Local SEO vs On-Page SEO – Two Experts Explain Why You Need Both

by Amy Hill-Johnson

When entrepreneurs first hear about SEO, it can seem like a vague online world that they don’t understand. One fundamental way to understand SEO is to know that it’s divided into two primary types: Local and On-Page. These are crucial for every business, and can be seen as the “yin and yang” of SEO. 

Coming straight from local SEO specialist, Nick, and on-page SEO manager, Amy, learn critical reasons why you need both types to maximise online exposure for your business. 

Two Separate Services – One Shared Goal

The work of a local and on-page SEO specialist are very different, but each has the goal of boosting your site’s rankings on Google. While the local SEO specialist is busy ensuring your citations are correct and your link building strategy is effective, the on-page SEO expert will be dealing with your website content and ensuring that the meta descriptions and other sections are optimised. 

Although the methods are very different, both types of SEO are effective parts of your marketing strategy. 

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Local SEO Specialist Gives 3 Key Reasons Why You Need It

The easiest way to understand local SEO is to consider whether your business benefits from local clients. For example, a typical doctor relies on local clients for their business, but a worldwide or national brand like Amazon benefits from customers anywhere in the world.

Overall, businesses that depend on local clients will have a greater need for local SEO, although it’s still extremely valuable for boosting the online presence of any business. 

1. Accurate Citations Help People Find Your Business

Citations are a major part of local SEO, and ideally you want to have as many accurate citations as possible. A citation is your NAP info– name, address, and phone number– listed somewhere on the internet. 

Why are More Citations Better? 

The difference in having citations and not having them is simple. Although the vast majority of searchers use Google to find what they need, a lot of them also rely on smaller sites like HotFrog, CityData, BBB, and numerous others. If a client or patient is searching in the YellowPages for example, but you haven’t bothered to create a variety of citations, then that patient will find your competitor who does have a listing on there. 

local seo

The Challenge of Accurate Citations

One of the greatest challenges of a local SEO specialist can be ensuring that citations are accurate throughout the internet. This is important because the wrong business name or phone number can quickly cost you a customer, as they are mistakenly lead to a competitor due to inaccurate information. 

Example: Smile Shop Newtown

As you can see in the screenshot below, any company, and in this case, Smile Shop Newtown, has their name listed on various sites throughout the internet. 

This popular SEO software, Bright Local, shows the faulty citations in red. These false citations may be outdated or entered by someone who didn’t know the correct information, but ultimately, it’s the job of your Local SEO specialist to fix them. 

local seo on page seo

2. Local SEO Uses Links to Enhance Your Rankings

Link building is a major part of local SEO, and it makes a huge difference in how you rise through the rankings. While bad links can hurt your online rankings, good ones can boost them, and knowing how to find and acquire links is a major part of being a local SEO specialist. 

What Kind of Link Building Work Does a Local SEO Specialist Do? 

  • Disavows toxic links that may be hurting your rankings
  • Adds new links in directories and forums 
  • Uses programs like SEMrush and MOZ to find linking opportunities. 
  • Creates high-quality links through guest blogs and other methods

Links and Quality Content are the Most Important SEO Factors

link building seo

As you can see in any list of the most vital SEO factors, links are typically tied with quality content as the most important factors that affect your rankings online. The local SEO specialist works with both, as they write guest blogs and adjust your links to ensure that they’re working in your favor. 

3. Your Google Listing is a Major Part of Local SEO

As the listing that’s by far the most prevalent and popular, your Google listing will be the cornerstone of your local SEO efforts. Think of it as the front entrance to your business online: If this is haphazard and incomplete, it reflects poorly on your company and can cost you valuable business. 

Optimised and Accurate

Businesses with a sloppy and incomplete Google Listing don’t make a great first impression. Savvy customers may wonder why there’s only one photo posted, or why only a fraction of the information is available. 

That’s another critical role of the local SEO specialist. We ensure that your Google Listing has all of the info, links, and photos it needs, and will add and adjust it as necessary. Adding Google Posts regularly is another important aspect of local SEO, and it does a lot for your ability to engage with prospective clients. 

Advanced Google Listing Tactics

Local SEO also involves knowing the ins-and-outs of what is possible with Google Listings. For example, a client may ask whether it’s best to have a listing for their name as well as their business, or what to do with multiple duplicates. 

One tactic that many entrepreneurs may not know is possible is that you can merge two identical listings to make one, and the reviews will combine into that new created listing. Keeping up to date with these tactics and the many changes to Google and SEO in general is part of the job of the local SEO specialist as well.  

