Traditional SEO vs. Local SEO

What’s More Important for Multi-Location Brands?
Emily Harris

Emily Harris

Emily specializes in SEO, content marketing, social media strategy, and PPC campaigns. She is particularly skilled at analyzing market trends and adapting strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

Ever find yourself scratching your head, trying to figure out how best to utilize SEO strategies for your business?

Were you aware that SEO can be broken down into two strategies: traditional and local SEO?

For businesses that have a presence in multiple locations, understanding the difference between these two strategies is more than just smart—it’s essential.

Why does this matter to you?

Because the strategy that works wonders for your buddy’s coffee shop downtown won’t necessarily do the trick for you.

So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s get started!

How Well Do You Understand Your SEO?

Diving deep into the heart of multi-location business challenges, Bright Local hit up 200 marketing maestros from brands sprawled across the USA, Canada, and the UK.

While putting together their report, they wanted to understand if multi-location brands had a dedicated local strategy in place and if they were well-versed in the differences between local and traditional SEO.

Here’s what they found:

Terms and Definition

Do brands have a dedicated SEO strategy

  • With 92% claiming to have a focused plan, Big Brands clearly have local SEO down pat.
  • Local Players followed close behind, with 86% having a dedicated local strategy.
  • 33% of all businesses did not have a local strategy in place, and 17% weren’t sure if they even had a strategy.

However, the most intriguing part is that Regional Challengers were less likely to have a local marketing plan than Local Players.

Why do you think that is?

Well, it’s most likely that Local Players may have had a deeper familiarity with their markets and the needs in their immediate vicinity due to their smaller (and maybe more concentrated) branch portfolio.

Businesses that fell into the Regional Challengers category were more likely to have experienced a period of rapid expansion recently, necessitating either a more thorough strategy or the realization that their old one wasn’t working.

Now, this brings us to a very important question:

Understanding the difference between tradition and local SEO

In comparison to 83% of Big Brands, 73% of Regional Challengers, and 94% of High Performers, 90% of Local Players believe that their marketing teams have a good to very good grasp of local and traditional SEO.

Is there a reason why Local Players have a better insight?

Local players often have a better understanding of both traditional and local SEO because they are more closely connected with their specific markets.

This proximity allows them to tailor their strategies more precisely to the local audience’s preferences and needs, leading to more effective and nuanced marketing efforts.

High and average performer rating on SEO knowledge

Would you say you have a good grasp of both local and traditional SEO?

Let’s figure out how your business could benefit from these two strategies by outlining them precisely.

What’s Traditional SEO?

Traditional SEO (simply referred to as SEO) focuses on optimizing your website to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs) for a broad audience, regardless of their location.

It’s about improving your site’s visibility on a national or global scale, targeting general topical keywords that drive traffic from anywhere and everywhere.

This approach is ideal for businesses that operate online without a brick-and-mortar presence, serve customers regardless of geography, or wish to establish thought leadership in their industry.

This approach involves:

  • Conducting Keyword Research and Optimization: Finding a wide audience to target by integrating relevant keywords into the website’s content, URLs, title tags, and meta descriptions.
  • Creating High-Quality Content: Increasing the site’s authority and relevance by producing engaging, insightful, and informative content that addresses the audience’s needs and questions.
  • Building a Strong Backlink Profile: Acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable and relevant websites to enhance the site’s authority and improve its rankings in SERPs.
  • Technical SEO: Optimizing the website’s technical aspects, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, security (HTTPS), and structured data markup to improve user experience and search engine crawling.
  • On-page Optimization: Ensuring proper use of header tags, image optimization (alt tags), and internal linking to enhance content relevance and user experience.

Traditional SEO

The goal of this strategy is to boost your website’s authority and relevance in your industry or niche, drive organic traffic, and ultimately increase conversions and brand awareness across various regions, regardless of geography.

What’s Local SEO?

Local SEO, on the other hand, zeroes in on boosting your business’s visibility in local search queries.

It’s particularly beneficial for service-based professionals and companies with physical locations that rely on foot traffic or local clientele.

