Is Local SEO Different than SEO? Exploring the Distinctions

Is Local SEO Different than SEO?

Yes, Local SEO is a specialized branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing a website for local searches. At the same time, general SEO aims to improve a website’s visibility on a broader scale, potentially targeting a global or national audience.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a crucial strategy in digital marketing, enabling businesses to increase visibility on search engines. That said, businesses often require greater clarity on whether local SEO differs from general SEO. This blog will look at their differences and how they each have distinct features and benefits.

What is SEO?

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, encompasses a multifaceted strategy to enhance a website’s positioning on search engine results pages (SERPs). This strategy encompasses diverse elements, including technical SEO, conversion rate optimization (CRO), link building, SEO analytics, and SEO copywriting.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO, on the other hand, is a specialized branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing a website to rank well for local searches. It is particularly crucial for businesses with a physical presence or those serving a specific geographic area. Local SEO aims to improve a website’s visibility in local search results, often including map listings and online reviews.

What’s the Difference Between Them?

Now that we have a basic understanding of both SEO and local SEO let’s explore the key distinctions:

Geographic Focus:

  • SEO typically targets a broader audience and may not have a specific geographic focus.
  • Local SEO primarily caters to local customers and aims to rank well in local searches for specific regions or cities.

Keywords and Content:

  • SEO often targets broad, high-competition keywords to reach a global or national audience.
  • Local SEO emphasizes location-specific keywords and content, making it more relevant to local users.

On-Page Elements:

  • SEO considers global or national factors for optimization.
  • Local SEO places significant emphasis on on-page elements, including ensuring NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) consistency, utilizing local keywords, and creating location-specific content. Notably, a survey revealed that 63% of consumers would be deterred from choosing your business if they encounter incorrect information.

How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO utilizes strategies and techniques to enhance a website’s presence in local search results. Below are critical components of local SEO:

Google My Business (GMB) Optimization:

  • Claiming and optimizing your GMB listing is crucial for local SEO.
  • Ensure your NAP details are consistent and accurate.

Local Keyword Optimization:

  • Identify and use location-specific keywords in your content and meta tags.
  • Include location-based information on your website.

Online Reviews and Ratings:

  • Motivate clients to share their feedback on platforms such as Google and Yelp.
  • With 87% of customers reading online reviews for local businesses, it’s imperative to actively engage with reviews, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. This interaction serves as a means to cultivate trust among potential customers.

Local Link Building:

  • Build local backlinks from reputable websites and directories in your area.
  • Partner with local businesses for mutual link-building opportunities.

Mobile Optimization:

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as many local searches are conducted on smartphones.

Benefits from Local SEO

Now that we’ve explored how local SEO works let’s discuss the benefits it offers to businesses:

  • Increased online visibility in local search results.
  • Enhanced brand credibility and trust among local customers.
  • More foot traffic to physical stores.
  • Better targeting of local audiences, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Competitive advantage over businesses not optimizing for local SEO.

FAQs about Local SEO & SEO

Let’s address some common questions related to local SEO and SEO in general.

FAQ: What is the role of Technical SEO in Local SEO?

Technical SEO plays a crucial role in both general SEO and local SEO. It ensures your website is search engine-friendly, leading to better rankings and user experiences. For local SEO, technical aspects like website speed, mobile optimization, and schema markup can impact your local search performance.

FAQ: Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) relevant for Local SEO?

Yes, CRO is relevant for both general SEO and local SEO. Local businesses need to optimize their website and landing pages to convert local visitors into customers. This includes clear calls to action, user-friendly navigation, and persuasive content.

FAQ: How does E-commerce SEO differ from Local SEO?

E-commerce SEO primarily targets online stores and involves optimizing product pages, category pages, and shopping cart functionality. Local SEO, on the other hand, focuses on location-specific optimization for businesses with physical locations or local service areas.

FAQ: Can Link Building benefit Local SEO?

Certainly, link building plays a crucial role in both standard SEO and local SEO. Securing high-quality backlinks from local websites and directories can enhance your local search rankings. Additionally, cultivating connections with local influencers and businesses can result in valuable backlinks.

FAQ: What role does SEO Analytics play in Local SEO and SEO Consulting?

Despite the potential benefits, 58% of companies neglect to optimize for local search. Nevertheless, whether it’s local or general SEO, SEO analytics play a pivotal role in evaluating the effectiveness of your efforts. SEO consultants rely on analytics data to make informed decisions and refine strategies for improved outcomes. For local businesses, tracking local search rankings, traffic, and conversions is achievable through analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

FAQ: Why is SEO Copywriting important for Local SEO?

SEO copywriting involves creating content that is informative and optimized for search engines. In the case of local SEO, it’s essential to include location-specific keywords and information in your website’s content to rank well in local search results.


Local SEO and general SEO, while sharing certain foundational principles, are characterized by distinct emphases and strategies suited to specific goals. Local SEO, especially in a city like Cincinnati, is indispensable for businesses seeking to engage with local customers and flourish in their specific geographical regions. Grasping the disparities between these two approaches can assist businesses in making well-informed choices regarding their digital marketing tactics. Whether you aim to attain global recognition or regional prominence in local search marketing in Cincinnati, the realm of SEO offers various tools and methods to support your success.

Charles Burns

Charles Burns

Founder of Five Rivers Marketing, specializing in building professional websites & effective SEO Strategies.

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