Local Search Tools For the SMB and Professional

I have been using two “new” local search tools of late and have been impressed with both of them.

The Local Search Toolkit from seOverflow has recently been released from beta and upgraded to work with the many changes that occurred recently in Google Places. The tool provides competitive information for a range of information for the top 7 listings in a given geo search. It will provide both URLs and totals for each of the following: Site Title Tag, Categories, Citations, Reviews , Number of Photos, Number of Videos, whether the listing is Owner Verified and the listings Distance to City Center.

It’s free and provides a wealth of information. It’s useful for determining which reviews sites are most prevalent in which industries and which citations sources are the most prominent.

Another tool that I often use is the Whitespark Local Citation Finder. The free version has been around for a while and is also useful in finding citations for either keyword phrases, your own site or those of a competitor. They just released the Local Citation Finder Pro version. The Pro Version is $20/mo and normally I do not write about products that charge a fee but it has a new feature that I am finding incredibly useful (they provided me with a free subscription).

Local Citations Pro now offers the ability compare the specific citations between any number of  searches and or business listings. So for example you can examine your business listing and the citations for the listing that is tops in your category and against the citations for a series of search pharse. The information is offered up both visually and via a spread sheet file:

Local Citation Finder Pro

Pro users also get these other features:

  • Compare Citations
    Easily determine which citations your competitors have that you’re missing.
  • Sort by Value
    Sort your results by SEOmoz Domain Authority and Majestic SEO ACRank.
  • Get Results in Minutes (Not Hours)
    Pro users jump right to the front of the queue.
  • Export to CSV
    Use the LCF data in your client reports, etc.
  • 20 Searches per Day
    17 more than the 3 searches per day that free users get.

Another possible use for the comparison feature in the Pro version would be to track citation accumulation for a single listing over time.

Both products are incredibly useful tools in their free versions. While I have trouble envisioning spending the monthly fee for Local Citation Pro for a single business, the extra features are worth the expense if your are managing more than a few campaigns.

This article was updated at 12:40 PM

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  3. The iPhone and local search

Loci 2010 – Matt McGee

Matt McGee needs little introduction to most readers here. He has been involved, perhaps longer than I, in the local space as a consultant, practitioner and writer and was one of my first virtual friends in the space. I have had the good fortune to have had Matt become a real friend and we often “tour” together with GetListed Local University. He maintains his own blog Small Business Search Marketing, is Executive News Editor at Search Engine Land and a moderator and editor at Sphinn.

His sense of internet marketing is keen and one that I listen to and trust even if having him in my social graph at Hotpot skews the results to pizza.


I’ve been enjoying the previous articles in this series. I don’t agree with all the opinions on what was most important in 2010, but that’s surely part of the fun. I do agree that 2010 was a big year for the local industry. Marissa Mayer, one of the most important people at Google, was “promoted” to a position overseeing local and mobile. Google launched Places Search, a whole new take on local search results. Bing made some very cool upgrades to its maps product. Facebook took a real step into the local space with Facebook Places. And so much more. 2010 was a BIG year for local/mobile.

But for all the progress, I’m still struck by how undeveloped the space is as a whole. So, at the risk of having you call me “Debbie Downer” (that’s a Saturday Night Live reference, Professor), I’d like to list 10 things that are still missing, broken, or unsolved in local at the end of 2010.

1- Google Places is still filled with bugs, from merged listings to problems with reviews and so much more. I have a gut feeling that spam is somewhat better than it’s been, but there are so many more problems for such an important piece of the local puzzle.

2- It’s still borderline impossible for the average person to track local/”pack” traffic in Google Analytics. There have been several articles that teach semi-complicated methods for doing this, but those articles shouldn’t be needed.

3- On a related note, the Google Places business dashboard remains mostly useless. The data is several days old and the stripped-down referral keyword list remains often frustrating. It would be better for Places to integrate directly into Google Analytics.

4- Bing still doesn’t offer any stats in its Local Listing Center. Nor does Yahoo.

5- Google still appears to be much more interested in acquiring small businesses (as Google users) than they are in actually supporting the ones already in the fold.

6- We still can’t manage multiple Places listings (for different clients) from a single interface. (Bing and Yahoo also don’t offer this functionality.)

7- There’s still no effective SEO/visibility solution for businesses without a location or for businesses that need to hide their location. Google’s product for those businesses seems to do more harm than good, and Bing doesn’t even have a product for them.

8- Neither Google, Bing, nor Yahoo allow a local business to integrate their Facebook and/or Twitter content into local business listings. I think Citysearch is the only local provider that has this functionality. Why?

9- There’s still no real solution to the call-tracking dilemma. SMBs want/need to track calls, but multiple phone numbers wreaks havoc on the trust of your primary business listing.

10- Neither Google, Bing, nor Yahoo provide any review management tools inside the business listing dashboards.

I’ll stop there with a “thanks” to Mike for letting me contribute to this series, and a “thanks” to you for reading. Hopefully we’ll see some or all of these things improve in 2011.

How to Get on Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local Listings

Local search marketing is an excellent way to get more visitors to your website, and in general, to bring in more business. In comparison to normal SEO (search engine optimization), local SEO is easier to implement and get higher rankings. In addition, search engines like Google, are favoring local businesses and listing Place Pages above all or most websites that rank from organic SEO