Looking for a shortlist of the best local SEO tools? Read on.
There are lots of areas to cover when you’re running a successful local SEO campaign, including citation audits, GMB optimization, keyword research, rank tracking, site structure, link building, schema markup, review management, and more.
If you want to execute the campaign effectively, then you’re going to need a solid toolset.
But with countless tools on the market, how do you choose the right one?
Do you go for one of the all-in-one toolsets or opt for a specialized tool?
To help you out, I asked 59 local SEO experts the following question:
What are your go-to local SEO tools? And why?
Experts listed their favorite local SEO tools and explained which features provide the most value for their business and/or clients. The votes were tallied and used to create the leaderboard below.
Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one platform or a tool to manage a specific area of your local search campaign, this post will give you a shortlist of battle-tested tools to consider.
You can use the jump links below to quickly navigate to different sections of the post.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this article. If you decide to purchase a tool through one of those affiliate links, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I’m only an affiliate for tools I personally use in my business.
Let’s jump in.
Best Local SEO Tools (Final Leaderboard)
BrightLocal was the overall winner among our experts, followed by SEMrush and Ahrefs in joint second place.
Here is a list of the best local SEO tools (by vote count):
#1. BrightLocal (24 votes) [Free 14-day trial]
#2. SEMrush [Free 30-day trial] and Ahrefs (12 votes)
#3. Whitespark (9 votes)
#4. GatherUp (8 votes)
#5. Yext (7 votes)
#6. Moz Local and Search Console (6 votes)
#7. LocalFalcon (5 votes)
#8. J-SON Schema Generator (4 votes)
#9. GeoImgr, SEO Powersuite and BrightEdge (3 votes)
#10. PlacesScout, Mangools and Sitebulb (2 votes)
Honorable mentions: DBA, Keywords Everywhere, Screaming Frog, iSearch From, Synup, Serpwoo, Web 2.0 Ranker, STAT, Review Inc, SERP Pro, CallRail, MobileMoxie, AccuRanker, Serpstat, Morning Score, GTMetrix, SEO Profiler, Surfer SEO, Google Data Studio, Page Optimizer PRO, SEO Ultimate Pro and WebCEO.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the local SEO tools with the highest number of votes.
The 12 Best Local SEO Tools (With Use Cases)
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at each of the local SEO tools that received the most votes from our experts.
For each tool, we’ll highlight their best use case(s), a quote from one of our experts, and a pricing table so you can compare how it stacks up against the other local SEO tools.
Let’s jump in.
BrightLocal is an all-in-one local marketing platform that puts you in control of SEO, business listings, and online reputation. It’s suitable for small businesses, agencies, and multi-location businesses.
You can use BrightLocal to:
- Track local search rankings in organic, local pack, maps, and mobile
- Monitor existing local citations and identify new opportunities
- Audit Google My Business (GMB) listings
- Grow, monitor, and respond to reviews across multiple websites
- Maximize online visibility with the citation and data aggregator service
- Capture and manage agency leads with the local audit lead generator
- Generate local SEO audit (white label) reports for clients
- Integrate with Google Analytics for deeper insights
Price: BrightLocal starts at $29/month for small businesses with up to 3 locations:
SEMrush Listing Management Tool
The Listing Management tool is a collaboration between SEMrush and Yext that helps keep all your local information correct on your website and other sites like local maps, apps, social networks, and review directories.
As well as the dedicated local SEO tool, SEMrush also packs the firepower of an all-in-one digital marketing platform, and has emerged as the top SEO platform from hundreds of expert votes.
SEMrush also includes keyword research, backlink analysis, local rank tracking, PPC analysis, on-page analysis, traffic analytics, social media management, and client reporting tools. A lot of firepower under one roof!
You can use SEMrush to:
- Manage and publish local business information to dozens of authoritative directories, including major aggregators.
- Perform keyword research, especially for question-based keywords in the Keyword Magic Tool, to surface great topics for local content.
- Track keyword rankings at the global, national, and local levels.
- Discover competitors’ content strategy, keywords, and traffic, plus benchmark content gaps.
- Audit and analyze the quantity and quality of backlinks.
- Run technical and on-page content audits.
- Analyze PPC campaigns.
- Generate white-label reports for clients.
Price: SEMrush starts at $99/month for the Pro Plan, which includes the Listing Management tool for an additional $20/month per location (available in the US, UK, and Australia).
Although Ahrefs is not specifically a local SEO tool, it’s used by many agencies to help with keyword research, backlink analysis, site audits, and covers all the essential aspects of any SEO campaign.
You can use Ahrefs to:
- Discover and check backlink opportunities, assess link profiles, and qualify targets for outreach.
- Research keyword difficulty, search volume, traffic, and SERP overview reports to find new opportunities, and accurately qualify them.
- Check competitors’ backlinks, traffic, top pages, and more to see how their content is performing.
Price: Ahrefs starts at $99/month for one user and five projects, and is comparable to SEMrush in terms of functionality and pricing.
Moz Local is flexible enough to be used by both small businesses and large enterprises. It helps boost the local visibility of your brand and ensures your listings are correct, consistent, and visible on every directory site.
You can use Moz Local to:
- Manage and optimize your location data in local search, and send consistent data to partners such as Apple and Bing.
- Identify, confirm, and delete duplicate listings.
- Monitor and manage your latest reviews on the most popular sites from one central dashboard.
Price: MozLocal starts at a very reasonable $129/year per location, and covers publishing location data to essential directories (in the US, UK, and Canada), including Google, Facebook, Google Maps, and Waze.
Whitespark’s local SEO toolset helps you build citations, track rankings, and earn reviews to fast-track your success in local search.
You can use Whitespark to:
- Find key citations that your competitors already have and could be used to improve your local rankings.
