Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.
Without a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, your online marketing efforts will fall flat. There is no shortage of SEO tools that offer low-cost solutions to improve and monitor your SEO efforts.
It is possible that you already use some of the popular SEO tools, such as Google Analytics, but there are many more tools worth your attention.
Ranking your business ahead of the competition will need you to make strides in the right direction. This includes building a fast and clean website, putting out fresh content, and optimizing it with keywords to make search engines happy. Eventually, all this will translate into more revenue for your business.
This post offers a comprehensive list of free local SEO tools that you can start using to create an impact with a limited budget. (PS: speaking of lists, check out this local SEO checklist!)
Let’s dive in.
#1. Google Keyword Planner
Are you planning your first SEO campaign or looking to tweak an existing one? Consider Google Keyword Planner in any case.
Once you sign in, run a ‘search’ query for cluster and keyword suggestions while evaluating the performance of these terms in terms of competition and search volume. By doing so, you may discover more relevant phrases that are otherwise overlooked. Also, you can expand keyword lists which is very handy if you’re doing SEO for a local campaign.
Additionally, you’ll be able to access past search and traffic data. Use Google Keyword Planner to optimize your local pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns. It will help you figure out how much money you must spend and how many clicks and conversions you can expect from your target keyword.
#2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free SEO tool to gain insights into your website’s search performance. Once you create an account, you will get notifications when Google discovers errors on your website and will have access to key statistics including:
- Keyword rankings
- Clicks per keyword
- Visibility (Number of times your website appeared in the search results for each keyword)
- Click-through rate (CTR)
Additionally, connect Search Console to Analytics to access additional reporting features inside your Analytics account.
Source: Search Engine Journal
Once you successfully integrate these two, you’ll be able to get access to local search traffic, top visited pages, your audience demographics, bounce rate, and other data that help you better strategize local search marketing activities.
Getting started with a list of targeted keywords is the first step to your SEO journey. Using 5minutesite for your local website can help you create variants of your local keywords (including LSI), which is a great way to rank at the top for high-intent keywords your competitors aren’t focusing on.
It uses permutations and combinations of target keyword phrases and locations. Provide your zip code, as well as the keywords you’re targeting and the maximum radius of miles that you serve.
You may then integrate its suggestions with the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool to determine which keywords have corresponding keyword volumes.
GeoRanker is a free citation discovery toolkit that identifies possibilities to increase your business’s citations. Citations play a significant role in local SEO results (with CF metric). The more “citations” your company receives, the more reputable you will be on Google. Meaning, your chances to rank further up on Google increase.
Use this tool to identify new directories relevant to your expertise and geographic region to post your company information. It signals Google crawlers to go through your site and consider your links when calculating its rating.
For instance, it shows a heat map of Google’s page one rankings for desired keywords.
Source: Single Grain
#5. Moz Link Explorer
The Moz Link Explorer tool is great for identifying link-building possibilities and comparing your website’s backlink profile to your peers.
Moz performs an excellent job of gathering links to your site from other websites and assigning a Domain Authority (DA) rating for each website. These ratings demonstrate Moz’s assessment of how much Google would like a certain website and the likelihood of ranking higher in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you’re new to the digital world and want to know what your website looks like in the eyes of Google, Moz is the solution.
You can also use the MozBar Chrome extension to get an On-Page Analyzer, Domain Authority, and Spam Score Checker. The utility may be activated and deactivated by clicking a button at the top or bottom of your browser. Additionally, Moz offers a variety of additional free SEO tools that can aid in your local ranking attempts.
Moz is available as a free toolkit but you can opt for a pro membership to level up your SEO game.
#6. Surfer Local
Surfer Local is a powerful tool enabling your business to improve, maintain, and position Google My Business (GMB) local profiles fast and effectively. You need to add your company and choose relevant keywords that your local customers tend to use to find businesses like yours.
Once you do this, Surfer Local analyses your company’s location on the map and presents you with pre-built optimization assistance. Adhering to the tips they provide will result in a big boost to your business’s Google profile position.
These tools include GMB Audit and Local Rank Tracking and Checker to help you optimize your Google My Business profile. It doesn’t matter whether you are running a café or a retail fashion store, Surfer Local can help you effectively connect with your local clients.
You can save money and time by not paying for advertising; rather, implement Surfer Local suggestions from its business audit. Start here — enter your business name and choose a keyword to get a quick audit of your business’s and your competitors’ profiles on Google.
#7. Yoast SEO
If you’re using WordPress, then Yoast is a free and well-known SEO plugin you can’t miss. It enables real-time content analysis and simplifies the content optimization process.
While it offers some nifty premium features in the paid version, its free version is useful for practically anybody concerned with optimizing content for search engines, from novices to specialists. You can use Yoast SEO real-time content analyzer to optimize your WordPress content for keywords and increase the visibility of your pages on Google. Yoast also helps set up sitemaps easily, offers URL cleanup recommendations, and more.
Yoast lets you create your meta descriptions for every post you write, giving you a real-time evaluation of the quality as well. Once you enter your “focus keyword,” the Yoast plugin analyzes your headline, description, and content in terms of keyword usage and density to see whether you’re following SEO best practices.
The tool will examine your page, find the keyword for which it ranks, calculate how your site ranks for that keyword, determine the number of unique backlinks your page has, how accessible the page is, and provide the website’s trust metrics.
#9. PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is a tool by Google that helps you gauge your website performance by rating your website on a scale of 0-100 based on numerous performance improvement opportunities. Such data aids in site speed optimization and reducing the bounce rate.
With Google now using Core Web Vitals to assess page experience, focusing on website speed and user experience is pivotal. Your PageSpeed Insights score will go up as you work on the suggestions from Google, and as a result, so will your website’s rankings.
Note that while you should always attempt to enhance your website’s page loading speeds, achieving a perfect score of 100/100 in Google PageSpeed Insights is not necessary.
#10. Local RankFlux
RankFlux is a powerful SEO tool developed by BrightLocal which works as a ranking fluctuation tracking tool for local search. It monitors daily ranking changes for over 14,000 keywords to gauge volatility and reveal possible algorithm adjustments.
Get daily, weekly, or urgent-only notifications to ensure you’re not left in the dark the next time Google makes any algorithm changes affecting local results.
Additionally, BrightLocal can show you how visible your company is within your operational vicinity. Enter a zip code or town’s name in the reporting section to get your ranking in that region. Configure automated notifications for such rank changes to do away with manually checking reports.
Over to you
It is not easy to get traction online. Simply creating a website is not enough. Using these SEO tools will further your efforts and help you achieve better organic visibility in less time.
So as a small business, you should start using these free local SEO tools that simplify implementing your local SEO strategy. These tools will also help measure the effectiveness of your local SEO efforts.
Consider experimenting with multiple tools before deciding on any particular tool, to ensure your local SEO activities deliver your desired results.