The spotlight on local SEO has gone significantly brighter now that more small businesses and entrepreneurs have made targeting specific regions a priority. Luckily, there are several options available to those who are serious about increasing their visibility on the local front. These are 7 great SEO tools you can’t go wrong with — if you put them to use.
1. Local Citation Finder
Whitespark is among the leading providers in the market of premium SEO tools. However, it has some affordable solutions, and the free version of Local Citation Finder is one of them. Local Citation helps you find the best place to list your business with the overall goal being to improve your local rankings. Simply enter your location and target keyword, and it will deliver a report suggesting the best citation resources according to the entry.
The free version of Local Citation is mighty handy as it permits up to three searches a day, but you can remove those limitations by upgrading to Pro for a few bucks a month.
2. Yext Powerlistings
Here’s a tool that puts the power of automation in your hands. Yext Powerlistings automatically updates your business details across over 50 of the top local search engines, including MapQuest, Yahoo Local, and Yelp. These updates may include the addition of new photos, descriptions, and promotions, on top of basic info such as name, business location, and phone number.
You can scan the web for existing listings at no cost, but keep in mind that this is a subscription-based tool. Despite that aspect, Yext Powerlistings is a nice tool that can help you save a lot of time.
3. Google Places Category Tool
Hence the name, Google Places Category Tool helps you find the categories that best suit your business when submitting it to Google’s local service Google Places. All you have to do is enter keywords that best describe your niche, and this tool does the rest. So for instance, a shoe store may want to enter keywords like tennis shoes, sandals, or boots. From there, it delivers categories and synonyms related to your entry.
Google Places Category Tool is as simple as it gets, but comes at the attractive price of free, which is tough to beat no matter how you look at it.
4. Local Report Card
Created by the SEO experts at DIYSEO, Local Report Card is designed to help you understand your visibility across local search engines. This tool uses keywords, type of business, industry, and even objectives as metrics that allow you to get a better feel for where you stand. Friendly (and unfriendly) emoticons — green smiley faces, and red sad faces, give you a quick assessment of what areas you’re excelling in, and where improvements need to be made.
Local Report Card is currently being tested in beta, but is free and seems to be getting great feedback.
5.Local Search Rank Checker
Brought to you by BrightLocal, another leading provider of premium local SEO tools, Local Search Rank Checker is similar to Local Report Card, yet even better in some ways. With this tool, you receive access to a report that provides a comprehensive view of your rankings, including those in both local and standard search engines. Moreover, it allows you to compare existing rankings against previous rankings, so you can grasp how your strategy is performing as a whole.
Local Search Rank Checker is a part of BrightLocal’s premium package, which you can test drive with a free 30-day trial.
6. Google Local Toolbox
Created by internet marketing firm 51 Blocks, Google Local Toolbox can help bolster your local SEO efforts in several ways. One of its main features is the ability to generate a KML file, a format that is used to display geographical data in earth browsers like Google Earth and Maps. Simply enter the name, location, and website of your business, and it automatically creates a GEO sitemap and KML file on your behalf. The sitemap and KML file are uploaded to the root directory of your site, and then verified in Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Local Toolbox is ideal for making sure your site is fully optimized for savvy local searchers.
7. Local Keyword Generator
This tool can be found on 5minutesite.com, which specializes in free websites for small businesses. Local Keyword Generator lets you create a list of keywords that help you determine what geographical areas you should be focusing on. By entering the zip code your business is located in, the radius you want to cover, and a keyword or phrase, you can get a list of the keywords that best match your area.
Local Keyword Generator is free to use, and even works for those looking localize their PPC campaigns.
Local SEO is deservingly on the rise. With tools like these at your disposal, you can make sure it helps boost your visibility, traffic, and business performance.
Author Bio: Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Events, a best practices event marketing company.