- Track your rankings on Google and Bing in any city across the local pack, local finder, maps, and organic listings.
- Increase your online reviews, customer feedback, and testimonials with the reputation builder.
Price: Whitespark has individual price plans for each of its tools:
GatherUp lets you collect customer feedback and online reviews into one centralized platform. And then use them to improve your website’s visibility and ranking in local search results.
You can use GatherUp to:
- Manage your customer feedback and online reviews in one platform.
- Capture, monitor, and improve your online reputation.
- Display your latest 30 reviews on your site.
- Build quality reviews on relevant and important sites.
- Display reviews on your website, with Schema markup.
- Monitor review sites, including Google Questions and Answers.
The cost might be the most attractive part at only $75 per location (and even better pricing for agencies, including the added benefit of only paying per location, rather than having to buy a minimum number of seats).”
Price: GatherUp plans start at $75/month per location and covers up to 10 sites:
Local Falcon is the first rank tracker designed specifically for Maps. It allows you to get a granular view across different grids of a local area, which is especially helpful for local industries like dentists and restaurants.
You can use Local Falcon to:
- See how you’ll appear in Google Maps for a specific location and keyword.
- Monitor rankings in specific locations around the centroid.
- Improve your local rankings while working directly in the tool interface.
- Run scans and see instant results with the real-time analysis.
Price: Local Falcon has a different type of price plan, which means you only pay for what you use. For example, $10 buys you 200 credits, which you could use for 22 scans of a 3×3 grid or 8 scans of a 5×5 grid, etc.
Yext’s Search Experience Cloud integrates with hundreds of maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants, chatbots, directories, and social networks to keep your online business information accurate and consistent. It’s a full suite of tools, including Answers, Knowledge Graph, Listings, Reviews, Pages, and Analytics.
You can use Yext to:
- Manage local listings so that NAP details, citations, reviews, and feedback are accurate everywhere it counts.
- Create and maintain AI-driven landing pages containing optimized, accurate, and consistent information about your brand.
- Get a complete picture of your performance, including search ranking and consumer feedback, across sites, platforms, and devices with Yext Analytics.
Price: Yext offers different pricing packages for each of its tools.
JSON-LD Schema Generator
Using the parameters on the left-hand side of the page, you can choose the Schema for Local Business, Person, Product, Event, Organization, or Website. Then fill in as much detail as possible, and the tool generates the markup code to copy into your web page.
You can use JSON-LD to:
- Generate Schema’s structured data markup.
- Test the markup before implementing it on your site.
Editor’s Note: Always remember to test your schema markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check the code was generated and implemented correctly.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that provides advice directly from Google. Aside from cross-checking technical issues and recommendations, it’s also helpful with local search queries.
You can use Google Search Console to:
- Check what local search terms generated traffic.
- Find potential new local search terms to target.
- Discover which combinations of keywords plus local modifiers are working.
- Check which local search keywords, such as service + location, are working.
- Review average ranking positions and CTR data to see which local pages can be optimized.
GeoImgr is a simple web tool for geo-tagging photos. Although .jpg photos can contain geo-location information saved in the EXIF header of the image file, GeoImgr lets you geotag them with new coordinates.
You can use GeoImgr to:
- Find the location where a photo was taken.
- Geotag images to improve the search engine ranking for location-specific websites and businesses.
- Bulk upload and geotag photos of field inspections.
- Watch the quick explainer video.
Price: GeoImgr has a limited free plan and a paid plan:
Surfer SEO analyzes over 500 on-page signals in one sweep and gives you an easy-to-follow recipe for achieving higher rankings. It’s a quick yet extremely accurate way to get data-driven advice to help your content rank faster.
You can use Surfer SEO to:
- Analyze the SERPs and find data-driven insights for content optimization.
- Use the Content Editor to quickly create SEO-driven briefs for writers.
- Reverse-engineer content to find new topic-related keywords and questions, including country-specific suggestions.
- Use the free Keyword Surfer chrome extension to find hundreds of new keyword ideas directly in the SERP, along with search volume and related terms.
Price: Surfer SEO starts at $59/month for a basic plan (or start 7-day trial for $1):
59 Experts Rank Best Local SEO Tools for 2020 (and How to Use Them)
That’s a quick overview of the top local SEO tools. Now it’s time to learn how the experts are using each tool to improve local search performance.
BrightLocal – My go to for citation building.
ReviewInc – Reputation management and review collection platform.
Jsonld.com – Structured data creation tool.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool – I use this tool to test and customize JSON-LD Structured Data.
GeoImgr – Tool to title and Geotag images for Google My Business.
Google URL Builder – This tool allows me to add campaign parameters to URLs so I can track GMB referral traffic in Google Analytics.
SEMrush – Local rank tracking and reporting.
LocalFalcon – Google Map scans and centroid visibility assessment.
Ahrefs – Research & Analysis (competition, keywords, links, Domain Rating, etc).
Snagit – Screenshot & capture program.
BrightLocal is a powerful tool that offers a variety of features including a ranking tracker, citation monitoring, review management & generation, as well as white-label reporting. I primarily use BrightLocal to monitor directories and citations for clients as well as manage their online reputation.
Synup is another tool that I use almost daily. In addition to offering citation management with an easy-to-use dashboard, Synup also has the ability to launch review generation campaigns both via email as well as SMS (text messages). This allows me to quickly stay on top of changes in business information, as well as regularly get more reviews for the clients I work with.
I use SEMrush more than most other SEO tools. Although SEMrush is not exclusive to local SEO, it is a powerhouse when utilized for competitor research.
SEMrush offers the ability to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for as well as their backlink profile. I also use the tool to track important keywords for every client I work with. This tracks our success within a local market and shows how a client is performing in search engines.
