Local SEO vs. Global SEO (International SEO)

Local SEO vs. Global SEO (International SEO)

It all depends on your business type, goals, audience, and resources. The goal should always be reaching your target audience, whether they’re in your neighborhood or across the globe.

If your goal is to draw the attention of potential customers in a specific geographical area, you should focus on local SEO

If your products or services are desired by customers worldwide, your focus should shift towards global SEO

So you can see, the key difference between “Local SEO vs.Global SEO” lies in the geographical areas they target.

What is Local SEO?

local seo example

Local SEO is a branch of SEO that aims to optimize a business's online presence to attract more customers from relevant local searches to the physical place. These searches happen on Google and other search engines. 

In simple terms, Local SEO is all about getting your business on the map in local searches when customers are searching for a business like yours.

Why is Local SEO important?

Any business that has a physical location or serves a geographical area can benefit from Local SEO, like home services businesses, medical facilities, law firms, and restaurants.

Here are some key points that highlight Local SEOs significance:

  • Visibility: According to Google, nearly 46% of all searches have local intent. Local SEO slates your business to the forefront, making it visible to these searchers.
  • Targeted Marketing: Local SEO lets you target the local community specifically, which increases the conversion rates as local customers are more likely to make a purchase.
  • Competitive Advantage: Many businesses neglect Local SEO. Thus, it serves as a golden opportunity to gain a competitive edge over other local businesses in your vicinity.
  • Results Last Longer: Unlike paid ads that stop showing up once you stop paying, the results achieved from Local SEO strategies persist longer.

How Can You Perform Local SEO?

Performing Local SEO involves a series of steps:

  • Google My Business Optimization: A complete, accurate, and optimized Google My Business listing is the cornerstone of effective Local SEO.
  • Keyword Optimization: Make use of local keywords in your website content and meta descriptions to help Google understand your locality.
  • Local Citations: List your business on popular local directories and maintain consistency in name, address, and phone number across all listings.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Encourage customers to leave reviews and ratings, as they enhance your online reputation, making you a preferable choice for potential customers.
  • Creating Local Content: Developing content that resonates with the local audience is essential.
  • Location Pages: Create separate location pages if the business has multiple locations.

How Can You Improve Local SEO?

Here are some strategies to improve your Local SEO:

  • Prioritize On-Page Optimization: The relevance of your on-page content and meta tags can significantly impact your local SERP rankings.
  • Earn High-Quality Backlinks: Strive to attain backlinks from high-quality local websites. They signal trust and authority to search engines.
  • Perform Regular Site Audits: Uncover and rectify SEO-related issues on your site with regular SEO audits.
  • Leverage Social Media: Use social platforms to engage with your local audience and boost your online visibility and reputation.

What is Global SEO?

global seo example

Global or International SEO is an optimization strategy for your website to attract traffic from multiple countries or languages. 

Global SEO is for businesses that operate across several nations, international e-commerce companies, or any company offering globally relevant content or products.

Why is Global SEO important?

Companies with an international customer base, organizations with websites in more than one language, and businesses trying to break into the international market should employ Global SEO.

Here is why understanding Global SEO's importance is crucial:

  • Expanded Reach: Global SEO allows your business to reach audiences beyond your physical location, thus expanding your potential customer base.
  • Growth and Expansion: It is an essential pillar if you intend to grow your business internationally. It guides you to improve the visibility of your products/services to foreign customers too.
  • Diverse Audience: With Global SEO, you can gain insights about patterns like consumer behavior, interests, and needs across different nations.

How Can You Perform Global SEO?

Implementing a successful Global SEO campaign involves:

  • Country-Specific Domain: Use a country-specific domain for your website. It should indicate the country you're targeting for a particular set of content.
  • Hreflang Tags: Implement hreflang tags to let Google know which language you're using on a specific page on your website.
  • International Keyword Research: Conduct keyword research in the language of your target country to ensure relevance.
  • Localized Content: Publish localized content relevant to the targeted audience, which caters to their unique cultural elements and preferences.

How Can You Improve Global SEO?

To be successful in Global SEO you need to:

  • Optimize for Different Search Engines: Unlike Local SEO, Google may not be a dominant search engine in other target countries (e.g. Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia).
  • Implement Multilingual SEO: Implement multilingual SEO as users are more comfortable reading content in their native language.
  • Optimize for Mobile: Internet users worldwide generally use mobile for online searches. So, have a robust mobile optimization strategy in place.

