“Where’s the best coffee in town?”
Asking a local where to find good coffee is a sure-fire way to get a good cup of joe.
And in many towns, the locals will all direct you to the same place.
Yes, local businesses tend to build up a reputation and street cred—usually gained through time, hard work and a truly outstanding business idea.
But in today’s world, people have stopped asking the locals where to get coffee.
Now they’re asking Google.
The problem with Google is that it’s never tasted a cup of coffee.
So, its opinion of the best coffee in town is completely influenced by how hard that coffee shop is working at SEO.
Want to make sure that your coffee shop (or any other local business) is showing up in people’s searches?
Welcome to the world of local SEO.
What Is Local SEO and Why Is It so Important?
The goal of SEO in general is to rank higher in search engines so that your website is found easier by the people who are really looking for it.
While local SEO follows the same idea, it has a slightly different goal.
For you, the most important goal is to get in-person traffic to your brick-and-mortar business. This will ultimately result in more sales, more profit and more success for your business.
So, how do you get people to walk in to your business if they’re currently online?
Google recommends businesses in a nearby area when people search online. So, when someone searches for “best coffee near me,” they’re going to get a list of businesses that are close to their geographic location.
Those results will look something like this:
Thus, the goal of optimizing for local SEO is to appear in those searches and get people to walk in to your shop or business after finding you online.
But here’s the best part: When people find your business online, they already know what to expect when they walk in.
That means the foot traffic coming in to your business will be more highly-focused on making a purchase, giving you the benefit of having more paying customers coming through your doors.
Consider these statistics:
- 89% of people search for local businesses at least once a week, and 58% search for local businesses daily.
- Out of everyone searching for local businesses on their smartphones, 50% will go and visit the store within 24 hours.
- 92% of searchers will choose a local business that appears on the first page of Google.
Clearly, local SEO is no longer optional for local business owners. These past few years have launched us into the age of online search, and it’s essential that brick-and-mortar businesses focus more of their efforts on succeeding at SEO.
So, how can you get yourself situated in the world of online search?
Let’s check out nine local SEO tools that will give your business the edge it needs to succeed in the SERPs.
Local SEO Tools: 9 Powerful Tools to Make You a Local Hero
Moz has a large and trusted reputation in the world of SEO, so it’s no surprise that Moz Local (a specially-focused local SEO tool) has made it on to our list.
So, what makes Moz so great?
- Manage all your local listings from one place. Instead of creating individual business listings on all of the relevant websites, simply input the essential information and Moz will spread this to the right places. You can also manage any changes to your business information directly through Moz.
- Take action to improve your accuracy score. With a score placed on how accurate your business information is across all channels, Moz shows you exactly what you need to fix in order to improve. A preview of this feature is available in the free listing checker.
- Monitor and respond to reviews. Manage your online reputation by monitoring all the latest reviews in one place. Moz also allows you to respond directly to Google reviews from within the tool.
- Watch your ranking in comparison to your competition. Set local ranking goals and watch how the changes you make get you closer to reaching them.
For small to medium businesses, the Essential plan covers all your needs for $99 per business location, per year.
For larger companies or agencies, there’s a more expansive Professional plan for $179 per location, per year.
The best local SEO tools allow you to focus your efforts on improving your rank by giving you the right information at the right time.
Monitor Backlinks does this through an easy-to-use dashboard, essential metrics, ranking information and backlink monitoring.
So, how does it work?
- Keep track of local rank success. For each keyword you’re trying to rank for, you’ll see detailed information about where you rank, which of your pages are ranking and how difficult the competition is. Graphs also show you your progress over time.
- See when you’ve made it to the Google 3 Pack. Getting into Google’s 3 Pack is an essential part of succeeding at local SEO. Monitor Backlinks will let you know as soon as your business is appearing in this important SERP feature.
