Local SEO vs Organic SEO: How to Choose?

It’s no secret that the internet has drastically transformed society. From social media changing the way we stay in touch with friends, to email reforming our business communication. Local marketing is no exception. In the past, phonebook listings and local adverts were some of the best ways to market businesses locally. These days, people are far more likely to search for local businesses online. This means the best way to advertise a local business is to make sure people can find it in online searches.

Search engine optimization (or SEO for short) has helped countless businesses attract clients. However, not all practices are the same. When looking at SEO, there’s a distinct difference between local SEO vs organic SEO. What your business needs most will depend on several factors, but a lot of businesses can benefit most from a combination local and organic SEO techniques.

What Is SEO for Businesses?

Before distinguishing between local and organic SEO, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what SEO entails. As the term “search engine optimization” suggests, SEO is the practice of improving a website with the goal of helping search engines list it.

Some common strategies to help a business website list in relevant searches include:

  • Adding enough relevant keywords in the website content
  • Establishing and managing a business social media presence
  • Optimizing the company website to offer a user-friendly experience
  • Listing a company in relevant business directories

This is only a short summary of what SEO entails. Entire books can be written on each one of the above-mentioned points. Search engine algorithms are always changing, and so SEO practices must also adapt to accommodate new criteria set by search engines for indexability.

Regardless, there are certain facets of SEO that remain stable. For instance, the inclusion of keywords in website content is always advantageous. Search engines scan website texts in order to find phrases and words relevant to searches. Although the use of relevant keywords isn’t the only thing search engines look at when choosing the most relevant search results, it will always remain an important part of SEO.

Local SEO vs Organic SEO: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the concept of SEO helps to distinguish between local and organic SEO techniques. Although both forms of SEO focus on helping a website list in searches, the main difference is the audience local SEO will attract vs organic SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Quite simply, local SEO is focused around helping a business attract website traffic from local searches. Local searches in this context simply means that the searches are specific to a location. The exact location of the search could be as broad as a whole country, or as narrow as a specific town.

Examples of local searches could include the following:

  • Tourist attractions in the United States
  • Car insurance in South Carolina
  • Web design services in Miami, FL

The first example is a local search, but not a very specific one. Results will be relevant to the specific place mentioned in the search, but in this case the “place” in question is the whole US. As a result, listings could include geographic locations from any state or city. That’s not very helpful for someone looking to tour only a specific part of the country.

In the second example, the place mentioned in the search is the state of South Carolina. Getting listed for searches specific to a state is much more useful for most businesses. A lot of companies only operate in one state and are looking to attract customers from that region.

The third example focuses on both the state and the city in which the business operates. A lot of small to medium sized businesses only operate in one town or city. A local bakery, for instance, will target customers from the city where it operates. In such a case, there’s no use attracting potential customers that are too far out of the town where the business is located.

In practice, this means that local SEO aims to help local businesses attract clientele. Just how local the SEO will be, depends on the needs of a specific business.

What is Organic SEO?

Organic SEO is all about listing a website for specific keywords or phrases. Unlike with local SEO, the keywords you’re trying to list the website for might not be specific to a region.

Here are some examples of organic SEO keywords people might search for:

  • How to get more sleep
  • Best apple pie recipes
  • Happy songs to listen to

The important thing here is that none of these search phrases target a specific place. They’re all general searches. People from all over the world could search for these things. The content a search engine lists in the results can also originate from any country.

Theoretically, organic SEO searches have the potential to bring in far more website traffic, but website visitors can be from any place in the world – not just locally.

For businesses, listing in organic searches often means to list in industry-specific searches rather than location-specific ones. A plumber might have website content that shows up in a search for “how to fix a leaky tap?”, for instance.

The benefit of listing for general search terms isn’t necessarily attracting more customers directly. Instead, having content that lists for industry-related search queries can help you establish yourself as an expert in your industry. In turn, this will cause potential customers to see your company as a trustworthy business in your industry.

The Difference Between Local SEO and Organic SEO Listings

Till now, the main focus was to explain the difference between local and organic SEO in terms of local vs general enquiries. However, there’s another difference between local and organic search – Google’s listing format.

When searching for a term such as “car insurance in South Carolina” Google has a special section to list local businesses that suit the criteria of the search. After these local results, there are also some normal Google listings, which you can find underneath the first three results.

Local SEO listings on Google

Google has a local listing format which is integrated with Maps and other Google services.

The first three listings are local businesses and they have a physical address linking to Google Maps – these are local listings. All the subsequent listings are location-specific organic listings. This can seem confusing at first. After all, can’t all listings for location-specific searches just be local listings?

