It has become common over the past years for consumers to search for a specific local business online before making a purchase decision. And when they search online, they always check out online reviews and other types of consumer-generated information. This all happens before the customer enters the buyer’s journey.
According to Yelp, 85 percent of consumers use search engines to look for local businesses.
It’s therefore crucial for companies to optimize their local search presence and increase their visibility for a localized target audience. Local search engine optimization (local) SEO allows companies to get more qualified leads, attract visitors to their website or brand listing, and drive more in-store traffic and sales.
Local SEO can be difficult to manage, though. And it’s only getting more complicated as search engines adapt to the wave of smartphone searches and geo-location.
To help you get started, here’s a list of local SEO tools to save you time, help your company get noticed, and drive results for your local campaigns.
9 Local SEO Tools
Yoast plugin for WordPress
Using WordPress as your content management system? Yoast is a simple on-page tool for writing for search engines, with real-time content analysis functionality and other features designed to streamline your site.
Andrew Choco, vice president of marketing at the digital agency Directive Consulting, said, “We use the Yoast plugin for WordPress for our SEO and it’s a great tool. It’s got multiple different features that help improve your SEO, and we’ve used it to help our local SEO. It will rank different aspects of your pages on a red, yellow, green scale so you know exactly how your site is performing as far as SEO goes.”
This tool creates and maintains your business listings: you just need to put in your location information. It even syncs with Google My Business.
Ryan Raplee of Legal InSites said Moz Local has made his life easier.
“The rise of smartphones has definitely changed local strategy – it’s what drove the creation of local SEO,” he said. “Without mobile, we wouldn’t even be thinking about it. When a user does a search on a mobile device, Google wants to deliver the best results possible.”
Rob Boirun, CEO of PopNet Media, added, “With local SEO, building up your online presence with authoritative web properties is very important to increasing your company’s rankings and visibility when someone is searching for you or your product and services. Claiming and managing directory listings and locations are key to ensure that your presence is optimized across the web, mobile, and social channels to profit from local search. After you have your listings right, it’s all about backlinks and building domain authority.”
This handy tool helps you quickly build and get started with schema.org microdata, giving way for search engine machines to make sense of the content in your HTML and, therefore, make your content easier to find in relevant search results. Schema.org is a standard built by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other search engines for structured data. (Click here for more information on the organization of schemas.)
Need some backlinks? BuzzStream is a great tool for link building, content promotion, and digital PR. It also helps you build relationships with influencers so that you can drive word-of-mouth traffic, improve search performance, and increase awareness.
Blake Denman, CEO of RicketyRoo Inc., said BuzzStream helps with their efforts to get a client’s content in view of the appropriate people and published on the right websites.
Denman’s company also uses Screaming Frog. The free tool is great for auditing and indexing HTML and meta data of your website. Screaming Frog can also help you find broken links, saving you time and making management of your brand content more efficient than ever.
Ahrefs is a suite of SEO backlink checker and competitor research tools. More than 600,000 users all over the world have used Ahrefs to rank higher in search. One of the most useful features is the Site Explorer, which you can use to get a detailed backlink profile for any website or URL. You’ll see what websites link to you, what anchors they use, how strong the backlinks are, and more.
The Google Adwords Keywords Planner is a free tool that allows you to see the traffic of a specific keyword. It’s also terrific for identifying your most relevant keywords and driving traffic to your business. As you build your website activity and campaigns around these keywords, take time to also find new keyword ideas based on users’ local searches. When conducting research, apply filters on Keyword Planner based on geographic regions (country, state, county, city). The results should help you determine the local demand for the keywords that you entered, as well as generate new ideas for your campaigns.
This tool gives you the opportunity to understand better the search behavior of consumers. What keywords are they using, and how does quantity of searches with that keyword compare to past years? Like the Keyword Planner, Google Trends is also useful for creating blog post ideas and framing your topics around the keywords that are used the most in local search.
ReviewTrackers is the award-winning review management and customer feedback software that elevates the voice of the customer and enables brands to innovate based on customer feedback.
Reliable, accurate, and easy-to-use, ReviewTrackers specializes in collecting online reviews and customer feedback data from 70+ major review sites. The integrated Net Promoter Score-based Feedback and Review Request tool makes the process of collecting customer feedback and generating new reviews more efficient than ever, creating unique opportunities for your business to build and strengthen your brand presence and reputation, drive local search performance, and increase your conversion rates.
Read more on why you should incorporate online reviews into your website.