Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website to increase its visibility and ranking on search engines such as Google. Local SEO, on the other hand, is a subset of SEO that focuses specifically on optimizing your website for local searches. Local SEO is essential for businesses that operate in a particular geographic area and rely on local customers to drive sales.
While both SEO and local SEO aim to improve your website’s visibility on search engines, there are some significant differences between the two. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between SEO and local SEO, and why local SEO is crucial for small businesses.
- Target audience: The primary difference between SEO and local SEO is the target audience. SEO aims to attract global or national audiences, whereas local SEO targets users in a specific geographic location. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant in New York City, your local SEO strategy would focus on optimizing your website for users searching for “pizza restaurants in NYC.”
- Search intent: Another key difference between SEO and local SEO is the search intent. A user searching for a product or service globally or nationally is likely in the research phase, while a user searching for a product or service locally is likely ready to make a purchase. Local SEO focuses on optimizing your website for search queries with local intent, such as “best pizza restaurant near me” or “pizza delivery in NYC.”
- Keyword research: Keyword research is an essential part of both SEO and local SEO. However, local SEO requires a more focused approach. Instead of targeting broad keywords, local SEO focuses on long-tail keywords that are specific to the location. For example, instead of targeting the keyword “pizza restaurant,” local SEO targets keywords such as “pizza restaurant in NYC” or “best pizza delivery in Queens.”
- Google My Business: Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. GMB is a critical component of local SEO, as it allows businesses to manage their online reviews, update their business information, and display important details such as business hours, phone numbers, and directions.
- Local backlinks: Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. In SEO, backlinks are essential for improving your website’s authority and ranking. In local SEO, local backlinks are even more critical. Local backlinks are links from websites in the same geographic area as your business. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant in NYC, a backlink from a local blog or directory would be more valuable than a backlink from a national food magazine.
While SEO and local SEO share some similarities, they are two distinct strategies that require different approaches. If you’re a small business owner looking to attract local customers, local SEO is crucial for improving your online visibility and driving sales. By optimizing your website for local search queries, managing your Google My Business listing, and building local backlinks, you can increase your website’s visibility in local search results and attract more local customers to your business.