Local vs. National SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Local vs. National SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Local vs. National SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

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Discover the Right Approach for Your SEO Strategy

Local businesses and nationwide companies have a few things in common regarding SEO. They both want to rank on the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for specific keywords.

No matter who you target, SEO principles are relatively the same across the board—keyword research, relevant content creation with organic keyword integration and consistent execution of your strategy.

However, when it comes to targeting locally or nationally, the execution tends to differ slightly. It can become tiresome for a small business in Cleveland to target keywords that have no relevance to audiences in Nashville. A large corporation with a national footprint will likely want to target such keywords, which is where audience and keyword relevancy come into play.

Understanding where your business should focus its effort will yield results that place your website high on search rankings and achieve a better ROI.

Similarities Between Local and National SEO

When comparing a local and national SEO approach, the goal remains the same: Rank First!

Whether you’re a locally owned small business or a national brand serving customers across the country, the steps you take are still the same.

You still need to conduct keyword research and create relevant, optimized content that integrates the keywords organically. It would be best if you obtained credible backlinks from authoritative sources and continually updated on-page elements and image alt tags.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

When Does Local SEO Come Into Play?

Knowing when to focus on local or national SEO tactics depends solely on your business and who you serve. There’s no advantage to targeting potential customers in a state next to you if your business cannot serve those people.

If your target audience is in the same city or metropolitan area as your business, that’s an excellent indication to shift your efforts to local SEO. Typically these businesses include local service providers like contractors and tradesmen, restaurants and brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Local SEO best serves small to medium-size companies that only reach a specific physical area. While there are many similarities between the two approaches, your audience and their search intent will determine how you implement your strategy. Make sure you have a solid understanding of your audience with detailed client personas that can help guide your strategy. 

How Does a Google Business Profile fit Into This?

Did you know that 46% of searches on Google are seeking local information? This is why Google Business listings are prominently featured in SERPs, giving users quick access to the most relevant information.

No one wants a bad dining experience, so what do we do? Turn to Google and search for restaurants in our area. Google Business Profiles help identify local businesses in your area that provide whatever you may be searching for — information such as location, operating hours, Google reviews, a website and services offer almost everything users need to know to decide.

When the Hersh PR team implements a local SEO campaign, we place an emphasis on Google Business Profiles. Giving Google and its properties consistent attention is critical to a successful Local SEO campaign. When your local business is up to date with the freshest information, you empower potential customers with the information they need to make the right decisions to visit your business over everyone else.

How Does Keyword Research fit Into This?

Aside from knowing your target audience, how you approach your keyword research is the deciding variable between taking a Local or National SEO approach.

The keywords you target are determined by where your audience is located and what keywords will help target those areas. It doesn’t serve your local business well if you constantly target keywords that national brands target.

National brands will have the means to reach a larger audience based on various geographic locations. Local SEO keyword research will include more geographic-based keywords, and those keywords will be incorporated through the website. 

Here are some best practices when it comes to keyword research:

Understand User Intent:  Consider your customer’s intent when shopping for a service or product you offer. Evaluate different high-level topics that could shape your strategy. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and understand their journey from start to finish. These understandings will build a more solid SEO foundation.

Use Professional Keyword Tools: Use the right tools to help you research your keywords. There’s no need to bootstrap your keyword research when there are tools designed specifically for this task. Having an agency who knows how to use these tools properly for keyword research is going to yield the best possible results.

Implement and Test Your Strategy: Mapping keywords to specific pages and creating a detailed content calendar will help ensure success. Remember that SEO is not a one-shot effort; you must continuously try different keywords to get the most out of your campaigns.

Bringing It Together

Climbing to the top of a SERP won’t occur overnight given the intense competition online. But with the right strategy and an SEO expert in your corner, you’ll be well positioned for boosting website traffic and ranking.

The best place to start is by determining whether or not you should take a local or national SEO approach. The steps you take to execute local and national SEO campaigns remain relatively the same.

The most significant difference between the two depends on the type of business you have and your customers’ location. Small to medium-size businesses don’t get as much out of their SEO campaigns if they target nationwide keywords.

Constantly updating your Google Business Profile, re-optimizing old content, testing keywords and content, conducting new keyword research, and creating unique content requires significant bandwidth that you may not have in-house. Partnering with an agency gives your business the advantage it deserves while allowing you to focus on running and managing the growth of your business.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your local or national SEO campaigns. Have more questions about partnering with an agency? Reach out to us directly.

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Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

read more
7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.

read more
Local vs. National SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Local vs. National SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

No matter who you target, SEO principles are relatively the same across the board. However, when it comes to targeting locally or nationally, the execution tends to differ slightly. Discover the optimization techniques we use attract customers from precise locations.

read more

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How to Hire an SEO Agency

How to Hire an SEO Agency

How to Hire an SEO Agency

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Find the Right Partner for Your SEO Strategy 

Building a strong online presence is now standard practice for any organization. Internet visibility drives website traffic and can help you reach your business goals. There are many components to internet visibility including organic reach, paid placements and earned media.

