Local SEO vs Organic SEO: Which is Best for Your Business’ Visibility?

May 21, 2024

Local SEO vs organic SEO

Local SEO vs organic SEO are two distinct strategies for improving online visibility. 

Local SEO

Local SEO targets local search queries, such as “Plumbers in [city]” or “Plumbers near me”

The local SEO strategy is usually used by small businesses targeting a specific geographic location

The ultimate goal of local SEO is to get more foot traffic and local customers

Local SEO is highly effective. According to LocaliQ, 97% of people look for a local business online. Since local searches have high purchase intent, this can lead to an 80% conversion rate.

Local SEO is easier to rank since its competitors are businesses serving the same location or industry

Organic SEO

Organic SEO has a broad, global focus

The organic SEO strategy can be used by anyone with a website, whether a local business, online business, or blog

The goal of organic SEO is to boost a website to the top of search results to increase awareness and traffic without paying for a listing

Organic SEO is highly effective. 53.3% of website traffic comes from organic searches. Since organic SEO boosts a website to the top, the site will receive 27.6% of the click-through rates.

Organic SEO is harder to rank since its competitors are national or global websites in the same niche

The Glamorous Owl, a handcraft gift shop in Newcastle upon Tyne, saw success through local SEO. The owner, Clair Chapman, created and optimized a Google Business Profile for the shop. She also used relevant local keywords in her website. Today, the shop has won the ‘Best Gift Shop’ award in the area and is a favorite tourist destination for many.

Local SEO example

One online business that saw success with SEO organic search is Buffer, a social media management platform. By creating high-quality content for their target audience, the website’s traffic increased by 271% in just 8 months.

Organic SEO example

In this article, we’re going to compare local SEO and organic SEO more deeply. We’ll go through their main strategies, pros and cons, and which one is the best for YOUR business’ visibility.

Local SEO vs Organic SEO


Local seo

organic seo

Geographic Targeting

Local SEO aims to improve visibility for region-specific searches. It prioritizes geographic location to attract nearby customers

Organic SEO focuses on ranking web pages globally or nationally for broader search terms

Keyword Strategy

Local SEO uses geo-targeting keywords, such as “real estate firm near me” and “real estate firm in [city]”. It also includes keywords that align with the business name, address, and phone number. It should emphasize keywords from local content and user reviews, too

Organic SEO uses broad terms. It can focus on high-volume, competitive keywords, such as “real estate”. Or, low-volume, specific long-tail keywords, like “how to buy a rental property without a realtor”

Primary Goal

Local SEO increases visibility for location-based searches. The conversion goals include calls, driving directions, and walk-in visitors

Organic SEO builds a national or global audience. It establishes authority and relevance for specific topics through high-quality content. The conversion goals include form submission, downloads, and online purchases

Competitor Landscape

Local SEO competitors are localized businesses in the same area or industry

Organic SEO competitors are national/global entities, blogs, or online businesses and directories

Directory Listings

Local SEO relies heavily on Google Business Profile, Google Maps, and other online directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages. All these listings should feature accurate and consistent business NAP (name, address, phone) 

Organic SEO prioritizes backlinks from high-authority and general directories. It also depends on featured links from content aggregators that list industry-related content

Speed of Implementation and Results

Local SEO is quicker as it only involves updating existing business listings, optimizing Google Business Profile, and managing online reviews. These don’t require extensive technical changes to a website. Plus, changes to local listings and reviews are often updated quickly by search engines. So results can appear within 1-2 weeks or 3-4 months in map packs and local search rankings

Organic SEO takes a bit more time as it involves relevant keyword research, technical SEO improvements, and developing high-quality content. Due to high competition and optimization efforts, results may take 6 months to 1-2 years

Content Strategy

Local SEO focuses on creating content that resonates with local audiences. This includes:

• Posting about local events, partnerships, or community involvement

• Landing pages targeting specific neighborhoods or cities

• Engaging with customer reviews

• Generating relevant Q&A content to address local customer queries

Organic SEO focuses on covering industry-wide topics. This includes:

