Organic SEO versus Local SEO

This is the first in this Local SEO Blog series

To help those that are just venturing out into the world of SEO or “local SEO”, we pose a list of the most common questions. This includes those that are frequently asked, as well as those that should be asked. We will provide answers and advice around those questions.

Most businesses obsess about having a website even if they only operate in a small geographic area. Many spend a lot of time and money trying to get their website to rank which is “organic SEO”. That can be a sledgehammer trying to crack a nut compared with Local SEO.

All local businesses can be found very easily in online searches even without a website. Having one helps but is not a prerequisite. It is likely that most people finding the websites of local businesses do so via “local search” rather than “organic SEO”. That is because it is so difficult to get a website to rank for all the search terms that you would like. On the other hand, even the newest local business can show up in a local search if they are near to that location. Even without a website.

Local SEO

SEO has a bad name due to the many companies and individuals selling SEO services and not delivering the desired results. They often use mass email campaigns and unsolicited calls and are based overseas. Let’s start by defining SEO which, as you will see, is “organic SEO” and differentiating it from Local SEO.

SEO v. Local SEO

Wikipedia provides this definition: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic“, or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

Local SEO v. Local Search

Note that Wikipedia does not define “Local SEO” but rather “Local Search” and states: Local Search is the use of specialized Internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a Structured Database of local business listings. Typical Local Search queries include not only information about “what” the site visitor is searching for (such as keywords, a business category, or the name of a consumer product) but also “where” information, such as a street address, city name, postal code, or geographic coordinates like latitude and longitude.

Examples of local searches include “Hong Kong hotels”, “Manhattan restaurants”, and “Dublin car rental”. Local searches exhibit explicit or implicit local intent. A search that includes a location modifier, such as “Bellevue, WA” or “14th arrondissement”, is an explicit local search. A search that references a product or service that is typically consumed locally, such as “restaurant” or “nail salon”, is an implicit local search.

Local Search sites are primarily supported by advertising from businesses that wish to be prominently featured when users search for specific products and services in specific locations. Local search advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely to the search terms and location provided by the user.

To summarise

Search queries that are determined by Google and other search engines as “local” pull their results from structured databases such as Yellow Pages. These databases compete in the organic search results and usually crowd out individual local business websites. “If you can’t beat them join them“. A good strategy is to be listed in as many of these databases as possible as that increases your chances of being found online. If you have a website, it can be linked to your listing in these databases and found via local SEO.

About MyLocal

We work with your website designer to improve your ability to be found in Google and other search engines. And to look good wherever you may appear online. We specialise in local SEO and most of our work is off-site. But there still needs to be some on-site work undertaken by your webmaster to complement what we do. If you would be interested in finding out more, please use the Contact Form on our website.

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