We use a few tools to drive growth for our local clients which include:
BrightLocal — To audit, fix and build accurate and consistent citations across aggregators and Tier 1 & 2 citation directories
GatherUp + Client’s Calendar Scheduler/CRM — Consistent and high rated reviews are key to a successful local SEO strategy. A lot of our clients are busy running their business and aren’t consistent with soliciting reviews on their GMB profile and other 3rd party platforms (e.g. Facebook, Yelp, FourSquare, YP).
Which is why we leverage GatherUp’s extensive API to hook into a client’s appointment scheduling software (e.g. Acuity Scheduling) or CRM (e.g. PipeDrive or SalesForce) to programmatically solicit and collect review.
We also use GatherUp for monitoring GMB profiles.
Google’s GMB Post API + Google Sheets — We’ve built an in-house tool on top of Google Sheets that allows us to bulk schedule Google Posts across all of our client’s GMB profiles.
It doesn’t really matter how big of a business you are when it comes to working on your local SEO strategies. For your brand to not show up when your targeted keyword is entered in a specific location, is a shame. I have been working on my local SEO efforts for a while now, and have found some tools that are of great help. Here’s a list:
1. Moz Local: Since I began using Moz Local, I have seen that there has been a boost in my local visibility, and there is consistency when it comes to my business listings. They keep track of your ratings and reviews from various sites and even ensure that your listings are updated in real-time.
2. SEMrush Listing Management Tool: The tool that was developed in collaboration with Yext, ensures that you are able to update all of your information in a go and then have it published wherever the people are carrying out their searches. You may use it as your personalized central dashboard. It has helped my business a lot.
3. SEOprofiler: This is one of the best tools that I have come across in a while. Website optimization, identification of bad links, website auditing, and even link disinfection is possible with this fantastic tool.
Each tool has its benefits, and all of them can have an impact on your local SEO in a positive way.
Whitespark: I love Whitespark for their visual rank tracking and their citation finder. It really makes you more efficient at your job when you can find the best citations and link sources in your niche and area.
BrightLocal: I use Brightlocal for their suite of tools and one that I find handy for everyday use is their free location rank search results checker. Being able to quickly see what the 3 pack or organic search results look like as if I’m standing in my client’s city is super useful.
LocalFalcon / DBA Platform: Local Falcon was bought out by DBA Platform but I like them both and have been using them for some time. Local Falcon enables me to quickly understand how well of a presence my clients have for a keyword across a large geographic area.
Since we know that proximity affects rankings, this really helps me visualize where I need to focus next. The other DBA Platform tools such as post scheduling are big time savers as well.
We work in the Local SEO space so the tools we work with are ones that would help both on the organic side & with the 3-pack.
Rank Tracking: BrightLocal, Local Falcon, PlacesScout. Each tool offers unique features.
BrightLocal is our default because they include screenshots of the SERPs. Places Scout is great because it allows you to scan the same keyword from multiple zip codes and the Local Falcon is really great for seeing ranking on a hyper-local level which is necessary for industries like dentists or restaurants.
I also use the GS Location Changer Chrome Extension in an incognito browser to spot check rankings myself to make sure I can replicate what the tools show.
Backlinks: Moz & Ahrefs. Whitespark also has a great citation finder tool.
GatherUp: Review monitoring & collection.
Whitespark – We use the Local Citation Finder quite a lot to determine competitive gaps in citations. This work helps boost branding, organic, and maps rankings.
Website Auditor – SEO Powersuite’s Website Auditor is a great tool for smaller sites to help get a handle on technical fixes that need to be applied. Since its software, it’s easy to fire up and run as many runs as you’d like. Again, though, its better for smaller sites in my opinion.
Sitebulb – As the sites get bigger, this tool is great for technical audits as well. I prefer the reporting and layout this tool provides but it lacks some editing features Website Auditor has.
SerpWoo – Though it’s not a rank tracker, it’s a great tool to monitor the SERP results for your clients. They have some new reporting features in place that will make your life easier. They also have a tag system in place that will help you with brand ORM.
I’ll get a little hate from the SEO noobs out there, but Yext is one of our go-to tools. The reason it gets a lot of scrutiny is because of its subscription-based pricing. I would argue that the subscription is actually a benefit, because it allows Yext to continually innovate and improve their service through predictable cash flow. This means new publishers on an ongoing basis.
At the time of this writing, there are over 140 publishers and the list is growing. This is a tremendous advantage: when I want to optimize local ranking to improve prominence, I have 140 properties at my disposal, rather than working on a 1:1 basis. I can add videos, staff bios, services, hours, update phone numbers, etc. from one central location.
Because it takes advantage of an API, these changes are reflected almost instantaneously. Additionally, I’ve split-tested manual submissions vs. submitting to Yext. Many of the sites in Yext’s network are paid directories.
When you combine labor costs and the directories’ own fees, Yext’s annual subscription is very appealing. The noobs can continue to whine about the ongoing subscription while I’ll continue to outperform.
For local SEO, you have to start with Google My Business. In my opinion, GMB optimization is the most important task for local businesses. With the introduction of posts, offers, services and products, there is a lot more to manage. Google has done a great job of creating a tool that non-technical users can learn.
Another important tool is BrightLocal. Not only can you track your local rankings, but they have a great citation building tool. The advantage of their citation tool is that these citations are permanent and do not revert when you quit BrightLocal (unlike other citation management tools).
For review building, I prefer GatherUp. Their executives have a local SEO background and their product has made a lot of improvements since they launched. I’m a huge fan of the Google Q&A management feature, as well as the review pop-up, which you can install on the client’s site.