• Comprehensive guides

• Authoritative articles that serve as a central resource for a particular topic

• Keyword clusters on related topics

• Relevant tutorials with videos or webinars

• Content designed to earn backlinks naturally

Customer Reviews

Local SEO customer reviews play a big role in influencing how a business ranks in map packs and local search results. Plus, a WebFX study saw 71% of consumers choose a local business because of online reviews. These reviews should be highlighted in Google Business Profile, Yelp, Facebook, etc… 

Organic SEO customer reviews boost online reputation and brand credibility. It will influence how potential customers or followers perceive an online business or website. These reviews should be visible across product or service pages, third-party review sites, blogs, social media, etc…

Technical Aspects

Local SEO depends on:

• Proper set up of Google Business Profile. This includes accurate NAP, service areas, business hours, images, reviews, and categories

• Mobile-friendly pages. This is very important as 80% of local search queries are done on smartphones

• Localized landing pages. Each targeting location should have a unique landing page with relevant localized content

• Citation consistency. This involves maintaining consistent business information across local citations

Organic SEO depends on: 

• Good website structure. This includes excellent web design, easy navigation, internal linking, and organized content

• Fast loading speeds. Your pages should fully load within 3 seconds or less to provide users with a great UX

• Duplicate content removal. Fix canonical tags to ensure search engines know which page is the original

• Security measures. Pages without an SSL certificate will discourage visitors from checking it out. In turn, this will lead to a high bounce rate

Visibility in Search Results

Local SEO appears in the ‘Local Pack’ or ‘Map Pack’ at the top of Google search results. This features a map and a list of local businesses

Organic SEO appears as regular website links within the main search results. This is often below paid ads and local packs

Ranking Factors

Local SEO mostly relies on signals such as:

• Local business listings

• Reviews

• Proximity

• Location-specific keywords

• NAP consistency

• Localized content and backlinks

• Engagement metrics

• Social signals

Organic SEO relies heavily on:

• On-page optimization

• Backlink quality

• Keyword strategy

• Content relevance

• Technical SEO

• User engagement metrics

• Content freshness


The local SEO process involves creating or claiming a Google Business Profile. This needs to be optimized with accurate business information, photos, and attributes. Another local SEO strategy is to craft geo-targeting content. This includes landing pages, blog posts, social media posts, and FAQs. Local SEO also involves encouraging customer reviews and partnering with other local sites

The organic SEO process involves conducting relevant keyword research. With these keywords, produce informative and engaging content. It’s important to optimize titles, meta tags, images, internal links, and schema markup. Organic SEO must also have proper website indexing, page speed, and mobile-friendliness. It’s also good to create high-quality content to attract authoritative backlinks


Local SEO maintenance includes:

• Regularly updating business information, hours, and images

• Monitoring and responding to reviews

• Tracking local competitor strategies and performance

• Going above what the competitors are offering

• Highlighting local events, sales, or promotions

Organic SEO maintenance includes:

• Regularly refreshing existing content

• Tracking and adjusting keyword usage

• Auditing backlinks for quality and harmful ones

• Monitoring competitors’ rankings, strategies, and new content

• Providing better content to what the competitors are producing

• Running technical SEO audits to address issues

Is Local SEO or Organic SEO Better for Business Visibility?

Local SEO is better than organic SEO for business visibility if you serve a specific area and need to attract local customers. According to BrightLocal, 93% of people find a local business online. Moreover, 42% of these people click on Google Map Pack. “Near me” and “close by” searches have also surged significantly over the past 2 years. Since Local SEO involves these local keywords and ranking in Google Map Pack, local customers can easily find your business. 

The local SEO strategy may also be easier to rank than organic SEO as it has a narrower focus. You’ll mostly be competing against local businesses in the same industry. With reduced competition, it will be easier to stand out. Let’s say you own a cleaning business. With a strong online presence, you can take the top spot in the Google Maps Pack in a few weeks/months. This can then attract the 59% of people searching for house cleaning services online. 

