Skip to main content

Organic SEO vs Local SEO — What’s the Difference?

In the world of digital marketing, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a strategy the helps increase traffic to your web pages as well as your social media platforms. An SEO strategy can not only improve overall digital traffic, but it can also:

  • Increase the amount of time a visitor stays on a page
  • Improve the rate that your business name appears in search for a given keyword
  • Expand leads and conversions, and
  • Boost the quality of visitors

So, what’s the difference between local SEO and organic SEO?

Organic vs. Local SEO

Organic SEO uses web strategy to target users, regardless of where they are in the world. Local SEO, on the other hand, targets a specific, local audience within certain geographic locations so a small business can improve its performance in local searches.

Does it matter when you use organic vs. local SEO? Your SEO strategy all depends on your goals… that being said, let’s take a closer look:

When to use organic SEO

Organic SEO is typically used when a small business wants to rank higher within Google’s search results, increase overall sales reach, or to build momentum around brand awareness. Typically, this works best for:

  • Ecommerce

  • Online-only shops

  • Marketing focused on website discovery and conversions

  • Marketing geared towards increasing user searches and SERPs

When to use local SEO

For brick and mortar businesses, such as small retailers, service providers, and others, local SEO strategy is usually the most effective. A local SEO strategy specifies searches and targets local customers — users who are most likely to visit a brick and mortar store and make a purchase.

Overall, Organic SEO is definitely an essential part of a digital marketing strategy as a whole, but local SEO might be even more important for your local business. When you are targeting local customers, local SEO can help you rank higher in local search engine results. It will also give you the opportunity to gain greater visibility among local customers who regularly use search engines to find information about local businesses or services. Unlike with organic SEO, local SEO allows local businesses to focus on specific geographic regions and markets. So if your business has an exclusive local service reach that traditional organic SEO can not provide, then local SEO should be incorporated into your digital marketing strategy.

Local SEO Strategies

To create a successful local SEO campaign and improve local search results, there’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

Set up your Google Business Profile (previously called Google My Business)

To improve your local searches people need to be able to find you, and one of the easiest (and most budget friendly) ways to do this is make sure your Google Business Profile (GBP) is in place and up to date. It’s often the first contact a customer will have with your business. Having local pages will help boost your visibility in local algorithms, making sure that local customers can easily find you in the sea of local competition.

It only requires a few steps to set up, including verifying your business profile and adding important information such as:

  • Your full business name
  • Your business’s physical location and Google maps location
  • Your business category
  • Phone number and link to website content

Incorporate customer reviews

These days, potential customers want as much information as possible before they buy or engage in a service, which is why local SEO thrives with a combination of keyword research and relevant traffic spurred by local online visibility and intel… namely: reviews! Encourage your existing customers and clients to leave reviews about their experience, and incentive them by offering special pricing and coupons.

Additionally, make sure to respond to all reviews — yes, even the not-so-rosy ones. As you build your business’s online presence, it’s important to keep the “front of the house” tidy, which means publicly responding and resolving all customer concerns and comments.

Focus on Link Building

Link building for local SEO requires establishing backlinks from other, relevant local businesses. Think of backlinks kind of like referrals or “local citations.” They should direct users to a product page or your website and they should only come from legitimate, and relevant businesses within your geographic focus.

Backlinks help boost visibility and build foot traffic to your webpages… and ultimately, your brick and mortar business!

Be Location-Specific on Your Web Site

Additionally, you should optimize your website for local searchers by including location-specific keywords throughout the content on each web page which will allow search engines to recognize you as a local business – this also includes creating content that focuses on local news and events.

Following these steps will make sure that your local SEO campaign reaches its full potential!

Organic SEO Strategies

Even if you’re one of those businesses that benefits from strengthening your local SEO search results, improving your organic search results is also important to a holistic SEO strategy.

So, to boost your organic search rankings, here’s a few things you’ll need to do:

Keyword Research

Understanding what your customers are searching for (and how) is critical to both local and organic SEO success. When you know how to target specific keywords you can better anticipate your ideal customer’s search queries. Ultimately, effective keyword research and utilization results in more leads and conversions, increased website traffic, and better use of reviews.

Optimize Content

A strong content strategy goes hand-in-hand with an SEO campaign. Those targeted keywords should also be baked into different types of relevant content to help improve your performance and visibility with online search results.

Relevance is key… it’s important that your content is aligned with your user’s search intent. So, for example, if your keyword is actively marketing to users looking for natural pet products, your website content should be focused on similar topics.

Additionally, don’t forget to add visual elements as well, such as pictures, infographics, and even videos to engage and inform page visitors.  You’ll also want to include coded alt text with your images to better help Google find and understand how your images may be related to certain kinds of content and organic results.

Optimize your Website

Make sure your website structure is easy to navigate and that the most important information is easily accessible. This means auditing your site to make sure buttons work as intended and form and content either load or download as promised. Attention spans are short these days and load time is an important factor when it comes to encouraging your visitors to stay on the page and make a purchase.

Looking for help with organic SEO or local SEO?

Our digital marketing partner and SEO guru, Local Blitz is a pro with a wide variety of marketing strategies and game plans. If you’re looking for help with your local search engine optimization or want to dabble in Google Ads (or social media ads for that matter), Nick Bennett at Local Blitz is one of the co-founders and happens to be one of our fav people. Give Nick a shout and tell him we sent you.