🔍You may want to read: Mobile-First Indexing: What is It & How it Works

A Comparative Analysis of Local vs. Global SEO

Local SEO Global SEO
Objective To enhance visibility in a specific domain or geographical area. To enhance visibility in multiple domains or across countries.
Example A beauty parlor in New York. An e-commerce platform selling globally.
Keyword Focus Keywords include specific locations. For e.g., "beauty parlor in New York". Generic terms with higher search volume. For e.g., "beauty products online".
Content Localized content that connects with local population. Generic content that can be consumed globally.
Competition Lesser competition due to niche targeting. Higher competition due to wider audience.
Audience Local prospects situated in a specific geographical area. Global audience with varied demographics and cultural backgrounds.

How to Choose the Right SEO Strategy for Your Business

To choose the best SEO strategy for you, the primary question you need to ask is – "Who is my target audience?".

💡If your business operates within a defined geographical area and caters to a local clientele, Local SEO is the way to go

It is ideal for businesses like local diners, retail stores, clinics, law firms, etc. By optimizing your website for Local SEO, you enhance its visibility for local searches and ultimately somewhat dominate your local market.

💡If your business crosses geographical boundaries and appeals to customers worldwide, then Global SEO should be your strategy

It fits businesses like software services, e-commerce platforms, blogging sites, etc. This strategy allows you to confront international competition, understand global market trends, and ultimately establish a strong brand presence worldwide.

The choice is simply a reflection of your business’s identity and growth plan.

A Case Study: Your Business Has a Physical Storefront & Online Store: Which SEO is More Beneficial?

If you own a business with a physical location (let’s say, a home decor store) and an online store (selling unique home decor pieces), it may seem like a conundrum to identify the optimal SEO strategy. In such a scenario, a hybrid approach may work wonders.

pink target and an arrow

Local SEO can help your physical store rank and improve your store's visibility in local searches, thus driving foot traffic. 

Simultaneously, a Global SEO strategy can help your online store reach out to a broad, geographically diverse customer base, maximizing your business's potential. Therefore, such businesses can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Assigning your resources smartly between these two can help both your physical and online stores thrive and grow. It's all about creating a clearly segmented, well-balanced SEO strategy that satisfies the needs of both your digital and physical outlets.

The choice is not about restricting options, but turning limitations into stepping stones towards a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Hiring the Right SEO Agency: Local vs. Global

Once you have decided on the SEO route to take, finding an SEO agency that aligns with your choice is crucial. 

Consider the decision of Local SEO vs. Global SEO in your agency search as well. An SEO agency is your partner in digital growth, so you should select wisely.

For Local SEO, working with an agency that understands your local market deeply can be beneficial. They'll have firsthand knowledge of what your local audience cares about and the local competitors you need to outrank.

They can understand the target audience's preferences, competition in the local market, seasonal trends, if any, and much more. All these insights can typically enhance Local SEO effectiveness.

When it comes to Global SEO, choose an agency with a track record of working with clients in multiple countries and languages. They would understand the cultural and legal complexities that arise when targeting customers around the globe. Bigger the experience, better equipped they are to handle the cultural, linguistic, and legal issues often involved in Global SEO campaigns.

Again, your agency choice depends on your business needs. Regardless, ensure they are trustworthy, transparent, offer clear communication, and are aligned with your SEO objectives.

Whether you lean towards Local SEO, Global SEO, or a blend of both, stay consistent, practice patience, and keep your audience's preferences at the center of your SEO journey. 


a board that bears a note and user graphic on it

While Local SEO helps in targeting specific geographical audiences, increasing visibility in local search results and converting local searchers into customers, Global SEO is your passport to the broader world. It broadens your digital footprint, encouraging growth into new markets and languages.

While it's useful to distinguish differences between Local SEO vs. Global SEO, it's crucial to recognize that the ultimate choice depends on your business type, scale, goals, target audience, and resources. It's all about choosing the path that best fits your business objectives and taking those vital steps towards maximizing your online presence.

Regardless of the path you choose in Local SEO vs. Global SEO, remember to keep your target audience front and center in your SEO strategy. Content should resonate with them and solve their problems. After all, SEO is about people first and search engines second!

Keep in mind that the 'Local SEO vs. Global SEO' decision is not a one-off choice. As your business grows and evolves, your SEO strategy should grow and evolve with it.

🔍Related Articles:

- Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords: Must Know Things

- Domain Authority vs. Page Authority: An In-depth Look

- How to Develop an Effective Content Distribution Strategy