Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital in helping your website rank as highly as possible in Google, ensuring your name appears when people are searching for the goods or services you offer. When you consider how often people click on the first few results in searches, the impact of good SEO on your bottom line is clear.
While location-specific terms and tactics can help your site rank well in a specific geographical area, ranking nationally is also essential, even if your business has just one location. National SEO can help you get your name in front of a wider audience and build brand recognition.
Here is a look at how you can start an effective national SEO campaign.
Begin Drafting Up A Long-Term Strategy
A national SEO campaign is a significant undertaking, even for small businesses. Therefore, it is best to develop a strategy before beginning to avoid expending too much effort on the wrong approaches or, worse, taking an action that leads to reduced traffic or business.
Here are some of the factors to take into consideration when developing a national SEO campaign.
- Business objectives – What are the goals of the campaign? For example, will you be trying to boost sales, enhance awareness of your brand, or push a specific service or product you offer in a particular location?
- Stakeholders – Consider who will be holding you accountable for the campaign. For example, you may be representing a corporate office, or you could have franchisees.
- Priorities – Many times, a national SEO campaign has multiple objectives, so it is helpful to prioritize them to help guide your actions.
Perform Extensive Industry-Based Keyword Research
Before developing good content to help you achieve your SEO goals, you need to know what to write about. This can be difficult to determine on a local scale, but writing to a national audience can be even more challenging.
If your business is already generating traffic, you will have some data at your disposal that can be used as a starting point. Look to Google Analytics, Google Ad search term reports and Google Search Console to identify keyword opportunities and the terms people use to find your business.
Another way to identify potential keywords is listing your products and services alongside their benefits and relevant features. These are often the keywords that people who are prepared to purchase will use in their searches.
It can also be helpful to look at your competitors’ websites to see which topics they are writing about and which are the focus of their best posts.
You will want to come up with a good mix of broad and long-tail keywords. The former offers a high volume of organic searches but comes with high competition, while the latter has fewer searches but is also far less competitive and, therefore, easier to rank for. You need to use a variety of these types of terms in your SEO content. You might start with those that are the easiest to use and most searched for, focusing on the ones with relatively low competition where possible.
Once you have a list of good potential keywords, you can run them through a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to find additional data and opportunities related to the term.
Generate A Library Of Valuable Content
One of the best ways to draw in visitors and keep them on your site is by providing high-quality content relevant to the terms they are searching for. Your keyword research should determine the content you include on your site. Many webmasters find it useful to create a calendar and schedule content in advance to help ensure a steady stream of new material is available.
Good digital content for national SEO campaigns should have universal appeal and be easily shared and promoted by all of your business locations, regardless of geography.
While shorter 500-word blog posts were popular in the past, the current trend is toward longer pieces. Google has shown a strong preference for more in-depth content. This is not surprising, as pieces that exceed 1,000 words have more time to delve into the finer points of the topic at hand and can provide the most useful content on a given keyword. This also provides more opportunities to work in relevant keywords naturally, which means you can potentially draw in more readers.
However, more than length deserves your focus; your content must offer as much value to the reader as possible. These posts can take hours of research, writing and editing. Still, they can pay off in the long run via website traffic, natural editorial backlinks, social shares and other signals that help your content and website rank well at the national level.
Over time, this should lead to a big jump in visitors to your site. As your readership grows, this will provide you with even more data that can be used to refine your strategy further. You will likely identify some powerful keywords, and you can remarket those on other platforms, such as social media, for maximum impact. National SEO is an ongoing process that will evolve as you gain more data.
Build High-Authority Backlinks
You will also want to build backlinks to your site, as these can help you improve your domain authority and build your brand. However, it is important to avoid buying backlinks, as Google will penalize your site.
Instead, consider approaches such as reaching out to bloggers and journalists to find out if they are interested in linking to your site, perhaps in exchange for a guest post you author. You can also create reports that interest those in your industry and share them with publications to get your name in front of a wider audience.
Depending on your industry, you may also be able to find a relevant podcast that could have you on as a guest. When the podcast promotes your upcoming appearance, they will likely share your links with their audience. You might also work with influencers or local news organizations to help build your brand.
No matter what method you choose, always be sure that you follow Google’s rules to the letter when acquiring backlinks.
Be Strategic With The Structure Of Your Site
A crucial component of national SEO success is proper site structure. This depends largely on the type of business you have. For example, you may have location pages or use a micro site for each of your business’s locations. Suppose your business is service-related, and you send employees to customers. In that case, it will require a different approach than a physical business with multiple store locations, such as restaurants or shops that want to draw people in.
Optimize Your Site’s Speed
Site speed is a very important ranking factor with Google; sites that offer a frustrating user experience are likely to rank poorly. Long page loading times can provide a negative user experience, so make sure that your site loads as quickly as possible and eliminate any unnecessary features that may be slowing it down.
You should also ensure your site is optimized for mobile friendliness as more and more searchers are using mobile devices to navigate the internet.
Take Advantage Of Available Digital Marketing Software
SEO has become such an indispensable part of every business’s marketing that numerous tools are now available to help you optimize your national search engine efforts. The right one for you will depend on your business’s goals and the available budget. Here are a few standout options.
Google Analytics provides valuable insight about your website visitors, enabling you to get a better picture of how well your marketing efforts are working so you can redirect your strategy if needed.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a service offered by Google that can help you better understand the search traffic that goes to your site by analyzing the queries that visitors use to find you. It can also show you how Google search views the pages on your site so you can fix those that have problems with a view to improving your ranking.
The training videos offered by Google Search Console make this tool very easy to use, even for those without much technical knowledge.
Keyword & Backlink Profile Tools
Many different SEO software offerings can help your business. If you have a smaller budget, free keyword research tools like Keyword Surfer and Wordstream can help. For those with a bigger budget, Moz and Semrush offer helpful tools for tracking your rank, auditing your site, analyzing backlinks, and researching keywords and competitors.
Construct A Winning National SEO Strategy With 321
Although it is possible to take some of the steps needed for a national SEO campaign on your own, succeeding in the long run requires the right mix of experience and insight that can only be gained by keeping a close eye on the latest effective SEO practices. Most small businesses need more time and energy to obtain the best results while staying on top of managing their company.
At 321 Web Marketing, our national SEO experts can provide your company with all the elements needed for long-term success in improving your online visibility, positioning yourself as an industry leader, and attracting new customers. We can provide everything from competitor analysis and keyword research to high-quality content. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and reach your target audiences nationwide.