How Confusing is Local Internet Marketing?

There tend to be a lot of big disconnects between SEO companies and our clients. Most of them revolve around bits of jargon, like defining ‘SEO’ vs. ‘SEM’ vs. ‘Paid Search’ and so on. But sometimes, we talk to a group of clients and we realize that there’s not just a disconnect between us and them — there’s absolutely no consensus on their side of the able at all about what a certain term means.

So, for example, we were talking to a table of regular clients about ‘Local Search.’ Now, online, we’re pretty conscientious about using the term ‘Local Internet Marketing,’ because frankly, that’s a keyword we’re targeting — which tends to focus your vocabulary. But in the offices, we talk about ‘local search’ pretty frequently; it’s a good shorthand for the longer term.

But our clients had vastly different ideas about what exactly ‘local search’ meant.

  • A few assumed (correctly, by our definition) that it meant ‘getting found in the SERPs when local people search for the relevant keyword.’
  • But at least two thought it referred specifically to getting your business’ address, phone, and other information available on and consistent across all the major online directories.
  • One thought ‘local search’ was an aspect of PPC marketing exclusively, and had nothing to do with SEO.
  • One thought ‘local search’ was ‘search performed on mobile devices.’ We’re still wondering how she got that one.
  • And one of our long-term favorites honestly believed ‘local search’ was some sort of SEO keyword for advertising offline.

So, we’re going to settle this ‘once and for all’ (or at least, for here and for now.)

Local Search is the use of localization techniques within both organic and paid marketing areas to improve your business’ website’s position on the results pages of searches made either by local individuals or by distant individuals that specify your locale.

Local Internet Marketing is the use of both Local Search and other localized Internet resources such as area-specific directories, reviews and ratings sites, and many other tools.


It’s that simple! This is not to say that all marketers do you these exact definitions, but if yours tries to sell you on something called ‘Local Search’ that has no effect on your search results, or ‘Local Internet Marketing’ that isn’t, you know, on the Internet you may want to find a new marketer.