BrightLocal is my favorite tool for building local citations. It makes the process easy, and it has tracking tools so I can see how our clients are performing in their local markets.
I also really love taking advantage of Google My Business by making sure profiles are optimized and posting regularly. I firmly believe if you give Google love it will love you back!
My go-to tool is Ahrefs because historically, it has been proven to be the most consistently reliable authority metric. We’ve found that Ahref’s link index seems to be more in-depth than other tools we’ve used. Because of this, it’s extremely useful in helping us gauge the potential payoff and whether or not it’s worth our time & effort to pursue link acquisition efforts for our clients from websites we’ve identified potential opportunities with.
We also like Ahrefs for its in-depth link analysis features, batch analysis feature, keyword performance, link gap and content gap feature.
Bright local is a tool with various features. We mostly use them for local rank tracking/monitoring. We find their tracking metrics to be very accurate and their platform allows us to monitor a large number of clients across the U.S. through everything from algorithm updates to “Google Tests” as they try new products in select markets.
Bright Local allows us to stay proactive and agile when it comes to online strategies for our clients, and see what tactics are actually working.
GatherUp allows us to monitor reviews across all our clients as an agency. It is a great way to stay on top of positive and negative reviews that come up. It really helps with discovery and then allows us to build the right messaging (with the clients input) on how to respond to all the reviews coming in. It is a solid platform to help clients build a process around review gathering. Getting reviews HAS to be part of everyone digital marketing strategies today, and GatherUp is a great way to accomplish this.
SEMrush allows us to dive deep into what is going on with clients sites. We can watch for brand mentions, get ideas for keywords and backlinks based on competitor analysis, compare rankings, scan for on-page issues that may arise, and find possible FAQs to help with ideas for relevant content expansion.
It is one tool that allows us to do a lot without having to jump around from tool to tool.
One of my favorite tools is https://thrivehive.com/grader/. It’s a really useful tool that looks through a Google My Business profile to find opportunities for improvement.
Another great tool is BrightLocal’s Search Results Checker which allows you to view the SERPs from different locations.
And GatherUp is definitely highly recommended as a review platform for local.
We use Local Falcon to get a better sense of where our clients rank geographically within Google maps. This is especially useful when clients mention they don’t see their maps showing up. We can use the data from Local Falcon to help visualize and communicate how local maps and their ranking are location independent.
Local Citation Finder
Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder is a tool we have been using for years now. It’s one of the best and most cost-effective ways to discover and manage local citation opportunities.
Whitespark Google Review Link Generator
We utilize White Sparks Google Review Link Generator to created shortcuts links to our clients Google my businesses review page and then outline an email template they can use when requesting customer feedback. This simplifies the process for everyone and makes it easier for them to both request and obtain customer reviews.
Linking to a Google Maps Directions URL
While not specifically a tool, we use a few processes to help our clients rank better in local search. The first recommendation is to have them hyperlink their address field in their email signatures, email newsletters, and on their website so they all point to a Google search URL for driving direction as apposes to pointing to their contact page.
The location address: 4249 E Pratt Ave Suite B, Spokane, WA 99202
Links to: https://www.google.com/search?q=enleaf+directions&oq=enleaf+directions&aqs=chrome..69i57.4084j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#
Doing this means that any time someone clicks on the address they are triggering driving directions and impacting local maps signals.
Sponsorship Linking Partner Search
Another tool, or tactic, we use when looking for local link opportunities is utilizing Google search operators. We’ve listed some of those operators below. Usually, we can find a healthy list of organizations we can sponsor on our clients’ behalf in exchange for a reference to their site.
[city Name] inurl:sponsors
[city Name] intitle:sponsors
[city Name] intitle:donors
[city Name] intitle:sponsorship
I assume others will provide you with a list of all of the industrial strength local SEO tools. I’d like to add a small tool that can be a big time-saver – NAP Hunter.
NAP Hunter is a free Chrome extension that makes it fast and easy to find wayward citations indexed in Google.
The first is extremely helpful in building out our local data as specifically as possible. The second is something we implement sparingly and use it mainly to drive rankings within the map pack where we see correlation between how Web 2.0 recommends in their guide, and map rankings for clients.
We use a lot of the same tools for local SEO that we use for all other SEO efforts – things like Ahrefs for competitor backlink analysis, broken links, etc.
Local SEO specific tools we use are BrightLocal for citation audits, cleanups, and citation building. We also use “I Search From” to perform location-specific searches, and Serpbook which has location-specific rank tracking for local listings.
Citations: We use Bright Local or Whitespark depending on the client region.
Keyword Rankings: we use SEMrush.
STAT– It is a search tracking and analytics tool. You can get an accurate view of local organic search landscape by market/city/zip code for specific keywords.
Places Scout- You’re able to get very detailed information on local pack, local finder rankings, as well as organic, by market/city/zip code for specific keywords. You are also able to gather reviews, citations, and rankings from various platforms to use for analysis.
Whitespark – This is a great tool for building local citations. It can locate the ideal places for you to create local business listings, or building the listings for you if needed.
Local citations are one of the building blocks to achieving good local rankings, and is a step we always utilize.
This is an awesome checklist to ensure that you have a site locked down from a local perspective. If you can check everything off in this checklist, you are set!
Google Keyword Planner – This can help you get search volume for local areas by changing the geo filter at the top of the tool. It’s important to get that granular in your keyword research to ensure you are targeting the correct terms for the client since only local traffic will be qualified most of the time.
Moz Citation Checker – This is a good tool to ensure that you have a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number across all of the major sources.
Moz Local – A great tool to find local citation building opportunities and duplicate listings. Something that local businesses to should be on top of.
Google My Business – You’d like to think that every business owner has their GMB profile claimed and fully optimized but its not always the case.
