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

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Last year, 97% of searchers online used Google to find a local business, and 46% of searchers are seeking local information. With statistics like these, it’s hard to argue that, if you’re a local business, you desperately need to ensure you’re optimizing your local SEO, with emphasis on Google My Business.

Regardless of what you sell or do, people in your local area turn to online search engines to find products and services like yours. The solution? Make sure they’re able to find you and contact you.

While this might sound easy, there’s a lot to know about local SEO and organic SEO. What’s the difference between the two, and how can you ensure your company’s website is optimized for both? We’ve got the answers for you.

What is Organic SEO?Organic SEO dart board

SEO refers to search engine optimization. When you enhance your SEO, you’re basically making it easier for people to find you at the top of search engines like Google.

In terms of digital marketing, there are two different forms of traffic. One is organic, and the other is paid traffic. While there’s nothing wrong with paying for traffic through tactics such as ads, organic traffic is better in the long run.

Why? It helps you build your business in a way that’s, well, organic. You do this through search engine optimization, which requires optimizing your website, website copy, and all other online content with keywords so that people can find you.

This is why you’ll likely note that companies offering SEO services offer more than just keyword research. Sure, keywords are an essential component of organic SEO, but there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes.

SEO services include:

  • Optimizing on-site content through site structure and layout.
  • Optimizing your website copy, including blogs, with the right keywords.
  • Creating high-quality, consistent content to keep the site up to date.
  • Building off-site authority through link-building.
  • Indexing pages so that crawlers can find them and rank them easily.

See? There’s quite a bit that goes into creating an effective, successful organic SEO strategy.

What is Local SEO?

So, you understand what organic SEO is, but let’s take that a step further and look at local SEO, which optimizes your content for local searches.

Local SEO is a form of organic SEO, however, instead of optimizing your content for general searches in Google’s organic results, you’re optimizing your website to show up in Google’s local map pack.

Oftentimes, when customers perform local searches, they’re looking to visit physical locations of a store near them. These searches often cater to keywords using some variation of the phrases “near me” or service or store in “X city.”

Therefore, local SEO is the act of optimizing SEO for Google searches in a local area. Instead of trying to rank for the keyword “oil change,” you’d try to rank for “best oil change in St. Louis” or “fastest oil change near me,” for example.

Because search engines know where you’re located when you search, they’ll bring up the most relevant results near the searcher’s location.

If you do it right, you’ll appear at the top of Google’s first page with the relevant information someone needs to find and contact your business.

What Appears on a Local Search?

Assuming you’ve optimized your content for local searches (or have contracted the services of a local SEO company to help you do so), it’s important to make sure that when you appear on the first page of Google, the right information shows up.

When you search for “pizza recipes,” the results that come up are often regular recipes, sometimes with photos or a list appearing in a rich snippet. If you searched, instead, for “pizza places near me,” you’d see a map appear with a list of local pizza places.

To show up on Google’s local map pack, you’ll need to get your company set up on Google My Business. Then, you’ll need to add photos, ensure your information is correct, and begin to ask for reviews to pump up your business rating.

However, another part of local SEO is optimizing your content with other relevant keywords so that local searchers can easily find you.

Which Brands Benefit from Local SEO?

Pins on the local map

In the Social Media Today study quoted above, statistics showed that 72% of consumers who search for local businesses end up visiting stores within five miles. This indicates just how important local SEO is.

And, it also highlights the fact that local SEO is better suited for certain types of brands and businesses than others. Namely, local SEO is best for local stores with a physical location in the city that searchers are searching in.

This includes businesses such as local:

  • Auto repair shops
  • HVAC companies
  • Food services
  • Fence contractors
  • Real estate companies
  • Services companies (plumbers, electricians, construction companies, etc.)
  • Most any retail store

As you’ll see, the one thing that all of these companies have in common is that they’d have a physical brick-and-mortar location in the general area.

If you’re searching for restaurants, auto repair shops, or a boutique clothing store near you, you’ll want to know specific details, such as opening hours, the address, and how to get to the store.

78% of local-based searches on a mobile device end in a purchase that the searcher makes after visiting the local business in-person. This is why local SEO is crucial for those types of businesses.

Tips for Optimizing Local SEO

Local SEP Button

Just how do you optimize your content for local searches?

Signing up for Google My Business is a good first step. Then, you’ll want to ensure that you’re engaging in some sort of online reputation management.

Ensuring that you have great reviews online is part of local SEO. It will encourage those searching for your services or products to trust you.

Then, it’s a good idea to hone in on local keywords and use them all throughout your website, especially in your blog.

Use location-specific “about us” pages and work towards integrating yourself into the local community. The idea is to establish yourself as a well-respected and trusted go-to business in your local area

Need Help with Local SEO?

Understanding the difference between organic SEO and local SEO is only half of the battle.

Coming up with a solid SEO strategy requires lots of time and expertise. But, lucky for you, you don’t have to go at it alone.

We’ve worked with local businesses for years in helping them craft their SEO strategies and increase their local rankings.

Whether you’re just getting started or need that extra push to take you to the next level, we can help.  Request a free consultation, and let’s talk about your local SEO needs.