How does local SEO differ from traditional SEO

How does local SEO differ from traditional SEO?

SEO can be confusing for most small businesses trying to navigate the world of online marketing. You've likely come across the terms local SEO and traditional SEO. But do you know how they differ from one another? Which one is more important to your local business? More importantly, do you understand how to harness their respective powers to improve your online presence? If you're curious to know how does local SEO differ from traditional SEO, then you've come to the right place. Here we'll discuss the differences between Local SEO and traditional SEO as well as strategies on how to use both of them for your online marketing.

How Does Local SEO Differ From Traditional SEO?

To better understand the distinctions, let's dive into the core differences between local SEO and traditional SEO.

Local SEO: A Hyper-Local Focus

  1. Targeting a Specific Geographical Area: Local SEO focuses on promoting your business within a specific geographical area. This means optimizing your online presence for local search results and targeting local customers who are searching for your products or services.
  2. Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business) and Local Citations: A significant part of local SEO involves setting up and maintaining your Google Business Profile, as well as ensuring accurate and consistent local citations across various online directories.
  3. Reviews and Testimonials: Local SEO places great emphasis on reviews and testimonials, as they can influence search rankings and help build trust with potential customers.

Traditional SEO: A Broader Scope

  1. Global or National Reach: Traditional SEO is more concerned with reaching a wider audience, whether it's national or international. This strategy aims to optimize your website to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords.
  2. On-Page and Off-Page Optimization: To excel in traditional SEO, you must focus on both on-page optimization (content, keywords, meta-tags, etc.) and off-page optimization (backlinks, social signals, etc.).
  3. User Experience and Technical SEO: Traditional SEO also involves enhancing the user experience on your website and ensuring it complies with technical SEO best practices.


Local SEO: The Nitty-Gritty

    1. Google Business Profile Optimization

      • Claim and Verify: The first step to optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is to claim and verify your business listing. This ensures that you have control over the information displayed on your profile and can make updates as needed.
      • Complete and Accurate Information: Make sure that your Google Business Profile contains complete and accurate information, including business hours, contact details, and a brief description of your products or services. Regularly update this information to keep it current.
      • Add Photos and Videos: Enhance your profile by regularly adding high-quality photos and videos that showcase your business, products, services, and team. This visual content can make your listing more engaging and appealing to potential customers.
      • Manage Reviews: Respond promptly to reviews, both positive and negative, to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews to help improve your online reputation and local search rankings.
    2. Local Citations and NAP Consistency

      • Audit Your Citations: Perform a citation audit to identify any inconsistencies or inaccuracies in your business's NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) information across various online directories. Tools like Moz Local or BrightLocal can help streamline this process.
      • Claim and Update Listings: Claim and update any unclaimed or outdated listings to ensure accurate and consistent information. Maintaining NAP consistency is crucial for improving your local search rankings.
    3. Local Keyword Research

      • Use Local Modifiers: Incorporate location-specific keywords in your content, such as city or neighborhood names, to improve your local search rankings. These modifiers can help search engines understand the relevance of your content to specific geographic areas.
      • Long-Tail Keywords: Focus on long-tail keywords that include local modifiers, as they often have lower competition and can drive targeted traffic to your website. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush can help you identify relevant long-tail keywords.
    4. Local Content Marketing

      • Create Localized Content: Develop content that is relevant to your local audience, such as blog posts, infographics, or videos that address local issues or showcase community events. This can help improve your local search visibility and engage your target audience.
      • Share Local Success Stories: Share case studies or success stories featuring your local customers to build trust and credibility in your community.
    5. Local Link Building

      • Build Relationships with Local Businesses: Establish relationships with local businesses and organizations to generate high-quality backlinks and improve your local search rankings. Collaborate on projects or events, or offer to contribute guest posts on their websites.
      • Get Involved in Local Events: Participate in local events, sponsorships, or community initiatives to increase your visibility and gain valuable backlinks. These activities can help build your reputation and strengthen your connection to the local community.

seo vs traditional seo

Traditional SEO: The Bigger Picture Expanded

  1. On-Page Optimization

    • High-Quality Content: Produce engaging, informative, and valuable content that appeals to your target audience and incorporates relevant keywords. Regularly update and refresh your content to maintain its relevance and improve search engine rankings.
    • Meta Tags: Optimize your meta tags, including the title tag, meta description, and header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.), to improve your search engine rankings. Ensure that these tags accurately reflect your content and incorporate target keywords.
    • Internal Linking: Implement internal linking to enhance user experience and help search engines better understand your website's structure. Use descriptive anchor text that clearly indicates the content of the linked page.
    • Image Optimization: Optimize your images by compressing them, using descriptive file names and alt tags, and implementing lazy loading to improve page speed.
  2. Off-Page Optimization

    • Backlink Building: Acquire high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites to improve your search engine rankings and drive organic traffic. Focus on building relationships and creating valuable content that others will want to link to.
    • Social Media: Promote your content across various social media platforms to increase visibility and generate social signals, which can impact your search engine rankings. Engage with your audience, share valuable information, and encourage users to share your content.
    • Influencer Outreach: Collaborate with influencers in your industry to increase your reach and generate valuable backlinks. Offer to create content for their websites, or invite them to contribute to your blog.
  3. Technical SEO

    • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and offers a seamless user experience on all devices. Implement responsive design, use legible font sizes, and optimize images for mobile viewing.
    • Site Speed: Optimize your website's loading speed, as it can significantly impact user experience and search engine rankings. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to identify areas for improvement, such as compressing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript files, and leveraging browser caching.
    • Crawlability and Indexability: Make sure your website is easily crawlable and indexable by search engines. Use tools like Google Search Console to monitor crawl errors and submit sitemaps to facilitate the indexing process.
    • Structured Data: Implement structured data (schema markup) on your website to help search engines understand your content better and provide richer search results. This can lead to enhanced visibility and potentially higher click-through rates.
    • URL Structure: Optimize your URL structure by using descriptive, keyword-rich URLs that are easy for both users and search engines to understand. Keep URLs short and avoid using special characters or unnecessary parameters.
  4. Content Marketing

    • Topic Research: Identify trending topics and evergreen subjects that resonate with your target audience. Use tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, or Google Trends to find popular content ideas and gaps in existing content.
    • Content Formats: Experiment with various content formats, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, and webinars, to cater to different user preferences and drive engagement.
    • Content Distribution: Promote your content through multiple channels, including social media, email marketing, guest blogging, and paid advertising, to maximize visibility and reach.

Can I optimize for both local SEO and traditional SEO?

Yes, you can optimize for both local SEO and traditional SEO. In fact, it's advisable for a local business to have a comprehensive SEO strategy that incorporates both local and traditional SEO techniques to maximize your online visibility. By addressing the unique aspects of each approach, you can cater to different segments of your target audience and improve your search engine rankings in both local and global searches. This balanced approach can ultimately lead to increased organic traffic and better overall results for your online marketing efforts.

Learn More About Local SEO and Traditional SEO

Understanding the differences between local SEO and traditional SEO is essential for developing an effective online marketing strategy. By focusing on both local and traditional SEO techniques, you can maximize your online presence and reach your target audience more effectively. Each approach has its unique benefits, and implementing a comprehensive strategy that combines both can significantly improve your overall search engine rankings and online visibility.

Contact 3Bug Media to learn how to use Local SEO and traditional SEO as part of an effective online marketing startegy.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.