Make sure that that your GMB profile is 100% completed.
BrightLocal is my go to tool. With it I can identify incorrect citations, have them corrected and have key new ones added at a very low price. They also submit to all the major aggregators for a discount.
When it comes to tracking local rankings, AgencyAnalytics has been very helpful. I also have been really loving a new tool I was recently introduced to called LocalFalcon. It lets me visually see how I am going to show in Google’s map packs given a certain search location and keyword.
Ranking Academy owner, Luc Durand, does a great job in this video (https://youtu.be/Ek88S-gGJ6s) explaining how this works, along with a great hack to kick competitors out of the map pack when they are breaking Google guidelines.
SEMrush and Yext.
They both do basically the same thing – create 100 +/- local directories from one, centralized listing. A connection exists between the one listing and the local directories so that if you change any of the data (phone, hours of operation, etc.) that change is automatically syndicated to all of the directory accounts. It keeps all of the local listings accurate and consistent.
My go to tools at the moment are Bright Local, Rank Tracker from SEO Powersuite and Contentstudio.
With BrightLocal, I can easily find missing and incorrect citations, do some basic competitor research, track GMB insights, help clients with review generation, track rankings and provide client reporting all under one roof. It’s not perfect, but for the price it’s a great value.
Rank Tracker from SEO Powersuite allows me to track local rankings in Google Maps for multiple zip codes, cities, counties all at once, which is far more valuable than just seeing ranking results in your client’s home zip code.
Contentstudio is now used with every local SEO project because of the simplicity of publishing posts on GMB. A lot more tools do this now, Hootsuite just started, but this wasn’t the case a very short time ago.
With simple automation tools I can “spin” multiple versions of a post and automatically schedule them to publish via Google API so there is always a fresh new post on my client’s GMB, which I do find valuable in helping to rank in maps.
We use a lot of great tools that many people already know of like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, and Majestic for various research, audit, planning, and tracking activities.
However, you probably already know about all of them! So here are a few of the lesser-known tools we use and why we love them.
Entity Explorer is an awesome free tool that helps us decipher the entities that a search engine might consider connected to your target topics. We love to keep it open just for reference when doing our initial keyword research, page planning, and content upgrades for clients.
Question DB is another free tool we love to use when planning new pages or content upgrades. It helps further understand the intent of keywords and quickly identify potential FAQs to use on new pages.
GeoImgr is an easy to use, free tool that’s useful if you implement any strategies that require location coordinates written into image EXIF data. We currently only use this tool to geoTag images taken at or around a client’s business using cameras that do not already write location data on their own.
For a majority of our clients, local search is of secondary importance, as they do not have retail locations (software, manufacturers, etc.). For the remaining clients with one or more retail locations, we rely primarily on Moz Local to help optimize and manage listings.
In the past, we’ve used platforms like Whitespark, BrightLocal and Yext to help manage and monitor listings, citations and reviews, but the cost is prohibitive for many clients and they tend to be overbuilt for many business’ needs.The primary reason we’ve stuck with Moz is they offer a much more robust suite of products we need for our SEO efforts, which is a much larger component of our service offering.
Google My Business
Works great to get businesses listed geographically for a specific industry or customer need. By optimizing your google listing, you gain an advantage over your competition through more exposure, better brand awareness, and faster/easier customer experiences.
This tool helps to generate better, and more, reviews online. More reviews equals higher SEO rank, so we focus on generating as many as possible thought this automated tool. It also helps post those reviews on Facebook so more people see the great customer stories.
SEO Ultimate Pro
This is a robust tool for onsite SEO. It gives me the ability to build a site with proper SEO structure from the ground up. Its also much less intrusive than other plugins.
We use several different tools depending on the client, so I’ll only mention the ones I’d “go-to” first if I quickly had to diagnose an issue, find opportunities or see if we can help a client.
Believe it or not, Google has always been the first tool I use when first assessing a client’s online presence. Using the business name or a Healthcare professionals name Google will quickly tell me if a client or potential client has issues with their GMB page, if they’re using GMB and all of it’s options, if they have reviews (on several sites), if they are listed on influential directories/platforms for their industry i.e. Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vitals.com, Healthgrades.com, avvo.com, superlawyers.com, law.com, etc.
It’s an amazingly quick way to view a client’s information, reviews and profiles. It’s an easy way to quickly look for NAP issues, category issues, profile deficiencies, profile optimization issues… the list goes on.
Obviously, Google My Business is an important tool.
Outside of Google’s tools, we also use BrightLocal to track profile issues and easily spot weaknesses, errors and opportunities. BrightLocal does manual submissions to many of the most important general directories, which allows us to go in to each profile and further optimize them as needed.
Each platform allows different options and we’ve found that more than a couple of the services that use API’s to sync information are not reliable (if I’m being nice). In addition to BrightLocal’s citation tracker tool, they have a suite of tools that are extremely useful: competitor citations, reputation monitoring, keyword ranking, social activity, reporting for many things directly related to Local SEO (Location Summary), and they have tools for lead generation or information gathering.
BrightLocal is a pretty good tool for running local SEO campaigns if you know the tool’s weaknesses and use it’s strengths to their full potential. If needed, we use whitespark to find citations that aren’t well-known i.e. local/niche specific citations and directory opportunities and sometimes we use them to quickly add/fix issues with profiles outside of BrightLocal’s wheelhouse.
In relation to a quick snapshot of our most often used tools the aforementioned tools do the job but it’s silly to ignore Bing Places because if you’re managing a lot of verified locations, Bing will let you import them, review the work, and in most cases if Google verified the business, Bing Places does it immediately.
