It doesn’t matter in which business niche you operate, you can’t really establish a new local business if you ignore online marketing. The thing is, right now, over 50% of the total annual Google searches are local.
Because search engines are so widely used by users to find local products and services, every business, regardless of its size, should make use of local SEO. If you own a small business and you’re not utilizing local SEO tactics, I can bet you’re leaving money on the table.
Word-of-mouth and loyalty programmes are not going to cut it if you’ve only begun to build your customer base. You need consistent leads and you need them in a timely manner – a solid local SEO strategy is going to give them to you.
However, in order to identify and apply the best local SEO tactics for your business, you need tools capable of making your job easier.
I know that selecting the right tools for local marketing can be confusing since most are targeted towards enterprise-level businesses. I’m not implying that they aren’t any good for a small business, I’m just saying that some small businesses might not have the budget for them.
In an attempt to make your job easier (and save you some money), we’ve put together a list of essential local marketing tools that are either free or include a free version. Dig in!
You can’t really say no to a cost-free listing as you can’t really make your business thrive if it isn’t listed on Google. Given the huge market share that Google has, it’s clear that establishing a listing in Google My business will boost your chances of acquiring new customers.
Google My Business makes it possible to deliver your business listing to potential customers that are searching on Google Search or Google Maps. The initial setup is extremely easy and there’s no learning curve to it. You just have to type in the address and contact information and upload a few pictures.
Sure, Bing is not nearly as enormous as Google, but it’s still worth it, given the fact that it’s so easy to set up. Even if Bing’s market share has been declining in the latest years, the Microsoft-backed search engine still holds a decent 10% of the worldwide search market.
Because it’s the default search engine on Windows PCs, a lot of non-technical users are using it out of the commodity. Setting up a listing in Bing Places for your business is extremely straightforward. Visit this link to get started.
Yelp is yet another directory that your small business should not miss out on. It’s certainly a necessity, given the fact that the site averages 150$ unique visitors every month or so.
Don’t be afraid of the bad reviews. If your services/products are good and your clients are happy, your review section will reflect that. And keep in mind that even if you don’t claim your listing on Yelp, users will still be able to leave reviews about your business.
Instead of ignoring the whole thing, confront it straight on and claim the Yelp listing for your small business.
If your online marketing includes a content creation strategy, you’re going to adore Answer the Public. It’s a great way to determine the questions that user search for in relation to the keyword that you want to rank for.
Aside from boosting your chances of ranking higher on a certain topic, Answer the Public is a great tool for businesses because you can use it to boost your conversion rate. How? Simple. Use the graphs as insight and answer their most important questions. It works like a charm!
There are very few onsite SEO tools that are as efficient as SEO Spider. The tool uses a website crawler to fetch essential elements in order to analyze the onsite SEO of the targeted website. It will give you a general idea of what needs to be fixed in order to rank higher.
The basic version of SEO Spider is free and will likely be enough for a small business website. However, you will miss out on some advanced features and metrics if you don’t purchase a license.
Google’s Keyword Planner is an absolute gem for any small business that is planning to launch a pay-per-click campaign. But you can also use it to go for those keywords that are most profitable and have the least competition.
You can also use it to check out how some of your existing keywords are performing. Once you know your bad apples, you can replace them with better-performing keywords using the same tool.
Duplicate content is often the main cause why a solid website doesn’t rank as high as it should. You can use SiteLiner to scan your site for actionable data such as duplicate content, average page size, internal links, external links, and so much more.
Keep in mind that you can only crawl a certain number of pages daily (~200), but for most small businesses that will be enough to get the general picture.
I know some of you might disagree with this, but I don’t think there is a better free tool fit for doing market research than Facebook Audience Insights. If you take the time to test through the filters, you’ll likely discover valuable information about your target demographic, regardless of the business that your organization does.
You can use Facebook Audience Insights to specifically target your ideal audience as per your area of operations and include other criteria like gender, age, education and so on.
This concludes our list of free local SEO tools that are essential to every small business. If you think we’ve missed any tool that should have made the list, let us know in the comment section below.