What’s the Difference Between SEO and Local SEO?
Posted on 27th October 2022
You’ve just got your head around SEO (search engine optimisation), and all that you need to do to ensure your business is found on Google, then the goal posts move. Now you’re being told you need to focus on local SEO. It’s a real head-scratcher, and we totally get that.
If you’re trying to decipher the difference between SEO and local SEO and whether you need to do anything differently (again!), we’re here to clear up the confusion. So, let’s explain how SEO is different from local SEO and why you should be enhancing your SEO activity to make the most of the next phase to being found on Google.
What is SEO, and what is local SEO?
Let’s start with some definitions.
SEO is the process of optimising your website and online content to continuously improve your website’s organic ranking on search engines, like Google, by using a variety of activities.
Local SEO is the process of improving your online visibility in local search engine results, like Google, to help your business be found locally, i.e. in your town/area.
The two are similar, and there is a crossover between some of the methods used to optimise your online presence nationally and locally. However, with local SEO, there is a specific focus on how your business can rise up the rankings in your area.
One of the most used add-ons to search terms today is ‘near me’. Google’s search algorithm is able to identify a user’s location when they go online and when most searches are looking for a local business, service or product, it pays to invest in local SEO. In fact, Google’s latest research revealed that 46% of all searches online had a local intent. That means that 46% of all online searches, which is 5.6 billion a day, wanted to find a local business.
Why local SEO?
Google usually adjusts their ranking algorithm every year in response to users’ search queries. However, today’s algorithms are far more intelligent than they used to be in that they don’t just evaluate keywords. It is now capable of working out the user’s intent, so this is a major SEO ranking factor. So, if we consider the above statistic, more people are searching based on their location.
This means that your SEO activity needs to be more focused on your local area to boost your online visibility and make your business more discoverable in search queries. It doesn’t just stop online either; greater visibility locally also relates to higher traffic to your physical store.
Local SEO is becoming a crucial aspect of any business’s marketing strategy, not least because 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses. There is a raft of benefits to local SEO, too, including:
● Increased online visibility.
● Greater foot traffic to a physical store.
● Benefit from the ‘shop local’ boom.
● Targeted web traffic.
● Building trust and reputation.
● More competitive, leading to more sales.
● Improved lead conversion.
Top local SEO best practices
There is a wide variety of local SEO tactics that businesses can employ, and whilst some won’t work for every business, there are plenty that will benefit everyone.
● Google Business Profile – if you haven’t set up your Google Business Profile, you need to do it as soon as possible. It is possibly the top local SEO strategy that can truly benefit local businesses. A free online directory profile is a great source of free publicity where you can share information about your company, such as opening hours, a description of your products or services, your office location(s), contact and website details. But it also allows customers to leave a review about your business. When nearly 64% of consumers are likely to read Google reviews before visiting a business’s website or making a buying decision, having a Google Business Profile is a must.
● Create and build local citations – if you’re already doing some SEO, you’ll know about the importance of building quality backlinks for Google to find and rank your business. Citations are one step further. It’s the link-building strategy for local businesses, and when Google uses citations as a ranking factor, the more places your business name, location or contact details appear online, the higher the ranking is likely to be. Indeed, suppose you are listed in more than one online directory, like Yelp, on social media platforms and are cited in the content on other websites. In that case, your business could even feature in Google’s 3-Pack (this is the list of three local businesses that are prominently displayed at the top of search results pages, sometimes just below a map).
● Content that targets your local audience – high-quality online content is another major ranking factor for Google and other search engines and a great way of attracting attention. However, if so many users are searching with local intent, what better way to reach your local audience than by creating content that targets them? Not only are you potentially reaching a wider audience that is local to your business, but you are also building a reputation as a local authority on your products or services and solving a problem in the local community.
● Keywords are vital – while you don’t want to splash every keyword or phrase you can think of across your entire online content – Google will quickly spot that and could well penalise you – it’s still important to use the right keywords for your products or services. When we say the right keywords, we mean specific keywords. For example, there are plenty of hairdressers online, so just using ‘hairdresser’ isn’t going to be enough; Google will list hundreds. This isn’t much use to you or the consumer. However, if you consider how many people are searching for local intent, i.e. a hairdresser that is local to them, extend your keyword to include your location, like ‘hairdresser Lincoln’. Now you’ve created a keyword that Google can identify as the service and the location against a consumer’s search query.
SEO best practices are as important as ever; the recent pandemic has boosted SEO, particularly local SEO, in that people want to shop local rather than travel miles. If you haven’t got a handle on your local SEO activity yet, now is definitely the time to do so.
It’seeze Twickenham web design company not only delivers affordable, professional, custom-designed websites that promote your business and brand successfully, we also offer comprehensive local SEO services. As local web designers, we understand the importance of local online visibility. We provide highly personalised service and ongoing expert support that focuses on your local area. Opt for a free Website Health Check that will decipher the areas where SEO improvements can be made to your existing website and online content, or we can build a new website that matches your needs. Call us today to create the website of your dreams and turn your business into a success.
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