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Tools of the Trade
In part one of this series, we discussed how local SEO strategy can affect small businesses. In part two, we highlighted a single industry and explained how local SEO helps the business and consumers as well. If you’re still not convinced how important local SEO is, consider the following statistics.
- 78 percent of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. (HubSpot)
- 18 percent of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day. (Google)
- 50 percent of local mobile searchers are looking for business information like a local address. (Go-Globe)
- 50 percent of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day. (Go-Globe)
It should come as no surprise that there are many tools to help with your local SEO efforts. The list that follows are considered some of the top tools in the industry.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a great place to start implementing your local SEO strategy. It’s well-known Google, it’s free and it makes it easy to manage multiple business location listings. Updating your business listings in Google My Business automatically updates Google Search and Google Maps as well, which streamlines the process of managing listings. Your listings can include detailed business information such as address, phone numbers, email addresses, links to your website, photos of the business, team members and products. Assigning at least one category will help Google understand your business and helps ensure the listing displays the correct information in search results.
Recent data shows that 85 percent of consumers (BrightLocal) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Additionally, the same research shows that 30 percent named responding to reviews as key when judging local businesses. Google My Business helps build loyalty by making it easy to quickly read and respond to your customers’ reviews.
Any business owner who has been around for a while knows there are some questions that get asked and answered a lot. With Google My Business, customers can ask questions within your business listing and then you can pin the frequent questions along with your answers to the top of the listing. This saves you time and , improving the customer experience early in the decision-making process.
Plus, Google provides a free app for your smartphone that allows you to add photos and post updates to Google Maps and Search. The app also can help you understand how customers find and review your business.
Google+ (Yes, it’s going away)
While that may sound like a strange reason to include Google+ in this article, it’s important to keep in mind that many businesses have relied on Google+ to help with SEO efforts. The information that’s listed there should be retrieved and re-used wherever possible. A Google My Business feature that should be leveraged is “Posts”, which you may already have in your Google+ account.
To help fill the vacuum left by Google+, Google will soon be adding a “Follow” button that will appear in the Google Maps app business listings. People who “Follow” your business will see Google My Business Posts in the “For You” tab of the Google Maps app. This is a good place to re-purpose the Google+ Posts, and to start taking advantage of the “Posts” feature within Google My Business if you aren’t already doing so.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Although it has a funny name, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a powerful tool that makes it easy to scan your website to identify any issues that might need to be addressed. It’s vital that your business website is optimized for your customers and search engines as well. The SEO Spider tool helps ensure your website properly supports your local SEO efforts.
After crawling your website, the SEO Spider reports show issues such as page redirects, pages not found, missing & duplicate page titles and descriptions. The reports can be exported to comma-separated value (CSV) files, which helps with content audits, issue tracking and assigning tasks to team members to help with the cleanup.
The free version of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is limited to crawling 500 URLs and will help you handle many of the SEO basics. The paid version is available for £149 per year, or roughly $190.
BrightLocal makes it a breeze to manage your online reputation through listing audits, citation building & management, monitoring, reporting and analysis tools. Many agencies, businesses and freelancers rely on BrightLocal as a core component of their local SEO strategy. You’re not alone when working with BrightLocal. Its team works with you to build citations and address any issues that may surface. BrightLocal audits and monitors thousands of sites to help make sure your business listings are consistent and optimized.
Moz Local is a subscription service that helps eliminate duplicate listings, submit accurate information to online directories and simplify managing your business listing information. The starting price of $99 per year for one location is perfect for many small businesses. Additional location management is also $99 per year per location, which should still be affordable for small businesses with a few locations and allows for growth as your business adds locations.
By design, we limited the number of tools discussed in this article to avoid overwhelming you with too many options. As a small business, we understand the importance of focusing on running your business and containing costs at the same time. These tools will get you started quickly and easily with minimal effort, and we’ll cover more tools in future articles as we address specific issues. In the next article, we’re going to explore some of the features of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider and show examples of problems it can help you find.