What (if any) are the differences between local SEO and traditional, or “standard” SEO? After fielding some questions on the subject from various clients, and not having 100% confidence in my own understanding of the specifics of each, I dug a little deeper and found this gem of an article from John O’Connor of JSO Digital. The article was written last year, but the information it remains relevant, and is extremely helpful in clarifying the differences between local SEO and traditional SEO.
Here are the highlights:
Local SEO is Predicated on Trusted Location Information
As John points out, Google works to build a “digital profile” of your business, taking into account citations and other specific information about your business from across the web. With this in mind, creating consistency across all of your business profiles, directory listings, etc. is very important when it comes to optimizing your local visibility. John notes that “When Google finds conflicting information about a businesses’ name, address, and phone number, the location is viewed as less reliable.”
So, make sure that your company NAP (name, address, phone number, etc.) info is up to date and consistent across all of your web properties in order to help Google see your business as reliable local listing.
Traditional SEO is Predicated on Trusted Content
Traditional SEO results are less focused on consistent web citations, and are more about the overall mix of business information, social media signals, link profiles, and content quality that Google associates with your domain. According to John, “Organic search results aren’t tied to brick and mortar signals. Citations in the traditional sense, don’t influence organic rankings as much. Organic pages can rank independent of the underlying location of the publisher, by creating localized content.”
To sum things up, local SEO is primarily influenced by web citations specific to your business information such as address, phone number, etc. Traditional SEO isn’t directly affected by these same NAP business citations, but relies more on other web signals such as social media influence, content generation and quality, and overall link profile.
For more information on local SEO and how it differs from traditional SEO, check out this article on SEJ.