3 Reasons Why On-Page SEO is Crucial for Every Business

Those who are new to SEO may be surprised to learn that on-page SEO is not limited just to what you see on the page. It includes the content of the website as well as HTML source code. Your on-page SEO specialist will optimise all of it to boost your rankings in the search engines, and with around 90% of the market share, that primarily means Google.

If you own a business and you have a website, you need to be concerned with on-page SEO, and here’s why. 

1. It Provides Free Exposure to Your Target Audience

Sure, you’ll pay your SEO specialist to optimise your site but you’re not paying for visits to your site as you do with pay per click ads that appear at the top of the SERPs.

The goal of on-page SEO is to boost your rankings in the organic listings, meaning free. To do this, we’ll be competing with all of the other sites just like yours so we need to show Google that your site is the best of its kind. 

The Power of Keywords

keyword strategy

SEO is highly targeted marketing which makes it ideal for getting your site in front of people who are likely to buy what you’re selling: your target audience. 

Using keyword research tools, like Ahrefs and SEMrush, we can determine the exact phrases that people type into Google to find sites like yours in your geographic area. We can also tell how competitive the market is and tailor our strategies to beat the competition.

Learn more about Keyword Strategies

Example: Your Auburn, Indiana Cosmetic Dentist

Imagine you live in Auburn, Indiana, and you’re looking for a cosmetic dentist. You may search for “cosmetic dentist auburn” and you’ll find Dr. Nate Heffelfinger of Smiles for Life.  

local seo on page seo

This listing, for his home page, is on the first page of results, which means we’ve done part of our job. Once we get our audience here we want to make sure our title tag stands out from the rest and the description gives them a reason to click through to the site.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Although you should try to get your targeted keywords in the headings, title tags, and meta descriptions for each page, too much of a good thing can be bad. Google is smart and it will notice when you’re forcing keywords into your content. Your best bet is to write pages that comprehensively cover a topic and you’ll naturally hit the terms.

2. It Builds Expertise, Authority, and Trust

To rank well, you need to build the E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trust of your brand and website. Google wants to give searchers the best options available for their search, and it ranks sites higher that show they’re an expert in their field, an authority on the topic, and that they can be trusted. The way to build EAT is through high-quality, thorough content.

The Importance of Content

content marketing

When writing content for your site you want each page to be comprehensive, fully covering the topic and providing answers to potential pain points that would prevent the reader from going through with a purchase. 

Does Your Site Need a Blog?

A blog is a great way for you to build the authority of your site and your business, provide fresh content, and connect with your visitors.Click To Tweet

In order for a blog to provide SEO value, follow these blog-writing guidelines:

  • Keep your content relevant to your audience. 
  • Include reasons for the reader to take action–buy your product, engage with the post by leaving comments, etc.
  • Write about why you do what you do to show your audience who you are.
  • Be consistent in adding new posts for the most SEO value.
  • Consider writing longform posts (1,000 words or more) to go in depth on specific topics.
  • Don’t forget to share your blog posts on social media!

A word of caution: don’t write about topics already covered on the pages of your site. If you do, you run the risk of keyword cannibalisation in which two pages are competing for the same keywords.

3. It’s an Investment With a Long-Term Payoff

Many businesses forgo SEO because they think it will cost too much. But instead, think of it as an investment that will pay off in the long-term.

If done correctly, an SEO strategy will produce a well-organised website that offers a great user experience and rich content that won’t go out of style– all things that Google is likely to see as important for years to come, plus your visitors will appreciate it. 

That Said, You Should Have an Ongoing SEO Strategy

To stay competitive, especially in large markets, it’s important to stay up to date with new SEO developments. Google makes thousands of small changes and several major updates to their search algorithm every year, and in some cases, this can have a devastating effect on your SEO strategy. 

Having someone motoring your strategy overtime can prevent major drops in ranking and updating your site frequently with new content shows Google that your site has fresh information, which also enhances your ranking.

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To Compete, You Need Local and On-Page SEO

In today’s world of online marketing, you need both a strong on-page and local SEO strategy to stay competitive. The two areas of SEO truly work together to not only boost your rankings in Google, but also build a consistent online presence for your brand, showing your potential customers that you’re professional, trustworthy, and a better option than your competition.

If you’d like to learn more about SEO strategies, check out:

Guest Author
Amy Hill-Johnson started her career in online marketing over a decade ago and is now an SEO manager in San Diego. When not developing SEO strategies for her dental clients you can find her teaching yoga to her coworkers, spending time with her husband and 6-year-old son, and learning all she can about the changing world of SEO.

Nick Napier is a Navy Vet, MBA, and SEO specialist working in San Diego. He regularly writes guest blogs, websites, and hosts a podcast while optimizing SEO for his clients.

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