Organic SEO is better than Local SEO for business visibility if it operates on a national or international scale. This approach helps reach potential customers who search beyond specific geographic locations. A BrightEdge study revealed that 53% of all website traffic comes from organic search. Plus, more than 25% of people click on the first website that appears after a search. This is why using traditional SEO to boost your website to the #1 spot in Google SERP is so important. This visibility can significantly increase your reach and attract a larger, more diverse audience. 

It may take a while (years even) to rank with organic SEO as your competition is global. However, if you optimize relevant keywords, create high-quality content, and build backlinks, you can get there. If you do, you’ll be able to attract a huge number. I’m talking thousands of visitors to your website!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a strategy that brings in more business from relevant local searches. For example, “coffee shop near me”, “Plumbers in San Francisco”, or "24-hour pharmacy in Brooklyn”. It attracts local customers by placing your business at the top of the search engines. A Think with Google report found that 76% of consumers visit a business within 24 hours of finding it online. Out of those people, 28% resulted in a purchase. The local SEO strategy is:

  • Optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP). You’ll have to first create or claim your business listing. You’ll then need to verify that you’re the owner through a PIN that Google will send. Also, it’s important to put an accurate business NAP (name, address, phone number). Add high-quality photos, operating hours, and a business description
  • Using relevant local keywords. Identify terms and phrases your local audience searches for. You can find this with tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Moz Keyword Explorer. Incorporate these local keywords into your website content, meta tags, headings, and URLs
  • Maintaining NAP consistency. Use Whitespark Local Citation Finder to find all your business listings online. From there, make sure that it’s all accurate and consistent. This is one of the key factors that Google uses to rank local keywords and GBPs. It’s also good as it builds credibility, reduces confusion, and enhances user experience
  • Building local citations. Get your business listed in local directories and citation sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and TripAdvisor. Again, make sure all your listings have the correct information
  • Encouraging customer reviews. A DemandHub study found that a massive 93% of people use online reviews to help with purchasing decisions. Positive reviews also hint to Google that your local business is reputable. This can contribute to a higher ranking in local search queries
  • Having great web design. A business website with great design, fast loading speeds, easy navigation, and security will keep visitors on your site. This increases the chances that they will contact you or schedule an appointment
  • Creating localized content. Blog posts, articles, and social media content can boost your online visibility. Plus, people appreciate when local businesses engage with and support their community. Localized content is a great way to show your expertise and talk about local events, news, and issues. You can also highlight local partnerships, sponsorships, and community involvement
  • Optimizing for mobile. According to Sagapixel, more than half (58%) of local searches are done on mobile phones. If you want people to stay on your page, you need to provide the best user experience, whether on desktop or mobile
  • Building local backlinks. Google prioritizes businesses mentioned by authority websites, blogs, and organizations in the area. One great way to get a mention is through backlinks. You can partner with local influencers and businesses for link-building opportunities

Local SEO Pros and Cons


Increased visibility in local searches

High conversion rate

Cost-effective marketing

Enhanced trust and credibility

Competitive advantage



Need to keep up with algorithm changes

May take time to show results

The benefits of local SEO compared to organic SEO are that it targets potential customers in a specific area. And since local search queries have high intent, it will lead to a higher conversion rate. You’ll also gain a competitive advantage as your business may appear first on Google Map Pack. This will make local customers trust your business more than the others. The best part is that it doesn’t cost much to implement local SEO strategies. 

However, local SEO can be very time-consuming. If you’re running a physical business, you might not have the time or resources for it. This is especially true since you won’t see instant results, unlike with paid ads. Plus, search engines frequently update their algorithms, affecting your local search rankings. To stay on top, it will require constant vigilance and adaptation. Of course, you can get rid of all that by hiring a local SEO company. Keep in mind, though, that you may have to spend $600 to $1,500+ a month for their services.

What Are the Top Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses? 

