Local SEO tools are essential for any business that wants to perform in the Google Local Results, because these tools allow businesses to monitor their performance and optimize their marketing strategies. They also provide insights into customer behavior and help companies improve their conversion rates.
Google has become the default search engine for millions of Internet users around the globe. As such, it plays a crucial role in determining where your customers go next after visiting your site. If you want to rank higher in Google local searches, then you should start using some of these local SEO tools.
There are several tools available to help you improve your local rankings. These include Moz Local, Semrush Citation Tracker, Whitespark, BrightLocal, and more. Each tool offers unique benefits, but they also share some common features.
What are Local SEO Tools?
A local SEO tool provides a wealth of benefits to small businesses looking to improve their online presence. By organizing, streamlining, and tracking all of your local SEO activities, a local SEO tool makes it easy to identify opportunities, optimize campaigns, and measure progress. Here are some of the most popular features of a local SEO tool:
- Keyword research – Identify relevant keywords that customers use to find your business.
- Competitor analysis – Spy on what your competitors are doing, including how they rank locally.
- Content creation – Create optimized blog posts, press releases, videos, images, etc., for your business.
- Customer acquisition – Promote your business on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Yelp, and many others.
- Reporting – Track your campaign performance and make adjustments where necessary.
How Do You Know if a Local SEO Tool Will Work For You?
The best way to determine whether or not a local SEO tool will be beneficial to your business is by trying out different ones. There are dozens of options available in the market today, so take advantage of this opportunity to test drive them before making a final decision.
The Functions of Local SEO Tools
Local SEO tools help businesses find out how well their online presence is doing. They provide insights into what keywords people are searching for, where they come from, and what sites they visited before coming to yours. These tools also let you know whether the information about your site is accurate and complete.
The best local SEO tools offer features like:
- Local Directory Management – Some local SEO tools offer the ability to track your profiles across local directories. This is beneficial if you already have an online presence with many hundreds of directories linking back to you. Please note, however: this is different from listings management.
- Citation Management – If you want to make sure your citations are correct, you can download reports showing the number of times your business appears in each source.
- Monitoring & Reporting – Some tools allow you to monitor changes in your rankings over time. Others keep track of your performance against competitor metrics.
- Reputation Management – If someone posts negative reviews about your business, you can request removal of those comments.
The Ability to Increase Your Online Visibility
Since most people use search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yandex to find information, local search is no longer an option, but a necessity, to remain relevant and competitive. Local businesses must optimize their websites to ensure that customers can find them easily via the internet. Customers searching for local businesses are more likely to make purchases, so it’s essential that local businesses have a strong presence online. This includes having a website, social media accounts, and listings on local directories.
For example, the following illustrates what happens when your online business suddenly decreases, and comes back with a significant improvement in your online visibility:
When a customer makes a local inquiry, they are looking for specific information about a location. They want to know what is around them, how close they are to where they want to go, and whether or not there are reviews. Prominence is one of the most important elements for local businesses. Search engines might take some prominence into consideration when determining local rankings.
Another factor that search engines consider when calculating a local business’s position is proximity to the searcher’s location. Distance is measured in miles, kilometers, or driving distances. A local business located near a major city center might receive better positioning than a small town business located several hours away.
Local SEO Keywords
Search engines also take keywords into consideration when determining the relevance of a local business’ website. Keywords help determine what types of topics a visitor wants to learn about. For instance, a local restaurant may want to focus on food, drinks, and entertainment. However, a local grocery store may want to target terms related to health and wellness. By understanding what type of queries potential customers are making, local businesses can tailor their content accordingly.
Optimization of Your Listings
An online citation should at least contain your basic business information, including your name, address, phone number, email, hours of operation, payment options, etc. Depending on your business, you might want to provide additional information about your products or services, like menus, prices, videos, and photos. This improves the customer experience and increases the credibility of your listing. You can also use citations to provide essential contact information for people looking for your business.
Local SEO tools tend to have some form of listing optimization function. This listing optimization will help you identify which listings are incorrect and need improvement, prioritize listings that need improvement first, and help you come up with a plan to tackle these local SEO improvement signals.
The following is an example of a business listing citation that has been optimized for Yext, using the site TrustRadius.com:
Improving the Customer Experience
Local businesses are often competing against each other for customers. In order to win over consumers, it’s important to provide them with accurate information about your business. A recent study found that nearly half of consumers say they would contact a business again if they received inaccurate information. This includes incorrect addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation.
With local SEO software, you don’t just improve customer satisfaction – you make sure your customers receive accurate information. You can update your business data across multiple channels including apps, online maps, and directory sites.
