The best SEO for your business, Local or National?

Small companies need to focus on a geographic seo strategy. Why? These days, the yellow pages have almost become obsolete, because the majority of people are searching on Google for their local businesses. Even if your company doesn’t have a website – it will still benefit from having some sort of online presence and there are many ways to do this. Let us pretend that you’re a plumber in the city of Norwich running a small business. You have a small website with a little bit of information on, but most importantly some contact details… Now consider:

  • Are you likely to appear on the first page of Google for the keyword “plumber“? … No.
  • What about your chances with “plumber in Norwich“? More like it.

Because there are hundreds of thousands of websites out there to do with plumbers and plumbing, packed full of information that you will never have time to read, let alone begin to write your own unique content about! Your website will be lost among the masses. So getting to the first page isn’t likely and with your small, local business it wouldn’t be much help at this stage either. You can always come back to it once you decide to go international. Unless you would like to travel around the world and back to fix a toilet!

Granted, the only people searching for “Norwich” will be those living in or near Norwich, but these people will be far more ready to use you and be converted into paying customers – even more so when your company offers a service. These people should be your first target audience and priority regarding geographic SEO. But be careful. You need to think about which specific location you promote. Is it best to use your small village or the city nearby? You want to be specific to a local area, but not too specific. It is much, much better to target a city of 200,000 people rather than a village 10 minutes away with a population of 100 – so take this into consideration.

To begin with, your location needs to be as prominent as your main keywords. Put it in title tags, the first paragraph of your site, spread it around the site – especially on your contact page as that’s where it belongs! Make sure you use it in adverts, use your local telephone number with the area code… go (sensibly) mad! The most important thing to do is to submit your company to Google maps. For this you will need to sign up for a Google account if you do not have one already. The great thing about this is, you are listed on Google straight away and it’s already localised! Here you can submit your company details whether you have a website or not and over the next couple of weeks, anyone searching for you or your service in your local area will have a nice little map like this:

geographical seo - norwich

I’m not sure about you, but I tend to click most of these links here and not even bother about the first organic listing. Whether you are marker A or marker G, you’re already above what is normally the first place result! Also, once you have a google account you will need to look at Google’s Webmaster tools and how to set your geographic location there.
In summary then, I will leave you with some main points for setting up your website for serving your local geographic area.

  • Consider a domain address. This immediately indicates that you are based in the UK and will likely rank better for UK search results.
  • Get links to your site from local newspapers or free local advert listings.
  • Use Google and the tools available to help the search engines pinpoint where you are.
  • Sprinkle mentions of your location around your website to help search engines tie in this area and you.
  • There is always scope to go national or international at any stage, so don’t worry about being specific to begin with – these are the foundations on which you need first in order to one day go global 🙂

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