Although they may seem quite similar at first, there is quite a vast difference between local SEO & national SEO campaigns. While you wouldn’t say one is particularly ‘harder’ than the other – the competition is obviously a lot stiffer at a national level and it will often require more resources and capital to rank for profitable keywords. In this section of our guide to SEO, we’ll go through the process we undertake at Gorilla when handling a national SEO campaign from start to success:
- Keyword Research
- Website Design & Structure
- Establishing Your Brand
It will be mentioned everywhere in this guide – keyword research is the most important part of any SEO campaign. Before carrying on with the rest of this article, be sure to read our tips and hints on how to conduct great keyword research.
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Website structure, user experience and content grouping play a major role in the search rankings of all websites – and sites targeting national keywords are no exception. Once all keyword research has been done, we use the following checklist to ensure our website design and structure are ready for the next phase:
- Content is appropriately grouped as per our keyword research guide.
- On-page SEO has been done correctly (read our guide on on-page SEO here).
- The website has a great UX and ‘money pages’ have clear calls to action on them.
- Clear URL structure, authority content and child pages expanding on topics (with interlinking).
- The website is easy to share on social media and actually looks like an authority to humans.
Once your content has been grouped by keyword topic and intent – it is time to create the content that will answer both the query of the searcher and provide value. One of the best ways to do this is to use what is referred to as the ‘skyscraper technique’. This process involves creating content that is quite literally 10 times better than the current top ranking websites. While this process isn’t always effective for the most competitive keywords – it is great to use on smaller volume / long tail keywords and can start generating you traffic almost immediately. This also helps when it comes to establishing yourself as an authority when going after the bigger keywords.
A great tip when using this method is to use a logical heading structure (H1 main title keyword, H3’s as the secondary keywords), with links to internal child pages that expand further on the topic under each of the H3’s (thus establishing the parent further as authority).
Before we start backlinking to any of the content that we want to rank – it is absolutely imperative that you first rank #1 for your brand name. Ideally, you will also want a knowledge graph on the side of the search results and the rest of the organic results to be your other social and business profiles across the web. The following checklist should help you make sure you get the top spot for your brand name:
- Google My Business Page. Claim and verify your GMB listing and fill in as many details as possible, including pictures and G+ updates.
- Social Media Pages & URLs. Try building up a following on social media through content or advertising to add legitimacy to your brand. Also, ensure that you claim your business name as the URL on the social media site (i.e. facebook.com/business-name).
- Branded Anchor Backlinks. If you do have a backlinking opportunity early on in your SEO campaign, do your best to ensure it goes to the home page only and has no keywords in the anchor text (preferably a naked URL or your brand name) as to not set off any spam alerts.
- Press Release. It may be worth paying a PR company to do a high-quality press release to announce your brand – with a naked URL web link only back to your website.
- Business Directories. Place your business in any relevant online business directories.
If all the above steps are followed then it shouldn’t be too long thereafter that Google ranks your website for your brand name. From here it should be a lot safer to start a backlinking campaign to rank for national keywords.
The long-term efforts of an SEO campaign are focused on the link-building. This is the process of establishing your website as an authority in the eyes of search engines by getting other authoritative websites to link to you. There are countless methods out there for getting backlinks to your website, from creating link-worthy content to outright asking for them. We have put together a guide on the most common backlinking strategies we use at Gorilla – click here to check it out.