Long Island SEO vs. General SEO: What’s The Difference?

Local small business woman on long island, staring at her computer, thinking about if she should focus on local seo, or global seo.

When done right, search engine optimization (SEO) can become the key to unlocking new customers and driving growth for local businesses. But should businesses on Long Island approach SEO differently than those in other parts of the world?

In this article, we will explore the nuanced differences between Local SEO and its broader counterpart, General SEO or Global SEO. We will look at unique local SEO considerations, strategies, and best practices tailored for Long Island businesses to climb the search results and improve their online visibility.

Understanding these nuances of optimizing for local search can help your business better connect with customers right here in your own community. Whether you operate in bustling Nassau County or the beautiful vineyards of the North Fork, applying targeted Long Island SEO approaches can help your business stand out.

Read on to learn how to make SEO work for you and your local customers.

Basic Understanding of How Search Engines Work?

Before diving into the differences between Global SEO and Local SEO, it’s important to have at least a high-level understanding of how search engines like Google work behind the scenes.

Essentially, Google crawls websites by following links from one webpage to another, systematically moving through the interconnected maze of the internet. As it crawls, it processes the information on each page, meticulously cataloging the content it discovers. This meticulous organization helps Google create a digital library, where related content is grouped together for efficient retrieval.

Once the crawling and cataloging are complete, Google indexes the pages, essentially creating a searchable database. So, when someone types a query into the search bar, Google sifts through this indexed information, presenting users with the most relevant and reliable results.

And voila, this is where SEO takes center stage.

Think of it as your golden ticket to ensuring that your local business gets the spotlight it deserves. By optimizing your website, you’re essentially telling Google, “Hey, my website doesn’t just exist, but it’s relevant, valuable, and deserves to be showcased to the people looking for what my business offers.”

General SEO vs Local SEO

Now that we have a basic understanding of how search engines work, let’s get into it and break down Global SEO and Local SEO.

What Is Global or General SEO?

Global SEO encompasses the broader spectrum of optimizing a website for the entire world. It involves employing strategies to rank a website globally, for search queries made across the entire internet. In other words, when you are optimizing for Global or General SEO, you are competing with all the websites in the world that is in your industry or category.

Here are the fundamentals of Global SEO to keep in mind:

  • Keyword research and analysis The crux of General SEO lies in meticulous keyword research. Identifying and targeting high-traffic keywords relevant to your business’s industry and expertise is crucial for reaching a wide audience.
  • Backlinking strategies Building a robust network of backlinks can be crucial for Global SEO success. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sources contribute to a website’s overall credibility and visibility on a global scale.
  • Content quality and relevance Global SEO demands crafting high-quality, relevant content that caters to an international audience. Quality is super important for sustaining strong search engine rankings. Because again, you are competing for positioning on the search results pages with every website similar to yours across the world.

What Is Local SEO?

Conversely, Local SEO narrows the focus, emphasizing online visibility for a specific geographic area, like a city, county, town, community, or neighborhood. It’s about tailoring strategies to connect with local audiences and address their unique and specific needs.

For brick-and-mortar establishments or service providers with a physical presence, local search is a lifeline. Being easily discoverable within a specific locality can significantly impact foot traffic and sales.

While all the fundamentals of SEO such as keyword research, on-page optimization, backlinks, and quality content are vital for Local SEO too, here are the two key aspects of Local SEO to keep in mind.

  • Local Search Intent Local search is driven by immediate intent. People search for services or products available in their vicinity, sometimes while on the move and using mobile devices. Optimizing for Local SEO focuses specifically on this intent and tailors strategies to ensure businesses appear prominently for local search terms and on Google Maps.
  • Location-Specific Keywords Local SEO relies heavily on incorporating location-specific keywords naturally within the webpage’s content. This is in the form of combining the town or city’s name with the service or product. For example: “East Islip Dentist.” This ensures that the business is aligned with the phrases potential customers in that area are likely to use in their searches.

Key Differences Between Global SEO and Local SEO

Now, you might be thinking the main difference between Global SEO and Local SEO is just a matter of geography. Instead, it’s a bit more nuanced than that. It’s about how you tailor your strategies to either cater to a local audience or a global one. Let’s explore the key differences from a strategy standpoint.