For anyone reading that isn’t well versed in Local SEO it’s important to mention onsite optimization and schema. We have our schema built out and categorized, but we are always updating them. A good tool to get started with schema (JSON-LD of course) is Hall Analysis, and of course you want to check the schema using Google’s structured data testing tool.
BrightLocal is a great tool we use for managing local listing cleanup and maintenance. We are able to manage the directories for hundreds of clients in one central place and keep them all consistent. They also offer great reporting for this.
Because we are a dental marketing agency, local SEO is extremely important for our clients. Dental practices rely on location-based searches. BrightLocal makes it easy and convenient for our agency to keep these listings accurate. Consistent and up-to-date directory information is vital for driving traffic and increasing conversions for each of our clients.
WebCEO and Screaming Frog are our go-to tools for managing SEO audits. WebCEO really breaks down which areas of a website need improvement for optimal SEO performance. With Screaming Frog, we are able to get a full crawl of our sites. Performing extensive SEO audits for our clients allows us to make effective local SEO updates to all aspects of a site.
We use a variety of tools, but probably the ones used most are Mangools and SEMrush.
SEMrush because it’s so comprehensive, and it’s great for in-depth research. But, sometimes when you’re talking to a potential client, you need a quicker picture and Mangools is great for that.
There’s a lot of useful tools for local but only a handful that I use on a daily basis – BrightLocal is one of them.
Although citations are relatively less impactful as a ranking factor, having core citations completed with good NAP consistency is still fundamental to local search success. The Citation Builder makes it easy to review your citations at a glance, fix inconsistencies, and acquire missing citation opportunities.
Local SEO’s with clients in multiple cities can leverage the free local search results checker to emulate search results based on the client’s actual location – even down to the postal code. This is invaluable for more accurate SERP analysis to see who’s ranking well and which SERP features are being displayed in a particular area.
Lastly, the rankings checker breaks down positions for organic, local pack/finder, maps, and mobile for a fairly comprehensive snapshot of visibility and opportunity areas.
1) Ahrefs. We found Ahrefs to be an outstanding tool for link building. Their batch analysis tool allows you to enter up to 200 links each time and it provides extensive data on each link. DR and UR rating is so helpful in analyzing backlinks and choosing the best page on the potential domain to build.
We also use ahrefs to estimate traffic and domain authority for client websites if we don’t have access to Google tools for that domain yet. It helps analyze competition in all organic traffic, keywords and link building status.
We also usually pay attention to the traffic value that helps us understand which direction we are moving on the content development (commercial vs informational traffic).
2) SEO Power Suite. We have started with these tools and found them so great because of how affordable they are. We mostly use Rank Tracker and Website Auditor but Seo SpyGlass can be also helpful for some of the projects.
– Website Auditor is the first program we go to at the beginning of the project, while the website is still in development. It helps A LOT with technical SEO and internal link building to make sure your structure is correct and on page SEO is in the good shape.
– We use Rank Tracker throughout the project to daily analize positions in all the search engines and all locations we are interested in. It is the first program that shows the drops or increases in the positions. Any changes are very visible which allows us to pay close attention to what is going on.
BrightLocal for Citations
I think BrightLocal has put together one of the best suite of tools for a local small business, beginning with its Citation Builder. The Citation Builder allows local businesses to easily and cost-effectively create online business listings in up to 100 directories and niche sites.
Unlike its biggest competitors, Yext or Moz Local, which have ongoing price commitments, with BrightLocal you only pay once per citation. Our average order is $152 per business location, which is still less than one year of Yext ($499) or Moz Local ($199). I also like the control you have with BrightLocal’s Citation Builder to hand-pick your listings. You have the ability to select every directory and niche site individually as you see fit. And the best part is each citation is created manually by real people, not pushed out via an API integration.
This process is more time consuming, but the results are listings that you can control ongoing (they provide login credentials for most) and that will stay up forever. BrightLocal also has some great SEO tracking and reporting tools which are great for small businesses or agencies.
GatherUp for Reputation Management
I’ve gone through several reputation management tools over the years due to features and price. There seem to be new ones arriving on the scene and correspondingly going-out-of-business almost monthly. I’ve landed on GatherUp.
Online reviews are a huge part of the customer journey, and more importantly, your local Google rankings. GatherUp is a tool that easily allows you to ask your customers to leave feedback and review your business online through an easy-to-set-up funnel that includes emails and/or text messages. The cost might be the most attractive part at only $75 per location (and even better pricing for agencies, including the added benefit of only paying per location, rather than having to buy a minimum number of seats).Keywords Everywhere
When it comes to keyword research, I keep it stupidly simple with a combination of Google autocomplete, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and Keywords Everywhere.
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that displays monthly search volume, cost-per-click (CPC), competition, and related keywords directly in Google, YouTube, Bing, and Amazon search results.
While this tool is not as robust of some, it is easy to use, saves a ton of time, and the price is right. I purchased 100,000 credits for $10 over 4 months ago and still have over 80K credits left.
1. SEMrush – it is powerful keyword research tool. You can also check if any product has a potential in other markets (f.ex. we recently discovered that in Germany people often search garage gates adding “aus Polen” – “from Poland” to the keyword). SEMrush can show you also direct competitors at any market.
2. Schema for Local SEO – structured data help the search engine to understand what elements a given website contains. Therefore, in case of local SEO, it is worth to mark the contact data with structural data, so that search engines can classify the website as local.
3. NAP for link building strategy – this is not a specific tool, but an element of the strategy we use in local positioning and link building strategy. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. These elements should be taken care of not only on your website, but you should also remember about them when linking from other places in the network.
KWFinder: we use this to help us get localized keyword data/search volumes/cpc. We used to regularly use Google’s Keyword tool but as you know they continually limited the amount of data you received (if you received anything at all). So we went on a search for a tool that would provide localized search volume data.