Organic reach or organic SEO involves strategies to increase your website traffic and improve your site’s presence in non-paid search engine results. The world of search engine optimization is incredibly complex. Improving a website’s rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) involves technical and creative expertise, and they work in tandem to create a positive site experience and encourage repeat visits.

If SEO isn’t in your wheelhouse, you’ll likely want to partner with an SEO agency who can help you effectively navigate the search engine playing field. It could take years to acquire the internal bandwidth to build and implement successful SEO campaigns yourself. Having experts in your corner will support online visibility and will naturally assist with lead acquisition.

What Are the Goals and Outcomes of Your Organization?

To get the most out of any SEO agency, you need to determine the goals and outcomes you wish to achieve. Do you need more website traffic to help fill your sales funnel? Do you want to create more traffic-generating pages? Do you want to improve your brand’s reputation and credibility during the sales cycle?

Search engine optimization is not just about search results; it also entails how your company is detected as a whole. These campaigns are most effective when integrated into a larger marketing strategy, so you’ll need to get clear on your goals and how you are measuring success.

Think through how an SEO campaign will support content marketing, public relations and other social media marketing activities. Make sure you have the right internal team members at the table during these discussions.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

What to Look for in an SEO Agency

Although hiring an SEO agency might seem like a daunting task, you certainly don’t need to be an expert yourself to find the right partner – but you do need to ask the right questions. Here are six questions to consider when interviewing potential partners.

What is your SEO philosophy?

SEO isn’t just about keywords and content, and the best agencies know this. There are many ways to utilize search engines, algorithms, and other processes to improve visibility. There are three types of SEO you need for a well-rounded organic strategy: on-page, technical and off-page.

Ideally, you want a partner that’s well versed in all three areas. There are many consultants that only specialize in one or two, but modern SEO requires a holistic approach and experienced execution.

What SEO tools do you use?

Legitimate professionals invest in the tools required to do their work. The exact tool isn’t as important as listening for how and why various tools are used. A good partner will be able to explain why they use specific tools and the impact they can have when used properly.

What is being measured and reported?

SEO agencies who value the relationship they have with their clients know that they need to measure and report metrics that both parties find useful. They find specific details in their reports and use the data to make informed decisions. Avoid companies that cannot get specific about the metrics they used to measure success.

Who is doing the work?

When it comes to the above fundamentals, is the company you are interested in doing the work in-house, or are they outsourcing? Will you have English-speaking writers creating content? Search engine optimization is both an art and a science. You need the right minds working collaboratively if you want to move the needle.

How do you remain up to date on trends?

SEO is a constantly evolving discipline that requires education and first-hand testing. Keeping up to date on Google’s Webmaster blog is just one step to understanding the latest trends. The best SEO agencies also do their own research and testing and have a set of best practices that build on common knowledge.

Do you have sample case studies?

Case studies often tell a very clear story of how effective your potential partner will be. SEO companies who know what they are doing and want their clients to succeed use case studies to clearly demonstrate what they can deliver.

Partnering With an SEO Agency is a Smart Move

Hiring a reputable and results-driven SEO partner begins with determining the goals and outcomes of your organization. Organizing these goals and outcomes will determine what kinds of SEO services you might need. By asking the right questions, you’ll be well positioned to partner with an agency that can deliver long-term success.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your organic SEO campaigns. Have more questions about partnering with an agency? Reach out to us directly.

Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Read 
More Articles.

Read 
More Articles.

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

read more
7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

Join The List

Request a Consultation.

Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

7 Marketing Metrics You Should be Tracking in 2021

7 Marketing Metrics You Should be Tracking in 2021

7 Marketing Metrics You Should be Tracking in 2021

Don’t waste time on meaningless metrics. Learn how your company can measure goals and track performance with these KPIs.

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Use Data to Run More Effective Campaigns 

Marketing metrics are more accessible than they have ever been, taking most of the guesswork out of how well your campaigns performed. But it can also be very easy to lose yourself in the amount of data that you encounter.

Mastering digital marketing has changed. It used to be about discovering certain marketing metrics that could be measured. Now it is about focusing on the metrics that matter the most.

Of the dozens of marketing metrics that you can track, there are seven that not only matter tremendously but also fall in line with the inbound marketing approach that we follow. The goal of inbound marketing is to generate more leads through your website which can place you in control of the sales cycle, allowing you to pursue stronger partnerships with potential clients.

Once you have a good handle on these seven metrics, your organization will run more effective campaigns. You’ll find that your internet visibility is stronger, and your expertise is in much higher demand.

Here are seven marketing metrics that you should be tracking and improving.

Website Visits and Traffic Sources

Visits to your website is a very simple metric to track, and often the most important. Traffic is one of the best indicators of not only how effective your message is, but also how responsive your target market is.

In fact, a lot of the metrics we’ll be exploring revolves around traffic. Website traffic can be grouped into four main groups: Direct, Organic, Referral and Paid. 

Direct Traffic

These are visits that come from anyone who directly enters in the URL of your website or social page into a browser.

Direct traffic is also generated by those who click on a bookmark or a link that was put into an email, a comment, or in a chat room.

