While online markets continue to grow, there is no arguing that the true heart and soul of the international economy still rests on the back of local brick and mortar businesses.
If you’re currently running a brick and mortar business, though, you know that you can’t continue to compete on a purely physical level. Local consumers are relying more and more on web based information to make decisions on products and services and it often seems that the business with the largest online footprint is the one that succeeds.
As you toil away trying to make sure your day-to-day operations are running properly, as you push to provide a better product or service than your competitor, as you aim to ensure that each and every one of your customers or clients have the best experience possible, you might not be able to shake the feeling that you could be doing more – more to help people find your business. The problem, of course, is that you only have so many hours in a day.
While many business owners think that it’s impossible to run a business while maximizing one’s own local SEO footprint, the truth is that most business owners just need the right help.
If you’re willing to put in 20 – 30 minutes a day, you can take advantage of local SEO tools like the ones we’ll list below to inch your website to the top of Google’s search results pages and get ahead of your competition.
Local SEO Tools
Tools that can help you compete on an SEO front typically fall into a few different categories. They’ll allow you to not only generally enhance the utility of your website, but also target your potential local customers through various marketing efforts.
These tools can be used for everything from reputation management to coordinating your social media, creating a well rounded and natural campaign that will give your website a chance when competing online.
SEO Software Programs
These programs are the total package – they don’t just help with local SEO, but help you with all of your search engine optimization needs. While you might not need all the tools with which these programs provide you, taking a look at what they can offer you is a sure-fire way to improve the visibility of your website.
Taking the time to optimize your entire SEO approach is the first step towards having a better local SEO presence.
Website Rocket is a fantastic, easy-to-follow SEO tool that breaks the process of search engine optimization into a series of daily tasks.
While it’s a bit basic for those who already have a great deal of SEO experience, it’s a perfect tool for those who need a little bit of guidance. With a little time, Website Rocket will train you to incorporate SEO tasks into your daily routine and allow you to master the process at your own pace.
No time for SEO? Why not automate the process? SEOSamba will help you to create a “turnkey” website that’s not only customized, but that’s actually responsive to your customers.
While it won’t teach you much about SEO works, it’s a great platform for those who simply don’t have the time to invest in SEO on their own. It’s not quite as useful as having an SEO professional work for you, but it’s still a great way to get a perfectly optimized website.
If you’re concerned with local SEO, your primary goal should be managing your location.
This is the heart and soul of the process, allowing people to figure out how they can get to your brick and mortar location and spend money. These services help you to better communicate information about your location, hours of operation, and other contact information. These are the tools that you use to bridge the gap between your website and your brick and mortar location – and the tools that are going to bring more people through your doors.
Google My Business
At this point, there is honestly no reason to avoid Google My Business.
If you’ve ever searched for a business online and seen the location information pop up immediately, it’s thanks to this fantastic tool. It costs absolutely nothing and takes almost no time to set up – you’re making a huge mistake if you haven’t invested in this product already.
Don’t bother doing anything else with your online marketing until you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing.
At its core, Brandify is a tool that helps you keep all of your location data consistent across multiple locations and platforms. If you have a business with multiple locations, you almost have to make use of this product. You can update schedules, add new information, and administer all of your accounts from a single location with only a few presses of a button.
This program is ideal for those who need to keep things consistent even when they have multiple locations.
Directories are still a huge part of the local SEO scene, especially when those directories have a close relationship to the community in which you operate.
Synup can help you to add your data to hundreds of relevant directories automatically, cutting down on your work while helping you to build up valuable backlinks. While it’s easy to ignore directories, it’s important to remember that they can be an important source of information for your customers.
Synup can play an important role in building exposure for your business.
Another fantastic tool for getting your business’ name out there, Vendasta can help you to get your business into hundreds of directories with relative ease. This isn’t just a service that helps to get you into directories, though – it helps to list you in navigation software and will sync your changes across a number of different platforms.
Vendasta also provides you with a level of protection against changes from third parties that’s generally hard to find, a major bonus for those who have had difficulty with unsavory types in the past.
Reputation Management for local businesses
Your reputation matters, both online and in the real world.