  • Using keywords in the URL
  • Incorporating meta tags, title tags, heading tags, and image tags
  • Focusing on EAT (expertise, authority, trustworthiness) in your content
  • Adding internal links to promote important pages on your website
  • Securing your website with SSL certificate and anti-malware software
  • Making your website crawlable. You can do this by creating an XML sitemap, fixing broken links, improving page speed, and optimizing URL structures
  • Tracking competitors’ local SEO strategies and go above and beyond them

What is Organic SEO?

Organic SEO is a method to increase website visibility without paying for ads. It helps bring your website to the top of the Google SERP. This will boost website traffic and, hopefully, lead to the desired action. This can include making an online purchase, downloading a file, submitting a form, or gaining followers. According to HubSpot research, SEO leads have a close rate of 14.6%. The organic SEO strategy involves:

  • Researching for keywords. This is to identify relevant terms and phrases that are most searched for. You can use Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest for this
  • Creating high-quality content. To become an authority website, you need to craft informative and engaging content. You should also incorporate the relevant keywords that you found
  • Optimizing on-page SEO. This includes title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, URL structure, image alt tags, page speed, user experience, etc…

  • Building backlinks from reputable websites. This will indicate to Google that your website is trusted and deserves to be ranked. One strategy for this is to create content that can be naturally linked. This can include informative blogs, infographics, research studies, videos, etc…
  • Improving site design and structure. A UX CAM survey saw 75% of people trust a website that is visually appealing and easy to navigate. This includes having quick loading speeds and a mobile-friendly website
  • Regularly updating content. Fresh content is one of Google’s ranking factors
  • Utilizing social media. This will help you promote your content and attract even more visitors to your website
  • Monitoring analytics. Use Google Analytics to track performance and make data-driven adjustments
  • Implementing technical SEO practices. This includes creating an XML sitemap and fixing broken links

Organic SEO Pros and Cons


Can reach people all around the world


Builds authority and expertise

Fosters connections

Results are long-term


Uncertain results

Resource intensive

Has an initial investment

Organic SEO differs from local SEO in terms of business visibility as it targets people nationally or globally. The goal is to build authority and foster connections with your audience. When that’s established, you can convince them to buy an online product or service. Unlike paid ads, you won’t have to spend every month to keep your website visible. Organic SEO efforts can lead to sustainable, long-term visibility and traffic. 

Since you’re competing against global websites, SEO organic results are never certain. It may take 3-6 months, 1-3 years, or never. If you want to see success, you must put in a lot of time, expertise, and tool investment. Also, although organic SEO is cost-effective, you do need to pay to create a website. A basic website can cost you $30-$100, while a custom design can cost $5,000+.

What Are the Similarities Between Local SEO and Organic SEO? 

Here are the similarities between local SEO and organic SEO:

  • Rely on organic search results. Both grab traffic through organic search instead of paid ads 
  • Importance of content. Both require content that follows EAT (expertise, authority, trustworthiness). This is to attract and engage users
  • Keyword relevance. Both use relevant keywords to match user search queries. This requires keyword research to make your business/website visible
  • Mobile optimization. Both need mobile-friendly websites. This is because Google prefers to rank websites that are optimized for mobile
  • Need for backlinks. Both rely on backlinks from reputable websites. This is to show that your business/website has authority and is credible
  • User experience focus. Both must provide website speed, navigation, and great design. This is to provide a positive user experience for your visitors
  • Continuous improvement. Both require ongoing optimization and refinement. This involves consumer behavior changes and new competitor strategies
  • Analytics and tracking. Both rely on analytics and tracking to measure performance and identify areas for improvement
  • Impact of search engine algorithm updates. Both can be affected by search engine algorithm updates
  • Importance of social signals. While social signals may have a more indirect impact on organic SEO, they still play a role in both local and organic search visibility. It helps improve online presence, too
  • Use of SEO tools. Both should have various tools to streamline processes, conduct research, and analyze data. Some tools include Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz Local
  • Long-term strategies. Both rank higher in Google SERP through consistent efforts and optimization

What Are the Differences Between Local SEO and Organic SEO?

