If you’re in business, we don’t have to tell you that Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, the ranking of your website in Google results, is pertinent in your marketing strategy. Its constant changes make it even more pertinent.
But just using “general keywords” and “optimization” doesn’t cut it. So, let’s discuss local SEO, national SEO, topic clusters, and where you fit in all of it!
To know the difference between Local SEO and National SEO, start with the key question to answer for any marketing strategy: Who is your target audience?
You see, local SEO optimizes your website for maximum website traffic from your specific, surrounding area. So if you know the majority of enrollees to your community college will come from surrounding counties, local SEO is the best optimization tool for you. If you’re operating a resort that’s two hours north of a major metro area — but most of your visitors come from there, this is another time to consider using a similar strategy.
On the other hand, let’s say you offer an online college preparation service and you want to gain clientele from all over the country. Your services can help someone going to Harvard just as easily as it could assist someone starting at the local community college. With national SEO, we’re going to reach your clients on a national, or even global, level.
Quality website content, usability, crosslinking, and backlinks are all strong strategies for both local and national SEO. But each one hones in on other tools to bring the most targeted audiences. Let’s look at each one!
Local SEO is a great tool for SMBs to mid-sized companies. When planning your marketing strategy, consider these statistics to target a local audience:
- In 2020, 91 percent of adults were using search engines. And of the billions of Google searches, 46 percent of all Google searches had the intent of staying local. Shopping local isn’t just a movement — it’s a preference.
- The number of searches that ended with “near me” nearly doubled in 2020. People will stop into your business after searching for a product “near me,” if your product is optimized that way.
- When people search local, research says they tend to have a higher likelihood of purchasing, therefore a higher likelihood of converting. All that to say if consumers don’t find you — they’ll find your competitors.
- Eight percent of search queries are phrased as questions, and 35 percent of searches in 2020 began on Google.
While 46 percent of searches started on Amazon, the Google searches saw a smaller window of time between search and purchase, whereas consumers came to Amazon with more of an intent to shop around.
- Online reviews persuaded 67 percent of consumers, according to Moz, an SEO, and data company.
Do you know that profile to the right that comes up when you’re searching for a local business? This is called your Google My Business profile. Not only does research show that people are leaving more Google reviews here than on any other platform. But Google is taking all of this, as well as how often you post to or update this profile, into consideration when deciding how to rank your website in Google search results.
The search term “near me” doesn’t really work when you want people from all over the country — and even the world — to know your name! But how do we strategize for that?
- Make your brand your keyword
With going global comes national competitors. If your sneaker business is expanding locations and target audience, it’s inevitable that you will compete with Nike. Make your name your brand — as well as your top keyword. If you’ve already accomplished keyword recognition in a more local market, you have a leg up. If not, you may want to consider another marketing channel alongside your SEO, like a strong ad campaign and email marketing.
- Use broader keywords:
Again, “Near me” doesn’t work here. Instead of ranking for “College Preparation tools in Denver,” you want to rank for “College Preparation tools.” If you’re like the thousands of other businesses who have increased your virtual capabilities during the pandemic, you may even try to rank for “online college preparation tools.”
- The more optimized the website, the better.
If you’re competing with major brands, this will become pertinent. An SEO-friendly website doesn’t just need lots of CTAs and content. Google is now ranking websites by how user-friendly and up-to-date your website is. Having a responsive mobile website is a must no matter what, but when you enter the global or national market, even more so.
Expert-built websites are always the way to go. But when you’re competing with the biggest names in your industry, this is especially true.
- Only the best keywords will do.
Gone are the days when you used to rank for just any keyword.
Google results are so personalized, you can have an exact different set of search results than someone else searching for the same term.
When doing your keyword research, keep topic clusters in mind. Don’t just use broad keywords like “college preparation.” Instead, look up keywords like “college preparation resources for incoming freshman” or “college prep for non-traditional students.”
- Research which keywords others in your industry is using.
Look at your competitors. Look at what keywords are used most often to describe your industry or services — even if it’s not the term you use most often.
And if you find that your business caters to incoming freshmen but not so many non-traditional students, work to focus your SEO on the clusters that make the most sense to you.
Of course, this is a lot of information. That’s why it’s best to partner with the experts to take on your SEO and marketing strategy. We can discuss your direct target audiences, how to hone in your SEO and provide you with reports showing the payoff. We love to collaborate to bring you success!