While all of the local SEO tools below are free, there are premium versions of them that offer additional benefits which may or may not benefit you. While going through this free local SEO tools guide, and while checking out some of the recommended platforms, keep in mind that you don’t always have to pay for the upgraded version to get a lot of value out of the tool. Certainly I don’t and cannot pay for everything that’s out on the market, and neither do you. Simply cherry pick which best fits your needs as you use them. There will be some local SEO tools that are limited, no-cost, or even trial versions (15-30 days is typical) that let you get a feel for what they can provide, which enables you to consider whether or not it’s worth it to buy the premium version. The list list below of local SEO tools offers enhanced support for local SEO tasks, demonstrated by our industry’s growing knowledge of how closely linked organic and local SEO correlate to one another.
Local SEO Tools for Research
US Census Bureau Tool Set
Our free local SEO tools that we need to consider while researching a particular target community for marketing purposes, you will discover over twenty helpful resources from the US Census Bureau, to include population statistics, mapping and geocoding widgets, economic data, income stats, and a whole lot more.
Client Onboarding Questionnaire & Phone Script
When bringing on a new client into your agency, you can reduce repeated follow ups by asking upfront all the necessary questions the first time with thorough questionnaire and phone call script such as this local SEO tool from Moz. The local SEO client discovery questionnaire includes useful tips for why you’re going to ask each question on the sheet. As most local SEO industry veterans will relate with, a missed question could easily lead to costly surprises down the road, and nothing is worse than a surprise like that. It’s important to be sure that you have the complete picture of a new client before you begin any type of strategy sessions.
Location Information Spreadsheet
Moz’s location information spreadsheet is crucial when marketing multi-location businesses. This is another free Moz spreadsheet that will ensure you have all the information at hand about each company location. When you are working with a Fortune 500 or just a large enterprise level client, make sure that the data you’re gathering in the spreadsheet has been approved by every department. One thing is for sure, it’s not exactly the highlight of your day to discover 4 months into a well crafted marketing campaign that there is a company disagreement amongst departments about company reporting metrics or other features.
Local SEO Competitive Audit Spreadsheet
While doing your local SEO due diligence, you must look for answers to the ever present client question, “Why does X company always outrank us?”, with another free Moz spreadsheet that will help you record key competitive data, Local SEO Competitive Audit Spreadsheet is a must. The end result of collecting this data will be displayed in 2 columns of stats which you can compare and contrast to each other in order to discover your competitors’ SEO ranking strengths and weaknesses.
Manual GeoLocation Chrome Extension for Local SEO
Manual GeoLocation is a useful local SEO Chrome extension tool used by digital marketers to understand and quantify how guesstimating the impacts of user-to-business proximity. Even though the digital marketing community still hasn’t recovered from when Google removed the Local Search filter in 2015 from its engine, this Chrome extension provides a good sense of how a searchers location affects their search results, potentially making it a superior solution. Only time will tell.
BrightLocal’s Search Results Checker
BrightLocal Search Results Checker is a popular tool does an excellent job of replicating local search results at a city or zip code level. In some cases, it’s best to search by city (for example, when there are multiple towns covered by a single zip code), but other times, it’s better search by zip code (as in the case of a large city with multiple zip codes). The tool doesn’t have the capability to recreate user-level results, so always remember that the proximity of a given user to a business may create quite different results than what you’ll see searching at a city or zip code level. I consider this a great tool to suss out the lay of the land in a community, identifying top competitors.
The MozBar Local SEO Toolbar
Local businesses which are in competitive markets, such as attorneys, real estate brokers, and financial advisors really have to master traditional local SEO tactics. Another free tool called MozBar will provide a solid intro to the very metrics you should be using when analyzing a client or competitors organic strengths and weaknesses. For example, link metrics, markup, on-page elements, HTTP status, and optimizations will provide the data you need with a quick glance up at the MozBar.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools is a must for you to get relevant data and analytics, alerts for serious indexing errors (like when AMP isn’t properly setup), and so much more, but local SEO is just now crossing the threshold of understanding just how deeply connected it is to organic search. Without a doubt this is a crucial local SEO tool that must be properly setup for the organic side as well as for running paid ad campaigns via Adwords. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to do even basic level remarketing campaigns which are crucial to the success of both the SEM and SEO side of generating traffic, leads and ultimately sales.
Offline Conversion Tracker Form
Give this handy Whitespark form to anyone who answers your phone so that they can document the answer to the important question, “How did you hear about us?” Submitted information is saved to Whitespark’s database and tracked in Google Analytics for your future reference and analysis. For local businesses, knowledge of offline factors can be priceless. This form provides a simple point of entry into amassing real-world data.
Local SEO Tools for Content
Answer the Public
One of the best-loved keyword research tools in the digital marketing world, Answer the Public lets you enter a keyword phrase and generate a large number of questions/topics related to your search. One of the most awesome facets of this tool is that it has a .CSV download feature — perfect for instantly generating large lists of keywords that you can input into something like Moz Keyword Explorer to begin the sorting process that turns up the most powerful keywords for your content dev and on-page optimization.