The following shows an example of the local competition on Google Maps for the query “attorney”:
Tracking the Performance of Your Local Rankings
Rank trackers are tools designed to help you measure the performance of your website across different regions. You can use them to find out where your site ranks poorly on certain terms, allowing you to take action to improve it. For example, if you notice that your site doesn’t rank well for a particular keyword in some countries, you can work on improving those areas.
You can choose to monitor one or many regions, depending on your needs. Some rank trackers offer free plans, while others require paid subscriptions.
Some of the more popular ones include Moz Local, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Spyfu.
The following is a screenshot that shows a graphed distribution of SERP features rankings for local queries of a specific domain name, using Semrush’s SERP position tracker:
Other Common features of Local SEO Tools
With a local SEO tool, you will have access to a wide range of features, such as:
- Management of your many different listings – This feature allows you to manage multiple listings across different platforms like Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, etc. You can edit or delete existing listings, add new ones, and even set up alerts for new reviews.
- Backlinks – If you are looking for ways to improve your rankings on Google Maps, look no further. A great way to increase traffic to your listing is to build high quality backlinks. These backlinks can come from directories, blogs, press releases, social media sites, and many others.
- Reviews – Another important factor in increasing your visibility on Google Maps is to gain positive reviews. You can choose to write your own reviews or ask customers to review your location.
- Mobile Optimization – Make sure your mobile site is optimized for both iOS and Android devices.
- Social Media Integration – Use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule posts and integrate with social networks like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest.
- Keyword Research – Find out what people are searching for in your area.
- Analytics – Monitor how users interact with your page.
- Reporting – Track the progress of your efforts using reports.
- Customized Reports – Choose the type of report you want to see.
- Scheduling – Schedule posts to be published at specific times.
- Webmaster Tools – Manage all aspects of your site through this dashboard.
- Content Creation – Create content for your site and publish it to various locations.
- Website Audit – Check whether your site has any errors or issues.
- Link Building – Build links to your site to boost its ranking.
- Competitor Analysis – Identify your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
Local SEO tools can help you better manage your business at scale than otherwise. They help automate common and mundane tasks you might not want to focus on manually, so you can focus on other manual tasks that provide more value to your business.
Google Business Profile Optimization
Optimizing your Google Business profile (formerly Google My Business) is one of the best ways to boost your local search rankings. You can see how well optimized your account is by looking at the number of reviews you have listed. If there aren’t many reviews, it could indicate that you haven’t been active enough. To fix this problem, add photos, write descriptions, and update your location information.
The Google Business Profile is a platform for managing everything about your online presence in Google, including Google Maps and Search. It allows you to post your address, set up hours, upload images, and add contact information like phone numbers and email addresses. You can even edit your listing across multiple platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
With a local SEO tool, such as BrightLocal, you can use the Google Business Profile optimization feature to schedule Google Posts and manage your business listings, social media accounts, and more. This way, you don’t have to log into each individual site separately.
The following shows a screenshot of the Google Business Profile Manager user interface, which greets you when you sign in to optimize your Google Business Profile.
Management of Your Online Reputation
A positive online reputation helps provide a better search ranking. Most businesses don’t know how much their online presence matters to potential clients. For most small businesses, it’s easy to assume that having a good website and posting regularly are enough to rank well. But a strong online reputation can make a big difference.
Even though a local SEO tool doesn’t guarantee that you will have dozens of five-star reviews — or even one — a reliable reputation builder feature can react to customer reviews authentically, and even solicit reviews from customers. This way, you can build a stronger reputation and improve your search rankings at the same time.
If you have reviews like the following, then you may want to consider hiring a professional to handle your online reputation management tasks:
Reporting Using a Custom Dashboard in That Local SEO Tool
Local SEO tools are great because they give you access to a lot of information about your site. You can check how many people found it via different channels, what keywords are bringing traffic, and much more. Most of these tools work well together, too—so you don’t have to switch back and forth between apps.
Dashboards and reporting features make it easy to see key performance indicators like rankings, citations, and reviews in one place. Some dashboards even provide visualizations of the data, making it easier to spot trends.
Yext Local SEO Tool
With Yext, you will find yourself covered in a variety of different solutions and products that can assist you in improving your local SEO. You will also have access to a wide array of directory integrations that will allow you to keep your listing up-to-date and ensure that it contains accurate information.
One of the most popular local search tools offered by Yext is the Knowledge Manager. It provides answers to the most common queries regarding your business. These include store hours, staff details, and promotions.
The Knowledge Manager is the one place where you can gather all the information about your business into a single location. It makes updating your listings easier and ensures that they are always up-to-date with accurate information.
Also, with Yext, you will have an easy way to update listings and ensure they contain correct information.
The following is a screenshot of Yext’s home page:
Yext Local SEO Tool Features
As you no doubt already know…
If you are a small business owner, chances are you’ve heard about Yelp, Angie’s List, ZocDoc, Google Reviews, Facebook Pages, etc., etc., etc. – all of which have become essential components of online marketing.
