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Local SEO vs Global SEO: Which Should I Use?

We’ve covered the basics on what SEO is and how we believe that most SEO services simply don’t know what they’re doing or are knowingly stealing from their customers. But how do you actually go about starting your own SEO program? In this post, we’ll start climbing down the SEO ladder and look at a 30,000-foot view instead of a 50,000-foot view. Later in the series, we’ll get down and dirty in the trenches with some hard numbers and case studies.

Once you start looking into the world of SEO, you’ll quickly learn that there is a divide right down the middle of the herd with one side that focuses on local search and another that focuses on global search. Local search is meant to provide geographical relevances to searches whereas global search is for topics that don’t change based on your location. A great example would be searching for ‘Dry Cleaners’. If you do so, you’ll receive results that are based on your location so that you’ll see what dry cleaning services are nearby. However, if you search for ‘cute pictures of cats’ the results will be the same no matter where you are.

Global Search

Global search is the type of search most people think of when they think of SEO. As we stated earlier, global search is non-geographic specific for the most part. There are differences in large cultural regions such as the United States or Europe. Some may argue that regional-based queries are part of local search, however, we make the distinction between the two based on the desired answer of the requester. So, if I search for ‘cute cat pictures’, what I want is pictures of cute cats on English sites. That type of distinction is not implicit and not immediately relevant to the query. So, in that instance that is a global search.

Global search SEO ranking is mostly based on backlinks, the quality of those links, keywords and content, readability, the popularity of the content itself, and a host of other metrics.

Local Search

When using local search there are a number of different elements that come into play. Your address, service area, hours of operation and many other factors come into play. Google needs this information in order to accurately show where you are located, when you’re open, and if you cover a certain part of the city. These additional features are used by search engines to display the information in more readable formats such as maps, lists, reviews and more.

Because the goal of local search is to provide locally sourced results, the ranking algorithm is slightly different. For local search, the search engines typically depend on backlinks, the quality of those links, the category in which the business describes itself, the availability of local search data such as address, phone number, or hours of operation, local based keywords within the content, and many other likewise factors.

Should I Focus On Local Or Global Search?

The answer to this question really comes down to your business goals. If you are a mom and pop store then you should most definitely be looking into local search. However, if you are an online e-commerce store, then you should focus on global (unless you are selling products that are geographic by nature such as College gear; in that case, you might do both).

Typically, if you have a brick and mortar location then you need to do local. If you don’t, then you need to focus on global.

Is One More Difficult Than The Other?

This is a point of argument among SEO experts. We say that local vs global doesn’t increase or decrease the difficulty. There are much more important matters such as keyword difficulty and how many competitors there are in your market. Those tend to vastly outweigh the differences.

Do I Need To Hire Separate Agencies For Local And Global?

Typically, no. However, there are agencies that focus on one or the other and claim to be experts at one or the other. Typically these are used by large corporations who need to guarantee success, and these specialized agencies charge a good amount for it. Most of the time, a good SEO company will be able to accomplish both.

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