Search engine optimization can be a very complex field. Even at the most basic level, there can be hundreds of techniques and dozens of tools that you might decide to try using for your own business, and that can make the entire SEO process seem incredibly complex.
Local SEO is one of the more invaluable places to focus for any local business, especially if the local market is your main source of customers. However, like any other form of SEO, it is not easy.
If you want to boost your local SEO efforts and ensure that you are actually getting worthwhile results, then you need good tools to back up your SEO tactics.
For a lot of local businesses, finding the right local SEO tools can be a core part of seeing success in their local markets.
But how do you choose the right SEO tools for the job, and what should local businesses be focused on the most? Whether you are choosing one local SEO tool or using a range of different local SEO tools all at once, it is important to build a proper SEO system that works for your business.
How to Choose Local SEO Tools
Table of Contents
Before we get into the list of local SEO tools worth using, it is important to remember that all tools offer something unique.
The local SEO tools you choose are up to you, but use some common sense when deciding which tools are best for your business.
Local businesses need to find SEO tools that match up with their local SEO efforts, whether that means something that works with their current strategy or compensates for a flaw in their SEO techniques.
Whether it is a detailed overview report featuring data from dozens of targeted locations or a simple set of local keyword suggestions, you need the right Local SEO tools if you want to master local SEO as a whole.
From reputation management on review sites to displaying local citations from your Google My Business account, countless local SEO tools can give you an edge over competitors and help you get the local SEO results you are looking for.
Advertising on Search Engines
SE Ranking is a relatively new tool that tries to be inexpensive and easy to use, making it a good starting point for local businesses. While it does not come with all of the same features as competing local SEO tools, the more affordable plan can make it a great way to kick off your local search marketing.
SE Ranking comes with a range of useful features and tools, helping with everything from standard local SEO work to content marketing and benchmarking against competitors. This can make it an excellent choice for anybody.
One of the biggest advantages of using SE Ranking is the amount of documentation on offer. This documentation is aimed at beginners, meaning you can jump right into local search marketing without needing much local SEO experience.
Not only can SE Ranking let you create custom dashboards to help you manage business data and SEO performance information, but it also provides all of the basic features small businesses would need to start improving their local search visibility.
The most notable unique feature within SE Ranking is the local results. Unlike some other local SEO tools, SE Ranking allows you to measure performance and keywords on a city-to-city level rather than just nationally.
Available for anywhere between $30 to $150 per month, this is easily one of the better options for local businesses that are not currently using any local SEO tools. While limited in some areas, it can serve as a great starting point for your local search campaigns.
Semrush is one of the more well-known SEO tools on the market, and this makes it a popular local SEO tool as well. As the basis for many SEO strategies, Semrush has been a preferred choice for many businesses, offering a great range of features at a fair cost.
This includes things like the management of business listings and reviews, social media profile tracking options, and full integration with various major SEO platforms.
It can also perform automated and regular site audits to identify weaknesses in your local search visibility and performance.
As one of the more comprehensive local SEO tool options out there, you can rely on Semrush to bolster your local SEO efforts through a great range of different features. Even if you do not need specific tools, such as the Semrush listing management tool, you can still benefit from the whole software package.
Certain features are built into the platform, while others are low-cost add-ons that are fully optional. If you do not need business listing management, then you can simply not pay for it – you have some extra control over how much you pay for the platform.
The only downside is that plans can be expensive and that each tier of the plan opens up more features. While available for free, Semrush is very limited if you do not use a paid plan, so be sure to look at what each option offers before jumping into using it.
Google Business Profile
Completely free and easy to manage, creating a Google Business profile allows you to properly establish a strong local search presence on Google itself.
Creating one of these profiles takes very little time and is entirely free – but the platform still gets overlooked quite often.
In terms of local search optimization, Google Business is one of the core tools you should be using. A GBP allows you to remain visible in local search results and provides a variety of ways to improve your SEO by using data that you gather about your business.
For example, you can use positive reviews to push your online listing higher, allowing you to capture a wider audience on Google through nothing but your Google Reviews.
Adding relevant business information can also help you appear more often and help customers get in touch with you when needed.
After creating a profile, you can use it for multiple purposes, including getting in contact with customers and providing updates that can draw more attention to your business listings.
This can also provide a useful flow of data, letting you see how customers are interacting with your brand online.
Having a profile where customers can leave official Google reviews is essential. Not only does it make your business listing more legitimate, but it is a lot easier to trust than third-party review sites.
