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Differences between local SEO and website SEO

24-02-2024

Local SEO, SEO

5 Ways in which local SEO differs from traditional SEO

A couple of decades ago, the way people shopped was very different. Most people used to ask others for help and suggestions when they needed to buy something. These days, people just walk around staring at their smartphones as they search for places to shop and eat.

With the majority of consumers using search engines to find products and services, most businesses – be it retail stores, restaurants, cafes, hotels or fitness centers – now rely on online search for more traffic and sales.

While traditional SEO can help businesses improve the visibility of their websites and rank higher in google search results, it’s the local SEO that can make all the difference when it comes to attracting customers from the neighborhood area.

Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between local SEO and traditional SEO:

1. The role and importance of website

Traditional SEO is all about optimizing websites to rank higher in search engine results. However, local SEO is more about optimizing for location.

In fact, most people looking for local businesses are not likely to visit the website at all. On the contrary, they are more likely to find the information that they are seeking in Google search engine results. For example, when someone searches for ‘cafes near me’, Google displays top cafes, which are mainly ranked on the basis of three factors – relevancy, prominence and distance.

In Google Local pack listing, the user can find all information including reviews, location, directions, phone number, opening and closing hours etc. Thus, there is less need to visit the website.

2. Backlinks vs citations

In traditional SEO, quality backlinks play a key role in improving the search engine rankings of a website. They help in enhancing the credibility and authenticity of a website in the eyes of Google. In local SEO too, the backlinks are important. However, what’s more important are the citations.

A citation is the direct mention of your business online. When you list your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) online, it sends a message to Google that your business exists. The citations make your business look more authentic and credible, just the way backlinks do.

While it’s important to get listed, you must make sure that your citations are consistent across all directories and social media platforms. Any inconsistencies in NAP would be counterproductive as they are likely to adversely impact your local SEO rankings.

3. Google 3-pack

In traditional SEO, the focus is more on making the website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). In local SEO, the goal is to get your business into local listing packs. Google 3-pack is a pack of top three local search results. With its local 3-pack, Google makes it easier for its users to find relevant information without making too much effort.

You can significantly boost the local presence of your business by making it feature in Google’s 3-pack. From optimizing your Google My Business profile to adding reviews to your profile, there are several ways to do so.

4. Search intent

One of the key factors that separate local SEO from traditional SEO is the search intent of the users. Local SEO is aimed at those who are actively looking for your products and services in your neighborhood. When these people make a query in Google, they also enter the location or the term ‘near me’ along with the product or service they are looking for. More often than not, they are looking to buy your product or service immediately.

When it comes to traditional SEO, the target audience may or may not be looking to buy your products immediately. Many of the users are simply looking for facts and information. They may visit your website to know about your services, sign up for newsletters or download eBooks. Traditional SEO makes your business visible to them. Therefore, in future, they may become your customers.

5. SEO strategy

In traditional SEO, the strategy is geared towards on-page and off-page optimization of a website. It includes creating backlinks and optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, anchor texts etc. It also involves creating great content that informs and educates the users. On the other hand, local SEO strategy focuses on promoting your business in local searches. It involves creating google listings, submitting your business to local directories, seeking online reviews, engaging on social media and making your website mobile-friendly.

Wrapping up

Despite the differences, both local and traditional SEO play a key role in improving the visibility of your business online. However, there are many businesses, particularly the ones with a storefront, that rely more on local traffic for sales. These businesses stand to gain immensely from local SEO as it helps them attract relevant customers that are ready to make a purchase.

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