Most of the tools that give search volume are only really good for national volumes, but we’ve found KWFinder is a great tool for drilling down to a local level. This tool allows us to really focus on the best local terms for our clients so we’re optimizing their sites for and targeting the correct terms their customers and potential customers are searching for.
As with every tool there are a couple drawbacks though:
The SERP tool (which details who is ranking and where for a term) is only pulling organic results — it would be a home run if it pulled in maps data as well.
Search by Domain function allows you to put a competitor in and see their ranking keywords — but it’s also only really useful for national/organic rankings (you cannot change the location except at a country level on this part of the tool).
This is common with virtually all the tools we know of though.
By the far best tool is SERP Pro.
We manage 50+ campaigns in it seamlessly. No more spreadsheets. No more separate PBN software. No more separate rank tracker. Its all done in one area, and easily collaborative between your team. It consolidates all your tools into one and makes managing SEO unimaginably easier.
Yext pushes your business information to the major local listings sites. This saves time because you don’t have to manually login to each site to ensure accuracy. Also, you can manage online reviews with Yext.
With BrightEdge, you can monitor local search rankings and follow new search features. This makes it easy to follow search visibility for clients and their competitors.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool: This tool comes in handy when you need to create schema markup for local businesses.
Google My Business, Google Search Console and Ahrefs.
Google My Business is critical for any brick and mortar company. Without a claimed and optimized GMB listing, companies will be essentially a black hole in local search. It’s also important to ensure all major directory sites and those in your niche exactly match the information on the GMB page.
Further, include an embedded Google Map on your contact page and the exact name, address and phone number (NAP) info from the Google My Business Listing on your website’s contact page. If it’s a single location business, the NAP can be in the footer as well.
For multi location businesses, create a page for each location. These pages should have an embedded Google map for it’s location and the NAP info from it’s corresponding Google listing.
Further, each location page (or the website as a whole for single location/single market businesses) should be optimized for local search. This is where Ahrefs comes in. You can use Ahrefs to research local search terms in your niche. Plus, you can explore competitors websites to see what terms they rank for. This gives you an opportunity to steal their search traffic.
Finally, Google Search Console brings it all together and shows what local search terms actually brought traffic to the site. It also shows insights about what possible new terms you’re appearing for in search, which might be an opportunity for new content.
I am not a huge fan of SEO tools. Maybe I am just old school but I tend to believe you can use Google for almost everything SEO related. I really feel that before folks pony up for a tool they should really get to grips with Google and advanced search operators.
Want to know what sites rank for your keywords? Google it? Want to identify potential citations, directories or portals that your customers may visit? Google it. Want to know who ranks so you can study them? Google it.
Using this Google first approach you can get answers direct from the search engine rather than from other sources that are attempting to understand what the search engine is doing.
You can also utilize free tools from Google like Search Console to get recommended technical suggestions if that side of things needs work. Again, a free tool that provides advice direct from Google.
An honorable mention here would be Bright Local. We do use this tool for local rank tracking, review tracking and automating a few other jobs that helps us as an agency.
Ahrefs is currently my favorite tool due to the quality of data available and keyword tool.
Years ago, one of our biggest challenges was attribution – more specifically, understanding what campaigns were driving phone calls. To solve this problem, we started using CallRail, and I’d consider it one of the most important local SEO tools we use.
Once you’ve installed a script on your website and reserved a small pool of local area service numbers, you’ll have access to reports on who is calling and from what source. The script also integrates with Google Analytics and reports calls as events which can then be set up as goals.
You can take it a step further and reserve a separate number for your Google My Business profile for additional insight on your GMB profile performance.
Having data on all desired visitor interactions not only helps show the full value of our local SEO campaigns, but helps our team be more strategic by understanding what channels act as touch points and the typical path-to-purchase.
Google Trends – used to determine traffic volumes of keywords with local modifiers.
Google Search Console – used to determine what keywords with local modifiers I’m generating impressions for.
Keywords Everywhere – when I search a keyword that is locally based, the tool suggests related keywords and provides keyword volume.
Google Search Console – with local SEO, often the keywords the client wants to rank for is the service they provide + the location they perform it in – and there are some variations of this that are always the variations that drive 80% of the traffic.
Search Console allows me to see which variation is working the best and “double down” on improving the ranking of that keyword.
Sitebulb, Bright Local, and Ahrefs.
Sitebulb provides comprehensive website audits and allows junior analysts to easily prioritize technical SEO fixes. Sitebulb also allows us to identify pages that haven’t received any organic search traffic over a given time-frame (usually 12 months) and noindex/remove those pages or add them to the queue for improvements.
Bright Local provides a great overview of where a client stands with their citations, local rankings, and GMB optimization. Their citation tool is also a great way to find link opportunities on niche/industry-specific websites. We’re able to use this to put together a list of actionable items our team can execute that directly impact local search rankings.
We use Ahrefs for evaluating competitors’ link profile and content footprint. Their link intersect and content map tools allow us to identify low-hanging fruit on the links side of things and we’re able to quickly put together a content plan with the gap analysis.
My favorite Local SEO tool is the BrightLocal Search Results Checker.
It allows you to view the search results for a term searched in any other location. This used to be possible within Google but then removed that feature. So if you are working with a client in a different city or country, this tool allows you to search as if you are local to that area and see what the search results look like.
Mobile Moxie is great for viewing SERPs from different locations on mobile, so it’s great for local SEO.
Google My Business itself is a powerful tool a lot of people don’t take full advantage of. Lately, I have been advising clients to use posts, answer questions, and embrace just about any new feature GMB rolls out.
The new Moz Local Market Analytics tool has proved to be handy on at least one occasion allowing you to track a set of keywords across a wide number of markets, and display that data in a cool map.
