What’s the Real Difference Between Organic and Local SEO?

June 15, 2019 in SEO

Your ability to connect with your audience is paramount to the success of your business. When consumers are looking to gather information about your business, product or service, the first place they turn is their favorite search engine. So, if you want any chance of connecting with them, you need a strategy in place to make sure your business ranks in search engine results.

The strategy you need is search engine optimization, or SEO for short. Search engines like Google determine which sites they’re going to place in search results based on many different factors. Google’s algorithm alone has at least 200 ranking factors, and the weight put upon each shifts frequently. SEO is an approach that focuses on best practices for earning a favorable nod from search engines and ranking high in results.

Most of the time, when we talk about SEO, we’re referring to organic reach – meaning that you’re reaching your audience through search engine optimization, rather than paid ad campaigns. However, organic SEO isn’t the only type of search engine optimization. Business, especially those that want to establish themselves is their communities, also depend on a location-based strategy called local SEO.

Yes, local search engine optimization is still SEO, but there are very distinct differences between the two. Understanding the differences between organic and local SEO will help you make more informed decisions in your own search engine optimization strategies.

The Basics of Organic SEO

As mentioned earlier, SEO is all about optimizing all your actions online to appeal to the powers that be at Google. While there are lots of little ins and outs to search engine optimization, your website serves as home base for your entire strategy.

There are a lot of facets of web design that play into SEO, including everything from whether your site meets speed expectations through responsive design to tags, image optimization, site architecture, and more. Content, which typically stems from your business site also serves a critical role in how well you rank in search engine results.

All of this, every effort you devote to fueling traffic to your site through search engine optimization is considered organic SEO.

So, one might ask how local SEO is different. Both work towards improving search engine rankings, but one is aimed towards a much narrower, geographical target. Let’s take a look at local SEO and all that it encompasses.

How Local SEO Is Different

In the simplest terms, local search is SEO that’s built around geographical components. It’s a strategy to optimize the various pages of your website, including content, to appear in local search listings. What’s a local search listing? Well, sometimes a search engine user might give Google very specific directions by initiating a “near me” search. Other times, Google will pick up the user’s intent and give priority search rank to geographically relevant businesses.

While the internet is a huge, vast world that’s packed with businesses, more often than not, when a search engine user is searching for a business, product or service, they’re interested in their options close to home. When they connect with a local business through SEO, they’re exponentially more likely to visit that location within a 24-hour window. To put it another way, local SEO gets customers through your door faster than organic search can on its own.

Seems pretty straightforward, but here’s an example.

Say it’s Friday, and you’ve just bid farewell to grueling work week. You know the kids will be starving when you get home and you don’t feel like cooking – or putting in the effort that it takes to get the whole family ready to go out to a restaurant. Take out pizza it is, but you want to try someplace different.

Before you leave work, you do a quick Google search, maybe for something as simple as “pizza near me with the best reviews”. Then again, it has been a long day, so maybe you skipped the “near me” part altogether, thinking Google would figure it out on their own – which they did.

What appears in front of you are results for pizza places in your area. You probably see something called a local 3 pack that highlights what Google thinks are the 3 best local options. Through those listings, you can check out their reviews, order online and get directions to pick it up on your way home.

The local 3 pack gets a lot of attention from search engine users. Google has made it super easy for their visitors to engage with these sites. Only the businesses with websites that are built to rank in both organic and local search results are going to appear in the coveted local 3 pack. If you’re not devoting any effort to local SEO, then you might rank decently in some search queries, but they won’t be the ones that really matter for getting local traffic through your door.

There’s a lot of overlap between local and organic SEO. For instance, both depend on a keyword strategy, but local search engine optimization requires more long tail and local keywords, along with a deeper focus on voice search. Both rely on content marketing, but local SEO requires that you build that content around the needs, wants and interests of a specific geographical market. Reputation management is key for both, but a review can prompt a consumer to make an on the spot decision about connecting with a local business.

For local businesses, understanding these differences and adapting their search engine optimization strategy to master both is important for generating the traffic businesses needs on every level.

The Synergy Between Local and Organic SEO

Neither organic or local SEO is an all or nothing approach. We’re the Boston SEO company that is equipped to create a winning strategy for your business. We approach digital strategy from every direction, including organic search engine optimization and Boston local SEO. Ready to learn more? Contact GoingClear Interactive and let’s start generating some great results for your business.

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