Here are the differences between local SEO and organic SEO:

  • Search intent. Local SEO specifically targets search queries with local intent. The aim is to connect relevant businesses with nearby customers. Organic SEO focuses on broader, non-geographic search queries. The aim is to attract a wider audience to a website
  • Keyword strategy. Local SEO uses geo-targeting keywords. This includes “[business] near me”, “[business] close by”, or “[business] in [city]” keywords. These keywords are placed on Google Business Profile, website content, and meta tags. Organic SEO uses broader keywords relevant to a business’ products, services, or industry. This includes “real estate”, “yoga poses for flexibility”, or “how to create a budget plan”. These keywords are used in website content, meta tags, headings, and URLs 
  • Google Business Profile and local listings. Local SEO relies heavily on optimizing these while organic SEO doesn’t need it as much
  • Online reviews and ratings. Local SEO needs this to boost trust and rank higher in local search queries. Organic SEO needs this to build trust and credibility. Although it has an indirect influence on organic SEO ranking, it isn’t crucial
  • Content strategy. Local SEO focuses on content tailored to the needs and interests of a local audience. This can include local events, news, issues, and other community topics. Organic SEO focuses on high-quality, relevant content that addresses the broader target audience. This can include informational, transactional, or navigational content
  • Conversion. Local SEO conversions are tied to phone calls, direction requests, and foot traffic. Organic SEO conversions are form submissions, newsletter sign-ups, downloads, or e-commerce transactions
  • Measurement and analytics. The local SEO key metrics are local search rankings, impressions and clicks, website traffic, phone calls, direction requests, and reviews/ratings. The organic SEO key metrics are organic search rankings, organic search traffic, click-through rates, bounce rates, time on site, and conversion rates
  • Competition. Local SEO competitors are businesses within the same geographic area or local market. It’s concentrated in a specific location and audience, making it easier to rank. Organic SEO competitors are a range of websites and businesses across the internet with the same niche. It’s a lot more widespread and diverse, making it harder to rank
  • Cost and ROI. Local SEO services typically range from $300-$500 to $1,000-$2,000 per month. The ROI for local SEO is much quicker as local search queries have a high purchase intent. However, the reach can be limited as it focuses on a specific geographic area. Organic SEO services usually range between $1,000 to $10,000+ per month. The ROI for organic SEO might be slower, but when it comes, it can grow much higher as you’ll be targeting a huge audience

What Are the Cost Implications of Investing in Local SEO vs Organic SEO? 

The cost implications of investing in local SEO vs organic SEO depend on the scope, target audience, competition, and strategy. Since local SEO has a smaller scope and target audience, you can go as cheap as $500 to hire a local SEO service. However, if you have a lot of competition and a complex strategy, you should expect to pay $1,000 to $2,000 a month. Here’s what one Reddit user has to say:

Local SEO investment

Organic SEO can be a lot more expensive since the scope, target audience, and competition is either nationwide or worldwide. Plus, the main strategies involve content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. These may take a while to produce. Organic SEO services can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $10,000+ a month. Here’s some advice from Rpmeg from Reddit:

Organic SEO investment

How Using Local SEO and Organic SEO in Local Lead Generation Can Be a Profitable Business


Using local SEO and organic SEO in local lead generation can be a profitable business as your chances of success are much higher. The local lead gen business model creates a website, ranks it, and rents it to local businesses. Since both local and organic SEO strategies increase online visibility, it will be much quicker to rank and rent. 

With local lead generation, the local SEO strategy should be the main focus. This is because your potential clients are local business owners. However, you can use organic SEO strategies to boost visibility even more. So it’s very important to learn how to do both. If you’re able to rank many websites quickly, you can earn a revenue of $50,000 a month. So this is one of the best businesses that benefit from local SEO and organic SEO without the hassle and stress of owning a physical or online store. 

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