Are you a small business owner looking to increase your search engine results page rankings? You may benefit from including local and/or organic search engine optimization on your website.

Did you know that 46% of all Google searches on both mobile and desktop devices carry local intent? What about the fact that you can increase organic traffic up to 111% by updating and republishing older blog posts with new images and content?

Read on to learn more about local and organic SEO and how they work differently to drive potential customers to your website and your business.

What is Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy used to increase a website’s ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) through relevant keywords and other optimizations. Organic SEO centers on a business’s website and the interactions between the website, search engines, and potential customers.

Many types of businesses use organic SEO to improve their website’s ranking and boost traffic. Search engine’s use a multitude of variables to determine the ranking of a website. Good SEO must take these variables into account. Organic optimization focuses on things like inbound and outbound links, the distribution and relevance of short and long-tail keywords, and the metadata text included on every web page.

What is Local Search Engine Optimization?

Local search engine optimization (SEO) works similarly to organic SEO in that the end goal is to appear in appropriate searches and drive more potential customers to your business. Local SEO adds another layer for search engines to consider when pulling websites for a SERP, the business’s location.

When a consumer searches for a specific industry and location at the same time, the search engine understands the user has local intent. The search engine wants to give the user the results they’re looking for. So it will bring up results in a map format to highlight the locations of businesses matching the search criteria.

What are the Differences Between Local SEO and Organic SEO?

Local and organic SEO may seem fairly similar at a first glance, but they offer very different results. Certain businesses may need to focus on one over the other, while others maybe should focus on both. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between organic and local SEO and how to choose between the two.

1. Location, Location, Location

The biggest difference between local and organic SEO lies within their names: organic vs. local. A business using organic optimization might or might not have a physical location. Organic SEO may take into account a business’s location, if it has one, but focuses more heavily on the big picture. Organic search results will pull all kinds of pages from all kinds of businesses including blogs, articles, social media profiles, news, et cetera.

Local SEO does not care about these big picture items and, instead, focuses solely on the geographic component. Brick-and-mortar businesses rely on local SEO to find local customers in their area. So if someone searches for “ice cream shop in Frisco, TX” the search engine understands the user wants to find a local Frisco business that sells ice cream near them.

2. Goal SERP Position

The goal of organic SEO is to get your page ranked as high in the results as possible for a particular set of keywords. The goal of local SEO, on the other hand, is to appear in local listing packs. Local SEO also aims to put your business’s website in every possible place a potential customer may search including forums and niche directories.

3. Links vs. Citations

In organic SEO, quality links make or break your SEO success. Relevant and high-quality backlinks increase the authenticity and authority of your website in the eyes of a search engine. These factors remain constant and almost work like individual votes. The more quality links you have, the more votes you have, the better your ranking.

Local SEO does not rely on links, but citations. Citations refer to how your business’s name, physical address, and contact information appear across the Internet. The more places that cite your business’s information, the greater your website’s authority and relevance with search engines. Although citations do not work like link “votes,” they still increase the chance your business will show up in searches.

4. Strategy

How you approach organic SEO strategy versus local SEO strategy also differs greatly. Organic SEO relies on on-page and off-page optimizations like keyword density, heading tags, anchor texts, quality content, title tags, link building, meta descriptions and more.

Local SEO strategy does not need to include all these optimizations except for keyword density and title tags. You must sign up for a Google/Bing/Yahoo Listing to get into the local results on a SERP. Then you need to get your business listed in every important directory relating to your industry. You should also check for consistency between these listings on a regular basis.

Great local SEO strategy means encouraging customers to write good reviews about your products or services. You also need to optimize the content on your page for local searchers by including your location throughout your content.

Do Local and Organic SEO Affect One Another?

Certain strategies work for both local and organic SEO. Finding places where they overlap can save you time and effort while getting you more bang for your buck. When you create a local listing in a directory like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Bing, or Google, these also link back to your website. This gets you quality backlinks to improve organic SEO and directory listings for great local SEO.

On-site local SEO also improves your organic SEO. Examples include writing a blog post focused on your local area or updating a web page to include your business’s address. Search engines love fresh content. Posting new content with a local component sends out local relevance signals and boosts your organic SEO.

Whether you use local or organic optimization, be sure to apply them correctly. If you do not, search engines will penalize your website and kill your SEO efforts. Also, do not forget that you must optimize for potential customers as well as Google. Ensure that consumers can easily track down any information they need about your business without too much effort.

Get the Most Out of Local and Organic SEO

Now that you understand the key differences between local and organic SEO, it’s time to start applying that knowledge to your own website.

Still not sure what to do?

Contact our awesome SEO professionals today to start ranking higher on SERP as soon as possible!

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