There are literally hundreds of SEO tools out there today, so we are often asked what tools are the best. Realistically, it depends on what you’re goals are and how much time and effort you’re willing to put in. Local Search Marketing and Local SEO can be very time consuming depending on the competitiveness of your industry and area. For local businesses, that targeting could also depend on your type of business. A dry cleaner may only want to target a neighborhood, while an auto dealership may be targeting a city or even a whole county. Since chatmeter is a tool for local businesses, we thought it would be best to share some of the tools we find most useful for local SEO and we’ve narrowed the list to some of the easiest to use tools as well. As you can see, this is grouped by functional goals as well. To be successful in local SEO, you often need to implement many of these to reach the most valuable real estate, that first page of the search results. These tools are separated into Listing Management and Website Optimization. LISTING MANAGEMENT: Listing Management can be very time consuming, especially if you have multiple locations. There may be over a hundred sites with your business details out there, and if you’ve moved, changed your business name or worse, phone number, you’re old data is likely out there. Here is a great little secret though: The majority of sites use a source for their data, if you can update the source, it should spread through many sites. These 3 sources distribute content and business listings to the large majority of local sites and they allow you to update/manage your listings on their database. Here they are, but remember (it may take months for changes to show up depending on the frequency of the updates of the local site (monthly, quarterly, annually)
Of course, be sure to claim your listings on the major sites before someone else hijacks them. You can update your listing data immediately as well (once verified). This can also help boost your rankings. Once you’re there, update your listings with content and information. The easiest way is to search for your business and claim it. Or you can create an account first and then edit/add your listing:
Another service/tool available for listing management is Universal Business Listings (www.ubl.com). Here you can submit/manage listings on over 30 local sites. WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: If you don’t have a site, get one. While it’s not required to show up on local sites like Google Maps and others, it can help build “trust” for your business listings and identify your website as the owner of the business and in turn, help with rankings on both local and general search sites. LOCATION TOOLS Even if you’re customers don’t go to your site, search engines do. It can be a valuable tool to establish validity for your business and your location, but you have to make sure it’s search engine friendly.
- Address Scanner Tool. Be sure your address appears in text. http://getlisted.org/AddressScanner/scan.aspx
- For more Search Engine compatibility, you can place your contact information in hCard or KML formats. Here are some easy to follow blogs explaining each along with links to the tools.
BLOG: Blogs are a great way to establish you as a thought leader in your industry or community. They can also help with SEO by adding fresh content to your site if you integrate the software. A few of the most popular blog tools today are (in no particular order):
PRESS RELEASE: Press releases are a great way to create awareness about your business and also create inbound links to your site (since many sites automatically pick these up and publish them), which helps validate your business and establish “trust” for the search engine. Be sure to include your location address and links to your site.
LINKBUILDING: Link discovery tools: Start by analyzing the competition and discover what links they have. Use tools like Site Explorer from Yahoo or Linkscape from SEOMoz. Contact those sites for links and/feature stories on your business. Links are the best way to establish trust for your site. Remember, all links are not equal. The more reputable site that links to yours, the more trust you build. (A link from LA Times will be much more valuable than Nancy’s Restaurant Blog). But quantity and quality are both important. WEBSITE ANALYTICS:
Google Analytics: It’s free, it’s fantastic. www.google.com/analytics
Website Grader: Website evaluation (SEO focused). www.websitegrader.com Tip: It gives you some good direction, but don’t not everything applies to local business sites.
KEYWORD TOOLS: If you have the time and interest, here are some keyword analysis tools. This can quickly get pretty overwhelming for most small business owners. TIP: Hire a consultant if you don’t have the time, knowledge, or interest.
Adwords Keyword Tool: Start with your list of keywords and Google will provide suggested synonyms. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Adwords Traffic Estimator: After you have your full list of keywords, Google will give you a traffic estimate for each: https://adwords.google.com/select/TrafficEstimatorSandbox
Note: These are estimates and not 100% accurate. If you run an Adwords PPC campaign, you can see a more accurate number of searches for your target keyword and city.
KeywordSpy: Easy tool to see the value of keywords and analyze your competitors to see if they are advertising. www.keywordspy.com
Keyword Density: Here is a tool for understanding how search engines interpret your page. It will examine the word frequency and density of keywords on that page.
See our posting for information on how to improve your rankings on Google Maps: Top 10 tips for Local SEO