Local SEO vs Global SEO

Understand the difference between these two organic search strategies to give your team a leg up on your marketing efforts.

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Two digital marketing expert discussing the differences between local SEO vs global SEO

Local vs Global SEO: Why it Matters

Choosing between local SEO and global SEO (or a combined strategy) is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your business’s online success and growth by targeting potential customers. So, it makes sense to be curious about these two strategies.


Each approach has distinct advantages and is tailored to different business goals and target audiences. 


Let’s take a look at these two SEO strategies: 

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Month-over-month traffic trends. Source: Google Search Console

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Key Difference Between Local SEO and Global SEO in Digital Marketing

Aspect Local SEO Global SEO
Target audience Specific geographic area International, global
Keyword focus Local International, multilingual, multicultural
Content strategy Localised content targeting community-specific needs Region-specific content, often in multiple languages
Technical SEO GMB, NAP consistency, local schema markup Hreflang tags, CDNs, ccTLDs
Backlink Strategy Local directories and citations Global backlinks from authoritative international sources
User intent Searches related to local services, products, or businesses benefit greatly from a local approach. Searches related to international services, products, or businesses
Google My Business Crucial for visibility and local search rankings Not as relevant
Local Directories Essential Not as essential
Compliance Requirements Local data protection and privacy laws International data protection laws, including GDPR
Engagement Strategy Community engagement and local event participation Global brand awareness and international partnerships

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is pretty much exactly as it sounds. Which community are you serving? Would your company benefit from showing up on local search results? Are you selling essential products, sundries, or perishable goods or are you a service provider like an independent hotel, law firm, or accountant? If so, you need to understand what’s the difference between local and global SEO.

 

If your main goal is to trade with local customers, then you’re probably talking about local SEO (not to state the obvious).

 

 

In its most basic form, local SEO focuses on optimizing your pages for local keywords—like “Polish bakery near me”, “PC repair shop Gloucester”, to improve search engine results. 

 

If your aim is to serve a community in a specific area with your products or services, then you’ll need to create content pages that will rank at the top of search results for those terms. 

 

But creating top-quality content for a specific group of people means engaging with the community in various ways, focusing on local needs and optimizing for local keywords. 

 

Demonstrating that your business is not only for the community, but of the community is the juicy petri dish that helps your business grow into a local institution.

And those are the kind of signals that make Google purr.

 

But there’s more to it than that.

Main Characteristics of Local SEO

Search engine optimisation isn’t all about the keywords, and local SEO is no different. This digital marketing practice is multifaceted, so if you’re aiming to attract local business, don’t forget about the following:

Optimised Google Business Profile Listing

An optimised Google Business profile (formerly Google My Business) page is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, and you have plenty of images of your physical address and the people who work there—not just stock images. 

 

Thanking happy customers for positive feedback and offering constructive solutions to not-so-happy customers further enhances your company’s credibility.

NAP Consistency

A NAP inconsistency confuses not only local yokels, but also search engines. Your business NAP—which stands for name, address, and phone number—needs to be correct, consistent, and up-to-date wherever it’s listed; that includes not only your website, but your social profiles, local directories, and other platforms. 

Local Citations & Directories

Your small business should be listed on all local relevant directories to expand your online presence, get local backlinks, and boost your domain authority. Not to sound like a broken record, but an optimised citation page is one that is consistent and accurate.

Local Schema Markup

Using schema to give Google more detailed information about your business is an SEO best practice, whether it’s local or global.

Looking for More International SEO Strategies?

Does local search sound like the right scope for your marketing strategy? Whether or not you serve local businesses, you may want to adopt an international SEO campaign if you’re also targeting international markets.

 

Let’s move on from local SEO and set our sites on bigger fish. 

Why do keywords have so much power?
Discover the truth behind this SEO fundamental for better insights.
seo-fundamentals-understanding-keyword-research-strategy

What Is Global SEO?

It should come as no surprise what global SEO involves, but just in case, global search engine optimisation seeks to target an international audience using a diversity of multilingual, multicultural, and region-specific keywords and certain technical SEO practices. 


Even if the subject matter is the same, there will be slight differences in the copy, design, and layout to appeal to the local audience and optimize for potential customers in a specific location.

Main Characteristics of Global SEO

International Keyword Research

A person in Nottingham looking for a technology SEO agency might type in a completely different search query than someone in Singapore looking for the exact same service.

Multilingual Pages

Enabling Google Translate on your website is one way of doing it. But creating keyword-focused pages in regional languages with culturally appropriate translations and references that appeal to the target audience will squeeze the most juice out of your SEO efforts.  

Technical Optimisation for Global

Websites that serve an international audience require slightly more complex technical considerations. For example: 

Global Backlink Strategy

Relevant and high-quality backlinks boost your domain authority. A site optimised for global search will also feature regionally appropriate referrals, backlinks, and mentions. 

 

For example, your Brazilian site should have links from other authoritative sites in the industry within Brazil or South America. But that same service page for the .fr site will have more European backlinks. 

A Note on Data Protection & Privacy

As a B2B SaaS SEO agency, we see a lot of confusion surrounding GDPR and data protection laws, especially for companies that serve multiple regions. It doesn’t matter if your business serves the whole world or the radius of a football field, compliance applies to you. 

 

For example, one of the biggest misconceptions about GDPR is that you only need to be compliant if your domain is registered within the EU and EEA. But GDPR applies to your audience’s origins, not yours. That means that even if your domain is set up in Boise, Idaho, you still need to comply with GDPR’s rules and regulations if you process personal data from anyone living in the EU.

 

Our advice? Speak to your legal team about your site’s compliance. 

What if Your Business Needs Both Local SEO and Global SEO?

If you run a brick-and-mortar business but also sell your goods online, you might be wondering which kind of SEO to focus on. 

 

As a B2B technology and SaaS SEO agency, we’ve worked with many companies that opt for a blended SEO approach to serve both customers at home and abroad. And the good news is, there ain’t nothing stopping you from integrating both strategies! 

Get help refining your keyword strategy and SEO focus from one of our keyword specialists.
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