- Get rid of bad backlinks and spy on your competition’s good backlinks. Backlinks will affect your ranking for better or for worse, so Monitor Backlinks allows you to see exactly what’s going on with all your backlinks. You can also use the tool to disavow bad links, and spy on your competition to see where their best links are coming from.
The Start plan, at $24.90 per month, allows you to monitor one domain, two competitors, 500 referring domains and 50 keywords.
The Plus plan, at $47.41 per month, may be the most useful for local businesses. It allows you to track two domains, eight competitors, 2500 referring domains and 200 keywords.
There are a few different plan options to suit various-sized businesses—you can compare them all here.
Keyword research and rank tracking are both necessary tasks for local SEO. However, for you to really rank in your local area, it’s essential that the tools you use give you narrowed results for a certain geographic area and language.
- Track rank for specific geographic locations with SERPWatcher. Narrow your ranking results by country, state or even city! SERPWatcher is set up in an easy-to-use dashboard that gives you all the information you need at a glance for desktop and mobile search rankings. For more details, they also have visually-appealing graphics that help you understand your local ranking.
- Find the best keywords for the right location with KWFinder. Keyword research has never been easier. Simply type in a general keyword and input the location (as specific as you want) that you’d like to rank for. You’ll get a list of viable keywords with relevant metrics, such as search volume, keyword difficult, search trend and more.
- Get valuable insights into the SERP situation with SERPChecker. You’ll see the top ranking results for a certain keyword, localized to the geographic location you choose. In this list you’ll see stats like Trust Flow, Domain Authority, Page Authority, links, Alexa Rank and many more useful metrics.
Mangools is a 4-in-1 toolset for rank tracking, keyword research, SERP analysis and backlink analysis, available in three monthly or yearly plans.
For small businesses, the Basic plan covers your needs at $29.90 per month. Larger businesses or agencies would probably be interested in the Agency plan, at $79.90 per month.
Local SEO Checklist
Every wondered what you actually need to do in order to rank in local searches?
Well, wonder no more! Local SEO Checklist is exactly what its name suggests: a checklist that you can use to complete all the essential tasks related to local SEO.
And the best part is that this tool is 100% free!
Check off tasks like set up Google Analytics, create a sitemap and create your local business listings, and watch the progress bar at the bottom light up as you get closer to reaching your goals!
Another big player in the world of local SEO tools, BrightLocal is popular with both business owners and agencies.
So, what’s all the fuss about?
- Monitor reviews from over 20 sites. Getting the skinny on what people are saying about you is essential to succeeding online. Check out all of the top review sites from one easy page, without having to check each site individually.
- Fix and build citations on over 1600 sites. BrightLocal allows you to choose where you want your business citations, and they’ll handle the rest. They offer to claim and verify local citations, allowing you to sit back and watch the results of their hard work. You can also track your citations, see where information is lacking, and fix inaccurate information.
- Local rank tracking for desktop and mobile. Check your current rankings from any location by simply entering a ZIP Code or town. This allows you to see exactly what the actual searchers from that area are seeing.
- Easy reports with whitelabel feature. If you’re part of an SEO agency, you want your reports to be clean and customizable. BrightLocal allows you to wipe all mention of their brand from your reports by customizing colors, logos and data.
- Lead generation widget for agencies. This handy widget can be placed on your agency’s website, and allows visitors to request a free local SEO report. They get a professional report, and BrightLocal collects their contact information so that you can develop these leads into new clients.
At $29 per month, the Single Business plan allows you to monitor up to three locations.
The Multi Business and SEO Pro plans, increasing in price, give you access to the lead gen widget, whitelabel reports, social integration and other great features.
Getting involved with online influencers is a great way to boost your SEO. But it works even better if those influencers are from your area.
Traackr is a fantastic tool that allows you to research and get in contact with local influencers near you.
- Influencer research for your specific area. Research influencers by certain keywords or topics, and narrow down results with intuitive filters including location, gender, demographic, etc.