Bing Places for Business
If Google is not your only audience, then Bing Places for Business listings can be just as important. This is another business listings management tool, one that targets Bing users in roughly the same way.
While reviews are not included (they are imported from TripAdvisor), you can still get some major boosts to your local rankings by having a page on this platform. As a listing management tool, it can help you tailor your online listings to suit the audience you want to target.
A lot of the features mentioned on the Google platform are also used here, such as uploading business and location data to create a more targeted local search plan. While not having built-in online reviews can seem like a downside, review management is still relatively easy to handle.
If used correctly, this can become the first thing that your customers will see when searching for your local business on Bing. As another free platform, there is really no reason not to have a page on here, as long as you put some effort in and create a decent listing.
Google Local Services Ads
Google’s local services ads tools are meant specifically for any local business in the service industry. This is a simple but effective way to boost the legitimacy of your local rankings, working similarly to review sites.
These ads include trust markets and other guarantees to help you generate more leads and secure more customers.
If used alongside Google My Business listings and a proper Google Business Profile, you can push your presence in search results even higher with very little effort.
The biggest downside here is that this service is paid. While you have control over your budget and do not need to spend any more than you are comfortable spending, you will often have to budget out some money if you want to appear higher in search engines. This tool is no exception.
It can cost anywhere from $5 to over $150 per lead, depending on the kind of lead you want and the scope of your business. This makes it a tool that you should not ignore but also should not get obsessed over – especially not if you are running a smaller business with a tighter budget.
Wix is a great platform for getting a site up and running quickly, offering free plans for personal use alongside cheap plans for various e-commerce and business purposes. If you want to migrate your site somewhere else or have not created one yet, then Wix can be worth choosing.
The biggest upside of Wix is the website builder, which allows you to construct a website within the platform. Although not unique to Wix, the platform surpasses a lot of other tools by trying to keep the website-building easy to understand as a beginner.
This can be perfect for small businesses that do not have a site prepared yet, or that need to overhaul their existing local business website. Wix’s SEO Wiz system and SEO Site Booster options can even help you push for better local SEO on the higher-paid plans.
Even the free version of the platform can be great for putting together your site and learning the ropes of website-building. While you can’t use a custom domain on the free plan, you can always wait until your site is ready before jumping to a paid tier so that you will appear in local searches.
Wix, as a whole, is a great website builder. Plans are incredibly affordable compared to many other SEO tools, and the platform itself has its own built-in SEO tools to help you slowly improve your business and content over time.
Yoast SEO is a content optimization plugin that businesses can add to their existing websites, such as stores on Shopify or content sites on WordPress. Yoast provides immediate analysis results of the content on your page based on the keywords that you feed it.
These suggestions are communicated clearly, making it easy to understand what your SEO tools are telling you so that you can act accordingly. Yoast provides a good range of solutions to potential problems, all of which you can implement as needed.
The most useful thing about Yoast SEO, though, is that the standard version is completely free.
While paid versions do exist (especially if you want to connect it to Shopify, WooCommerce, or WordPress), you are able to use the free version for a huge range of practical purposes without paying a penny.
The fact that Yoast provides a mixture of technical and on-page suggestions can make it one of the best local SEO tools in your arsenal.
While it might not be as specialized as some other SEO tools, it provides active solutions to problems that it has identified in your site and content.
Remember that not all features are free. If you are sticking with the free version for budget reasons, make sure you understand which tools and options are not available – free Yoast is great regardless, but it is important to understand what your limitations are.
MobileMoxie is a UX (user experience) testing tool designed to help you understand how users are engaging with your site – and whether or not they are being turned away due to issues with the layout, design, or contents of a page.
UX is often overlooked in local search markets, and your local SEO tools and campaigns are pointless if nobody is sticking around on your site. MobileMoxie lets you identify how your website is performing, including specific analysis of local search results landing pages.
On a technical level, MobileMoxie works perfectly for examining a web page and understanding why it might be turning traffic away. This is completely agnostic to any major search engines, so you do not need to worry about using it for specific markets while not being able to investigate others.
While available for free, the free version is very limited, like a lot of free local SEO tools usually are. The standard paid version is a lot more affordable, but you still miss out on some extra features if you are not shelling out for the highest tier.
Regardless, MobileMoxie is perfect for getting a handle on your technical SEO flaws and issues, letting you better understand your site as a source of content that visitors are interacting with.
