As a digital marketing agency, we know that the number of ways that customers can now reach out to your business has increased tenfold in the past few years, thanks to all of the technological advances there have been. Nowadays, when people want to find out information about a person, a place or a thing, they will usually head online first and type it into Google and take a look at what results they are given. Google decides, through its algorithms, which websites are displayed first on their SERPs and so it might include local SEO Manchester results alongside organic results in order to give the searcher exactly what they want.
Now, we talk about SEO a lot here at SEO MCR and if we are honest, we usually talk about organic SEO in Manchester, but SEO is constantly evolving and if we did not consider local SEO as part of SEO then we would be failing in our job massively. So, what is the difference between local and organic SEO – and why do they both matter?
Organic SEO is concerned with the practice of optimising your website to make it more attractive to search engines and to ensure it is ranked for the most relevant keywords. It may or may not include local elements, but it is not usually associated with a bricks and mortar business – it usually revolves around a website which may not have a geographical location. Internet based businesses, bloggers affiliate marketers, and some bricks and mortar businesses will use organic SEO to help them to improve their website rankings and therefore increase the amount of traffic to site. Google will only rank those website who have trusted content and are providing value to users and so to really succeed in this field your website needs to offer trusted and relevant content.
An example of organic SEO would be to search for solicitors on Google. Those websites that are ranked highly on the first page are those who Google considers to be legitimate in terms of the content and information that they offer. So, if you are a small local solicitor in Manchester how do you make your way onto the first page and how do you let local people know you exist? Through local SEO.
Local SEO is concerned with building reliability and relevant signals online around specific locations. So, if a searcher looks for ‘solicitors Manchester’ Google will attempt to show them results which are most relevant to them and that are based in the Manchester area. Local results are usually labelled with customer reviews, customer ratings, and important information about the business such as opening times, address, phone number and directions. So, what the search engine is doing is showing the searcher results based on the geographically relevant keywords contained in the search term.
So, lets take a closer look now at what them main differences between organic and local SEO are:
- Location. Organic SEO is mainly used by websites which may or may not have a physical location. It can be influenced by location but is not usually tied to a bricks and mortar business. Organic results will tend to be a mix of articles, blogs, news, social media listings, and so on completely independent of the location. On the other hand, local SEO is completely tied to a brick and mortar location and so will always have a geographical location tied to it. When a searcher types in a search term containing a geographical location then the search engine will look for relevant and trusted businesses in their location.
- They do not necessarily target the same position on the SERPs. Organic SEO is used to get a specific set of keywords to rank as highly as possible, while local SEO tends to focus on getting the business to appear in the local listing pack. Local SEO is also concerned with getting the business to be listed at every other place the customer might look including forums and niche directories and so on.
- Links Vs Citations. High quality and relevant links are essential in organic SEO to help you improve the relevancy and authority of the website in terms of Google. Local SEO on the other hand, does not treat links in the same way with the role of links actually being played by citations. Citations are simply the number of times your business name, address and phone nuber is mentioned across the web. If your business is often cited in the most important places in your niche, then this will increase the relevance and authority of your business in the eyes of Google and increase the chances of your business showing up if a query relating to similar business and location comes up.
- Different approaches. In Organic SEO a lot of work will be done to enable your website to reach the top of the SERPs, and this work will include both on page and off page optimisation such as title tags, meta descriptions, awesome content, a link building strategy and so on. Local SEO, however, is more concerned with cracking the places which display local results.
So, now you know the difference between local search engine optimisation Manchester and organic search, how do you know which is right for your business? Well each has its merits, and at the end of the day it will usually be down to the nature of your business and the niche you are operating in.