Local SEO vs. Organic SEO - Know the Difference
Updated: Jul 13
As more and more consumers turn to online search engines like Google to find the products, services, and information they need before making a purchase, businesses of all sizes are recognizing the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) for their online success.
However, with so many different SEO strategies and techniques out there, it can be difficult for business owners to know which approach is right for them when crafting an SEO strategy.
Local SEO vs. Organic SEO: What's the Difference?
In simple terms, local SEO focuses on optimizing a business's website for local searches. For example, if a user searches for "pizza restaurants in San Francisco," a local pizza joint would want to optimize its website for that specific search term so that it can show up at the top of local search results.
Organic SEO is focused on optimizing a website's content to rank for organic search results, which is the list of websites we get when we search for something on Google. This type of strategy is catered more toward general search terms that don't specify location.
For example, a keyword like "marketing tents" does not specify any location, meaning the searcher most likely does not have a huge preference in where to get this product.
They just want a good product from a trusted company. So, a company that designs and sells tents for marketing would naturally want to optimize its web page content for this keyword.
Local SEO is all about ensuring that your business appears at the top of local search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for businesses or services in a specific geographic location. Small businesses are usually the ones trying to rank in the local pack since they want to attract local customers.
For example, if you own a pizza restaurant in San Francisco, local SEO techniques would be used to ensure that your website appears at the top of the search results when someone searches for "pizza in San Francisco" or "pizza delivery in San Francisco."
Some Local SEO Ranking Factors
Google Business Profile
Creating and optimizing a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing is one of the first things you can and need to do for local SEO. This will ensure that your business appears in the "local pack", which are the Google Maps results at the top of search results pages when users search for businesses in your area.
NAP Citations & Local Backlinks
NAP citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, such as online directories. While these don't hold as much weight as they used to as a local ranking factor as search engines have gained intelligence, it can still influence search positions. still important to ensure your business information is consistent throughout the internet.
Reviews and Listing age
Positive reviews from customers can go a long way in improving your local SEO rankings. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page and other relevant review sites whenever possible. A great way to do this is through email requests right after servicing a customer.
Believe it or not, Google is smart and knows whether or not people like your business - and they find this out through reviews!
So yeah, it's pretty important to have good reviews and to get them as often as possible.
When trying to rank higher on local results, your website content should be optimized accordingly.
The key here is relevant content!
This includes optimizing your content for local keywords and including your NAP information on your website.
Additionally, remember the other important stuff that goes into building and designing a website.
This includes but is not limited to image optimization, proper heading structure, Core Web Vitals, accessibility, internal linking, and more.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, is focused on optimizing a website's content to rank for relevant search terms, regardless of location. This is often a more long-term strategy than local SEO, as it can take time to build up authority and relevance for specific keywords.
Some Organic SEO ranking factors
Identifying the keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for is essential for optimizing your website's content. Choosing the right keywords means attracting the most relevant traffic to your website.
Creating high-quality, relevant, and informative content is key to ranking well in organic search results.
A good way to approach content creation is to see if your competitors are creating content on their websites, how often, and seeing whether that content ranks high in organic results.
You can get all this information with SEO tools like Semrush, Ubersuggest, or Moz to name a few.
This includes optimizing your website's title tags, meta descriptions, and other on-page elements for your target keywords. You should include your keywords throughout your page in headings and body text.
You can tell if a business website is practicing SEO if its headline and body text contains phrases relevant to its products or services.
Let's use the same company we used earlier that sells custom marketing tents.
Now add some spice for a headline and you come up with something like this:
Custom Marketing Tents for your Next Event
Something like that.
Building relevant Backlinks
Link building can give your website a needed boost when you've done everything else on this list and more. Earning links from other sites relevant to yours is an important factor in improving your organic search rankings, especially if your website is not as established as the competitors you are trying to beat.
Which One is Right for Your Business?
The answer depends on several factors, including the nature of your business, your target audience, and your business goals.
Local SEO is more important for local businesses that rely on foot traffic, such as restaurants, and retail stores, than it is for online stores and blogging sites.
By optimizing your online presence for your physical location, you can increase your visibility to potential customers in your area and drive local traffic to your business.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, is more suitable for businesses that operate primarily online, such as e-commerce stores, online service providers, or blogs. Because, ideally, you'd want to be seen by not just local customers if you can offer products nationwide.
Of course, many businesses will benefit from a combination of both local and organic SEO strategies. For example, a rare coin and bullion dealer may want to optimize its website for local search terms to attract customers to their brick and mortar business, while also optimizing other nonprimary pages such as blog content for relevant keywords to attract more online visitors and increase its brand awareness AND authority in the space.
Can you incorporate both in your strategy?
You don't necessarily need to pick between one or the other - you can create an SEO strategy that incorporates both local SEO and organic SEO.
Ranking for both local and organic SEO is definitely possible and requires a combination of strategic planning, ongoing optimization, and patience. One common strategy to follow is to rank your main website pages for local SEO and create additional content to rank for longtail keywords in organic search results, such as a blog.
Blogs can help you display your expertise in your industry, and if you have the resources, you can create SEO-optimized blog posts that can rank organically on Google.
In conclusion, local SEO and organic SEO are both important strategies for businesses looking to improve their search engine visibility and drive more traffic to their website. While the specific techniques used for each approach may vary, the ultimate goal is the same: to rank well in search engine results pages and attract more customers to your business.
By understanding the differences between local and organic SEO and implementing a strategic plan that incorporates both, you can increase your chances of online success and stay ahead of your competitors in the long run.
Marketing Empire Group can help you do both, with custom SEO services for both local and national businesses. Whether you're a mom-and-pop or an online store, we have the solution.
Thanks for reading!