Organic listings

Google also has organic listings for location-specific searches. These listings will usually be relevant to a local search query, but they aren’t integrated with Maps.

To clear up the confusion, it’s important to understand that only Google has separate listing formats for local vs organic listings. Other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo and Bing only have the organic listings in their results.

Google’s “local listings” section is actually filled with results from a Google service called “Google My Business”. So actually “local listings” can also be called “Google My Business listings”. Essentially, the difference between local and organic listings is simply where Google gets them from.

Local listings are from Google My Business, specifically. When opened, a local listing will display a company’s Google My Business profile and its location on Google Maps.

Organic listings can be from all over the internet. Quite often, organic listings link directly to the websites of relevant local businesses. Organic listings can also link to social media profiles or online business directories.

More About Google My Business Listings

The Google My Business service is almost like Google’s own version of a business directory. It’s a service Google offers to help local businesses get found online. Google My Business is integrated with other Google services like Google Maps and Google Reviews. This allows customers to easily get a good overview of a local business. As an added benefit, a business can also link to their business website directly from the GMB listing.

The fact that Google My Business is integrated with Google Maps allows users to quickly search for local businesses. Google will then list results based on the location of the user in proximity to  relevant local business. Users can then use their GPS on Maps to travel to the location of the address listed on Google for a specific business

Local SEO vs Organic SEO: What Does Your Business Need?

Understanding the difference between local and organic SEO can help you decide what’s best for your business. Generally though, a combination of both local and organic SEO is best.

Seeing as most search engines only have the organic listing section, showing up in location-specific organic results can boost your business substantially. Getting your business website listed for searches that are specific to both your industry and location is still considered local SEO. You’re targeting a local audience with local searches. It’s simply a form of local SEO which aims at improving where your website lists in organic results.

On the other hand, listing for search terms that are related to your industry rather than location is also helpful. Listing in results for common queries customers might have establishes your business website as a trustworthy source of information for both search engines and potential customers.

If more of your business website content appears in searches, your website will become more indexable for future searches as well. As a result, your website can also be more likely to appear in location-specific searches. So, to conclude, local and organic SEO practices and techniques can and ideally should compliment each other to help your business attract customers online.

Rozanne WildsLocal SEO vs Organic SEO: How to Choose?
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How to Do Online Marketing for Your Business

Online marketing is fast becoming one of the most essential marketing channels. Every business of every size – whether it be a large corporate company or a family owned shop – can benefit from online marketing. But the world of online marketing is competitive and ever-changing. Search engines are always updating their algorithms and social sites are constantly add and remove features.

With so much change, it’s difficult to know how to do online marketing for your business. Perhaps you already have an online presence that you want to boost, or perhaps your business isn’t even online yet. Whichever way it goes, it’s never too late to establish an online presence for your company and reap the rewards of your marketing efforts.

The Basics of Online Marketing

Before diving into just how to do online marketing for your business, there are a few basics terms you must know. Knowing the terms below could help you gain a better understanding of online marketing concepts while doing research to improve your strategy.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a widely used term for a marketing strategy that involves attracting customers to your business via techniques that will help customers who already want your product or service find you. This is opposed to driving customers away with unwanted marketing material. Offering value to potential customers via your marketing materials is an important part of inbound marketing.

The opposite of inbound marketing is called interruption marketing. As the term suggests, interruption marketing techniques are unsolicited and completely unwelcomed by your audience. An example of interruption marketing a TV advert that shows during your favorite show, or a marketing phone call.

Online, interruption marketing could include ads that play while you’re trying to watch online videos, or the promotional content in your social media news feeds.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As the name implies, search engine optimization is all about improving your website to help it rank in search results.


This is a common abbreviation for search engine results pages. Ideally, you want your website to rank in the top SERPs, as most users never go further than the first results page.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a broader term than SEO. It’s used to describe any marketing that’s intended to help your website show on Google – regardless if you’re paying for ads, or showing up in organic search results.

Pay per click (PPC)

Also called cost per click advertising, this is a form of paid online advertising where your advert is displayed in search engine results or on social media sites. As the name suggests, you pay every time an individual clicks your advert. PPC is the most widely used form of paid online advertising. The benefit of PPC is that you only pay for results, so you can get a much better return on your investment. Alternatively, you could pay for impressions, which means you pay for every person who sees your ad. This form on paid online advertising is called cost per impression, and it’s abbreviated as CPM (You might be wondering why it isn’t abbreviated as CP.

There’s still a lot of other online marketing terms that aren’t listed above, but the terms listed here should give you a good overall understanding of online marketing concepts going forward.

