If jumping into and mastering local search engine optimization (local SEO) is your New Year’s resolution, look no further for a curated list of useful links, blogs, and other resources on the topic. We made sure to gather information that was published in the last 12 months. So bookmark this page, you’ll be referring to it frequently!
Local SEO Tools
Every list about local SEO tools should start with the platforms that provide listing management services. These platforms partner with data aggregators to build citations — mentions of your firm on third party websites — as well as build links to your site via a plethora of directories (you may want to know those that offer follow links if this is of interest). Citations help your business rank higher for local search (see the blog section if you have a boss who needs convincing).
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a local SEO platform is the convenience. As an entrepreneur your time is best spent building your business and selling to customers, not faffing about with manual, piecemeal submissions of your company information to directories. If you ever move, change phone numbers, rebrand, etc you will not have the nightmare of submitting 100 corrections to 100 different entities as a good platform will ensure that all changes can be centralized or, at the very minimum, reduced.
There are five local SEO platforms that are perhaps the best known in the US:
- Yext has one of the broadest service portfolios, including business pages and beacons.
- BrightLocal has over 1,600 sites in its network.
- Moz Local is an affordable investment at $84 a year if marketing budgets are very tight.
- WhiteSpark covers 42 countries which is a fantastic detail if you have a presence internationally.
- LocalEze is one of the three data aggregators supplying information to directories and search engines, and is generally credited with having the best distribution.
There are as many opinions about the best local SEO platform as there are directories to submit to — our humble opinion is, it depends on your needs, objectives and budget. Some information to check out for due diligence:
- LocalSEOChecklist displays the major players in a handy grid.
- Reddit’s SEO subreddit is worth joining, if only to lurk around discussions like this. Or this. Candid conversations and reviews by actual users: Priceless.
- SIM Partners’ white paper, Local SEO Platforms Buyer’s Guide, has a handy checklist of questions to narrow down vendor choices. (The company has its own local marketing automation platform which, to their credit, they didn’t flog in their guide.)
Local SEO Hacks and Guides
So you’re all pumped up to start. The following are pretty substantive sources that can offer a good macro view of the entire process or just one part, provide comprehensive advice to a specific sticking point, or just even serve up a local SEO topic that hasn’t been discussed before.
- Normally, pieces that advertise themselves as being ‘definitive’ fall disappointingly short, but The Site Edge’s Brian Niebler stays true to his word with Local SEO: The Definitive Guide 2016. It is a beast. Must-read!
- To demonstrate how their enterprise platform helps track rankings, SERPs also wrote a pretty meaty local SEO guide.
- Want to go totally DIY? Phil Rozek’s excellent site, Local Visibility System, has a list of local search citations that he’s collected over the past four years. He has lists for the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
- Another one for the DIYer: N.A.P. Hunter is a Chrome extension that sniffs out citations for deduplication and cleaning.
Keyword research is essential in order to create a solid foundation for your local SEO efforts. Again, there are a thousand and one opinions on the usefulness of keyword tools, but Globe Runner uses these on a daily basis:
- SEM Rush and SpyFu to find out competitors’ keywords and how they rank for these terms.
- Google Keyword Planner to determine search volumes and competition.
- Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool to compare/contrast their competitive figures with those of Google’s Keyword Planner — the differences can be striking and Moz has its theories on why.
- Keyword Tool to find long-tail phrases and questions people type into their browser while searching.
- Authority Labs to monitor keyword rankings for our clients and their competitors.
Local SEO Blogs to Follow
Your inbox will be nice and full everyday with these great resources on local search. And you can pick out factoids that will convince your boss that local SEO is the way to go in 2016.
- Phil Rozek’s blog on Local Visibility System is chock-a-block all about local SEO.
- The Local Search Association shares member news, statistics, industry developments and analysis pertinent to local search. Subscribe to it for excellent information such as this infographic on the top 142 categories consumers search for.
- MediaPost’s Search Marketing Daily has a roundup of the day’s SEO news from all around the web, including local SEO-focused pieces.
- Search Engine Land is always among the first to report any Google activity that could potentially impact local SEO.
- Often confused with the previously mentioned site, Search Engine Watch also has a local SEO section, albeit less frequently updated.
- Rand Fishkin’s blog on Moz is not specifically focused on the subject, but most of his marketing posts have implications for local SEO practitioners. Like this post on 2015’s keyword research tool universe or this one on Google Suggest.
Local SEO Events to Attend
You’ve read some but want to learn more about local SEO by attending conferences or meetups with fellow enthusiasts. Or you’re looking for more advanced information. Just three among the national events about local SEO to catch:
- MozCon Local 2016. The creators of Moz Local should have lots of useful information to share. February 18-19 in Seattle, WA.
- LocalU Advanced. For more experienced practitioners, here’s a conference to learn the latest on local search, mobile, analytics, web design and more. March 5 in Williamsburg, VA.
- SMX Advanced. The Local Search Advantage Workshop is a full-day dive into various advanced topics such as driving and tracking online-to-offline conversions. June 21 in Seattle, WA.
Find more national and international SEO events on this thread over at Inbound.org.
Closer to Dallas Fort Worth, Globe Runner’s home, Loco For Local will be held January 27 at La Hacienda Ranch in Grapevine. This local SEO workshop was organized for local businesses in Fort Worth, but non-FW businesses are more than welcome to drop by and exchange notes. Bill Hartzer will talk about local SEO best practices, useful tips and insider secrets.
Got any more to add? List them in the comments section.