Local SEO strategies involve:

  • Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing: Creating and optimizing a GMB listing with correct business details, hours of operation, photos, and responses to reviews to improve visibility in local search results and Google Maps.
  • Incorporating Local Keywords: Using geo-targeted keywords in the metadata and web content to draw in customers searching for services in specific geographic areas.
  • Local Citations: Ensuring your business is listed in local directories and citation sites with consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information to improve local search rankings.
  • Localized Content: Creating content that appeals to local audiences, such as blog posts on local events, community activities, or location-specific services, to increase engagement and relevance.
  • Managing online reviews and local backlinks: This involves actively monitoring and responding to customer reviews across various platforms, as well as building links from locally relevant websites to enhance local search visibility and credibility.

The goal is to rank well in local search results, such as Google Maps and local pack listings, for people searching within a specific area.

Why is local SEO important

While traditional SEO looks to cast a wide net to attract a diversified, broad audience, local SEO focuses on attracting the attention of the local market, ensuring that the business stands out to potential clients in its immediate surroundings.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the next question.

Which SEO Strategy Works Best for Multi-Location Brands?

Ideally, the best approach would be to combine both traditional and local SEO strategies.

This approach allows businesses to cater to the specific needs of customers at each of their locations while simultaneously expanding their online reach and appeal to a wider clientele.

The Bright Local report that was referenced earlier definitely supports this.

The report showed that multi-location brands are now investing heavily in traditional and local SEO.

  • 71% of multi-location brands are investing medium-high amounts in traditional SEO.
  • 74% of multi-location brands are investing medium-high amounts in local SEO.

(Check out our previous blog post to understand the latest marketing trends by multi-location brands.)

Growing your business with SEO

Multi-location brands need a unified SEO strategy that includes global keywords and content relevant to the brand as a whole, as well as localized content and optimization efforts for each specific location.

Some examples of this include personalized Google My Business profiles, location-specific web pages, and localized keywords.

To maximize visibility, engage varied client segments, and drive growth across all locations, it’s necessary to have a balanced and integrated approach that uses the capabilities of both traditional SEO and local SEO.

Does SEO Strategy Differ for Single-Location and Multi-Location Brand?

Businesses with more than one location need a more sophisticated SEO plan than those with only one location because of the obvious differences in size, audience segmentation, and regional market dynamics.

Single-location businesses generally focus on sharpening and optimizing their SEO efforts for a specific location.

However, when we pivot to multi-location businesses, the playbook changes significantly.

Here, the SEO strategy must be both scalable and personalized.

You need a specific game plan for each location to ensure local visibility and a unified brand voice across the board.

You need to create location-specific landing pages for each business that include unique content, photos, and testimonials that reflect the offerings and personality of each location.

These pages need to be carefully optimized for local search while being linked to the main website.

Consistency is also crucial for multi-location SEO strategies, both in terms of NAP information and GMB listings.

Keeping all of your GMB listings and NAP information up-to-date and optimized for maximum engagement and accuracy is no easy feat, especially when you have more than one location to manage.

This requires careful attention to detail and a strategic approach to enhance visibility and provide a seamless experience for customers searching for the nearest location.

While SEO strategies for multi-location businesses and single-location businesses can differ in their approach, the ultimate goal remains the same – to improve online visibility, attract more customers, and drive business growth.

Does SEO Strategy Differ

By understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that come with managing multiple locations or a single location, businesses can tailor their SEO efforts to meet the specific needs of their target audience and achieve better results.

By weaving in relevant keywords and linking each page back to one optimized website, we’ve seen firsthand how multi-location brands can dominate local search results.

If you want to see how we’ve helped multi-location businesses boost their organic traffic and revenue month after month utilizing our custom methods, you can read the case study showcasing our “Join or Die Method.”

Our client experienced a 2000% ROI as a result of this strategic integration, which led to gains in online visibility and lead creation.

Let us help you create an SEO plan that will effectively reach your target audience and achieve your business goals by analyzing your business’s unique challenges and goals.

Whether you’re managing multiple locations or operating from a single storefront, make SEO a priority in your marketing strategy and watch your business thrive online.

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