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The search engine optimization (SEO) is an industry that’s growing very rapidly.
This is because more and more businesses are beginning to realize the importance of visibility online.
Increased visibility online typically translates to increased revenue and business owners tend to like increased revenue. Everyone does, actually.
SEO strategies can be applied to virtually any business that has an online presence; however there are two distinct search engine optimization strategies that businesses can employ depending on their type of company.
These two strategies are local SEO and national SEO and although they do share some similarities, but they’re also very different in many ways.
Similarities between Local and National SEO
Due to the fact that the goal of both national and local SEO is to optimize for search engines, it makes sense that they would share some similarities.
Essentially the principles of local and national SEO are the same as they have the same endgame. The ultimate goal is to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) to increase traffic and conversions (i.e. revenue).
Where these two differ is in the ways they reach this end goal of increased rankings.
Although there are some substantial differences in the techniques used to improve SEO in regards to national or local, there are some strategies that can be applied to both.
As mentioned before, there are a couple of strategies that are useful for both national and local SEO. The main strategy that both have in common is link building, and in particular, guest posting and acquiring backlinks on resource pages.
Guest posting for backlinks is something that can be effective for both smaller local businesses and larger national corporations as backlinks remain a heavily weighted ranking factor for the SERPs.
Some of the more intricate aspects of guest posting such as which keywords to target or the types of websites to guest post on differ between local and national campaigns, but the basic strategy of guest posting is the same.
Acquiring backlinks from resource pages is another strategy that can be applicable for both national and local search engine optimization.
Typically a site will have a resource page where they list relevant sites or resources and this is an opportunity to acquire some valuable backlinks.
Once again, the basic strategy here is the same although each respective campaign will often be targeting very different sites for different reasons.
Differences between local and national SEO
Yes, there are some basic similarities in the principles of national and local SEO and they both employ some of the same strategies, the two are actually quite different in many aspects.
One major difference between national and local SEO is the types of keywords they target and attempt to rank well for.
National SEO campaigns typically have larger budgets and more man-power which allows them to target generic keywords such as “divorce attorney” and have success.
Smaller local businesses do not have the means to conduct these types of campaigns, nor would it make sense for them as a local business.
Rather, a local SEO campaign would be targeting geo-specific keywords such as “Denver divorce attorney” as these would make more sense in terms of their potential customers.
These types of keywords also have less competition, making it easier for a local company to rank for them.
Local SEO Citations
Another major difference between local and national SEO is that the former involves local citations. Local citations are unique to local SEO and don’t factor into national SEO campaigns.
A local citation is simply when your business’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) information is listed on another site. These citations are significant as they are weighted heavily in regards to local search results.
Maintaining consistent NAP information throughout the various citations a site receives is important as any inconsistencies can decrease local SEO value. Here are some examples of where sites can get local SEO citations:
- Google+ Local
- Bing Local
- Merchant Circle
- Local Chamber of Commerce – see here
These are just some of the many sites available to local businesses that can provide tremendous local SEO value through citations. Remember that SEO is a fundamental aspect of content marketing. Please read on to get the full gist.
Use of Social Media
Another area where national and local SEO campaigns differ a bit is in how they utilize social media.
As mentioned before, national SEO campaigns tend to have more resources available to them, which means they can better manage their respective social media accounts.
In terms of search engine optimization, social media can bolster link building efforts through social sharing.
In regards to local SEO social media may be more difficult to manage for a small business. However, it is important that they at least create a Google+ business page as it ties in directly to the aforementioned Google+ Local.
Google+ Local is an internal search platform within Google that is specifically designed for local results.
Unlike other SERPs, which are predominantly influenced by backlinks, the rankings in Google+ are determined by a combination of quantity and quality of Google+ Local reviews.
This is why it is so important to maintain a quality Google+ Business Page, as it is an integral part of garnering those positive reviews.
Google+ Local also includes a map that shows the locations of the top ranking results.
This will further increase the importance of ranking in these Google+ Local SERPs as ranking position could mean the difference between gaining a customer and lost business.
Google+ Local is specific to local searches and one of the many distinctive differences between national and local SEO campaigns.
Local vs National SEO Recap
Although there are some basic similarities between local and national SEO, there are also some stark contrasts between the two as well.
Depending on the business and their specific goals, one strategy may be more effective or applicable than the other.
Regardless of whether it’s for a local or national campaign, businesses continue to realize the value and importance of SEO and as a result the industry continues to grow and develop.
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About the Author – Paul Richardson specializes in small business marketing and local SEO. He currently writes on behalf of LocalVox and spends his free time on the tennis court.