SEO: Highlighting the Difference Between Local SEO vs. Organic SEO by Steve Blanshan

January 6, 2020


When it comes to SEO, what’s the difference between organic SEO services and local ones? We discuss the organic vs. local SEO debate here.

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Websites listed on the first page of Google search results get more than 90 percent of the clicks. Getting your pages ranked near the top of the results is critical for both local and organic searches.

Let’s look at the difference between the two and how local and organic SEO services can help improve your results.

Organic and Local SEO Defined

Too many people think “SEO is SEO” and optimize every page on their site the same way. That’s not the case though. Organic and local SEO have quite a few differences, some subtle and some not-so-subtle.

Organic SEO is intended to get your pages ranked in the main search results. Those results usually apply to anyone, no matter where they’re located.

Local SEO, on the other hand, is meant to rank pages that would be most valuable to searchers nearby. These are pages that answer a local question or offer products or services someone is searching for in their area.

For example, let’s say someone is searching for “pizza”. From the organic point of view, they could be searching for pizza recipes, topping ideas, or various other pizza-related things. From a local perspective, they’re probably looking for somewhere to order pizza.

What Kind of Pages Should Rank?

Google’s algorithm has evolved to the point that it can guess what you’re trying to find pretty accurately. The results will show local pages when Google thinks that’s what you need or only organic results (which still show for local searches) if the search doesn’t seem to be location-based.

Generally, the pages in the organic results are more informative. They offer more content and aren’t necessarily about buying something.

Local results tend to be more action-focused. The action could be contacting a local company, buying something locally, or something else that will solve the searcher’s immediate problem.

Levels of Buying Intent

One piece of the puzzle that Google and other search engines like Bing look at when deciding what kind of results to display is the buying intent of the search.

The buying cycle usually starts with information gathering and those searches are broader. Someone searching for “how to unclog a drain” is looking for information more than they’re looking to buy something.

If someone searches for “plumbers near me” they might still be trying to solve the same problem but they’re clearly looking for someone local that they can pay to fix it for them.

Optimizing for Local SEO

A lot of the work in optimizing your pages for local SEO is about keeping your business information up to date and complete. The most critical listing is in Google My Business. The GMB profile gives Google information like your business hours, contact information, and address that get displayed in the local 3-pack results.

Along the same lines, you should keep your business details up-to-date on other sites like Yelp, Facebook, Yellow Pages, and Bing. Google uses these listings and citations to verify the data so they should all be consistent.

Reputation management is also important to local SEO. Manage your company’s reviews on sites like Yelp by responding to and interacting with your customers.

Optimizing for Organic SEO

Organic SEO is more about the content of your website and the links pointing to it from other places. The content needs to include topic-related keywords and phrases but it’s more important to write for the benefit of your visitors than for Google.

If your content solves your visitors’ problems, it will help it rank higher in Google’s results.

Links to your web pages from other sites are also important. Backlinks are one of the fundamental pieces of Google’s ranking algorithm, going right back to day one. If a page has more links from sites that Google trusts, it’s a sign that the page has more value.

Leveraging Local and Organic SEO Services

Creating and implementing an SEO strategy isn’t that complicated but it does take quite a bit of time and effort to see the results. And Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm so you need to stay on top of those changes.

If you’d rather focus on what your business is best at and leave the SEO work to experts, Punch Drunk Digital can help. Our local and organic SEO services will help you reach a bigger audience and greater success. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you.

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