Local SEO vs National SEO: What’s the Difference?

national seo vs local seo

Google uses different rules for showing national search results and its local 3-pack. This 3-pack highlights top local businesses for certain searches. This means knowing how these work is key for a business wanting to stand out online. The strategies for local and national SEO are quite different, geared toward small local businesses or big names worldwide.

Figuring out if a small business should focus on its local community or reach out nationally is a big choice. It’s important to keep SEO simple. For local success, focus on getting links and using keywords that show where you are. For national success, aim for links from big, trustworthy sites and use large keywords that fit your whole industry.

Working hard on Google My Business can make a local business more visible nearby. But, to be known across the country, a business must impress with its online content. Mixing a bit of both local and national SEO can be very smart. By doing so, you take advantage of the best online tactics available.

Key Takeaways

  • Google has separate rules for showing local 3-pack and national search results.
  • Local SEO helps businesses in certain areas stand out; national SEO aims to reach everyone in the country.
  • Local SEO uses keywords that show where you are; national SEO uses words for your whole industry.
  • Getting good links from local sites is very important for local SEO; for national success, links from big, trusted sites matter a lot.
  • Mixing the right amount of local and national strategies makes online efforts more effective.

Introduction to SEO: Local vs National

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be seen in two main ways: local and national. The choice depends on many things, like where a business works and who it targets. Both local and national SEO help businesses be more visible online but focus on different areas.

Local SEO works to make a business more visible in a specific area. HubSpot says almost half of Google searches look for local info. For small and medium businesses to stand out in their area, local SEO is key. It helps them be seen more locally, gets more local visitors, and boosts sales through focusing on nearby customers.

National SEO, on the other hand, helps brands get known all over the country. It brings benefits like a wider audience, more recognition, a competitive edge nationwide, and more visits to their site. This works well for businesses that sell online or operate without a set location. They focus on big topics and content that relates to their industry.

The local vs national SEO debate also looks at what users are looking for and the keywords used. Local SEO fits those looking for services near them, while national SEO is for broader searches. In local SEO, you work against nearby rivals and use things like local listings and nearby links. National SEO means you compete with a bigger range of businesses. You need strong links and focus on the whole country.

So, when thinking about SEO, it’s important to know what each type can do. Using bits of both can help a business grow its audience. A good mix can get a business seen by more people and sell to different groups.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is about making your online spot more attractive to local searches. This differs from national SEO, which aims to win over a larger competitive field. With local SEO, businesses aim to show up in Google’s “local 3-pack,” highlighting three top local options. We’ll define it, cover crucial strategies, and showcase businesses that thrive with local SEO.

Definition and Importance

Local SEO means tuning your online shop to shine on local search results. For example, a search for a “plumber in San Francisco” relies on local SEO to pop up top. It’s vital because more than 80% of local searches lead to a sale. This makes local SEO key for those wanting more store visits, sales, and earnings.

Key Strategies for Local SEO

  • Google My Business optimization: Make your Google profile sharp with the correct details, hours, and categories. Good reviews can add a sparkle.
  • Local business directories: List your business on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Yellow Pages. Keeping your info the same on all directories boosts your ranking.
  • Keyword targeting: Use keywords that focus on your location to attract local searches. For example, use “best restaurant in Brooklyn” in your content.
  • Building high-quality local backlinks: Get backlinks from local trustworthy sources through sponsorships, partnerships, or blogs.
  • Creating local-centric content: Share online stuff like blogs or videos that meet the interests of your local crowd.

Examples of Businesses That Benefit from Local SEO

Many businesses can greatly expand their local reach and profits with smart local SEO:

  • Restaurants: Restaurants see a lot of local search action, making them local SEO stars. A well-crafted profile and local content can draw in more diners.
  • Salons and spas: Beauty and wellness services win big with good local visibility. This attracts nearby clients seeking quick services.
  • Real estate agents: For agents wanting to reach buyers and sellers in set areas, a strong local web presence is a must.
  • Plumbers: Plumbers need to be found quickly in emergencies, and local searches are where people look. Being in the local 3-pack builds trust fast.

For small and medium-sized businesses, local SEO is a potent tool to shine in the neighborhood, catching the eye of nearby clients with high buying intent. By making good use of local directories, Google My Business, and smart keyword strategies, companies can make significant gains in visibility and sales.

What is National SEO?

National SEO is about making a website show up for bigger searches all over a country or world. This is especially for businesses that want to be known across many places and to lots of different people. It’s not like local SEO, which focuses on getting attention in one city or town. National SEO helps companies grow without being limited by where they are.

Definition and Importance

National SEO works to make a business visible not just in one place, but everywhere. It’s very important for big companies, including those selling things online and worldwide corporations. The goal is to be at the top of search results for important, widely searched terms. Doing this well can really boost a company’s growth and how well people know it, making it key for big businesses.

Key Strategies for National SEO

For national SEO to work, there are vital things it should include:

  • Broader industry content creation: Making content that is interesting for a broad group rather than just for local people.
  • Authoritative backlinking: Getting links from important sites to show your website is trustworthy and high-quality.
  • Technical SEO: Making sure a website is in great shape with fast loading times, mobile-friendly design, and solid architecture.
  • Keyword targeting: Using keywords that are not tied to a location but speak to a wide audience.

Examples of Businesses That Benefit from National SEO

Many businesses can do well with a national SEO approach:

  1. E-commerce Platforms: Online stores like Amazon and eBay want to attract everyone, no matter where they are.
  2. Tech Companies: Big tech names, like Apple and Microsoft, use national SEO to connect with many different people.
  3. Service Providers: Services that cover the whole country, like insurance or financial help, find a bigger customer base through this strategy.

