How can you be sure that you’re getting the recognition you want (and deserve) online? Well, there are several easy to use tools—and most are free or low cost—that help create and monitor stellar local SEO. What you want to be able to do is identify the tools that are going be easy and efficient to use, while still yielding useful, actionable information.
There are several great local SEO tools available, but we’ll walk through five, in particular, that you can leverage for some useful insights:
1. DIYSEO Local Report Card
This easy to understand report is customized specifically for your business. Using keywords, business type, industry, desired location and overall objectives the DIYSEO Local Report Card shows businesses their ranking on Google and tests their local listings on the major local search engines: Google, Yahoo, CitySesarch, Yelp, LocalEze and MapQuest.
With simple emoticons, a green smiley face and a red frownie face, the Local Report Card, provides a quick reference showing businesses where they are doing well and where they need to improve.
Bottom Line: DIYSEO Local Report Card is still in BETA testing but is free to use and provides a quick and easy snapshot of your businesses local efforts. DIYSEO also offers SEO planning programs for low monthly subscription costs.
2. Generate Local Adwords & Keywords
Not sure exactly what keywords will help you with your local campaign? As its name, this easy to use (and free) tool helps you establish local keywords based upon your already established list. You can narrow the list down through a list of exclusions and parameters.
Bottom Line: If you already know the keywords and adwords that have been working for your business, Generate Local Adwords & Keywords by 5MinuteSite is a great tool to help transform your words into locally recognized keywords.
3. Local Search Rank Checker
Tracking Google Local, Bing Local and Yahoo Local, the BrightLocal’s Local Search Rank Checker provides you with a comprehensive report analyzing your business’ local rankings, showing you your previous ranking for both the local and standard search engines. Additionally, this tool tracks four different types of results including local search, organic, directory search (such as Yelp) and secondary searches.
Bottom Line: Depending upon your package, the Local Search Rank Checker can track up to 100 keywords and schedule your reports to run automatically, either weekly or monthly. Packages for this easy-to-use platform start as low as $9.99 per month, but users can first take advantage of a free 30-day trial.
4. Local Citation Finder
Developed by Whitespark and based around a process outlined by Garret French, Local Citation Finder helps businesses find the best locations to list their businesses for better local rankings. This tool shows up to 245 citations and provides a great organizational tool to allow you to keep track of the citations you already have. This platform is supported in 41 countries and reports can be run multiple times to show growth.
Bottom Line: This is a particularly good platform especially for businesses that don’t have a robust Web presence but also gives SEO professionals the opportunity to identify quality citations that are being missed. With a free version available, users can choose from a variety of packages that best suit their needs.
5. Google Places Category Tool
If you’re looking to expand the categories for your local SEO, this is a great tool that helps categorize your SEO keywords into different sectors. For example, if you’re selling shoes, you may also want to consider using keywords such as boots, sandals, orthopedic shoes, footwear, or tennis shoes.
Bottom Line: The Google Places Category Tool a very basic tool, but at a fantastic cost – free. You might be surprised with some of the categories and synonyms that it produces for your keywords, giving you alternative options.
It’s not a local tool, strictly speaking, but I just got a chance to take a look at a tool at SERPs.com that offers some nice reporting around organic traffic, keyword rankings, and what’s changed and local/small businesses and startups will likely find the tool really useful.
Do you have a favorite we didn’t mention? Share with us which tools are changing the way you do local.
UPDATE 1/11/2013: DIYSEO is now UpCity.
SEO Photo via Shutterstock
Don’t forget to look at your site’s Google analytics. Look to see what keywords are ranking high, and if there are keywords that haven’t been optimized yet, but are still ranking well. These are an opportunity to turn them into local keywords to better focus your SEO to your area.
Good point Nick, thanks for the comment!
Just tried the DIYSEO tool. Pretty handy for making sure you NAPs all match.
Yep it’s useful and free to use (just have to give up your Email).
Thanks for these suggestions. I have mainly been using google ad words and woorank. These other sites will come in handy to better optimize websites. thanks!
Thanks John glad you found it useful!
Great stuff! I would also suggest you continue to read up best practices, and pay attention to the Google’s updates.
Absolutely, understanding how to actually use the tools and apply insights is definitely critical, thanks for the comment!
A great way of finding citations is to look at a high ranking competitor (or a selection of them) and do a search on their phone number, you will get a lot of potential citation sources.
Good tip thanks Shaun!