But what about the little guy? What about the mom & pop shop down the street? Or the restaurant that just opened up? How do you monitor reviews across all of these platforms?
Yext helps businesses keep track of their reviews across multiple channels like Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook Pages, TripAdvisor, CitySearch, Foursquare, and others.
And best of all, Yext makes it easy to respond to reviews. You can quickly and easily address issues raised in reviews and ask questions to reviewers. This allows you to build trust with your customers and improve your overall reputation.
In addition, Yext provides insights into how people find your business and where they go once they arrive. This information can help you optimize your listing and focus on the areas that matter most to your business.
Below is a screenshot of Yext’s “entities” user interface, showing the entities that are associated with a particular local business:
Semrush Position Tracking Tool
The Position Tracking tool allows you to track your rankings across multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, etc., within one dashboard. You can even compare your performance against your competitors’ rankings.
You can track up to 20 different positions simultaneously. This way, you’ll always know what your position is for each keyword. You can also see how many impressions you’re getting per day, month, week, etc.
With the mobile app version, you can check your position instantly and anywhere, anytime. You can also export reports in CSV format and send them via email.
The following is a screenshot of the output of Semrush’s Local SEO position tracking tool:
Semrush Listings Checker
The Semrush local listings checker is a tool that allows you to check a brief analysis of your listings – for free!
Just enter your company name, hit the search bar, and the Semrush listings checker will bring up your local SEO listings.
For example, the following includes a screenshot of Semrush’s initial output of the local listings report. You can see a general indicator of a company’s overall online presence, their business’s total listings, the listings they need to fix, an average star rating, and much more.
A subscription to the specific listings management platform is required to unlock the “Listings to fix” section. But, the free version with a brief local SEO analysis is a good indicator of whether you need to invest time in cleaning up your online local listings.
Synup is a tool that helps businesses manage their online reputation and improve customer experience. It provides deep insights into how customers interact with your brand online, helping you understand what matters most to them.
With Synup, you can see where you rank in comparison to competitors, monitor reviews, check out your social media mentions, and much more. You can even use it to schedule responses to negative reviews.
If you work in customer support, it can make sure customers are happy with your brand. If you run a restaurant, it can keep tabs on reviews and ratings. Or, if you sell products online, it can monitor sales and compare your numbers against competitors.
The tool does this by crawling over 200 local search engines, directories, and review sites to ensure your citations are accurate, and it can even notify you when someone leaves a comment about your site. In addition, it syncs your location data between different sites, allowing you to see where your customers live, what cities they come from, and how many times they visited your store.
The following includes a screenshot of Synup’s user interface, showing a number of local SEO metrics for a company called Parus:
BrightLocal is a free, easy-to-use software that allows you to track and manage your local and national SEO efforts. You can customize it to fit your needs, whether you are tracking keywords, locations, competitors, or anything else related to your business.
Top Features Include:
- Analyze and report on your performance locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Create custom dashboards to keep tabs on what matters most to you.
- See how well your SEO strategy is working.
- Find out where your competition ranks in each market.
- Keep track of your progress over time.
BrightLocal is one of the more popular offerings on our list. Its listings dashboard, allowing you to sync your data to many different local SEO listings, is worth the price alone.
Moz Local is arguably one of the best tools for managing local listings. This free app allows you to add and delete listings across multiple platforms including Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook Places, Foursquare, and others. It even integrates with third party apps like OpenTable and TripAdvisor to ensure accurate information is displayed.
The interface is clean and easy to navigate, making it simple to manage your local listings. Adding a new listing takes less than five minutes and updating existing ones is just as quick.
There are many features within the app that help you maintain consistency across different sources. For example, you can set up rules based on keywords, categories, and location to automatically update your listings. You can also choose whether to display phone numbers or addresses. Finally, there are options to sync your listings with your CRMs and email marketing systems.
The following includes a screenshot of the Moz local home page:
Manage & Sync Business Listings
Moz Local helps you easily create and maintain your local business listings on major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and Ask.com, along with hundreds of other sites including Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, and Facebook. With ongoing listings sync, you can keep your listings up to date across all the places where people are searching for businesses like yours. And we make it easy to add, update, delete, and verify information about your listing — all without ever having to log into each site individually.
Key features include:
- Ongoing Listings Sync – Keep your listings active across search engines, online directories that matter to your customers, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
- Automated Duplicate Removal– Eliminate confusion with our automated process for identifying, confirming, and deleting (not just suppressing) duplicate listings.
- Mobile Friendly Design – Easily view and edit your listing info from any device.
- Customized Reports – Get detailed reports about how well your listings perform on specific keywords and domains.
