If the pros and cons between local search and paid search have you totally unsure as to where to spend your time and marketing budget, you’re not alone. Each strategy offers specific perks, and one (or both!) may make the most sense for you. Let’s find out as we compare the differences between local SEO vs. paid search.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO, or local search, focuses on optimizing your website specifically to the customers in your physical region where your business is located. Rather than casting a wide net to a national audience, this strategy drills down to exact geographical areas, with the hopes of making sure any potential customers who live by you get served your information.

Local search results look like this:

Local SEO is most important for businesses with a brick and mortar location or for those who provide services to a specific geographic region. Local SEO is ideal for:

  • Restaurants
  • Real estate
  • Repair services
  • Lawyers
  • Medical providers
  • Any small business with a physical location

Pro tip: do a quick Google search for keywords related to your business or services. If Google Maps show up as top results, you need local SEO services, especially if your competitors are already rocking a Google Guarantee Badge.

But… Do I Need Paid Search Too?

While local SEO is more of an organic strategy that works behind the scenes to get you seen, digital advertising cuts to the chase and serves up paid ads based on keywords around your business. Depending on your budget and campaign criteria, paid search may give you more control as to how frequently you’re found and where your ads appear.

Paid ads look like this:

Paid search provides a lot of versatility, because not only can you advertise on Google but also within social media platforms as well. When you pay to play you can really extend your reach, as long as you have the budget to support your goals.

If you’ve experimented with perfecting your local SEO game but still aren’t seeing the results you want, it may be time to place a few ads and see how they do. One of the best parts about digital advertising is that you’ll get access to a ton of traffic data on how your ads performed, allowing you to adjust as you go.

Our recommendation? If you’re a small business catering to a specific region, you need to start local SEO ASAP. Once those gears get turning, you can add on paid search to complement your strategy.

Level Up With Local SEO and/or Paid Search with LDM!

Still not sure whether local SEO or paid search is right for you? Don’t worry. The data-hungry experts at Launch Digital Marketing are here to steer you straight! Our award-winning Chicagoland marketing agency will give you recommendations based on your needs and goals, making smart, strategic suggestions you can rely on. Want to learn more? Schedule a free 30 minute consultation to get started!

Meet Crystal Mack

Crystal Mack is a Senior Copywriter at Launch Digital Marketing. With a master's degree in Mass Communication and several published books to her pen name, she is a self-proclaimed word nerd and staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.