Search engine optimization is critical for local businesses looking to attract walk-in customers. Product research, driving directions, price comparisons — consumers increasingly access the web before visiting a local store.
Here are nine free tools to enhance your local SEO.
Google Review Link & Place ID Generator
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) can be confusing. Even finding the URL to your listing is difficult. Google Review Link & Place ID Generator from BrightLocal can help. It’s free for up to three searches per day.
Type your business name, and the tool will provide:
- A direct link to your business reviews.
- A link for customers to leave a review (provided you follow Google’s guidelines),
- Your local listing preview link to the search results page that contains your knowledge panel.
GMBspy is a Chrome extension with one purpose: to show the categories your area competitors have chosen for their local business listing. It’s helpful to understand why they outrank you for specific phrases.
The extension worked well for me for an individual business listing, but it didn’t show categories for the local 3-pack in search results, which it claims to support.
GMB Everywhere is another Chrome extension to identify competitors’ categories and subcategories within local search results.
The tool allows five free local “audits” per month, which include:
- Total number of reviews,
- Number of reviews provided by Local Guides,
- Number of reviews with photos,
- Keyword analysis — i.e., the most common words in reviews, which is helpful given Google uses keywords in reviews as a local ranking signal,
- Visualization of the growth of reviews.
GMB Everywhere’s handy “Teleport” feature allows you to change your location to see local results from anywhere worldwide.
GS Location Changer
GS Location Changer is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox to simulate a location and access hyperlocal rankings. Location is the crucial local SEO ranking factor. This extension allows agencies or multi-location businesses to know what nearby consumers see in search results.
Schema Markup Generator
Schema Markup Generator creates local JSON-LD markup to use on your site. Select “Local business” from the tool’s drop-down menu and copy-paste the markup. Make sure the business name and address are exactly the same as your verified Google Business profile.
Local Listings Health Scanner
The tool shows spelling and other inconsistencies among platforms. For example, adding a “the” in front of a business name can result in Google treating the listing as a separate company. The tool also identifies missing directories — i.e., overlooked opportunities.
UpCity Local SEO Report Card
UpCity provides free, easy-to-understand “report cards” for search terms in Google. Enter your location and most important keywords. Upcity then displays your score.
The report, while basic, also offers a quick grasp of your local competitors and the areas to focus on.
Local AdWords and Keyword Lists
Local AdWords and Keyword Lists generates targeted keywords for local search.
To use, type in your business’s zip code and shopping radius. The tool will show the towns, cities, counties, and even abbreviations within that area and the target keywords to add and monitor for each.
Postamatic is a free Google Sheets add-on to publish (and schedule) posts in your local business listing to keep it active. The tool supports posts for events, offers, and updates, with simultaneous publishing across multiple listings — handy for agencies and multi-location businesses.