Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – for some, this is just a component of general SEO optimization, but it’s more to it than that!
Local SEO and general SEO have become, in the last years, two different sciences, very close related, but still different. Why?
We’ll try and explain to you the main differences between those two.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the science behind optimizing your website for local audience. The main difference between SEO and Local SEO is the fact that SEO addresses a general audience, while Local SEO addresses a local one.
Let’s put it in a way for your better understanding of the concept.
Let’s say you offer travel services and in fact we do have as client a travel agency specialized in leisure and business travel services. In travelling, your clients don’t need you to be in their vicinity – they can pay online or through bank transfer. In fact, the travel clients are so familiarized with the booking platforms that they don’t even need to speak to you: all they need is a reservation form or an invoice to pay the travel services.
This means you, as a travel agency, need SEO and not Local SEO. You would like to rank for any sort of general keywords related to the tourism industry, such as “touristic objectives” or “touristic attractions” or for more specific keywords, such as “Barcelona attractions” or “Tel Aviv nightlife”, and so on.
You got the point – if you offer services for a broader audience which does not live in a certain area (London) but in a larger one, such as a country or a broader region (England or UK), then you need general SEO and not Local SEO.
Now, let’s say you have a coffee shop, opened in London, in Brent, one of the seven boroughs from West London. Of course you would waste your time and money trying to SEO optimize your website for general keywords or for the whole population in England. More than anything, you would like to address to people who live in London or, to be more precise, who live in West London or work in West London.
This strategy, which is Local SEO, addresses, in this particular case, to only 1,5 million people living in West London (an audience which is more targeted later, by age or interests) and not to the 55 million people living in England.
Do SEO and Local SEO use the same ranking algorithm?
This is a good question and, up to a certain year in the past, the difference between searches from different regions were not noticeable. If you were in Manchester and you wanted to find a gas station nearby, the chances were the first Google page displayed results of gas station websites from London, Liverpool or Bristol, for example, let alone the cases where the first page was filled with results from other countries, better optimized for the word “gas station” globally.
But those moments are long gone.
Now, Google has significantly improved its algorithms and when in Manchester and looking for a gas station, you’ll be fed by results displaying the locations of the gas stations in Manchester, but (pay attention!) only the gas stations which have put some efforts into Local SEO optimization.
On top of that, recently Google has introduced different functions in Google Maps, from voice search to different layers which will help the internet users to easily find what they are looking for in their proximity.
Do you need SEO or Local SEO?
The answer to this question is simple and it depends on your type of business and on the sort of industry you are activating in. If you are in the food industry and your clients live or work in your area, unless you’re a Michelin restaurant, you would certainly want to optimize for the local audience, which means you are a perfect client for Local SEO services. In the same sector enters the coffee shops, the shopping malls, the cinema theaters, etc.
If your clients can shop online on your website or on your online shop, then you would certainly target a broader audience and you are a perfect client for general SEO services.