If you’re new to the search engine optimization (SEO) game, you may think local SEO and organic SEO are the same thing. They’re not. SEO is a complex field involving many interconnected layers. It drives virtually every marketing and advertising activity your company engages in online, so understanding the difference between local and organic SEO will help you optimize your current strategy for better visibility and consumer engagement online.

Difference Between Local and organic SEO

Organic SEO is an umbrella term that covers the traditional SEO activities you’re familiar with, including creating keyword driven content, using meta-descriptions, engaging on social media platforms and with 3rd party sites, earning links, etc. All of the activities are unpaid, and anyone who has a working knowledge of SEO and a website can use them. Organic SEO is a global approach to earning visibility online. It can include local tactics, but it doesn’t have to.

On the other hand, Local SEO only involves activities that facilitate the movement of traffic towards a physical, geographical location – typically a brick and mortar store or a region of business exclusivity. How many times have you grabbed your phone to locate restaurants or retailers in your vicinity? If a business isn’t optimized for regional keywords, it could lose out to nearby competitors. Any company that has a physical location and wants to target a location-specific demographic should use local SEO tactics to gain the most benefit from online activities.

Best Practices for Organic and Local SEO

The tactics for approaching organic and local SEO overlap, but they have some defining characteristics. Consider this list for optimizing both practices for overall results:

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Optimize mobile for local SEO. Roughly half of all mobile searches are local in nature. Someone needs to find a gas station, a coffee shop, or a realtor in the area. If someone types in “coffee shops near Phoenix,” will he or she find yours listed on the first page of results? If not, it’s time to start focusing on mobile friendliness and local keywords.Focus on diversification for organic SEO. Any number of pathways can drive organic SEO. Companies should concentrate on discovering where their target markets spend the most time online and what devices they’re more likely to use and start building tactics from there.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Focus on social media, reviews, and citations for local SEO. Make sure area directories list your business information. Create locally focused content, and engage with consumers on social media. Revisit and address online reviews regularly to promote a positive reputation in your vicinity.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Optimize websites for organic SEO. Spend time making sure each landing page has a positive user experience and the right keywords to drive traffic to the website and encourage engagement. Publish content that offers valuable information and clear calls-to-action.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Focus on on-page SEO. On-page search engine optimization (SEO) refers to factors that have an effect on your website’s ranking in natural or organic search results. On-page SEO factors are things on your website that are visible and controllable by you; things like page title, page URL, header tags, ALT image tags and Meta description tags.

Many of these activities overlap. When you start working on your organic SEO activities, including website optimization and diversifying your channels, you’ll naturally build visibility online. Any local tactics you pursue in addition to organic SEO will boost how often your geographically targeted market sees your brand in search results.

Our eBook on local optimization titled Local Search – A Guide to Increasing Your Local Search Presence, may help you further understand and take advantage of this trend. Click below to request your free copy.

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