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It doesn’t need to be said that it is important to rank for relevant keywords, how else will your customers or audience find your website. But, where do you focus your business – trying to rank nationally or dominate your local area? There are a number of factors to consider when targeting keywords for SEO; search volume, relevance, user intent, competition and more. You need to find the best opportunity for your website that will deliver a strong return on investment for your SEO efforts. We’ve previously discussed how to select the right keywords, but let’s have a look at the pro’s and con’s of targeting national ranking keywords vs ranking first locally.

Nationally Ranking Keywords

At face value it seems obvious that you want to appear at the top of Google nationally for all your keywords. However, you may need to pick your battles and review what is attainable rather than what would be ideal. What we mean by this is there are some websites that your new and shiny site simply won’t immediately outrank. Websites like Facebook, Indeed, the BBC and Checkatrade are all huge websites with thousands, if not millions, of visitors every day and are constantly being worked on and linked to by other websites. So trying to outrank websites of that scale may not be in your best interest within the first six months of your SEO campaign.

So, what keywords do you target? Where do you want to rank nationally? Consider longer keywords beyond the very broad phrasing that is associated with your business. Instead of “plumbing” try “exterior drain service” – if it has search volume and the competition isn’t almost as old as the internet itself, ranking within the top 5 should be a possibility for you. Doing your keyword research right will mean finding those keywords that people are using that are looking to make a purchase or use a service. Know how to tailor your web pages to those users, build links to support your website, and finding the right keywords to nationally rank for will get your website where it needs to be.

Local Ranking Keywords

If you’re a small business and you don’t have the budget for a huge digital marketing and SEO campaign nor the time to wait for your website to slowly rank itself, what do you do? The same thing you want your potential customers to do; look locally. If you search for a service or type of business, you will often see local business alongside, if not before the national brands. This is because Google wants to show a diverse range of websites and the location of those businesses matter. Your website can dominate an area or town by targeting keywords relevant to that location, you have probably seen it yourself where websites will appear in Google as “SEO and Digital Marketing in Sussex” for example…

What does this mean for your keywords and how do you use it? A problem you may run into, particularly in small towns, is that there will be little to no search volume. However, this doesn’t always mean to ignore that keywords – if you can dominate a space locally it will pay of when people do search for your services. Using opportunities like local directories and Google Business to share additional information and reviews will help your business tremendously locally. The smaller search volume but local geographical keywords will create great opportunities for your business and if you’re on the first page for when someone needs an emergency local locksmith or plumber, the user will want the local expert who can get to them straight away.

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If you want to start a national or local SEO campaign or want help developing your website to where it needs to be, get in touch with the 427 Marketing team today. Give us a call on 01323 400010 or email us at

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