- Social listening and brand mention tracking. Find the right moment to jump in to the conversation. With easy-to-use social listening, you’ll be able to filter out conversations until you find what you’re looking for. You can also filter listening results to see who’s talking about your brand.
- Analyze impact. With useful graphs and content performance analysis, you’ll be able to see exactly which of your local influencers is helping your brand the most.
Unfortunately, Traackr doesn’t disclose pricing information on their website. We’ve been assured that they offer annual subscriptions that are customized to the needs of each client.
Here’s the thing about local SEO: In order to rank well, you need to do on-page SEO right.
Yoast SEO is a fantastic WordPress plugin that makes life easier by handling your on-page SEO tasks.
- Make sure your on-page SEO is up to standard. Within the WordPress dashboard, Yoast allows you to see the SEO score of each piece of content, giving you the ability to see where you website is succeeding and where it’s failing. You’ll also see individual tasks that must be done in order to optimize your pages and get a better rank.
- Ensure your keywords are being used correctly within your content. See the exact percentage of keyword usage on your pages and make sure you’re using them correctly. The premium version of Yoast also allows you to get a full content analysis, showing which five words or word combinations appear most frequently throughout the text.
- Technical SEO is no longer your problem. Yoast promises to handle those burdensome technical tasks (such as robots.txt and sitemaps) in the background, so you can focus on your business.
There’s a free version of this tool that’s extremely handy, and I recommend using that just to get a feel for what it’s capable of doing.
If you feel like you need more of those great features, you can upgrade to the premium version for a one-time payment of $89.
Local businesses receive reviews in many different places. However, one place that’s sometimes overlooked is on social media.
To succeed in all aspects of local SEO, social media must be part of your strategy.
That’s what Likeable Local is here for. This collaborative platform helps you increase the reach and results of your social media strategy.
- Social media management for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With a varied content library in over 75 categories, you’ll have no problem finding content to post online. Plus, Likeable Local allows you to see an intuitive content calendar, with views into all your different types of social posts.
- Insights into social posts. In order to ensure the best results, you need to know what’s going on with your posts. Get insights into overall page growth, as well as reach, clicks, comments and likes on each of your posts.
- Social conversations all in one place. Don’t lose out on a sale because you lost a conversation. Likeable Local keeps all of your social conversations in one place, giving you the ability to build a better customer base, and respond to queries and complaints more easily.
Likeable Local doesn’t include specific pricing information on their website. However, they do assure us that their packages can be adapted to fit almost any budget.
Free Review Monitoring
For those on a tight budget, this tool will be of interest. Free Review Monitoring does exactly what its name implies: allows you to monitor all your business’s online reviews in one place.
And yes, it’s actually free!
- Get email alerts with each new review. That way, you’ll never miss out on the latest online reviews.
- Take action, or get advice. Responding to negative reviews is never fun, but it could make the difference between a lost customer and a saved one. Free Review Monitoring allows you to take action with reviews, or get advice on what type of action to take.
Which Local SEO Tools Are Right for Your Business?
After this discussion of the top local SEO tools, which ones stood out to you?
Remember, truly succeeding at local SEO will mean using the right combination of these tools to cover all your bases and get the best results.
Agencies will benefit most from BrightLocal. This tool has unique and intuitive features that are geared toward SEO agencies, making it an essential part of any agency’s toolbox.
For larger businesses with a good sized budget, Moz Local is a great option. You can monitor multiple locations, and get your citations in order quickly.
Combine this tool with Monitor Backlinks for rank track and backlink monitoring, and Likeable Local for a successful social strategy, and you’ll be on your way to success.
For local businesses with smaller budgets, I highly recommend a combination of Monitor Backlinks, Free Review Monitoring, Local SEO Checklist and the free version of Yoast SEO. These tools cover all the basic tasks of local SEO, while coming in at a nice low price.
However you choose to work your local SEO magic, with the help of these tools, you truly can become a local hero!
It’s time to make your online reputation just as powerful as your offline reputation.