Target Audience Considerations

Global SEO: Tailoring content and keywords to a worldwide audience requires a comprehensive understanding of diverse cultures, languages, and search and shopping behaviors. The challenge lies in creating universal appeal for a specific target audience across the entire internet.

Local SEO: Precision is the essence of Local SEO, especially on Long Island. Focusing on the immediate community or region demands a keen understanding of the preferences, colloquialisms, and specific needs of the target audience on Long Island. It’s about resonating with the local community on a personal level.

Importance of Local Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are the currency of trust in all forms of marketing, especially when it comes to trying to get your business to stand out online. For Local SEO, the impact is magnified. For one, local businesses heavily rely on positive local feedback to build credibility within their immediate community. Additionally, Google Maps will list the results for a particular search in a particular geographic area based on businesses’ review ratings.

That means businesses with poor reviews or little to no reviews will be listed near the bottom. Here’s an example of this.

Google maps search results for islip web design

Content Creation for Global SEO

As touched on earlier, Global SEO demands that your content not only be high-quality but also possess a universal appeal. It should engage and resonate with audiences from different backgrounds and cultures. This means to achieve a high ranking on Google, the content must be in-depth, authoritative, relevant, and highly valuable for a given topic

Global SEO success also hinges on meticulous on-page optimization. Page content needs to be not just appealing to humans but also easily understood and recognized by search engines. To achieve and maintain a high ranking, Global SEO is an ongoing process of making continual optimizations to the page content, monitoring its performance, and updating the page over time.

Content Creation for Local SEO

Quality content and on-page optimization also matter when it comes to local SEO. But truthfully, the bar in most cases is a little lower—and that’s because the competition is usually lower. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create the best possible content for your website and optimize it the best you can. Instead, content creation for Local SEO relies on tailoring your content specifically to the Long Island audience and community.

Here’s how to think about content creation for Local SEO on Long Island.

  1. Your content should address local audience needs. Local Long Island SEO requires a deep understanding of the unique needs of the community your business operates within. Crafting content that directly addresses the needs, pain points, desires, and services and products you offer, fosters a sense of connection, relevance, expertise, and trust.
  2. Your content should be localized for Long Island. Meaning, it should be relatable to a Long Islander in your community. From the use of language and tone of voice to references to local landmarks, localizing your content is essential. It’s about creating an online presence that feels familiar and resonates with the specific characteristics of your target customer base on Long Island.
  3. Your content should feature local events and highlight the community. Incorporating local events, community endeavors, and happenings in your area into your content not only enhances relevance but also showcases your business’s active engagement within the community.

Link Building

As mentioned earlier, building quality backlinks is a vital part of a Global SEO strategy. From guest posting to influencer collaborations, the focus is on broadening a website’s digital footprint.

For Local SEO, link building prioritizes connections within the community. Building relationships with other local businesses and community organizations and obtaining backlinks from these locally recognized sources can be huge for your online visibility. Collaborative efforts with other local businesses not only strengthen the local business community but also contribute to a robust local link-building strategy, elevating the online presence of all involved.

However, avoid blatant link exchanges. Google doesn’t like that and if they see you are exchanging “link for link,” they can penalize your site’s ranking. That’s for another article. But the key thing to remember is you want to build relationships in the community first and generate the backlinks organically.

Another fantastic way to build backlinks is to leverage local business directories. For Local SEO, getting your business listed in local Long Island directories is a great way to enhance your visibility within the community and build a strong local link profile.

Key Takeaway:

While Global SEO seeks to cast a wide net to rank at the top for a particular topic, Local SEO is about cultivating deep roots within a specific city, town, or community.

Understanding Local Long Island SEO

Now, with an understanding of the fundamentals of Local SEO, you can think of Long Island SEO as a specialized subset of Local SEO, tailored to cater to the dynamics of our splendid and unique geographic area.

Long Island’s geographical, local, and cultural nuances can play a pivotal role in shaping effective SEO strategies. From the diverse communities of Nassau County to the distinct characteristics of Suffolk County, recognizing these important nuances allows for precise targeting and engagement with your local audience.

