Local vs. National SEO: How Strategies Differ?

Some of you may not know there is local SEO in addition to national SEO, so you’re sitting there blown away. It’s okay. Grab a snack and your favorite beverage and I’ll help you figure this out.

What’s the Difference Between National and Local SEO?

The most obvious difference is location, location, location! With national search engine optimization, you are optimizing for your entire country. If you’re a local brick and mortar business, you need to make sure you are implementing SEO for your business that includes information about your location. However, I think any business can benefit from local optimization. It’s always important for your community to know who you are and what you do so you can contribute based on your expertise.

Here’s a thought to comfort you: local SEO isn’t that different from national SEO.

Local SEO is important for this singular reason: people are searching for local services using their smartphone. For example, let’s say you are a freelance web designer and you work out of your home. If someone in your area, let’s say Portland, Oregon, searches using their smartphone for “web designer in Portland, Oregon”, you want your name in those results, right? For sure! Local search engine optimization is the way to get it there.

Get a load of these stats:

  • 64% of users search local businesses online
  • 80% of all smartphone users are doing it from their phone
  • 2 out of every 3 people complete their purchase after looking up a local business

Local SEO is the new yellow pages.

So How Do Strategies Differ?

They differ enough that one of my favorite sites for SEO tips has two separate sections for the two. With local SEO, you’re going to add a few things to your SEO toolbox. You’ll want to polish up your skills for repetition as well because this can get tedious. All that NAP, those citations, it’s a lot to get done!

In addition to your regular SEO for your business such as:

  • Title tags
  • Meta description
  • Alt tags
  • SEO-friendly permalinks
  • Keywords

You will need to add the following:

  • NAP – an acronym for name, address, and phone number
  • Google My Business Page – makes special ranking easy since it’s Google-owned
  • Citations – Business listings on local directories

That’s not too terrible a list, I don’t think. These are actually things you should be including in your SEO for your business anyway.

Take Your Local SEO to the Next Level

How about a few SEO tips to help you really be a local SEO pro? Anyone can put together some NAP, create a Google My Business page, and claim a few citations, but just a little added effort will make your SEO for your brand top-notch:

  1. Make sure your NAP is consistent across all of your web presence, from your website to the last citation, it must all match exactly. If you said Street on one, you have to spell it out on all the rest of them too.
  2. Make your NAP clickable. Just the phone number actually. Use this HTML tag:<a data-rel=”external” href=”tel:PhoneNumber” target =”_blank”>FreeText</a>

    Replace “PhoneNumber” with your 10-digit number and “FreeText” with whatever wording you want or none at all.

  3. Provide useful information on your website such as an FAQ page.
  4. Include directions to your location. Include well known landmarks, etc.

Action Steps to Get Started on Your Local SEO

  1. Claim your Google My Business page. If there are duplicates, you will have to call Google to have them removed. Call around 9am EST otherwise you probably won’t get a timely answer.
  2. Once your have your page, fill it out completely, upload a few pictures, etc. Make it look like you live there.
  3. Build your citations. Start with the top national sites: Infogroup , LocalEze, & Factual.Then go to Yahoo Local, Bing Places, Yelp, and so on. Some of these are and will be paid sites. Work your way down to local-only sites and directories.
  4. Make sure your NAP is consistent across the board.
  5. Don’t shy away from reviews; encourage them! Include a QR code and link on your business card to your Google reviews.

Wrap Up

That wasn’t too painful, was it? Local SEO is actually a really good addition to national SEO, and I recommend that you do it regardless. If it’s too much for you, hire a team of SEO experts to help you get it done more efficiently. You will be glad you did.