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Local SEO vs. Organic SEO: What’s the Difference?

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Are you a brick and mortar business that wants more foot traffic into your store? Are you a service-based business that has a regional area? Businesses such as these require a special form of search engine optimization known as local SEO.

Local SEO is different than standard organic SEO, but many businesses don’t understand what differentiates the two. Digital marketing can be difficult to grasp because of its many facets, but we’ll examine the difference between these two forms of SEO and how they impact your business.

If you’ve been confused by the local vs. organic SEO debate, then we’ll open the curtains to show you everything you need about them.

The Ins and Outs of National Organic SEO

When most people think about SEO, they’re thinking about national SEO. Organic SEO is just SEO that is designed for search engines, which are considered organic sources. If your website uses national SEO, then it’s looking for organic traffic from anywhere in a specific nation.

It’s traditionally for online businesses that don’t serve any specific area. Instead, they provide digital products that can be downloaded or items that can be shipped. They use general keywords for their digital marketing strategy.

They want qualified traffic from anywhere and their content isn’t directed to a specific region. Organic SEO is simpler than local SEO, but there is considerably more competition for general keywords. That being said, the search volume is higher with general keywords as well.

Most of the work done for national SEO is on the website itself, which isn’t the case for Local SEO.

Local SEO and Google

Businesses that want customers from a specific area must use local SEO. There was a time when Google only cared about national SEO but with the rise of local search, Google has made local search a priority for its search engine.

In addition to providing search results related to the local area, the company created the local pack. This is the listing of local businesses that includes a map of their location. The local pack is above the standard search engines, so it’s valuable Internet real estate.

If you want to be listed on this pack, then you need local SEO. It’s vital for your businesses’ success.

The Importance of Google My Business

Google created Google My Business as a review and business listing site, but it’s so much more for local businesses. You should claim your Google My Business profile and fill in all the information requested. The better your profile looks, the more traffic it can generate.

The real value of Google My Business is the search engine uses it to determine your location. The profile includes your address, phone number, etc. It’s one of several factors Google uses to place your business in the local pack.

While Google is great at providing your primary location in the local pack for that city, it doesn’t do so well for placing you in cities outside of your main location. Most businesses don’t just want customers from their city of address.

They also want them from surrounding areas. This is where local SEO becomes super important because it shows not only your expertise in your main city, but you can include other areas as well.

The Use of Localized Keywords

National SEO uses general keywords in that they have no localization context. It doesn’t matter for them, but it does matter for businesses seeking an area-specific customer. You first need to generate a general targeted keyword list.

These are keywords specific for your niche that you need to rank for on search engines. You then need to create a list of towns, counties, neighborhoods, etc., that you need to rank for as well.

You then combine these two lists to create localized keywords. For example, if you’re a heating and cooling repair business, the general keywords might be furnace repair. The localized keyword would be furnace repair in city name.

This shows Google that your business includes not only your primary address but other cities as well.

Localized Content for SEO

Creating a localized keyword list is expansive because each general keyword can have a city attached to it. You can’t put all the keywords on your main pages, so you need to develop content specifically for those areas.

The most common method is using blog posts that target a specific area. The information is general, but you include localized keywords. The other method is creating pages dedicated to each city.

City pages show each city what your business can do for them and include localization keywords. Google wants these pages to be thorough, so people wouldn’t have to go anywhere else on your site to get information.

In addition to information and keywords, you can place reviews and testimonials of customers from the city as well.

Review and Business Listing Sites

We talked about Google My Business, but there are many other sites out there that contain information about your business and rank well on search engines. Google My Business allows people to leave reviews as well as sites like Yelp.

People trust online reviews, so you need to find these sites and claim your listings. Once you do, then you can respond to reviews. Negative reviews happen, but if you respond professionally and courteously, then it can lessen the impact.

Review sites also have extensive profiles that let you include pictures and other information to help you stand out. Review sites rank well and can provide much traffic.

Business listings just provide information about your business. The biggest problem is many times the information is incorrect. If you don’t claim the listing, then they get information from third-party sources that may have the wrong address, phone number, hours of operation, or website.

Claiming these listings lets you provide correct information for your customers.

Localized SEO Leads to Success

Businesses need a digital marketing plan that includes local SEO if they’re looking for customers in specific areas. It’s vital for businesses because without it, Google won’t rank you for localized searches or you could only be ranked for general keywords.

If you want to learn more about this type of SEO, then please check out what we have to offer.


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