Dashword is an NLP (natural language processing) tool that uses AI to generate content descriptions, allowing you to put together content at a rapid pace.
While not the perfect solution for every single situation, Dashword focuses on producing AI-generated content to help you fill out important fields and contribute to your SEO.
The main benefit of Dashword is to push out content briefs to writers quickly and to get additional article ideas based on the overall purpose and tone of your existing content.
It also acts as a content evaluation tool, letting you break down top-ranking articles to find techniques that you can use in your own.
Although AI is still in its infancy, Dashword gets around the limitations of these platforms by being used primarily for briefs and SOP documents. This makes it a powerful local search content tool, helping you get ideas and briefs for articles incredibly quickly.
While you still need a human touch to avoid being penalized for AI spam or hit with copied content ID, this AI generator can be a great addition to your current SEO toolset – as long as you use it correctly.
Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis
SpyFu is a free SEO tool that aims to provide an all-in-one feature set, letting you break down the techniques that your competitors are using to bolster your own local search efforts.
Between the ability to check competitors’ ad histories and using a huge amount of historical data, SpyFu gives you near-instant access to a great variety of tools that can serve your business well.
As a fairly affordable tool with a core focus on US and UK data, SpyFu can be a great local SEO tool, especially in a highly competitive area or industry. While it can take some time to learn and does not provide as many features as some other platforms, it delivers its intended goals very well.
On the free plan, SpyFu can be a better free local SEO tool than some of the more major local SEO tools out there. For example, while it might be weaker than Semrush if you are paying for both platforms, it might actually be better than Semrush in a free context.
SEOQuake requires a Semrush plan (free or paid) to use it, making it a local SEO tool within another set of local SEO tools. However, this is because it pulls information directly from Semrush, giving you quick URL insights directly through a Google Chrome extension.
This can be a great option for rapid local search improvements, helping you understand things like keyword performance and density on any given page. Not only does this allow for incredibly fast SEO audits, but it can give you a breakdown of a page’s metadata.
Not only does this make it one of the best local SEO tools for researching competitors or websites similar to your own, but it can also feed you data in things like backlinks and URL traffic, saving you from having to swap between local SEO tools to get the full picture.
The biggest flaw with SEOQuake is that it is tied to Semrush and Google Chrome, forcing you to have access to both. However, installation is incredibly easy, and the extension itself is completely free, meaning that you can easily incorporate it into your local SEO tools without issue.
Keywords Everywhere is a free or pay-as-you-go Chrome extension that gathers data about countless keywords, allowing you to quickly perform keyword research while on search pages.
This is not only meant to help you find more keyword variants for your own local search efforts but also to understand what competitors may be using.
Country-specific filters make it easier to use as a local SEO tool, helping you figure out ways to improve your local search rankings.
The extension is easy to use and can be connected to numerous platforms with an API key, from Amazon and eBay, to the individual URL of specific pages. The free version, while slightly more limited, is also versatile enough to work well for smaller businesses.
If you do upgrade to the paid version, you get access to greater amounts of data. This includes more information regarding search volumes, keyword trends, and other things that might matter quite a lot if you are performing keyword research on a larger scale.
This is yet another free local SEO tool that works well on its own and can be upgraded to a paid version for even more benefits. While Keywords Everywhere is only focused on one particular goal, it pursues that goal very well.
Podium is meant to automate review generation and guide customers to leave genuine reviews, benefiting your business without using any questionable tactics that could get your site penalized.
More reviews can mean more local search visibility, and Podium aims for exactly that outcome.
Podium is cloud-based, tracking and monitoring online reviews to make sure that you understand each review you are getting.
You can automate and trigger messages that push customers to leave reviews, break down your total review performance, and even see reviews that you have not yet responded to.
You can easily embed Podium reviews into your website to improve your rankings in local search results or use it as a review management tool to keep on top of customer feedback.
While it comes with quite a steep initial cost, it can be a good choice for a business that is already decently established. When you are stable enough that your biggest concerns are reviews and local optimization, Podium becomes an excellent tool for your business.
Moz Local is often considered to be one of the best local SEO tools that small businesses can choose from. Offering a full dashboard system, Moz helps you monitor and interpret all kinds of important local SEO information both actively and passively.
Moz Local can be used to automatically add and sync your business listings, delete listing duplicates, post to social media directly, and keep track of your overall search engine results pages performance. So far, the only thing it does not support is managing reviews.