Why Inbound is the Best Form of Online Marketing

If you’re a small to medium sized business trying to get real leads from your online marketing, you’ll get a much better return on investment if you opt for inbound. That’s because inbound marketing is aimed at attracting people who already show interest in your product or service. Instead of annoying your audience with disruptive ads, your customers will discover you online by searching for you.

SEO is a good example of inbound marketing. By optimizing your website for search, you can help potential customers find your business on Google. However, even paid PPC listings in SERPs can be a form of inbound marketing if done properly.

Because inbound marketing is the best place to start when establishing an online presence for your business, this post will focus of different inbound marketing techniques.

How to Do Online Marketing: What You’ll Need

Before you can start doing online marketing for your business, there are some things you’ll need. Firstly, you’ll need your own company website. A website is one of the most essential parts of your online marketing strategy.

Secondly, you’ll need to create social media accounts for your business. Even if you aren’t planning to use social media yet, it’s wise to setup your profiles to reserve your username on each platform.

Lastly, you’ll need to have enough time to invest in online marketing. While the prospect of growing your company through online marketing seems exciting, it’s not always easy. After a while, you’ll likely find you aren’t getting response you hoped for from your marketing efforts.

Don’t let this discourage you, there are literally billions of websites competing for search engine rankings. It’s unlikely that yours will shoot to the top straight away. Over time, your collective efforts should start to pay off and you’ll start reaping rewards – it just takes more time and hard work than most people anticipate.

How to Improve Your SEO

One of the best ways to get results from online marketing is through SEO. If you’re website is listed at the top of Google’s search pages, a lot of people will be able to find your business online.

What Are Keywords?

The first SEO concept you must understand is keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that people often search for. For instance, the word “love” is searched for approximately 3 350 000 times a month, making it one of the most popular Google searches. Seeing as “love” is such a popular search term, you could get a lot of traffic if you ranked high when people search the internet for this word.

However, to attract leads, you must rank for keywords that your potential customers are looking for. A dental practice must rank for searches related to dentistry, whereas a florist needs to rank for searches related to flowers. Ideally, you also want your website to show up in local searches, such as “dentist near me” or “florist in Miami”.

The phrases that you’re trying to rank for are your keywords. Try to rank think of different ideas for what people might search to find a website like yours. Think of as many different keywords as you can. You don’t have to tailor all your website content to rank only for one popular search phrase.

To get your website to rank in SERPs, you must include your target keywords in your website content. A great way to start is by including keywords in the content of your main website pages, such as your Home, About and FAQ pages, for instance.

When writing content with keywords in mind, it’s important to have a balance. You want search engines to find your content, but you don’t want to include the keyword so much that your writing becomes repetitive. Repeatedly stuffing keywords into your writing can cause search engines to penalize your website and mark your content as spam.

Starting a Business Blog

The more keywords your website can rank for, the more traffic you’ll get. If your website consists only of your main website pages, you’ll be limited as to how many different search phrases you can rank for.

Blogging is an excellent way to broaden the range of search phrases your website can rank for. Every blog post can target a different set of key phrases. This will help more people find your business online through your blog.

When blogging, it’s important to write posts that are informative. Look for common questions people ask about your industry and try to write posts to answer them.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a great platform to help people find your business online. People use social sites to interact with their favorite brands and connect with businesses. Networking is also a major part of social media, which means a social media presence could open up business opportunities you would otherwise miss out on.

A lot of people skip Google and head straight to social sites like Facebook when searching for products and services. In this case, a proper Facebook page is what would help you get found online. Another benefit of having a business Facebook page is that it’s like your own mini website and it’s easy to setup.

Of course, you can use your social media profiles to attract attention to your business. By posting about special offers at your company and other news, you can attract traffic to your business website and make more sales.

Pay Per Click Advertising

PPC can help your website show up in relevant Google searches under the “ads” section in the results. To run a PPC campaign, you need to choose keywords you want to rank for, as well as what products or services you want to advertise. You can set your campaigns with relevant keywords in Google Adwords.

You can also set negative keywords in Adwords to avoid showing your ad in certain results. So, if you have a business that sells jerseys, but you find that people who arrive at your website search for “jersey country”, you can set a negative keyword such as “country” to avoid getting traffic from searches that aren’t related to the clothing item you sell.

The information in this post barely scratches the surface of online marketing. Learning to do online marketing will take a lot of time. Whether it be keyword research, blogging, social media marketing or PPC campaigns, there’s so much more you can learn than is mentioned in this post.

To get good online marketing results from the start, you can hire a professional online marketing company to do your marketing. Find out more about what an online marketing company can do for your business.

Rozanne WildsHow to Do Online Marketing for Your Business
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