Below are some of these nuances you should keep in mind when crafting your Local SEO strategy on Long Island.

Unique Aspects and Challenges of Local SEO on Long Island

  1. Community Diversity Long Island boasts a diverse population with varying interests and preferences. You should consider if your Local SEO strategy takes into account this diversity, ensuring your content and messaging resonate across different communities.
  2. Urban-Suburban Dynamics To take the last point one step further, keep n mind the blend of urban and suburban landscapes across Long Island. Tailoring your SEO to accommodate the city life of places like Hicksville versus the more suburban feel of areas like Great Neck will likely be two different approaches, depending on your business. This is where understanding your target audience is paramount.
  3. Seasonal Influences Since Long Island experiences distinct seasons, this impacts consumer behaviors. If your business experiences more demand at certain times of the year like landscapers and pool companies or like many of the businesses in the high-tourist areas like in the Hamptons, Sag Harbor, Fire Island, or on the North Fork, you must adapt your SEO strategies to align with seasonal trends, customer volume, and activities. The goal is for your website to maintain its search equity and relevance throughout the entire year.
  4. Local Competition Another thing to keep in mind, we live in one of the best places in the world, where we can easily access so many businesses and services. Our options for enjoyment, recreation, and services to make our lives better are endless. That makes the competitive landscape here on Long Island intense. Meaning, as a business owner you are competing with your neighbors and fellow Long Islanders and community members. There’s no way around it, your local SEO strategy must focus on outshining nearby businesses in your industry—because if you’re not getting the traffic from Google, they are.

Map of long island

5 Specific Local Long Island SEO Strategies

Now, let’s get into some actionable strategies you can use to enhance your SEO for your local business here on Long Island.

1. Perform Localized Keyword Research and Implementation

Conduct thorough keyword research specific to Long Island, considering local terms and the town names your business primarily operates in. Also, think about what towns and cities you want to start getting more clients and customers from. Sprinkle in these names and any regional identifiers throughout your website content. This ensures your website will appear when someone performs a Google search using those town names.

If you don’t have the time to do keyword research or have an employee who is proficient in SEO, at the very least, you should optimize your site using the templates below:

  • “Long Island” + “your service/industry” – (Long Island attorney)
  • “Town Name” + “your service/industry” – (Babylon eye doctor)

Additionally, consider any terms that speak directly to this Long Island community. Are there any words, phrases, or local jargon that people use and might perform a search with? Consider including these specific phrases on your page as well.

2. Submit Your Business To Local Business Directories and Citations

As mentioned earlier, submitting a business listing to various online business directories will not only generate backlinks and enhance your local visibility but also contribute to building credibility within the community. You should submit to both local and national listings.

Here are some to get you started.

Local Directories:

National Directories:

3. Maintain Consistent Business Information Across The Internet

Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) is accurate and listed consistently not only on your website, but every other website your business appears on. That includes business directories, third-party websites, and social media. Search engines rely on your NAP to understand your business information and location, allowing them to connect all mentions of your business. This signals to Google that you’re an authoritative, established local business.

4. Creating and Optimizing Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is a free listing available on Google that allows your local businesses to display essential business information such as your business name, address, phone number, operating hours, photos, and information on services. It’s a powerful tool that all local businesses should have because even if your website doesn’t rank high for organic SEO, an accurate Google Business Profile will easily help your business get found by prospective customers seeking businesses similar to yours.

If you need help setting this up for your business and want to know how best to optimize it, you can check out this Google Business Profile Ultimate Guide.

5. Leverage Local Reviews and Testimonials

As a local business, you should always be encouraging your satisfied customers ****to leave a review on your Google Business Profile. The more positive reviews you have for your business, the better. It’s the difference between someone clicking on your business versus someone else’s in the search results.

Also, don’t make the mistake I’ve seen many businesses make: Always respond to any and all reviews promptly and professionally. Yes, even the negative ones. This demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and enhances your business’s local credibility.

When Should Your Business Focus on Local SEO?

