8 Strategies to Crush Your Competitors in National SEO Rankings
Search engine optimization (SEO) is not new to you, and perhaps you are familiar with the benefits that a strong SEO strategy can deliver.
But you’re wondering if it’s possible to leverage national SEO for your company and if it requires a different type of strategy than other types of SEO.
The good news is that national SEO campaigns are effective, and in this guide, we’ll share eight tips that will boost your national rankings and deliver long-lasting results.
- National SEO vs. Local SEO
- 8 Tips on How to Rank Nationally: SEO Strategies That Continue to Produce High-Quality Results Over Time
- #1: Design an SEO-Friendly Website
- #2: Start With Achievable Goals
- #3: Research Your Competitors’ National SEO Strategies
- #4: Conduct In-Depth Keyword Research
- #5: Generate a High Volume of Valuable Content
- #6: Implement a Backlink Strategy
- #7: Utilize SEO Tools
- #8: Seek Advice From a Reputable National SEO Company
National SEO vs. Local SEO
National SEO and local SEO have one thing in common: the goal of both is to have a company’s website appear at the top of the list in search engine queries.
The biggest difference between national and local SEO is the target audience.
Companies using local SEO are local businesses (as the name suggests) hoping to drive traffic to their website and/or their local business.
An example of a company building their local SEO may be a …
- Physical therapy clinic; or
- Yoga instructor
… who provides their services in a particular location — Portland, for example.
On the other hand, companies seeking to build national SEO are those that:
- Provide a service that can be done nationally; or
- An online store with e-commerce products that can be sold nationally
Companies that offer …
- Financial; or
… services are those that want to sell their services or products across the country and could benefit from a national SEO campaign.
Target Brand Over Geography
A national SEO strategy is intended to target and raise awareness of the brand while a local SEO strategy is geared toward targeting a geographical area.
For example, a manufacturer of women’s athletic clothing would be more interested in brand awareness because they are equipped and desirous of selling their product across the nation. A local SEO campaign would severely limit their visibility and squash their sales potential.
But a local business that provides a service — say, a painting service — in a particular city would be more interested in promoting their business locally.
Potential customers make local searches all the time, like …
- “Painters in Salem”; or
- “Painters near me”
… and a local painting store would lose potential leads and business if they focused their SEO solely on their brand rather than their local work service area.
Target Industry Keywords Over Location-Specific Keywords
A company that wants to rank nationally should focus its SEO efforts on targeting industry keywords. Conversely, a local company would do well to focus on keywords that are specific to their geographical location.
An e-commerce business selling custom jewelry would do better to focus on keywords like …
- Women’s jewelry; or
- Customized jewelry for women
… and a yoga instructor with a studio in Atlanta would find it beneficial to focus on keywords like:
- Yoga instructors in Atlanta; or
- Yoga studios in Atlanta
8 Tips on How to Rank Nationally: SEO Strategies That Continue to Produce High-Quality Results Over Time
Any company looking to share its services and products on a national level should make it a priority to create a national SEO strategy.
Failing to do so can mean your business may:
- Grow slowly
- Be overshadowed by the competition; and
- Miss out on potential profits
If your goal is to rank nationally, practice the following simple tips for long-lasting results.
#1: Design an SEO-Friendly Website
Your website is one of your most important marketing tools. With the website templates available online, just about anyone can create a website.
But all websites are not the same.
Other than including exceptional graphics and valuable content, your website can go unnoticed if it isn’t designed with SEO specifics in mind.
Optimizing the architecture of your website’s URL structure may seem like a small thing, but it can make a difference in your SEO by affecting:
- How Google understands the content on each page
- How easy it is for visitors to your site to find what they’re looking for
Google is incredibly smart and has algorithms that crawl websites. These algorithms have the ability to understand a URL architecture’s purpose.
Carefully planned URL structures also help visitors find what they’re looking for and entice them to stay on your page longer, ultimately helping your SEO performance.
URL hierarchy that builds on itself is the way to go.
Here is a good example of URL architecture that is optimized for SEO success:
Optimized On-Page SEO Factors
Another tip to creating an SEO-friendly website is including certain SEO factors and paying attention to how they appear on the page.
Some important on-page SEO factors to utilize include:
- Optimized title tags with keywords
- Captivating meta descriptions
- Header tags that incorporate keywords
- Content that is easy to read, including:
- Short sentences
- Small paragraphs
- Authoritative content with reader value
- Optimized images
- Internal links
- External links
Optimized Site Speed
Site speed is important to both Google and the user, so optimizing site speed offers multiple benefits.
Site speed directly affects rankings.
Page speed can also indirectly affect rankings. A page that loads faster may mean a lower bounce rate because visitors are spending more time on the page.
According to Think with Google, “The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.” The bounce rate increases 123% when the load time goes from 1 second to 10 seconds.
Long page loading times can give the user a bad experience and that’s a negative ranking factor in Google’s eyes.
Optimized to Be Mobile-Friendly
According to statista.com, mobile searches “account for approximately half of web traffic worldwide.”
Mobile-friendly searching is huge for Google, and slow speeds and hard-to-read pages are top ranking factors that affect SEO.
#2: Start With Achievable Goals
Setting goals is important for success, no matter the type of business you own or your SEO expectations.
But setting unrealistic goals can discourage and defeat even the most energetic and optimistic business owner.
Ranking nationally immediately is not always realistic. A better strategy may be to research a few bigger markets and break into those first.
#3: Research Your Competitors’ National SEO Strategies
Knowing what your competitors are doing is important information to have when working on ranking nationally.
To find helpful information, you’ll need to do some research geared around the following types of questions:
- What are they doing in regards to SEO?
