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Organic SEO vs Local SEO: What’s The Difference?

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If you are reading this, you must have come across these two terms: Organic SEO (or just plain SEO) and Local SEO, and are now confused and wondering what the difference is?

Don’t worry; we understand how tough it can be to distinguish between them.

Whether you are a new company or have been a long-standing player in the industry hoping to venture into digital marketing, it is crucial to understand the differences between Organic SEO and Local SEO. Your online campaigns will be more effective, bringing you measurable success and higher ROI.

Let’s go back to basics:

Optimising Organic SEO vs Local SEO in Malaysia

Before we delve into the criteria that set Organic SEO and Local SEO apart, we must first identify the fundamental definitions of the two. Later on, we will cover and break it down in detail for you to clearly understand the differences.

In the digital marketing sphere, Organic SEO refers to natural, non-paid ways of making your domain or website rank higher in the search results using search engines such as Google, Bing, etc.

So whether you own a blog, a business owner that provides services globally, or a media agency, Organic SEO is essential to help grow your business naturally. Your website and content must remain friendly and crawlable for Google bots (search engine crawlers) to scan and index your website.

Local SEO is partly related to Organic SEO but has a more specific geographic or location-based keyword research and content. When you target with Local SEO, you must aim for your business to reach location-based searches.

For example, if a prospective customer is searching for an aircon serving near them, your services will appear more often and higher in the local results on Google Maps. Mind you, if you are a general website owner or own a few personal blogs, we advise you to not go for Local SEO.

Simply put: Organic SEO focuses more on optimising generic keywords and content, while Local SEO prioritises location-based searches. And both methods have several different ranking factors and positions on the search results pages.

Let’s dive in deeper for you to understand the difference clearly.

Organic SEO

We often read about the overall Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), inbound marketing, and digital marketing strategies, but not everything works the same across the board. And this is similar to SEO.

If you are looking into ranking a local business, maybe you have a local barbershop or a local pet store; as a business owner, you would need to do things a bit differently than just trying to rank with organic SEO. 

Organic SEO typically discusses the blue links. 

Here is an example of blue links or organic search results:

SEO agency in Malaysia with Google SEO consultant services

The blue links can be found underneath Google in the Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERPs), where you will see a list of blue results, which has changed over the years. Today, we can also see some ads at the top or a knowledge graph where more information is shared when people ask for it. You will also see a Question Box or even a video, but by a large, when we discuss regular organic SEO, we are referring to what is showing up in the blue links.

We usually refer to organic SEO as ranking for broader terms that are not typically location-specific, focusing on relevancy and authoritative content.

But how can Organic SEO benefit your business?

  • It will cost you not a single cent, just your time.
  • Gain quality and relevant traffic to your website
  • Outrank your competitors in the long run

Local SEO

As for local search, it encompasses optimising your company online based on its specific surrounding locations. Local SEO includes targeting people within a particular area that we want to drive to a local store or a business that operates locally. For example, you are a locally-based company providing aircon leaking detection and repair services and targeting customers in a location (e.g. Petaling Jaya). 

When targeting for Local SEO, you will be able to see the results ranking on a Google map, also known as the Local 3-Pack, where you see first in the search results when typing for terms such as keywords like “near me” or “near [Location]”.

Example as per below:

Best SEO Company in Malaysia providing Google SEO services

Above, you can note three important factors for local search, including location (Petaling Jaya), the type of business (restaurants), and the use of adjectives such as ‘best’ and sorted from best rating to worst.

So when you are looking into optimising for Local SEO, focus on building citations, increasing positive reviews and including local keywords in the on-page content.

Your online marketing efforts will be more fruitful when you leverage Local SEO as your presence online will be more visible and better local rankings with the proper use of citations; when your on-page optimisation is performed with the relevant local keywords, your organic traffic will also reciprocate; increasing your credibility and trust as a well managed Reputation Management will skyrocket your traffic and sales; and so on.

Do not disregard the power of Local SEO before trying it! In essence, it can do wonders to your online traffic and authority.

What are the differences between Organic SEO and Local SEO?

Now that we have covered its basics, let’s dive into the metrics that set these two apart.

  • Audiences

Both organic and local searches have different sets of audiences which can be distinguished by the intent used for each keyword searched.

Organic audiences are commonly researching, needing answers to their enquiries. So they use general and short-tail keywords that could summarise their concern. Most often than so, organic search audiences are not looking to make any transactions. However, they might be willing to signup for your newsletter or such!

Local searchers are hoping to purchase your product or service near their location. The keyword they would use in their search would typically have a specific type of product and their location or “near me”.

  • SERPs

The results and ranking positions shown on Google, for example, will not display the same for Organic SEO and Local SEO.

Organic SEO is applied to rank higher in Google search results, displaying either your home page or other landing pages on your website, such as the main service page, blog articles, etc.

Local SEO is optimising and targeting better rankings on Google Maps and others as such. Results for Local SEO will mainly list various top local businesses, including their website URLs, contact information, company images, etc.

  • Content

You might be familiar with this phrase, and that is, content is King in the world of SEO. Mastering and having a solid content marketing strategy is crucial to your Organic and Local SEO performance. And there is a distinct difference in the content made for both. 

Organic SEO focuses on a theme of topics and keyword clusters that appear naturally. For example, The Futuristic Group is a digital marketing company in Malaysia that also specialises in Google SEO services

So the content we can target to further help our organic ranking will cover the services we offer, including SEO service, Web Design and Development, Google Ads or pay per click marketing, and so on. The idea is to focus and relate it to categories and parts under the prime keyword/theme.

Local SEO concerns content that provides location-based information. So whether that is your district, city or even postal code, you must include it in your content or blog articles as highly localised content can better attract a local audience and signal your geography to Google. 

  • Backlinks vs Local Citations

Simply put, backlinks are to Organic SEO is what citations are to Local SEO — both serving as off-page optimisation to further help your overall domain rating and authority.

Backlinks are what you earn from websites other than your own by having your URL on their website, and the anchor text includes essential keywords related to your business. This can be done in various ways, such as guest blogging, digital press releases, etc.

Local Citations applies to when your brand (business name, location, etc.) receives a mention online, including on social media, media portals, and so on. You can find these citations on local business directories and Google My Business website reviews, which comprise your operation hours, parking fee and availability.

Our digital marketing experts at The Futuristic Group are whizzes in organic SEO and Local SEO. If you still find it challenging to differentiate the two and what is best for your business, seek advice from our SEO consultants.


Organic SEO and Local SEO both have their advantages. However, you have first to understand and know what is best for your business and the long-term goal you would like to achieve. You will witness a more significant increase in traffic and ROI when optimising your business for search engine rankings by leveraging these methods.

Applying organic SEO to your business encompasses heavily using appropriate keywords in your website content and the natural backlinks earned from other websites. Your target audience is those searching for information that your products or services provided.

Local SEO is about developing your connection to your location and signalling to Google that you deserve and belong in the maze of local searches.

We would always recommend, if possible, targeting both Organic and Local SEO to attain the best of both worlds for your business! Engage with us, and rest assured, as the best SEO company in Malaysia, we can help you get there.