Thanks for the helpful tools. I hadn’t heard of several of these and I’ll check them out.
Great glad you found them helpful!
Yes, these are all good tools but this list is missing an important category … business citations creation. There are data aggregators services out there. It saves time and resources if you have a lot of clients needing citations.
That’s a great point Shaun, citations are definitely an important component of local search rankings. Thanks for the comment!
Tom Demers: I have bookmarked (Google+) this post, so I could go through it again and “chew it”. Do you know if all these tools are compatible on an international market?
Great glad you’re going to take a closer look! The Google tools are definitely international but honestly I’m not sure which markets the other tools do/don’t work in – they all have free trials though so you should be able to take them for a spin and see if they’re useful in your markets.
This is very helpful. Thanks for sharing this list of local seo tools. I have mainly used Brightlocal but will look more into these tools too.
One heck of a read. this is a really amazing list of tools, and was a really good read for a Tuesday morning. Thanks for being the one to take the time to put this type of content together.
Thank you Tom, this information is really helpful. I was not aware about these tools. I am surely going to use some of the tools for one of my clients. Hope it works..
Thanks Sachin good luck!
WOW these are awesome. I love 1 and 2. Thank you!
Thanks Kelsey glad you found them useful!
Nice article, Tom! The DIYSEO Report card tool looks pretty cool!
Thanks Chris, glad you liked it!
Whitespark and Blumenthal are excellent tools which we’ve been using for some time. DIYSEO looks very interesting and worth investigating. Nice post.
Thanks Steve, glad you liked it / found it useful!
Some very good points. Looks like I’ll be trying DIYSEO myself. Thanks for the tips.
Thanks Steve hope you find it useful!
If you’re doing link building, you may want to use Linkody for monitoring your inbound links. Linkody is free up to a certain volume.
Thanks Francois I’ll check it out!
Tom, Thank you for providing valuable info. I really liked 5minutesite’s keyword tool to generate local keywords as it was really painful to do it using excel and other geo tools.
Yeah that’s a really handy one, thanks for the comment!
This is a very helpful list Tom. The Local Search Rank Checker is certainly a great tool considering many classic rank trackers just can’t distinguish organic and map rankings from each other. Great list for anyone engaged in competitive local markets.
Thanks for the post. Sometimes I even forgot that I have a local page and am so focused on my primary website.
Thank you for sharing your tools with us, Tom! We recently launched a tool that might also be worth including in your post, namely GeoRanker. We’re currently looking for good feedback, from people who know their way around local SEO. If you’re interested to try it out, please contact me and I’d be happy to send you a voucher for PRO account.
I also found this interesting article where it explained a local keyword phrase. A local keyword phrase is generally one or two words combined with location that are used by advertisers in search engine optimization, or by visitors who are using search engines in a desire to find information based on that particular local phrase. For example, an advertiser that provides local plumbing services might use “Plumber Morristown, NJ” as a local keyword phrase to draw more visitors interested in the topic. On the other hand, visitors to a search engine looking to hire local plumber would also use the keyword phrase “Plumber Morristown, NJ” in the search engine, which would then match the local keyword phrase with websites like that of the advertiser that mention the same local keyword phrase. GEOSEO conducts market research and local keyword research to determine the best targets for your website visitors. While you may have a list of twenty local keywords that you want to target, you must consider each as a separate campaign. Why?
It’s really simple; search engines like Google rank pages and you need to give them what they want to rank your page. To give them what they want you must provide the content that they’re looking for and send enough links to your pages to let the search engines know they are relevant and important.
And, never forget the local customer. It does you no good for a local search term if your content doesn’t include location you serve.
Note: search keyword phrases that are used in Meta Tags content are no longer frequently used by search engines to index pages. Major search engines such as Google no longer look for keyword phrases in the Meta Tags, and are more apt to use the information within the actual text of the web page. Listing the local keyword phrases in the in Meta Tags does not do any harm though, but is completely up to the website to whether they will use local keyword phrases in the in Meta Tags content.
Very comprehensive list of tools, I plan to use one of these each month for the next 5 months to really drill down and understand each one completely.
A tool that I use and rely on pretty heavily is http://localseochecklist.org — it’s free, stores my progress and is GREAT for keeping track of whether I’m doing all the important things when it comes to Local SEO.
Thanks for the post. Local citations are much needed for a business profile. This will generate huge amount of unique content from user reviews.