- Which of their pages is ranking well?
- What keywords are performing the best for them?
- How much organic traffic are they driving each month?
For example, if you look at your top competitor and see that they are driving 20,000 visitors a month, and you’re driving 2,000 visitors a month, then your goal of driving 25,000 visitors a month in six months would be very unrealistic.
#4: Conduct In-Depth Keyword Research
Though the effect of keyword rankings on SEO has changed throughout the years, keywords are still important because they:
- Help you know what’s on your audience’s mind
- Give you information on what questions your audience is asking; and
- Help you understand how to help them find solutions to their problems
Consider the following when beginning in-depth keyword research.
Broad vs. Long-Tail Keywords
Broad keywords may result in numerous organic searches, but the competition is high. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are less competitive but have fewer searches.
For example, you’ll get much different data when researching a keyword like “physical therapy” than “physical therapy after knee surgery.”
A good strategy would be to do research on both types of keywords and use a variety in your SEO content.
When beginning keyword research and deciding which ones to use for your SEO content, consider starting with the low-hanging fruit — the ones most searched for and easiest to use.
Look for keywords with ample volume and low competition.
Competitor Keyword Rankings
Looking at the competition’s keyword is a smart tactic to use when trying to increase your SEO national rankings.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What keywords are they ranking for?
- Are any of their keywords low-hanging fruit?
- Are there long-tail keywords that you could use instead?
Identify User Intent
This is probably the most important factor when doing keyword research.
Knowing what your audience is looking for, and what they want to know, will be crucial to creating the right kind of content with the best keywords.
The best keywords may be the ones focused on people who are ready to buy. Simply writing content around your products may not be enough, though.
Creating content that shares valuable content is beneficial as well.
#5: Generate a High Volume of Valuable Content
Content that is relevant and valuable is one of the things that will get visitors to your site and keep them there.
Using your keyword research, decide on the content you’ll include on your site. Creating a calendar and scheduling content ahead of time will make managing the content an easy task.
After some time, you’ll likely see an increase in the number of visitors that come to your site. When that happens, consider taking things a step further by remarketing those keywords on other platforms like social media.
The privacy updates on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are making it difficult to do hyper-targeting like we used to be able to do in the recent past.
You’ll get a higher return on investment (ROI) if you know, with confidence, that 10,000 visitors a month are coming to your site for well-chosen keywords and you are merely remarketing to them on social media platforms.
#6: Implement a Backlink Strategy
Backlinks are an essential component to increasing domain authority and building your brand, so using backlinks well should definitely be a part of your strategy.
But how do you get others to link to your site — especially since “buying backlinks” isn’t really a thing anymore?
Consider these white hat link building tactics to encourage linking to your site:
- Contact journalists, bloggers, and others who may want to link to your site.
- Ask to be featured on industry podcasts.
- Create an industry report and share it with publications.
In addition to these tips, it’s always a good idea to do your best to abide by Google’s rules when it comes to backlinks.
#7: Utilize SEO Tools
SEO tools abound, and which ones you use will be highly dependent on your goals and budget.
However, we’d recommend the following SEO tools for any company striving for national search engine optimization.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is all about enhancing the performance of a company’s website.
Google Search Console is a service that offers tools and reports that give helpful information to:
- Understand your site’s search traffic by analyzing search queries
- Help you learn how Google Search views your site’s pages
- Fix problems with your site; and
- Help your site rise above the others
As an added bonus, Google Search Console comes with training videos to make it simple and easy to use.
Collecting data is one thing, but understanding how to analyze and use it is another thing. That’s where Google Analytics can be a huge plus.
Google Analytics offers free tools that help you analyze data to make the best decisions for your business.
With Google Analytics, you can:
- Gain information about visitors to your site to gauge your:
- Marketing efforts
- Content production; and
- Gain access to tools that are only available through Google
- Turn the insights you gain into better business results
SEO Software Platform
SEO software platforms are useful to businesses regardless of size.
Platforms like SEMRush and Moz provide invaluable tools for:
- Keyword research
- Competitor research
- Site audits
- Rank tracking
- Backlink analysis
Of course, these services come with a price, and they may not be budget-friendly for small businesses.
Small businesses with budget restraints may want to take advantage of free keyword research tools like:
In addition, some of the premium websites like …
- Moz; and
… offer some of their keyword research tools on a limited basis.
And if you’re working with an SEO company, these services may not be necessary since the company will be doing the legwork for you.
#8: Seek Advice From a Reputable National SEO Company
You can do national SEO on your own, no doubt, but it will require …
- Energy; and
… that you may not have at your disposal.
If you’re looking to get the best national SEO results and still have time to focus on the day-to-day management of your company, going with a trusted national SEO company may be the best way to get the results you’re looking for.
What can SEO companies offer?
- Long-term success
- Website improvement
- Time for you to focus on running your business
- Know-how and expertise
- Knowledge of current trends
- Data and analytics information
- And more
An SEO company like SEO Growth Partners makes sure things are done right from the get-go so no time or opportunity is lost.
The SEO Growth Partners team is poised, experienced, and ready to meet your SEO needs, including:
- Search Engine Optimization
- National SEO
- Local SEO
- Keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Market analysis
- Content auditing
- Content creation
- SEO reporting and consulting
- Technical SEO
- And more
We strive to know each client and their needs, so we:
- Perform a comprehensive audit
- Create a roadmap based on the data; and
- Implement strategies and track the data to continually focus our efforts
If your SEO efforts have been sub-par, misguided, or without results, we are ready to team up with you and get results.
Get started with a free SEO audit.