Comprehensive Management of Online Reviews
Reviews are one of the most powerful tools in marketing today. They help consumers make buying decisions and influence others. But did you know only 19 percent of businesses on Google respond to online reviews? Solid review management not only drives more business, but can also impact your rankings and visibility. With key features like reputation management, alerting and notifications, and review trend monitoring, Moz Local provides robust support for managing your business reviews across multiple platforms.
Manage the Accuracy of Your Online Local SEO Listings
Moz Local’s free online presence tool lets you check up on your business’ online presence and compare it against what’s actually out there. We’ve tested it thoroughly ourselves, and we’re confident that it provides a reliable snapshot of your business’ online reputation.
We’ll show you the current state of your listing(s), including things like the number of reviews, ratings, and customer comments. You can even view snapshots of your social media profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. If you don’t already have a profile set up for your business, you can easily add one.
And if you want to know exactly where people are finding information about your business, you can use our map feature to see where your customers are coming from. Simply enter your city or ZIP code into the box above and hit “Go.”
Use the Tool to Post New Updates and Offers Easily
Moz Local makes it easy for businesses to update their online presence quickly and efficiently. With just one click, you can publish new information about your location, specials, opening times, and much more. You can even add rich media such as images, videos, maps, and interactive elements to make your posts stand out.
Key features include:
Google & Facebook integration: Publish your local listing information to Google and Facebook. This includes address, phone number, email, photos, reviews, etc.
Rich content: Enhance your local listings and increase conversions by adding photos, special deals, store hours, a comprehensive description, and more.
Social posts: Share news, photos, special deals, and Q&A to multiple directories.
Birdeye Local SEO Tool
Birdeye is a trusted local SEO tool used by over 70,000 companies across the globe. Founded in 2012, the Palo Alto-based company provides a single place where enterprises can access data about their customers and prospects. With Birdeye, businesses can monitor the customer experience, manage reviews, and respond quickly to negative feedback.
The Birdeye platform integrates data from many sources, such as Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, and others. This allows businesses to collate data from several websites and use it to make better decisions. For example, a restaurant owner might want to know whether a certain competitor received a positive review on Yelp and another location received a negative review on TripAdvisor. By integrating data from both sites, he could see what happened in real time.
Businesses can also leverage Birdeye’s messaging platform to communicate with customers via text messages, email, phone calls, social media posts, and push notifications. They can even send automated responses based on specific events, like receiving a review or being tagged in a photo.
The following is a screenshot of the Birdeye local SEO tool interface:
Whitespark Local SEO Tool
Whitespark is a San Diego-based digital marketing firm founded in 2005 by Darren Shaw, a former editor of Search Engine Watch. Whitespark offers a wide range of products and services including online reputation management, link building, social media marketing, pay per click advertising, and mobile app development.
Whitespark is a leading provider of online marketing solutions for small businesses around the globe. Its flagship product, Citation Finder, is a powerful software solution designed specifically to help marketers identify, capture, and build quality citations for local listings.
Whitespark offers a handful of tools for local SEO and brand protection. Unfortunately, they are not available as one tool and must be purchased individually. We’re going to focus our attention on two tools: the Local Rank Tracker and Citation Finder.
The Local Rank Tracker tracks your rankings in local pack listings, Google Maps and organic search results from multiple locations. This allows you to see how your rankings change over time for each location.
The Citation Finder helps you identify citations that link back to your site. These include press releases, blog posts, reviews, testimonials, etc. Whitespark dives deep into each of these citations and outputs data on the most relevant ones.
You can even filter the data that the tool outputs for you based on keywords and locations.
Surfer Local – A Local SEO Tool
Surfer Local is a free tool developed by SurfersLocal.com to help you find out how visible your business is online. Using a simple interface, you can easily access detailed information about your local business including:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Social media presence
- Keywords used in the description of your business
- Competitors’ rankings
- Visibility score
You can use the free version of their tool to get a lighter analysis of your citations. Simply enter your city and state to see what your competition is up to. You’ll receive instant results within seconds.
Below is a screenshot of the overall Surfer Local map interface, showing businesses and results for 3 keywords entered in the search.
Local SEO Tools May Have a Price Tag, But They Are Worth It
Whether you are managing your local brick-and-mortar business’ online presence through organic SEO or local SEO, having a local SEO tool in your arsenal can be a boon for your business.
From automation to rank tracking and citation tracking, to dialing in your optimizations, a well-chosen SEO tool can have significant benefits. This includes having to spend less time doing the manual repetitive and tedious work, and more time to spend on things that matter.
And, by working to ensure accuracy between your various citations, it’s possible to make sure that all of your listings are up to par, no matter which ones they are.
Which local SEO tool is going to be your next one?