Global Vs. Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO): What’s The Difference?

global vs. local search

Before we determine the differences between local and global SEO, we need to align our understanding of SEO. Search engine optimization is the process of making your website “favored” by search engines.

These processes include writing great content, ensuring that your pages load fast, and making sure that your website pages are indexed. For the purposes of standardization, let us talk about Google search engine only.

Today, I will discuss the main differences between local and global search engine optimization. By the end of this global vs local search engine optimization tutorial, you should have a clear idea about which of the two to use to get more website traffic.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the process of making your website visible only to your local area. This does not mean that you will only appear in your city—you can do local SEO to target traffic nationwide.

Let us say that you have a restaurant. Unless you are McDonald’s or Starbucks, it does not make sense doing SEO for the whole world.

There really is not much business to do if somebody from Singapore knows about your business, which is located in Denver. There is no way you can deliver food to Singapore, right?

Local SEO is best used by businesses that only serve a specific region. If you live in Denver, then surely you want to do SEO not only in Denver but in nearby cities, too.

What this means is that you are only competing for the attention of traffic of people in those cities, not globally. As such, your ads and your keyword sections must also be focused on these cities.

Instead of using keywords like “hamburger restaurant,” you will narrow it down to “hamburger restaurant in Denver.”

Practitioners of professions can also benefit from local SEO. For example, if you are a dentist or a chiropractor, what you want to do to your website is to have it optimized for local SEO, not global.

However, if you are an accountant, you may want to target global SEO since you can do remote services for clients abroad.

What is Global SEO?

Global SEO is the exact opposite of the local one. It is best used by business owners who are ready to serve worldwide clientele.

Here are some examples:

  • Blogs that have an international audience
  • Dropshipping companies that offer to ship to the whole world
  • News websites
  • Hobby or niche websites

As you can see, these businesses can serve clients on an international scale. As such, they are better off balancing their SEO approach to be able to reach different clients abroad.

There are also professionals who can take advantage of global SEO. For example, there are fortune-tellers who can do tarot readings online, no matter where the client is located. A person who offers life coaching can also target global clients.

In global SEO, you cannot use a keyword like “life coach in Denver.” If you do this, Google will index that keyword and show the article only to people who used the word “Denver.” What you want is to use keywords like “life coach online” or “affordable life coach to change your life.”

In this regard, anyone who uses the term “life coach” may have the opportunity to see either your ads or your website content.

Global vs Local Search Engine Optimization

Now, let us talk about SEO at both levels and how the approaches differ from one another. These key differences are about quality and quantity, customer rankings, and visibility.

  • Quality and Quantity of Content

The first main difference has something to do with quality and quantity. If you are targeting global SEO, your main priority is to put out high-quality content. Why is this necessary?

It is necessary because there are millions of blogs posted every day. Global SEO is a race against who could provide the best content for users—the better your content, the more likely Google is going to rank it up high.

In local SEO, what you want is quantity. You want backlinks from several local websites that will point to you as their recommended business. If you are operating a restaurant, you want backlinks from other local bloggers who write content about food reviews.

In global SEO, you also want quantity, but this is not your primary focus. On most occasions, backlinks and high quantity but low-quality posts are bad for you. What you want is high-quality content that makes you stand out from the rest.

  • Customer Rankings

The second difference is customer rankings. While global businesses also need customer feedback, this does not matter so much as it is on local SEO.

In Local SEO, you want local customers to rate your restaurant high. These ratings will appear on social media pages, business review apps, and more. This is also why you need to set-up your business pages on various channels. For example, you can create a business page on Google.

If you do this, Google will show your business in Google Maps. It will be easier for people to find your business, and they can rate your business, too.


The last main difference is in terms of visibility. Earlier, I mentioned that you need to create a Google business page. If you are an international business, you do not need this. What you need is credibility. Putting your business on a map does not have any major impact on your SEO.

But if you are a local business, you need to ensure that your business is highly visible to potential customers. Those who drive around your area will see you on their map or GPS, and then you will have more customers.

As you can see, local SEO is all about getting found physically. Customers in your area or on cities near you will go to you even if they have not heard of you before.


Because they saw you on Google, and all of these will happen if you do your local SEO correctly.

Summary: Global vs. Local Search Engine Optimization

Local SEO should be used by a local business that cannot and will not service international clients. The main goals of local SEO are:

  • Have quantity content
  • Have quantity backlinks
  • Get listed in maps
  • Be referred by customers in social media channels

On the other hand, global SEO is much more complex. It deals with the goal of being ranked high in search engines. It is best used by companies that serve a global clientele, or professionals who can do remote work for global customers.

The goals of global SEO are:

  • Publish high-quality content to rank high in search engines
  • Get high-quality backlinks to help the website rank higher
  • Become a viral entity and a known brand

Global SEO is much more difficult to master. It is complicated, and you may need the help of other experts. For one, you may need an affordable copywriter to do your blog posts regularly. You may also need the services of SEO experts to help you become a top-ranking site. 

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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