As your business becomes more connected with the internet, you’ll start to subject yourself to many online reviews. While some of these reviews are helpful, you may also find yourself dealing with malicious reviews which are designed to harm your business.
By using these tools, you’ll get a chance to fight back and keep your business’ reputation spotless. Reputation management is not just a process that major businesses need to invest in – it’s a process of which businesses of every size must become aware.
Get Five Stars
One of the major problems with online reputation management is that it is hard to get a great review. It’s not because businesses tend to serve customers poorly, but rather because happy customers rarely tend to go online and exclaim that they’re totally satisfied.
Get Five Stars is a service that helps you get customer feedback easily, evening out the bad reviews by allowing your customers to tell the real story about your business. This helps to ease the burn of single bad reviews and allows you to paint a picture of your business that’s far more accurate.
Review Jump doesn’t just help you to get more customer reviews – it helps to make the review process easy. When your customers have to navigate lengthy, difficult feedback forms, the odds are that they’ll end the process instead of trying to figure out the problems. Review Jump simplifies the review process and makes it far easier for your customers to review your business and give you feedback on how your employees are doing.
If you want to generate more useful feedback, you can start by using Review Jump to make the process friendlier for all who are involved.
Social Media Management
If you aren’t using your social media accounts, you are leaving money on the table. Not only do social media accounts help to bring in a new audience, but they also help to more closely integrate you with your community.
The tools below help you to get the most out of your accounts and transition them from a personal curiosity to a vital part of your marketing strategy. The people who follow your accounts aren’t just data to be mined – they’re the customers who are most likely to visit your business in the future.
Social media is useful, but only if you know what’s actually going on. You’ve probably already seen the embarrassment that occurs when a business tries to jump on a trend after it’s over – and you definitely don’t want that to happen to you. Not only does Hootsuite help you to manage all of your social accounts from a single location, but it also provides you with data that helps you determine the return on investment of certain activities.
Instead of blindly jumping into the social media space, you can use Hootsuite to generate the data that will help you make more profitable decisions.
A huge part of what makes social media special is your ability to interact directly with your customers. Unfortunately, you may not have the time to do so in a meaningful manner.
Fortunately, Sprout Social can help you out by responding to your customers and helping you to solve problems across multiple social media networks, Along with a few great specialized marketing tools and a dashboard that can help you organize everything from a single interface, this program helps you to leverage everything that’s great about social media without taking up more of your valuable time.
Rank Tracking Tools
Now that you have everything up and running, you’ll need to figure out whether your efforts are successful.
A huge part of local SEO is accepting the fact that you can’t do everything at once. Instead of spending too much time on failing efforts, you can concentrate on those areas that are showing the most promise.
These rank tracking tools allow you to not only objectively perceive how you are doing online, but give you a chance to determine if you should start focusing your efforts elsewhere.
RankTrackr takes the stance that analytics should be fast, easy to read, and accurate. Instead of trying to dazzle you with fancy readouts or slick animations.
RankTrackr provides you with everything you need to know about your SEO efficacy at a glance. While there’s nothing particularly flashy about how things are presented, it’s nice to use a program that goes out of its way to make sure that your time isn’t wasted.
This is a service for people who need answers and don’t want to sort through fluff to get to them.
ZoomRank stands out from the pack by giving you access to multiple types of data in a manner that makes sense to even an SEO novice. You won’t just see raw numbers – you’ll get them in a context that will help you make better decisions.
ZoomRank brings together data from mobile searches, social media, local rankings, and several other sources to provide you with both a holistic view of how your campaigns are working and granular views of how you are doing on each individual platform.
If you need access to multiple types of data, ZoomRank can help you.
Sometimes, you just need to know how you are doing in your own area. GeoRanker is the product that helps you figure out what people are searching for in your own area, and it can do so in real time. While it might not provide the same breadth of information that some of the other tools provide, it does go very deep with the numbers it generates.
If you want to keep your focus solely on social SEO, this is one tool that you can’t afford to ignore.
These tools can all help you to maximize your local presence with a minimal amount of time.
You don’t have to dedicate yourself to a second job to be effective at SEO. As with most things in business, your goal should be to work smarter instead of harder – and these tools are definitely for those who want to leverage their intelligence.