Search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO are often used interchangeably to describe the process of making a company website more visible online, raising the profile and improving its online presence to build more brand awareness, attract more customers and ultimately make more sales for the business.
The techniques for SEO whether it be for a small local company, a national one or an international corporation are all similar but with some notable differences, which we will cover below, to perhaps help you decide which kind of SEO (if any) is necessary for your business.
What is SEO and how it works?
SEO or Search engine optimization refers to the process of optimising a website and its contents to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Unlike some forms of paid advertising, SEO rarely gets instant results, but is a long-term technical data-based strategy to improve the organic listing presence of a website, which is the page listings below, above and beside the paid ads.
And whereas with paid advertising, as soon as you turn it off it stops immediately – with SEO, it takes a long time to optimise a site well but equally, even though the SEO needs to be maintained for optimum impact, much of the effects of the SEO work done can last for years to come. Some examples of work that can be done once, and work for a long time include things like site speed, user experience, and the page structure of your website. The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of organic traffic to your website for the long term.
You can read more about What is SEO on our blog.
What is Local SEO?
When doing local SEO, the focus is on the audience that is looking for your products or services in your local area, and hence the keywords that people in your area use to search for your business will tend to be more locally focused. An example of a local keyword or phrase could be “SEO company in Kettering“, which is quite specific to the type of business and the town that is being searched for.
The amount of competition in Kettering for SEO services may be quite small, and hence you may be more likely to rank high up on Google if you have such a company, especially if your website and pages within it have been optimised for this phrase.
Your website should have a page or pages relating to being an SEO company in Kettering, you may also write blog posts relating to the SEO work that you do, and reference the town and vicinity of Kettering as part of these blog posts.
Anyone online has heard of Yell.com but this makes up one of many thousands, indeed millions, of business directories, some free and some that charge users to list their business online, and this can include details about your business such as a description of your products and services, images of these, your contact details and crucially your website address.
These are referred to as local citations or NAP data (NAP = name, address and phone number), and where your company is listed on good quality directories this can help raise your local online profile for your website.
Further to this, you may use social medial to share your work or tell your social followers that you have written a recent blog post about SEO in Kettering, which helps to increase the prominence of your website for that term also.
Depending on the type of business you run, there may also be the opportunity to create videos on platforms such as YouTube, and you can optimise these for keywords also, and link both the videos and the YouTube channel back to your website.
Keyword analysis can be a powerful tool to work out the best keywords to choose for your target town, city or broader location, as well as looking at your competition to see what they do well to ensure you do your SEO and audience targeting even better!
How does National SEO differ from Local SEO?
One of the primary differences between SEO for a national business and local business SEO is the target audience. While local SEO is looking at a smaller audience due to the physical location being targeted, a national business by its nature aims to attract a broader audience from various locations across the country.
Local SEO targets a specific geographic location, whereas national SEO wants to target multiple locations across the country, so rather than keywords “SEO company in Kettering” you may simply be targeting “SEO company” – or perhaps you will have more success actually still targeting “SEO company in Kettering” but also “SEO company in London“, “SEO company in Manchester” and “SEO company in Glasgow“, or even simply “SEO UK“.
Once again Keyword analysis will help root out the best keywords for your business whilst doing competitor analysis to see what areas you can safely target and still compete for your chosen ideal audience.
Local citations can still be used but they may either be less town or city-specific, or you may need to do them several times over, once per location in which you have physical business locations and you can serve the customers in that specific area.
For this larger business to become further reaching, you may consider being listed in the national press, and magazines related to your industry, and also consider industry influencers, ensuring that any of these you choose has an online presence and anything they publish for you has a link back to your website and contact details of course.
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