The main goal of Moz Local is to help automate your listings across multiple locations, directories, or platforms.
This automation can free you up for more important work, letting you continue down your local SEO checklist without feeling like you have to actively monitor incoming data.
Another major benefit of Moz Local is the fact that it allows automated alerts. Unlike other listings management tool options, Moz Local can set alarms to inform you of major changes or tell you when an important metric has dropped below a particular threshold.
The only downside is no free trial and no review management. However, the cost of Moz Local can be quite cheap, especially if you are only managing a single location and do not need to worry about setting up different systems for different physical branches.
Yext is a tool for optimizing listings that users find through non-standard means, such as voice assistant searches or GPS apps. While this might seem like a niche field at first, it can be an important local SEO area to consider once your business begins to grow.
Yext allows you to construct enhanced listings that provide all kinds of additional information, from photos and business hours to special offers and delivery details. Not only that, but it can automatically find and fix errors in your listings across platforms, allowing you to avoid potential confusion or shattered user expectations.
Being able to tackle the challenges of non-standard search traffic can really help, especially as voice searches and personal assistant devices become more and more common. Even at the base tier, Yext is focused on getting an accurate listing into local directories across many, many different platforms.
The only real downside is the higher price than some similar tools, something that is entirely up to your own personal judgment.
If nothing else, being able to rapidly create listings for both local directories and major platforms like Google My Business can make a huge difference to a growing company.
BuzzStream is all about managing backlinks. Focused mostly on link building opportunities and link prospecting, this is one of the best local SEO tools for businesses that are still struggling to get their backlinks in order.
Not only does BuzzStream help you find potential outreach options to help you secure more links, but it allows you to properly prospect the internet to find new ways of boosting your own site’s rankings in search engines.
While relatively simple as a backlink tool, BuzzStream has a 14-day free trial that users can take advantage of to judge it for themselves. It also has four different tier options, meaning that you can choose a price that suits your business’s current level of success.
BrightLocal is a fairly well-known data reporting and statistical tool, making it one of the best local SEO tools for gathering and displaying data properly. It can take in a range of local SEO data from multiple sources, allowing you to properly break down your rankings and find potential shortfalls in your local SEO plan.
One of the most notable additions to the tool is the search grid reporting system, which can be used to get an idea of where your traffic is coming from. This makes it easy to understand where your local SEO is the most effective and physical areas where you are not receiving much traction on search engines.
This becomes important for local SEO in densely-packed locations, where customer retention may change on a street-by-street basis. Understanding your local search engine rankings better can always help, and BrightLocal allows you to start observing these local search rankings for as little as $9.
Local Falcon is meant to be an affordable option for tracking local search engine rankings across multiple locations. If you run a business that has multiple branches or offices that all have their own local search rankings to worry about, Local Falcon can be worth trying.
While there is no free plan and only a very limited free trial, the grid system here makes this a great tool for identifying the sources of your local searches. This can really help if you need to identify the locations that are receiving the most attention or the local areas that trigger your keywords most often.
Local Falcon is simple and only really provides one service, but it can still be a tool worth considering if you want more context behind your relevant local search rankings.
Other Niche Tools
Wix QR Code Generator
Wix was mentioned above as one of the best free local SEO tools for building a site and promoting it, but that is not all that Wix does. It also provides a range of niche tools, including a QR code generator that can be used to boost traffic and engagement.
This allows you to create quick response codes any time you want, using custom colors and code sizes to tailor them to your particular needs. If you want to use QR codes as part of a local SEO strategy for creative advertising, then this is the best place to turn.
Not only that, but it is completely free, and codes can be downloaded in a range of formats to suit each situation.
Best practices for local SEO usually include using social media as well. Synup attempts to make this easier by helping you monitor your local SEO situation across a range of platforms and sites, plugging all relevant information into a single unified dashboard.
While you can only integrate the platform with certain local directories, the platforms that it does work with (including your Google Business Profile and Facebook page) can be kept consistent through scheduled posts and proper data management.
While there is no free trial, you can request a demo from a sales agent. You will also have to talk to them directly about the costs since the details are hidden and presumably bespoke based on your needs.
Merkle is a tool meant to help with schema markup and structured data, as well as XML site map generation. In general, this is meant to help you create good listings for a range of search sites, providing local SEO tools that many platforms forget to offer.
