Local Vs National SEO – What Does Your Business Need to Do?

Every business has a target market.  For some businesses they want to reach the entire world, but for others, they are only (at least for now) targeting a local area.  Depending on what your target market is, you will need to do different things to properly optimize for the search engines and get the most traffic from your targeted audience.

All Traffic Is NOT Equal
If all you look at are the raw traffic figures to your site, you missing something.  Different visitors have different value.  For example, if a local restaurant in Chicago manages to attract traffic from Boise, those visitors are much less likely to become customers than visitors that are from Chicago.  So, when you optimize your company website, you want to make sure that you target the audience that is going to best help your company reach its goals.

3 Keys to Success for National SEO:
If you have a product or service that you are offering to the entire nation, here are some thing you should do to best optimize for that target audience:

    1. Make sure your site is designed in a way that the search engines can read it and know what it’s about.

This means either having a site based in html (this could be php, asp, html, etc) or having an html version available.  Search engines can’t read Flash.  So, if you want a flash site, be sure to either have an html version available or use the “Alternative content” feature many flash development tools have.  This way the search engines have a way to see the content…and so to people who don’t use flash, like many mobile users.

  1. Perform on-page SEO.  This could be a whole book, but suffice to say that you want to include the keywords you want to rank well for on your pages, especially in the title tags for your pages.  That said, don’t overdo it and try to make it natural.
  2. Build links, especially keyword-rich links.  Again, this could be a whole book, but…try to get as many websites to link to your site as you can, especially established, authoritative websites in your industry.  I’d encourage you to give people a reason to link to you by offering lots of valuable/interesting content.  You can also do other proactive things like article writing, guest blogging, and getting directory listings.  I’d also warn you to avoid linking scams, link farms, and purchasing links.  When getting links, try to get the some of the links to have text that includes the keywords you are targeting.

If you can do these three things, you will be able to rank well for relevant keywords.  Also, remember that SEO is an ongoing process that builds upon itself.  So, keep at it and stay focused and it will pay off over time.

3 Additional Keys for Local SEO Success:
For local companies, the above national SEO techniques are important to do, however, you’ll find that you probably won’t have to do as much link building because you have much less competition.  Also, be sure to target your SEO on keywords that include your target location.  You don’t need to rank well for computer repair, you need to rank well for computer repair in your city.  There are also 3 additional things that you need to do to target your local audience.

  1. Setup listings.  The major search engines all have local search options, be it Google Places, Yahoo Maps, etc.  It’s important to setup listings in these local search options.  There are also other important local listings sites where you should setup listings, like Yelp, City Search, Insider Pages, Mojo Pages, and JudysBook as well as Internet Yellow Page sites like Yellow Pages and Superpages.  These are some of the major players in local listings where you should definitely setup a listing, but don’t limit yourself to just these sites.  The more places your company is listed, the more places people have to find your company and that’s a good thing.
  2. Get positive reviews.  Positive reviews are both helpful for getting people to decide to visit your business and helpful for improving local search results.  So, try to get as many of your satisfied customers to post reviews around the web.
  3. Get local citations.  A local citation is simply a mention of your company on another website that includes your contact info (address and usually phone number).  It’s great if you can get a link with a citation, but not necessary.  Simply the mentioning of your company on other sites, including news articles, listing sites, city commerce listings, etc. tells the search engines you are a real, legitimate business and can improve your rankings.

People are making billions of searches every day.  The sooner you start working on these optimization techniques the further ahead you will be and the more traffic your website will get.  Of course, this is not a full discussion of how to do all these SEO techniques, but rather an outline of the things you can be doing to get ahead.  There are lots of resources online available to help you to learn more about optimizing your website, including several articles on the Christian SEO Guys blog.  We are also happy to help by answering any questions you have or helping to perform these SEO services if you wish.  The important thing is to start doing it!

Have you been performing SEO for your company?

What SEO techniques have you found to be most effective for your company?

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

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