Here’s a quick look at how Local and National SEO are different:

Aspect Local SEO National SEO
Target Audience Local National or Global
Keyword Focus Geographical Keywords Industry-specific Keywords
Competition Lower Higher
Strategy Google My Business Optimization, Local Directories Authoritative Backlinking, Broader Content Creation

Differences Between Local and National SEO

It’s key for businesses to know the gap between local and national SEO. This helps them pick the best SEO plan.

Keyword Targeting

Local SEO zooms in on area-specific keywords. Like, you might search for “plumber in New York.” But national SEO looks at bigger, industry-wide words. For example, “best plumbing services.” This choice is big when considering the pros and cons of local and national SEO strategies.

Content Creation

In local SEO, content talks about what’s happening nearby. It might cover local events and news. National SEO’s content is for a larger crowd. It discusses big industry topics. Great content lets companies shine in local vs. global SEO competition.

Link Building

Link building is different for local and national SEO. Local SEO aims for links from nearby sites, like community blogs. But national SEO wants backlinks from big, trusted sites worldwide. Both strategies have different needs. Knowing these helps when weighing the pros and cons of local and national SEO strategies.

Google My Business Optimization

For local SEO, optimizing Google My Business is a must. It boosts local visibility. But for national SEO, GMB doesn’t play as big a role. There, the focus is on a wide online presence. GMB can pull in local visitors, making it a key part of choosing the right SEO approach for your business.

Competition Levels

Competition differs in local and national SEO. Local SEO means facing off with nearby rivals for attention. National SEO, on the other hand, challenges you against firms across the country or worldwide. The strength of your local or national plan is a game-changer in competitive fields.

Aspect Local SEO National SEO
Keyword Targeting Location-based keywords Industry-specific, broad keywords
Content Creation Localized topics Broader industry themes
Link Building Local sources Authoritative national/global sites
Google My Business Optimization Crucial Less Significant
Competition Levels More focused, local Intense, national or global

Knowing these differences helps pick the right SEO approach. It’s key for handling local and global SEO challenges well.

Local SEO vs National SEO: Which is Right for Your Business?

Choosing the best SEO strategy for your business depends on several things. These include your size, target audience, and market reach. Local SEO works well for businesses that want to be top in their area. It helps draw attention by using keywords like “plumber in San Francisco.” These keywords are less competitive.

National SEO, on the other hand, is for bigger goals. It helps companies that want a national audience. They use broader terms, competing with more businesses. This makes it harder to reach the first page of Google.

Focusing on local SEO can do wonders for nearby businesses. They can stand out more on Google Maps, for example. This is done by listing in local directories and keeping a strong Google My Business page.

But, deciding between local and national SEO can be tough. Local SEO brings focused attention and better sales. National SEO, however, means more people know your brand but the competition is tough.

It’s essential to look at your business’s goals and who your audience is. Mixing local and national SEO strategies can also be beneficial. Many key factors, like domain strength and mobile readiness, help both.

Aspect Local SEO National SEO
Keyword Targeting Location-based (e.g., “water damage in San Francisco“) Industry-specific (e.g., “best rigging equipment“)
Competition Less competitive, localized focus More competitive, nationwide focus
Link Building Local directories, websites, and blogs Authoritative national or global sites
Google My Business Crucial for local rankings Less instrumental
Visibility Hyper-local visibility Nationwide visibility
Target Audience Local customers National customers

Common Ranking Factors in Both Local and National SEO

Local and national SEO have differences, but they also share key ranking factors. These factors boost your website’s visibility and visitors. One critical aspect is the importance of mobile optimization in SEO. With more people using mobile to search online, it’s vital that your website works well on phones. This is important for any business, no matter the market they’re targeting.

Both local and national SEO need high-authority backlinks. Local SEO works on getting links from nearby sources. National SEO focuses on links from major, industry-specific websites. Getting these backlinks helps your website look more trustworthy. That, in turn, boosts your spot in search results.

Working on user experience and SEO matters a lot today. Google gives a higher ranking to sites that offer top-notch content and a great user journey. Websites that satisfy their visitors keep them engaged and likely to buy. This is true for both local and national search results.

It’s also crucial to keep your content and online reviews top-notch. Local SEO wins with area-specific keywords and a well-optimized Google My Business profile. National SEO, on the other hand, needs big, competitive keywords and strong content plans. For both, updating info and ensuring positive reviews are key to staying at the top of search results.

The table below highlights some comparative points:

Factor Local SEO National SEO
Keyword Targeting Location-based (e.g., “near me”) Broad, industry-specific
Backlinks Local sources Authoritative websites
Google My Business Crucial Less impactful
User Experience High Priority High Priority
Mobile Optimization Essential Essential


In the comparison between local and national SEO, both are important in getting businesses seen online. Local SEO is perfect for places that target specific local areas, like your neighborhood roofer. It faces less competition than national SEO that aims at broader, national searches. This latter type helps big companies and online shops reach a wide audience.

Going for national SEO means you’re up against more players. On the other hand, local SEO lets smaller businesses shine in their area. To make either work, you need to know about keywords, creating content, and building links. These are key for success, no matter the scale of your business. Both types also benefit from having strong links from trusted sources and making websites user-friendly.

Instead of choosing just one, businesses can mix local and national SEO techniques. This mix helps simplify the process while boosting results for companies with many locations or markets. The choice between local and national SEO hinges on a business’s goals, the areas it serves, and its customers. It’s all about finding the right balance for the best online presence.

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