Organic (Search) Traffic

This kind of traffic typically comes from search results that are not the result of a paid ad. Organic traffic is a direct result of the search engine optimization efforts of the content on your website or social media page.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is traffic that comes from third party websites. Like organic and direct traffic, referral traffic is not the result of a paid ad. Instead, it is the result of links from press releases, guest posts, business directories, or other social media pages.

Paid Traffic

When someone arrives at your website by way of an advertisement, it is known as paid traffic. In order to get the most out of paid traffic, you’ll want to set up proper analytics software so that this particular kind of traffic is tracked the right way.

All four forms of traffic should be tracked regularly, but the two kinds that you should prioritize the most are organic traffic and direct traffic since they are strong indicators of credibility with search enginges and existing clients. 

Pro Tip: Use your existing data in Google Analytics to create a baseline. Understanding your baseline is critical to developing an effective marketing strategy.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Time Spent on Site

Tracking how much time visitors spend on your website is just as important as monitoring the kinds of traffic your website gets.

In fact, time spent on a website can tell you the story of how effective any given marketing campaign truly is.

Take paid advertising, for example. If visitors to your website navigate away from it seconds after clicking on the advertisement, what does that say about your paid advertising campaign?

Increasing the visitors spend on your website or social media pages begins with making sure your strategy focuses on the pain points of any given buyer as well as content that addresses any challenges they may have.

Speaking of content, original content that has high value will not only get visitors to stay on a website for longer, it will also demonstrate to search engines how relevant your website is in any given industry.

Bounce Rate

When somebody has visited your website and navigates away from it without any kind of interaction, such as following a different link on your website or adding something to the shopping cart, they have “bounced” from your website. 

Like with time spent on a website, this bounce rate will determine not only how effective your marketing campaigns are, but it will also determine how much value the content on your website provides.

If this rate is anything higher than 60%, you’ll probably need to make some serious adjustments to how your website looks, the message it is trying to send, and perhaps some of your CTA dialogue.

One of the most effective ways to reduce bounce rates is to align the content of your campaigns with your landing pages, as well as addressing one or two major pain points of those who visit your website. This will not happen overnight and you are only going to see noticeable results if you make systematic adjustments to this over time.

Pages Ranked

Overall website success will always be related to search rankings. The number of pages you rank for will represent the number of opportunities for your potential customers to discover your website.

Ideally, you want all the different pages you have on your site to rank high. Google Search Console is a free tool that can track this for you in a general way, or you can upgrade to a paid tool if you want even better insight. Some of the paid tools also show you how your competitors are ranking.

Leads Generated

It is a common misconception that all visitors to a website is a lead that has been generated. This is not accurate at all. When someone visits your website, they are a potential lead.

Leads can only be generated by a CTA, or a call to action. Specifically, a website visitor needs to follow through on your CTA by entering some information in order to truly be a lead.

Determining the leads that have been generated per CTA in your content is one of the most useful of these marketing metrics, if not the most useful.

Like micromanaging your bounce rate, optimizing these leads to where you generate perfectly qualified leads does not happen overnight and will take time. Testing different CTAs is the best way to optimize leads.

Conversion Rate

Just like you need to know how many leads your CTAs are generating, you also need to know how many visitors to your website complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors. This is known as a conversion rate.

A high conversion rate is ideal. Traffic doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t convert into leads who could possibly benefit from your services.

You can think of a conversion rate as a journey that a buyer takes that leads them to pursuing the products or services on your website.

There are three general phases that involve a different conversion rate for each. They are:

  • Awareness phase: This is when a buyer encounters the sales page.
  • Consideration phase: This is when a buyer moves from the sales page to adding items to the cart.
  • Decision phase: This is where a buyer enters payment information, physically ordering products or services.

 Just like there is a conversion rate for these three, there is also an opposing bounce rate for these. You will want to measure these against each other. Only then can you alter strategies and campaigns to improve conversions.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Probably one of the most important metrics to measure is ROI because it shows you how effective your campaigns are. 

ROI is best expressed in a percentage. For example, a $1000 investment that generated $1200 in revenue would have an ROI of 20% since 1200 is 20% greater than 1000.

Determine your target ROI during planning and strategy conversions. Then work backward to further define the resources required to achieve this goal. Consider all of the resources you have at your disposal when doing this with the understanding that successful marketing campaigns take time it achieve your targeted ROI. 

Next Steps for Your Marketing Team

Digital marketing strategies are a marathon, not a sprint.

This is why you should keep a close eye on these metrics and make adjustments as you go along. The same principles of traditional marketing apply to web-based marketing campaigns. You need to build trust and authority with your digital audience, using these metrics as indicators of your progress.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve website conversions. Have more questions about running successful marketing campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated in September 2021

Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Read 
More Articles.

Read 
More Articles.

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

read more
7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

Join The List

Request a Consultation.

Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

10 must-haves for law firm internet marketing success

10 must-haves for law firm internet marketing success

Internet marketing helps law firms attract new leads and clients.  It’s an effective option because you’re able to reach a large audience.

Many firms rely on the partners to bring in new business, but a group of partners doesn’t have the same reach as the internet.  With the right strategy in place, you can target a specific audience and reach many individuals who need your exact legal expertise.

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