It has been a while since Google implemented the changes that saw the way localised search was presented and Local SEO is becoming more and more important for a wide range of businesses. Much like normal SEO there is a number of steps that you can take to improve your Google Places listing – helping it perform well and helping you rank well for location specific keywords.
Today I am going to show you a tool that will take the pain out of researching the competition, a tool that gives you a breakdown of the important factors that are helping your competition rank higher – allowing you to target the right areas in your Local SEO.
Essentially the Local Search Toolkit analyses the Google Places Results for any given keyword (alongside location). The tool then throws out loads of competitive analysis and data that you can export and utilise – allowing you to move up the rankings and (hopefully) claim that top spot for yourself.
With the Toolkit you can add as many projects as you like with up to 100 keywords per project (which is more than enough in my opinion) and they are all stored for you nice and neatly in the dashboard that you can see above. Once you have decided on the keywords for your project you pop them into the project – for this example we will look for ‘plumbers nottingham’ and associated keywords.
If I was a plumber in Nottingham I would be pretty chuffed at the moment because I would be able to see that they businesses that appear above me are not really looking at their Local SEO. Notice that the business sitting in the number 1 position has not used his business name in the Google Places Title, choosing instead to fill it with keywords – as a word of warning this is against Google guidelines and is not recommended, stick with the name of your business and concentrate on playing by the rules.
If we look at column 2 we can see that Google is favouring the sites that mention the words ‘plumber’ and ‘Nottingham’ in the title tag of their home page.
Column 3 is categories – and we know that you should fill up all five of your categories and at least one or two of your categories should be the ones that Google uses. To find these all you do is start typing, Google will then suggest categories that it thinks are related to your business – pick one or two of these.
Column 4 is citations – citations are mentions of your business on trusted and relevant sites across the Internet. With the Local Search Toolkit you will be able to see where Google is getting the citations for your competitors and you can head off and get them for your business as well.
Column 5 is reviews, which are incredibly important for Local SEO – you will now be able to see where Google is getting the reviews from for your competitors and, well…you get the idea.
Essentially this cool little tool shows you where to concentrate:
It also tells you where you need to head to get the reviews and citations. It tells you what the sites that are outperforming you are doing and all of this information can be exported into a spreadsheet so you can work on it at your own leisure.
Google got smart recently on localised search and it is time your business started paying attention as well.