Local SEO vs Global SEO

If you’re looking to drive traffic to your website and improve your Google ranking, a robust search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is vital. Today, SEO matters more than ever. According to 2021 research published by FINITE, 81% of B2B marketers believe that SEO has become a more important channel in the past 12 months.

Given how rapidly the state of digital marketing changes, many businesses are struggling to figure out which SEO practices they should be implementing to get the best results. To stay on top of your SEO strategy, it is important to understand the key differences between two important types of SEO: local SEO, and global SEO. 

In this article, we’ll explain some of these differences to help you figure out which strategy you should be using. 

What is the difference between local SEO and global SEO?

Global SEO involves optimising your content to target customers internationally via global search engines, instead of targeting those who are in a specific location. This means that it targets keywords and traffic within a global environment. This is the kind of SEO that most B2B companies in the tech and SaaS space will focus on, as their products and services can be utilised by a global audience. 

You might also have heard of “national SEO”. This is similar to global SEO, except it focuses on improving the rankings of a website within a broad geographical region, such as the United States or the United Kingdom, for example. This strategy is often used by online stores and franchises who can ship to a national location.

Local SEO targets a specific location by modifying the targeted search phrases to focus on local keywords. These keywords are geo-targeted, and will typically include the region, state, or city you’re trying to target. 

Optimising your website for SEO

Before we discuss the key differences between local SEO and global SEO, let’s first go through some of the most basic SEO practices you should already be implementing. Regardless of whether you implement a local or global SEO strategy, there are some basic steps that you can take to help drive traffic to your site.

  • The content you display on your website should be useful and informative for your audience and should make them want to come back to your website.
  • You should check your website loading speed. Pages that load slowly can harm your SEO rankings. You can check your website’s mobile and desktop loading speed through tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. This will give your website a performance score, and give you tips on how to improve it.
  • Your website should be easy to navigate. This will make it easier for search engines to crawl your website, and also for users to find what they need. 
  • Your website should be easy to access. Given that mobile now accounts for approximately 50 percent of global web traffic, it’s important that your website is optimized for mobile access. You should also make sure that all images have alt tags and descriptions, and that you’re using the most up-to-date accessibility practices. This will prevent your website from being deprioritised by search engines.

Why should you do global SEO?

Global SEO has obvious benefits – there’s a huge potential audience out there for you to target. Increasingly, companies are not bound by geographical location when it comes to finding new customers. In this case, it makes more sense to compete for rankings across a larger area. When you read about driving traffic to your site through SEO, most resources you come across will be referring to global SEO. 

However, a global SEO strategy also has its drawbacks. The most obvious one is that you’ll be facing significantly more competition. You’ll be competing with every other website in the world in your niche – not just the ones in your location. This means you’ll need to have a very strong SEO strategy. 

Global SEO strategies

To help you to improve your global SEO strategy, we have included some helpful pointers below:

  • Global SEO typically focuses on top-of-funnel content designed to educate users and answer their pain points.
  • Keyword research is required to help you to define which phrases your target audience is searching for. It’s not just about choosing the right keywords and stuffing your content with as many of them as possible – it’s also about how you use them.
  • Once you have selected your keywords, you can use them to develop your content marketing strategy. Content creation is a vital part of any global SEO strategy, as it provides opportunities for potential customers to find and engage with your content. It also helps to improve your Google ranking. You should consider what your audience is looking for when they land on each of your pages and include a clear call to action.
  • Link building, also commonly known as backlink acquisition, is also an important part of this strategy. This is essentially a link from one website to another. If someone links to your website, it can essentially be thought of as a “vote of confidence” from one website to another that suggests your content is useful and valuable.
  • Global SEO can also involve translating your page into multiple languages so it is easily accessible to people around the world. Even though 1.35 billion people around the world speak English, the majority of these don’t speak English as a first language. In fact, only around 360 million people speak English as a first language. Given that there are currently almost 8 billion people in the world, you are excluding over 6 billion people by failing to translate your website into multiple languages. 

There’s more to global SEO than Google

Search results will appear differently for users in different countries. As it stands, Google has 76.14% of the search engine market share. As a result, most organisations understandably optimise site content for the Google algorithm. 

But Google isn’t the only search engine your customers will be using. For instance, Baidu is popular in China with over 200 million daily active users (DAU), Yahoo! is popular in Japan with an average monthly reach of 68.9 percent, and Yandex is used by 31 percent of internet users in Russia. 

This means that, depending on which regions you are targeting, you may have to adjust your SEO strategy so that you’re not just focusing on customers using Google. 

Who benefits from local SEO?

Local SEO is best for businesses that have physical stores in specific locations and are not trying to attract a global audience. There’s little point in competing with all of the other websites around the globe trying to provide a service if you’re only offering it in a specific location. If you sell cars in London, there’s no point in wasting money trying to get the attention of customers looking to buy cars in New York. 

Even if your business mostly operates online and there is little need for in-person communication, some people will conduct local searches because they simply prefer the idea of working with companies in their general area. Having local knowledge can be invaluable when it comes to targeting the right prospects. When you’re trying to connect with your audience on a deeper level, localisation is key.

The problem with this is that a local SEO strategy will not help you to rank globally.

Local SEO strategies

  • A large part of any local SEO strategy is listing your business on additional platforms such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, and other local directories. 
  • You must make sure that your Name, Address, Phone number (NAP) is consistent across every website you list your business on. 
  • Unlike global SEO, which emphasises backlink acquisition, local SEO puts a lot of emphasis on review acquisition. 

Local SEO vs. global SEO for B2B businesses

Many B2B businesses wonder if local SEO is even worth it. If your business has a physical location that is accessible to the public, and also interacts face-to-face with customers, then it meets Google’s local business guidelines

However, if you’re based online, then it is much more likely that your business will benefit from a global SEO strategy that allows you to target customers from all over the world. 

Going global with your SEO strategy can seem complicated. However, if it’s implemented correctly, it can result in a huge increase in traffic to your website – and ultimately, more customers for your business. 

Hire a global SEO agency

Many websites and agencies suggest that there are quick shortcuts that you can take to improve your SEO strategy. However, cutting corners will only harm you in the long run. Getting positive results from your SEO campaign is a strategic effort that requires long-term planning by a competent team. 

Working with a specialised SEO agency can help you to figure out which SEO strategy is best for you, and help you to tailor your strategy accordingly. 

If you’d like to enhance your SEO strategy, we provide award-winning Global SEO services specialising in the tech and SaaS space. Learn more about our services here

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