Whether you’re trying to broaden your reach to a wider audience, or you’re a new business and want brand recognition that goes beyond your locale, navigating the world of national SEO rankings can seem confusing and overwhelming.
There are significant challenges that face companies trying to learn how to rank nationally for SEO. One of the biggest is that in every area outside your own, Google will most likely rank local companies ahead of yours.
How to Rank Nationally for SEO
Breaking Out of Your Local Search Results
In order to determine how to rank nationally for SEO, you need to finetune your content marketing methods. The strategies used by companies that only do business locally will be different from the national SEO used by businesses that operate across multiple regions.
For every business, there is a different answer for the best way to break out of local search results and rank nationally. In this piece, we’ll go over a few actionable tips you can use to help your online content reach a national audience.
Avoid starting out with the immediate intention of ranking across states, countries, and continents. Unless you are incredibly lucky, the reality of this mentality is that you are likely to end up frustrated and disappointed.
Start by picking a handful of cities you want your brand to develop a presence in. Research the Google search result rankings of your would-be competitors there, whether brick and mortar stores or digital ones. Try to pick up on their strengths and weaknesses, and see where there are gaps that you could fill with your own content marketing.
Analyze these businesses and consider what it would take to compete with them. What methods do they use to rank highly in their niche? One strategy is to regionalize your offerings. Take into account the seasons, traditions, and general preferences of residents in the areas you’re targeting.
For example, if your home decor company is located in Florida and you want to start targeting customers in Boston, offering seasonal home decorations will appeal to buyers in cooler regions.
Do Your Keyword Research
When you make the jump from local SEO to national SEO, you’re competing against a much larger pool of businesses for the same customers. Luckily, small companies have the chance to compete against much bigger ones when they’re thinking about how to rank nationally for SEO.
Google searches are becoming more and more personalized. Google bases results on more than just the search phrase. Its algorithm considers your previous search history in addition to your location. Because of this, two people searching the same keyword phrase can have completely different results. Carefully selecting national SEO keywords will help you keep up with your competitors and remain highly ranked, no matter who searches the phrase or where they are located.
There are two types of keywords to keep in mind when optimizing for national SEO rankings—broad keywords and long-tail keywords. Broad keywords are highly competitive, general phrases like ‘running socks.’ When you type this search phrase into Google, your search results will likely be comprised of digital giants like Amazon. Being a broad term that is searched quite often, you’re competing against a lot more companies that are also trying to figure out how to rank nationally for SEO.
Long-tail keywords use a different method. These phrases are longer and more specific than broad keywords, usually about 3-4 words. If ‘running tights’ is a broad keyword, ‘best breathable running tights’ would be a long-tail keyword.
These longer phrases are generally recommended over broad keywords for content marketing. While long-tail keywords have fewer organic searches than broad keywords, there is a great deal less competition for rankings on search engine result pages. When you have a specific angle, you have a better chance of your national SEO working in your favor.
Produce Excellent Content
Anyone can shove random buzzwords into a sloppy and poorly written article, but that’s not how to rank nationally for SEO. In order to rank beyond your business’ local results, you need to provide the best content available for your chosen national SEO keywords.
Google rankings give preference to in-depth content that answers search queries in detail. Google wants its search results to offer users the most valuable content and best answers, so its algorithm favors detailed explanations (~1500 words) over shorter articles that only skim a topic.
Luckily, Google doesn’t care who is providing the content, as long as it’s the best response to a search query. This means that small businesses have the same chance of reaching a national audience as larger corporations do.
Google also favors webpages that are mobile-friendly. When creating your platform, ensure that it loads quickly and is viewable from a mobile device. You could have already learned how to rank nationally for SEO and be posting the best content on the web, but no one will see it if Google thinks the interface is poor quality.
Build Your Backlinks
Even if you feel confident you know how to rank nationally for SEO and you do everything right, there’s a possibility no one will see it—whether on a local level or a national one. This is where backlinks come in.
In order to get backlinks, reach out to bloggers and other content marketers directly. Offer to guest post for bloggers in a similar niche. This gives you a chance to backlink your business website on the guest post, which places your brand in front of a whole new audience beyond your local search results.
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In addition, Google gives preferences to web pages that have backlinks. If a webpage has a decent number of backlinks, it is assumed that the author is an authority on the given subject and provides decent value to the reader.
Rank Nationally for SEO Final Thoughts
Hopefully, these steps were helpful in determining how to rank nationally for SEO. When you use national SEO to expand your brand’s reach and broaden your audience, there is a great deal more competition. However, if done correctly it can be a tremendous help to your business.
Try a few of these tips to rank nationally for SEO and see how far your reach expands when you focus on a larger audience.