SEO isn’t just the keywords related to your product.
It’s the keywords related to your location (or lack thereof) as well.
You can have the best donuts in town, but if Google doesn’t know what town your donut shop is in—they can’t tell people where to find you. The same applies to national and global businesses.
If you have an online business that anybody around the nation or world can buy from, but Google thinks you’re solely based in Austin, Texas—people don’t see you in the national search results.
Google is smart. It’ll find a way to categorize you, which is why paying attention to your local and national SEO is so important. If you don’t tell Google your location, they’ll figure it out on their own.
With 5.6 billion searches per day, you can’t assume that Google will get it right.
That’s where local and national SEO comes in.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO tells Google where your business is located. This is most important for brick-and-mortar businesses. When somebody searches for “donut shops near me,” you want Google to know that your shop is near them. That’s when you can show up in the search results. With Google My Business set up, you’ll be able to navigate people directly to your fruity pebble vanilla frosted gourmet donuts.
You can use local SEO keywords on your website homepage, articles, and product pages to show Google where you’re located. For example, if you’re in Santa Monica, Los Angeles you’ll use the keyword “santa monica” in your content. You could also use keywords like “west side” since Los Angeles locals refer to Santa Monica as the west side.
How do your customers refer to your location?
Add those keywords on your website pages to let Google know where you’re located (and make sure to keep your Google My Business page updated!).
National SEO tells Google your business is nationwide. Based on their search, Google can show their users your business regardless of their location. If you have an ecommerce store that only ships to U.S.-based customers, Google needs to know that you’re national not just based in the city your business address is.
With national SEO, somebody can search for organic cotton bed sheets and see all of the options available (not just those based in their city). For ecommerce and businesses with digital services, national SEO is your best friend.
In this case, you’re not trying to compete with the other businesses in your location for one of those coveted top-ranking spots. You’re competing with other businesses around your nation (or the world) who are selling similar products. This means your SEO strategy is a lot different than a brick-and-mortar business trying to be one of the first suggested results on Google for their donut shop.
Who Should Use Local SEO vs. National SEO?
Your brick-and-mortar donut shop needs to use local SEO. But, your ecommerce make-your-own-donuts kit thrives on national SEO. Figuring out which type of SEO to focus on comes down to your business:
Do you have brick-and-mortar stores or do you have an online business?
If you have brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll focus on local SEO. Even if you have stores in several cities in differing states, local SEO needs to be your focus. Your SEO strategy gets built on the keywords of those cities and ensures your Google My Business pages are properly set up with your address, phone number, photos, products/menus, and reviews.
If your business is online, you can focus on national SEO. While having a Google My Business page can help your search rankings, your biggest priority is tapping into keywords to bring Google users to your website. This is where a robust SEO strategy comes into play, which you can hire a full-time employee, freelancer, or agency to handle.
How To Start Your SEO Strategy
Your SEO strategy requires patience. Write “patience” on a post-it note and stick it to your computer because your SEO strategy needs time to have an ROI. SEO is like planting a money tree. That tree has to go from a seed to a sprout to an adolescent tree before it has any money for you to harvest. You can’t expect to start your SEO strategy and see immediate results.
You have to give your strategy at least a few months, which is what makes SEO such an important strategy to get right the first go around. If you focus on a national SEO strategy when you have a local business, you’ll end up months away from getting the results you’d hoped for and spending more money on your investment before you see your ROI.
You have three options when it comes to SEO:
You can hire a full-time Head of SEO if: you have a national business and want a long-term SEO strategy that spans at least 2 years.
You can hire a freelance SEO expert if: you have a brick-and-mortar business (local SEO) or a simple online business (with only a few products) that you’ll apply a national SEO strategy to.
You can hire an SEO agency if: you want to set up your local SEO strategy or if you want an agency to handle your national SEO strategy long-term.
We wish SEO were as simple as tossing a few keywords into your content and seeing the traffic flow in. But, Google wants what’s best for their users, which means you have to work for your SEO. You have to prove that you’re the right fit for search queries, and that’s where the right SEO strategy comes in.
Take matters into your hands and tell Google where customers can find you. It’ll be guaranteed to work out better than if you let Google decide for themselves.