Home Business Insights & Advice How does local SEO differ from general SEO practices

How does local SEO differ from general SEO practices

by Sarah Dunsby
5th Jul 24 3:30 pm

When it comes to improving online visibility, businesses often choose between local SEO and general SEO. Each approach has unique strategies and benefits. Working with a local SEO agency can help businesses target specific audiences more effectively. This article explores the differences between local SEO and general SEO practices.

Focus on geographic location

Local SEO emphasises targeting a specific geographic area. This means optimising your website and content to attract customers from a particular location. Techniques include using location-based keywords and creating content that appeals to local interests and events. For example, a bakery in New York might use keywords like “best cupcakes in New York” or “New York bakery specials” to attract local customers.

General SEO, on the other hand, focuses on reaching a broader audience. This approach aims to attract visitors from anywhere, regardless of their location. Businesses with an online-only presence or those wanting a national or international reach typically use general SEO strategies. This might include keywords like “best cupcake recipes” or “top bakery tips” to attract a wide range of readers interested in baking.

Google my business optimisation

A key component of local SEO is Google My Business (GMB) optimisation. GMB is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Optimising your GMB profile helps improve visibility for local searches. This includes updating business hours, adding photos, and encouraging customer reviews. A well-optimised GMB profile can significantly boost a business’s visibility in local search results.

General SEO does not usually involve GMB optimisation. Instead, it focuses more on on-page SEO, link building, and content marketing. While GMB can still benefit general SEO, it is not as crucial as it is for local SEO. General SEO strategies prioritise website structure, keyword optimisation, and high-quality content to improve search engine rankings across a wider audience.

Importance of local citations

Local citations are online mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). They are essential for local SEO as they help verify the business’s existence and improve local search rankings. Consistent and accurate NAP information across various directories is vital for local SEO success. This means ensuring that your business details are identical on platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and local business directories.

In general SEO, citations are less critical. While they can still contribute to a website’s authority, the primary focus is on backlinks from high-quality websites, which help improve the site’s overall search engine ranking. General SEO relies more on the quality and relevance of links from other websites to build authority and trust.

Use of local keywords

Local SEO relies heavily on local keywords. These keywords include specific locations, such as city or neighborhood names, to attract nearby customers. For example, “best pizza in Chicago” targets people looking for pizza in that city. Using local keywords helps businesses appear in searches by users in their vicinity, increasing the chances of attracting local customers.

General SEO uses broader keywords that do not include geographic locations. These keywords aim to attract a wide audience interested in a particular topic or service, regardless of where they are located. For example, “best pizza recipes” appeals to pizza lovers everywhere. The focus is on creating content that attracts a broad audience interested in the topic, rather than targeting a specific geographic area.

Creating localised content

Localised content is crucial for local SEO. This involves creating blog posts, articles, and other content that speaks to the interests and needs of the local community. Content can include local news, events, and trends that resonate with the target audience. For instance, a local coffee shop might write about the best local events to attend or highlight community stories and events.

In contrast, general SEO focuses on creating content with universal appeal. This type of content aims to attract a diverse audience from various locations. Topics are chosen based on broad interest and relevance to the industry rather than specific local events or issues. This might include how-to guides, industry news, or global trends that appeal to a wide audience.

Local link building

Link building for local SEO involves acquiring links from local businesses, organisations, and websites. These local backlinks help improve a site’s authority and relevance for local search queries. Engaging with the local community through sponsorships and partnerships can also boost local SEO. For example, sponsoring a local event or collaborating with other local businesses can help generate valuable backlinks.

General SEO link building focuses on obtaining high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites across various industries. The goal is to improve the site’s overall authority and search engine ranking on a broader scale, not limited to a specific geographic area. This might involve guest blogging, influencer partnerships, or creating shareable content that attracts links from high-authority sites.

Online reviews and reputation management

Online reviews play a significant role in local SEO. Positive reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook can improve a business’s local search ranking and attract more customers. Reputation management is vital for maintaining a positive image and encouraging more reviews. Responding to reviews, addressing negative feedback, and encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews are key strategies.

While reviews are still important for general SEO, they do not have the same level of impact on search rankings. General SEO focuses more on other aspects, such as content quality, backlinks, and technical SEO, to improve visibility and traffic. However, positive reviews can still enhance a business’s reputation and credibility, which indirectly supports SEO efforts.

Mobile optimisation

Mobile optimisation is crucial for both local and general SEO. However, it holds particular importance for local SEO because many users search for local businesses on their mobile devices. Ensuring a mobile-friendly website can enhance the user experience and improve local search rankings. Features like click-to-call buttons, mobile-friendly navigation, and fast loading times are essential for local SEO.

In general SEO, mobile optimisation is also important, but the emphasis is on providing a seamless experience across all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Mobile usability is a key factor in overall search engine rankings. Ensuring that your website is responsive and performs well on all devices helps improve user engagement and search rankings.

Social media engagement

Social media engagement can boost local SEO by increasing brand awareness and attracting local customers. Businesses often use social media to promote local events, share customer testimonials, and engage with the community. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are effective tools for connecting with local audiences and driving traffic to the website.

For general SEO, social media is used to reach a wider audience and build a brand’s online presence. The focus is on creating shareable content that can go viral and attract visitors from various locations, rather than targeting a specific geographic area. Social media strategies might include influencer collaborations, content marketing, and paid advertising to expand reach and drive engagement.

Technical SEO considerations

Technical SEO is essential for both local and general SEO, but the focus can differ. Local SEO may involve optimising a website’s structure to ensure it is easily crawlable by search engines and includes location-specific schema markup. This helps search engines understand the website’s relevance to local search queries.

General SEO also requires a well-optimised website, but the focus is broader, including aspects like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and overall user experience. Both approaches aim to make the website as accessible and efficient as possible for search engines and users. Ensuring that your website meets technical SEO best practices helps improve search engine rankings and user satisfaction.

Understanding the differences between local SEO and general SEO practices is crucial for businesses looking to improve their online presence. By tailoring strategies to specific goals and audiences, businesses can effectively enhance their visibility and attract the right customers. Whether targeting a local market or aiming for a broader reach, both local and general SEO offer valuable techniques for achieving online success.

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