What is The Difference Between Local SEO and General SEO?

If you’re a business owner looking to boost your online presence, you’ve likely come across terms like “Local SEO” and “General SEO.” But what exactly do these terms mean, and how do they differ? Is one type of SEO better than the other? Does it depend on your industry? Or should you use a combination of the two?

In this article, we’ll break down the key distinctions between Local SEO and General SEO in a way that’s easy to understand, even if you’re not a marketing or tech expert.

Main Local & General SEO Differences

When it comes to online marketing, grasping the differences between local SEO and general SEO is like gaining access to two distinct realms of visibility and growth. Unlocking these doors will open up new opportunities for your business to thrive in both local and global markets.

Target Audience


target audience customers in a store shopping


Local SEO: Local SEO functions as a tailored matchmaking service in the digital world, seamlessly uniting local customers with the services they seek in their area. If you have a physical store, or restaurant, or provide services in a specific location, local SEO helps potential customers nearby find you. 

For instance, if you run a bakery in Kingston, Ontario, local SEO helps you appear when someone searches for “best bakeries in Kingston.” 

In other words, picture a visitor to Kingston with a craving for a delightful treat- local SEO ensures that your bakery stands out in their search results. It acts as a guiding light, directing them toward your delectable delights and leaving a lasting impression on your brand. This personalized touch goes beyond mere visibility, offering a warm introduction to your offerings, making you the top choice for those seeking an authentic local experience.

General SEO: On the flip side, general SEO takes on the role of a global spotlight, illuminating your digital presence to a vast and varied audience. If your offerings transcend geographical boundaries, this approach is your ticket to a national or worldwide stage. 

Imagine your online store brimming with exquisite handmade jewelry; general SEO ensures that when someone searches for “unique handmade jewelry,” your treasures glisten in search results, drawing in admirers from different regions and continents. Your jewelry’s allure knows no bounds as General SEO showcases your artistry to a discerning global clientele, turning virtual visitors into loyal patrons.

Keywords and Search Intent

Local SEO: Local SEO keywords function like digital landmarks, guiding search engines to connect eager searchers with businesses tailored precisely to their location-based needs. 

For instance, if a homeowner in Kingston encounters a plumbing emergency, local keywords like “emergency plumber in Kingston” guide them to immediate solutions, thanks to Google’s recognition of these local cues. This alignment between intent and results enhances the user experience by swiftly delivering pertinent information to the searcher’s doorstep.

General SEO: General SEO keywords are versatile bridges between the vast online landscape and users seeking comprehensive information. 

Consider someone searching for the “best smartphone” – this keyword indicates a broader inquiry, and search results will encompass a variety of options from different regions, catering to the global nature of the query. This comprehensive approach ensures that users, regardless of their geographical location, are provided with a wide range of choices in line with the overarching goal of general SEO.

Google Business Profile

Local SEO: Creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile is vital for local SEO. This profile showcases your business information, customer reviews, and even provides directions. When someone searches for your business or related keywords, your Google Business Profile appears prominently in the local map pack.

General SEO: While Google Business Profile is still relevant for general SEO, its impact is less pronounced. General SEO focuses more on optimizing your website’s content, structure, and backlinks to rank higher in organic search results.


Local SEO: Citations are online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number. These can be in local directories, review sites, or other websites. They help validate your business’s legitimacy and improve local search visibility.

General SEO: Citations are still important for general SEO, but the emphasis shifts more toward high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites. These backlinks signal to search engines that your website is credible and relevant.

When to Focus on Local SEO?


Google Maps local SEO SERP results


Implementing local SEO strategies is vital if your business heavily depends on local customers. Whether you own a physical storefront, run a restaurant, or offer services in a specific area, local SEO can greatly assist potential customers in discovering and reaching you effortlessly.

It’s the best way to ensure that your business stands out among competitors and remains visible to those who matter the most – your local target audience. Plus, it’s incredibly effective for mobile users searching for nearby solutions. It’s about being the top choice when someone asks, “Where can I find X near me?”

When to Focus on National SEO?

National or general SEO is the right strategy when your products or services are available to a broader audience. If you’re an e-commerce store, a content creator, or offer services not tied to a specific location, general SEO is your path to gaining visibility across the country or beyond. It’s about capturing a larger market share and standing out in a competitive online landscape.

SEO plays a crucial role in influencing conversion rates on your website. While SEO primarily focuses on improving your website’s visibility in search engine results, its impact extends beyond just driving traffic. By optimizing your website’s content, user experience, and relevance to user queries, SEO ensures that the right audience finds your site.

A well-executed SEO strategy not only attracts visitors but also ensures that these visitors are more likely to convert into customers or take desired actions. This is achieved by aligning the content and messaging with the searcher’s intent, enhancing the user experience, and building trust through high-quality content and relevant information.

When SEO effectively brings users to your site who are already interested in what you offer, it increases the chances of converting them into leads or buyers. The improved visibility, targeted keywords, and user-friendly website navigation provided by SEO all boost conversion rates, ultimately leading to a healthier bottom line for your business.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the difference between local SEO and general SEO is crucial for effectively promoting your business online. If you’re catering to a local audience, local SEO is your ticket to getting noticed in your neighborhood. On the other hand, if you’re looking to expand your reach beyond geographical boundaries, general SEO is the way to go.

At Website Design Kingston, we specialize in both local and general SEO strategies to help businesses like yours thrive in the digital world. 

The world of SEO can be complex, but with the right strategies, you can achieve remarkable results for your business.

Whether you’re a local bakery in need of foot traffic or an e-commerce store ready to conquer the online market, our expert team can tailor an SEO plan that suits your unique needs. Contact us today to explore how we can take your online presence to the next level!

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