO Strategies
Shifting gears to national SEO – how do you get your website found by customers across the country?
First, build domain authority and trust by publishing high-quality, valuable content. Think educational articles, how-tos, market research, data-driven reports, expert advice, etc.
Next, get authoritative sites to link back to your content. Reach out to industry publications, influencers, and complementary brands to earn backlinks. Links from trusted sites signal to Google you are a national leader.
Also, research national keywords and topics to optimize your content. Think about industry terms and customer questions rather than specifics like city names.
Develop thought leadership and expertise in your field. Become a go-to resource for media and establish your brand as an authority within your niche.
Finally, create engaging assets and resources to get shared on social media and sites like Reddit. Infographics, guides, and original research studies are great for raising national awareness.
Using these national SEO strategies, you can build recognition and organic search rankings across the country. Just remember – it takes time and high-quality content to earn authority!
Let’s recap the main points so you can crush both local and national SEO.
The key differences come down to geotargeting, SERP placement goals, keywords, and content focus. Local is hyperlocal while national is broader.
For local SEO, optimize your GMB listing, build local links and citations, create engaging community content, encourage reviews, and target location-based long-tail keywords.
For national SEO, publish high-quality content on industry topics, earn backlinks from authority sites, establish expertise, and create shareable assets.
While local and national SEO requires unique strategies, they work hand-in-hand for maximum search visibility. Approach them as a coordinated effort, not an either/or.
To develop an effective combination strategy, start with local SEO to attract customers in your area. Then expand nationally to grow your brand over time.
Ready to build your local SEO presence and compete on a national level? Reach out to discuss leveraging our local SEO services to gain more local customers and national search traffic. With tailored strategies for local rankings and national growth, we can help take your search visibility to the next level.