Another great content inspiration tool, Buzzsumo shows you lets you enter a keyword, topic or domain name, and then shows you which pieces are getting the most social shares. For example, a search for wholefoodsmarket.com shows that a highly shared piece of content at the time of my search is about an asparagus and broccoli soup. You can also sort by content type (articles, videos, infographics, etc.). Use of Buzzsumo can help you generate topics that might be popular if covered on your website.
OSHA Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search
Another interesting resource for brainstorming a wide pool of potential keywords for content dev consideration, OSHA’s SIC search returns big, comprehensive lists. Just look up your industry’s SIC code, and then enter it along with a keyword/category to get your list.
USPS Look Up a ZIP Code Widget
For those that work with service area businesses (SABs), take note of the second tab in the menu of this local SEO tool, which is the Cities by zip code tab. Once you know the zip code of any business, in which you are marketing to, you can enter the zip code data into the tool and it’ll provide a list of every city within that zip. This local SEO Toll is best used to be positive that you know of all the communities for which an SAB could strategize link building, content marketing, brand building initiatives, relationship building, pay per click campaigns, or social media marketing.
Local SEO Tools for Citations
Moz Check Listing
It’s almost unanimous amongst digital marketers that there’s no free local SEO tool that will do a better job of providing you with a snapshot overview on the health of a local business’ listings. To use this local SEO tool, simply type in the name and zip of the prospects name in order to see how accurate and updated the company’s citations are on the sources that matter most, which include the major local business data aggregators (Acxiom, Infogroup,Factual, Localeze) in addition to key platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, Yellow Pages and so on.
At a glance, it’ll identify inconsistencies and duplicate listings that are holding a business back in SERP rankings. This local SEO tool can also be used for things like competitive analysis, defining whether a clean or messy citation set is helping or hurting your competitors. The true value of the free Check Listing tool is with the paid Moz Local product, which automates the aggregator-level listing management with thousands of potential listings, as well as provides you with options for user review monitoring, SERP ranking analysis, and so much more.
Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder (free version)
The free version of this local SEO tool is from Whitespark and it’ll provide a sense of how the paid version would help you find additional places, which are beyond the basics of the free version, and show you where you might want to get listed. Additionally, Local Citation Finder provides an analysis of your competitors’ citations which is useful in determining their strengths and weaknesses relative to your own.
Local SEO Tools for Reviews
The Hoth’s Online Business Review Checker Tool
This is an excellent free local SEO tool which provides an overview report of your local business’s online reviews that covers a variety of social and news type platforms. One of the things we like to do here at Marketing Media Wizard is to use this for every new client, in order to gauge the company’s reputation strengths and weaknesses. By analyzing the health of a company’s user reviews will typically indicate whether or not it has an offline issue that needs to be resolved, or if the new clients main challenge is a lack of strategy for earning a competitive number of positive user reviews.
Free Review Monitoring
As a Digital marketer, it’s super important to know when a new review is published on any major or even niche specific review site. This is a free local SEO tool that will send you email alerts so that you can rapidly respond to any situation, especially a negative one in order to avoid any type of crisis situation.
Review Handout Generator
Another solid and free platform from Whitespark provides the the user with a very simple resource that allows you to enter a businesses information in order to generate a printable handout your sales or office administration can provide to your customers. Active review management has become a necessity for all competitive geo-industries. It’s just professional and buttoned up looking to have a physical asset to share with your customers in order to get more positive reviews (which are uber important to our local SEO activities).
Google Review Link Generator
Google’s local product has gone through numerous changes which makes finding a relevant link to point clients or customer to when requesting a GMB review has been rather difficult. Whitespark assists us again with an easy to use widget which allows you to enter your business information in order to generate a shareable pretty link. The only downfall is that anyone like a freelancer who has a home-based business, with a hidden addresses, won’t be able to take advantage of this tool. But for other types of business models, this widget works really well and should be used in your bag of local SEO tools.
Local SEO Tools for Social Channels
Whenever a business is mentioned on a social channel such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, as well as a variety of other social platforms, Notify uses Slack or HipChat to create and send an alert. Simply being aware of these important conversations taking place on social channels regarding your brand, in which you engage and participate in them, you will find that your business can achieve an solid status of timely responsiveness. Without a doubt, social media channels is a growing part of the customer service experience, thereby making a tool such as Notify a very convenient and almost necessary local SEO tool in our kit.
A free trial is available for this app which is powerful analytics for Twitter accounts. If you or a client prefers Twitter as a favorite platform, you should certainly try out Followerwonk. By understanding the characteristics of your or your clients Twitter followers, and how they find and connect with industry influencers, and then you will be able to use this data in order to increase and optimize your outreach initiatives.
Character Count Online
I use this ultra-basic local SEO tool all of the time for three specific tasks. Some social platforms either have character limits and don’t always have counters, or will truncate your social messages so only a limited snippet appears. Simply plug in your text and view the character count.
And, of course, you’ll want a character counter to be sure your on-page title tags and meta descriptions read right in the SERPs.