General SEO vs Local SEO: All You Need to Know

Wondering where to get the best bang for your buck between general SEO and local SEO? You’ve come to the right place. Both local SEO and general SEO are integral parts of a well-rounded SEO campaign. But while they share many similarities, they differ widely in many regards, including scope, ranking signals, target audiences, and conversion potentials.

In some cases, one could be more important than the other. For instance, physical stores that already have a vibrant online presence but want more buyer traffic can focus less on general traffic and more on organic traffic to increase their conversion rates.

To help you set your priorities right, we’ll examine closely the key differences between general SEO and local SEO . We’ll help you figure out where each one should belong in your SEO strategy. 

What are general SEO and Local SEO?

To get started, let’s define each term. General SEO refers to optimization practices for increasing visibility on search engines. It requires modifying your website and content marketing strategies to improve on signals that search engines look out for when ranking a site.

Local SEO, on the other hand, is a specific type of SEO that focuses on gaining visibility on search engines for certain location-specific keywords. While general SEO aims to make it easier for people to find you anywhere in the country or globe, local SEO is geared towards an audience in a specific neighborhood, area, or region.

There are many overlapping areas between general SEO and local SEO. They can both feed into each other’s success in many regards. But it’s important to master the peculiarities to maximize their synergy. For instance, general SEO can help you improve your overall customer acquisition strategy and customer experience. But local SEO might hold the key to unlocking your conversion potential. Over 80% of local searches result in direct sales.

General SEO vs local SEO: the difference in their search engine result page

Now that we’ve had a general overview of general SEO and local SEO, let’s look under the hood to see how each one works. First, we’ll take a look at the search result pages of each type.

On general search result pages, what you’ll find are ads, unpaid results, and other general SERP features.

The ads on top are the pay-per-click (PPC) ads related to the search terms. Depending on the keywords searched for, searchers may find a combination of SERP features including any one of these:

  • Featured snippets
  • People also asked
  • People also searched for
  • Related searches
  • Site links
  • Videos
  • Accelerated mobile pages
  • Etc.

These features are designed to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

There are many things you need to do to get on the first SERP of your target keywords. Your general backlinks, domain authority, post format, and technical SEO are all key determining factors.

Local search result pages also share many of these features, but they do have their peculiarities.

The first outstanding feature is the Local Pack result. This feature displays potential businesses related to the search term along with their location on Google Maps, their Google My Business profile, and contact details.

Also, local search result pages will often display the ratings and reviews of a business, so you can easily tell at a glance what businesses you’re likely to succeed with. Searchers are more likely to do business with top-rated brands, and the best local SEO company will prioritize online reputation management given its significance for your local SEO. 

General SEO vs local SEO: when to focus on each one

Local SEO services can help you determine which type of SEO is best for your growth strategy. You can also use analytics tools like Google Analytics to better understand your customers’ buying behaviors.

For instance, if most of your sales come from customers within the locality of your brick-and-mortar shops, then your local SEO company might prioritize local SEO. If you have businesses in more than one location, you might want to create multiple local SEO strategies for each location.

However, when you grow beyond a few locations, your local SEO company might begin prioritizing general SEO over local SEO. That’s because you need to rank for keywords that broaden your audience base beyond certain locations. 

Tips and strategies for general SEO and local SEO

As earlier said, both types of SEO feed into each other in many regards, and success with one generally increases your chances with the other.

When optimizing for general SEO, here are the most important things to consider:

Extensive keyword research: 

Map out your keywords using keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Moz, etc. Know what keywords to use for different purposes – raising awareness, nurturing your leads, closing sales, etc.

A well-rounded content strategy: 

Publish high-quality posts consistently to drive audience engagement. 

Core web vitals: 

Make sure you have healthy Core Web Vitals – fast load times, steady pages, streamlined codes, and other attributes of healthy technical SEO.

Backlinks: 

Build high-quality backlinks networks linking your site to other authority sites. Also, get your brand mentioned in important places online.

To optimize for local SEO, you first need to put the necessary general SEO elements in place. After that, you can increase your local search visibility with key local SEO strategies like:

Claim and complete your Google My Business profile:

Set up your GMB profile complete with your name, address and phone number, product/service list, customer reviews, etc.

Use local keywords: 

Research and use local keywords in various places, from your landing pages to your blogs, GMB pages, social media pages, etc.

Build backlinks and listings: 

Other key local SEO strategies revolve around getting your site links on local blogs, local directories, and other authority sites in your area. 

Get your general SEO and local SEO strategies right today

General SEO and local SEO each play a critical role in your SEO campaign, and you need to know where each one belongs. Optimizing for one can lead to success with the other, but it’s important to know when to prioritize one over the other.

If you’re struggling to figure it all out, you can always turn to a reputable local SEO service for expert advice.