Lastly, love them or hate them, I use Yext for most of my local search clients. Are their cheaper ways to create one-off listings. Sure, but Yext gets the job done fast, and saves us a ton of time. There are some other great features too beyond time savings.
AccuRanker – The quickest ranking tracking tool on the market. If you’re trying to figure out keyword rankings and don’t have much time, this tool will show you within minutes and not hours.
Serpstat- Full stack SEO tool that shows your on page SEO, your local rankings and what you’re ranking for. Provides keyword research and suggestions.
Morning score – full stack SEO tool that shows rankings, backlinks, on page SEO, and keyword research.These tools have helped me tremendously in driving results for our clients. It allow us to find good keywords to target and spy on our competition.
These tools provided information such as, are we doing our SEO right? how are our clients doing? Is there any traffic generation?
Bright Local I love to use for Citations no one likes creating them or updating them.
I use it on all my project local right up to large scale international sites.
Google Tag Manager
I use this not just for analytics but also for Structured data this is a great way of updating that information to the search engines as there is no need to factor in dev time.
I use this for all of my clients it is great for monitoring not just page speed but also if there have been any changes without you knowing as you will typically see a change in speed or number of requests being made to the web page.
SEMrush I use this for all my clients it covers everything from site audits and backlink management to keywords research and competitor analysis
Now we get to a fairly new tool I have been using a bit lately that I like Local falcon it is great for understanding where your GMB listings are showing up in your local area.
I use Ahrefs for local keyword and competitor research. Using the Keywords Explorer tool I can get a quick idea of which keywords are most valuable to target. The clickstream data that they leverage provides insight into which keywords are most likely to result in higher organic click through rates.
I’ll also use Ahrefs to analyse competitor backlinks, anchor text and link relevance.
For on-page optimization I use a combination of the SEOQuake Chrome extension and PageOptimizer Pro. These tools are great for assessing page content and HTML. I use these tools to help reverse-engineer Google’s results and understand why Google is listing the current pages at the top which then feeds into my own optimizations.
For reporting, I love the combination of Search Console and Data Studio. Search Console is an incredible, free source of information provided by Google. Connecting it to Data Studio allows me to segment and visualize the data in creative ways which helps me spot opportunities and trends and send easy-to-understand reports to clients.
My eyes – honestly with all the changes, especially the new featured snippet debacle, the best tool you can use is to look at the SERPs yourself, for where you or your client would like to appear. For what keywords that will bring you traffic, money, brand awareness of a combo of all free.
One of our go-to’s is Surfer SEO. This simple tool saves our team huge amounts of time when we first onboard a local client. It uses a data-driven model that takes on-page SEO to another level.
BrightLocal – Our team uses Brightlocal regularly to create new citations but also track citations to make sure the information is accurate. Even after you’ve claimed and fixed a citation, it can revert back so you need to keep an eye on them!
At Hawke Media, we use Brightedge as our main SEO tool. It is an all-in-one, enterprise-level SEO tool that enables us to track organic ranking, competitive analysis, keyword research, and SEO audit. We also automate our reporting process by utilizing Brightedge dashboards.
Besides Brightedge, we also complement our SEO analysis with Ahrefs and SEMrush.
I love BrightLocal for local SEO client reporting as it covers relevant metrics like: Reputation Management, Rankings (including accurate local pack rankings), Analytics Overview, Local Citations, and Google My Business metrics. You can also build citations with this tool.
Measuring results is critical to know if Local SEO is working. Google’s Campaign URL Builder allows a marketer to append a url with tracking information to distinguish the organic traffic coming from Google.
By including an appended URL on local profiles like Google My Business, you are able to determine how many users are actually clicking through to your website from a profile – as opposed to discovering your site through an organic search result.
We use WhiteSpark as a starting point to build out citations for our clients. This helps us lay the groundwork that we need when starting a local SEO campaign.
Ahrefs – We firmly believe that building a high-quality backlink profile dramatically improves local SEO. That’s why we spend a lot of time deconstructing the best ranking sites. We start by building a list of the all the high-quality links they have acquired. We then set out to build those links for our clients and add more.
Bonus tip: We research the local chamber of commerce sites. Every market has at least 2 – 3 different chambers (and large cities have 20+ different chamber opportunities). This is an expensive tactic. But if your client has the resources, we believe that getting our client listed in the local chambers helps to improve their local SEO efforts.
SEMrush to track the organic search rankings across agency clients. Ahrefs to monitor links and estimated organic traffic activity. Google Search Console and Google Analytics for monitoring traffic and site data.
For example, we often connect our clients CRM (or Shopify if it’s e-commerce), Google Analytics, and SEMrush to help our clients plot revenue against average position data (gathered via SEMrush). These create engaging conversations about client re: content and outreach activities and help everyone on both teams understand the impact on revenue.
Which Local SEO Tools Are You Going to Try in 2020?
There you have it – 59 SEO experts revealed the best tools to perform local SEO for your business and/or clients.
Here is a list of the best local SEO tools (by vote count):
#1. BrightLocal (24 votes) [Free 14-day trial]
#2. SEMrush [Free 30-day trial] and Ahrefs (12 votes)
#3. Whitespark (9 votes)
#4. GatherUp (8 votes)
#5. Yext (7 votes)
#6. Moz Local and Search Console (6 votes)
#7. LocalFalcon (5 votes)
#8. J-SON Schema Generator (4 votes)
#9. GeoImgr, SEO Powersuite and BrightEdge (3 votes)
#10. PlacesScout, Mangools and Sitebulb (2 votes)
Which tools are you using? Any that we missed? Any new ones you’re going to try?
Let us know in the comments below.