This might seem obvious at this point, but the bottom line is if you run a local business, whether in Nassau County or Suffolk County, you should focus on local SEO. If your business falls into any of the buckets below, local SEO will be crucial for your business.

1. Your business caters primarily to a local audience.

If your customers are confined to Long Island, you should be optimizing your entire website for local searches. For businesses like restaurants, boutiques, or service providers rooted in the community, local SEO is what will ensure maximum visibility within a specific area on Long Island.

2. Your business has a physical location or sells products or goods that have to be picked up in person.

If customers come to your location, you should be optimizing for SEO. If you have multiple locations, then you should be optimizing for both locations.

3. Your business caters to a niche or specialized audience.

For example, if you’re a local artisan crafting unique products or a specialized service provider like a yoga studio or karate school, honing your SEO efforts on the local market amplifies your chances of attracting customers genuinely interested in what you offer.

When should your business focus on Global SEO?

While local SEO is vital for community-focused businesses, global SEO comes into play when your products or services have a broader appeal. Businesses on Long Island with ambitions to reach a worldwide audience, such as e-commerce platforms, tech startups, or Long Island-based enterprises should focus to Global SEO. This ensures your brand is discovered across the internet, regardless the location users are searching from.

Global SEO becomes paramount when your target market extends beyond Long Island, aiming for a wider, international audience.

Frequently Asked Questions on Global SEO vs. Local SEO

What is the primary goal of Long Island SEO?

The primary goal of Long Island SEO is to enhance online visibility and drive targeted traffic to businesses based on Long Island. This involves optimizing website content, local listings, and other online elements to ensure they rank well in search engine results for relevant local queries.

Can businesses benefit from both Global and Long Island SEO simultaneously?

Yes, businesses can benefit from both General and Long Island SEO simultaneously. General SEO strategies help improve overall online visibility, while Long Island SEO specifically targets the Long Island local audience. However, if your primary way of generating revenue is from the residents on Long Island, then your focus should be Long Island SEO.

How do local SEO and Global SEO affect each other?

Local SEO and Global SEO can mutually reinforce each other by complementing overall online visibility. A strong global SEO foundation can indirectly benefit local rankings, while local SEO efforts such as accurate business information and positive local reviews, can enhance a business’s credibility on a global scale.

How often should I update my Long Island keywords?

It’s advisable to update Long Island keywords regularly to stay relevant in the dynamic landscape of search engine algorithms and to ensure you’re keeping up with the local competition. Aim for quarterly reviews to ensure your keywords align with current trends, user behavior, and any shifts in the local market.

If I run a local business, but I focus solely on optimizing for Global SEO will that naturally optimize my website for local searches too?

No, focusing solely on optimizing for Global SEO will not naturally optimize your website for local searches. While global optimization can enhance overall visibility, local searches often rely on specific geographical indicators and keywords. To effectively target local audiences, incorporating Long Island-specific keywords and local SEO strategies is crucial to ensure your business appears prominently in relevant local search results.

Can I use the typical SEO tools for Local SEO?

While typical SEO tools can provide valuable insights, it’s recommended to use specialized tools for local SEO to ensure accuracy in targeting specific regions like Long Island. Local SEO tools focus on location-specific data, helping businesses tailor their strategies to the unique search behaviors and preferences of the local audience. There are several specialized Local SEO tools available, such as Moz Local, BrightLocal, and Yext.

Why is mobile optimization crucial for Long Island businesses?

Mobile optimization is crucial for Long Island businesses because a significant portion of local searches occurs on mobile devices. Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly improves user experience, increases visibility in local mobile searches, and aligns with search engine algorithms that prioritize mobile responsiveness.


Implementing a strategic approach to SEO is no longer optional for local businesses on Long Island — it’s essential. By optimizing specifically for local searches and tailoring your strategies to resonate with Long Islanders, you can ensure your business pops up when customers are looking for you. Remember to focus on relevance, relationships, and understanding the uniqueness of our Long Island communities.

Following these Long Island SEO best practices, you can make yourself discoverable and connect authentically with the customers who need you most. The opportunities for growth and success are right at your fingertips.

And always, if you have any questions or need help with your SEO, drop us a note and we will get back to you shortly.

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