While some of the best local SEO tools and platforms on the market may make Merkle irrelevant, it is still a useful local SEO tool to keep on hand. If you are not using a platform that provides these kinds of features, then Merkle can be a great way to handle them.
Merkle also provides a range of technical tools, such as a SERP simulator that shows how your local SEO listings will appear on various search engines. The mobile site testing helps with sites that have to be usable across a range of devices, too.
As a completely free tool, it is worth using as part of your local SEO strategy. While it is not perfect, it does not hurt to have more data on hand.
Local Search Engine Optimization Tool FAQs
Working with local SEO tools can often seem quite complicated at first, especially with the more in-depth SEO software tools out there. However, it is not all that hard to get used to managing your local search rankings – you need to know the basics.
Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO is all about the local search ecosystem – the search results in your general area. This often relies heavily on location data and keyword research into terms that people in your area use since you are trying to attract attention from customers that are generally around your business.
For a business that partially (or only) accepts customers on-site, local competitors can be a huge problem. Local SEO is the best way to get your business in front of the right people at the right time, securing more traffic and users as a whole.
Do I need to focus on local SEO?
Depending on how important local SEO is to your business, you may need to treat it as either a small part of your SEO or a huge element of your business’ success. No company should ever ignore local SEO, but there are some cases where it may not be as relevant.
For example, an international company does not particularly need local citations or local reputation management, and a local rank checker will not help them all that much.
Even if your business operates completely online and has no formal office or site for real-life customers to visit, local SEO software can still help. Most search engines will gravitate towards showing users businesses in their area, and that includes yours.
How do you get started with local SEO?
Local SEO is basically just regular SEO but focused on your area. Whether you are using the Semrush listing management tool or just doing basic rank tracking through Google Analytics, you can often use the same tools you already have in a local capacity.
Of course, if you want to really focus on local SEO opportunities, then using other tools that are specially designed for a local audience can be a good option.
Should you use a traditional SEO tool for local SEO?
There is nothing wrong with using your existing SEO tools and techniques to target local audiences. Just member that you are focusing on a specific subset of people may mean that you need to apply filters to your data or use alternative reporting methods.
How important are my local search rankings?
In general, you want to rank high in as many relevant contexts as possible, and this includes with local audiences as a whole.
Using a local rank tracker can be important if you are targeting a local audience. Make sure you understand how successful your business is locally, especially if that is where a huge part of your traffic comes from.
What are local citations?
In searches, local citations are the details that platforms like Google My Business present. For example, if somebody looks your business up and your Google My Business data appears, that Google My Business data includes citations.
These can be an important part of reputation management. While most customers will not be using any kind of local citation finder, their Google search results will still be influenced by that data.
Domain authority matters for link building, which can directly influence your position in Google search results. It is a measurement of how good a link is most likely going to be for your website.
Social media platforms can be important for local SEO. A good social media site gives you a lot of space to work with, letting you create social media posts that draw in traffic and contribute to your SEO at least slightly.
Of course, most social media sites are designed to prevent users from easily leeching links off them. Even so, social media can become another kind of local citation finder, helping users find your business if they otherwise would not.
Social media sites can sometimes impact your position in search results. While the social media platforms are often self-contained, many of them can have very minor impacts on critical SEO metrics.
While they might not make a major difference to your rank-tracking results at first, having an active presence on social media accounts can still boost your position and help you acquire more traffic in the future.
How can local businesses get started with local SEO tool choices?
There are countless tools to choose from for local SEO, and the easiest option is to use common sense by targeting your weakest points.
For example: Struggling to retain users due to a poor site design? Hire a web design agency. Finding it hard to tell where traffic is coming from? Use tools that can track this information. Common sense can go a long way in the world of SEO.
Is local SEO hard?
While most SEO is tough, local SEO can be daunting at first. It can seem very complex and hard to manage effectively – at least until you get a few tools in place and manage to streamline a large portion of the tough work.
Is local SEO worth it?
Local SEO is almost always worth it. There are very few situations where you should not be attempting at least some local SEO work in one form or another.
What should I do first for local SEO?
There is no best starting point for local SEO or SEO as a whole. Take your time and explore some of the tools listed in this article, and see what kind of options might be best for your situation.
If you are starting, do not even try to plan an aggressive local SEO campaign if you do not have an understanding of how things work. As long as your business can survive decently well for a while, you can take some time to figure out your best options.
Whatever you plan on doing next, ensure you have at least a general idea of how your business is currently performing. The more you know, the better.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.