Looking for a local SEO tool?

BrightLocal could be the one for you.

Read on for my full review.

 

Kumon faced a challenge. As a company that offers tutoring programs to children, it needed a local search presence.

Unfortunately, Kumon didn’t have a centrally managed approach to obtaining local citations online. Further, some of the existing citations pointed parents to the wrong branch instead of the nearest location.

That’s why the company reached out to BrightLocal.

BrightLocal developed a local search strategy that included cleaning up the erroneous citations and adding new listings.

Kumon is a UK-based company, so BrightLocal updated listings on key directories such as Yell and Scoot.

The end result: Kumon saw a 63% rise in Position 1 rankings on Google. Additionally, the company now has 650 locations with clean citations.

That’s what BrightLocal can do for your business as well.

“Local SEO Made Simple”

BrightLocal promises “Local SEO Made Simple” on its home page. It delivers on that promise.

How does it do that? With three types of services:

  • Local SEO Tools – Visualize all your data in one place, take control of your online reputation, and monitor rankings from a single point of entry.
  • Aggregator Submissions – Distribute important info about your business to thousands of directories all over the world.
  • Citation Building – Dominate Local SEO with consistent citations that help you achieve a top rank.

BrightLocal also markets itself as a comprehensive Local SEO solution. That’s convenient if you’re looking to consolidate all your Local SEO efforts under the umbrella of a single service.

In the next several sections, I’ll go over the features of BrightLocal so you can determine if it’s a tool that you should add to your digital marketing toolbox.

BrightLocal Review: Rank Checker

First up: BrightLocal tracks local rankings.

It’s not just straight organic rankings, though. BrightLocal follows mobile and maps rankings as well.

You’ll also get rankings from each of the “Big 3” in search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Looking for mobile rankings? BrightLocal has you covered there as well.

Additionally, the tool will show you how much your rankings have improved over time. That will give you some insight into whether your Local SEO efforts are paying off.

BrightLocal will also let you see how visible your business is to people in any location. Just plug in a zip code or the name of a town in the reporting section to see where you rank in that area.

If you’re too busy to check reports all the time, that’s no problem. Set up alerts so that the tool will send you an email when there’s a change in one of your rankings.

It gets better. BrightLocal will not only track your rankings, but it will even track the rankings of your citations. That info will show you the online visibility of sources that search engines are using to find your business.

Are you running a multi-location business? If so, then you’ll be happy to learn that the tool will compare rankings for as many as hundreds of locations in one place. Use “roll up” reports to see how your various sites compare with each other for specific search terms.

BrightLocal Review: Rank Tracker

Citation Building

Citations are online references to your local business. They typically include the business name, address, and phone number (NAP).

They’re also an extremely important part of any Local SEO strategy. Fortunately, BrightLocal makes it easy to get citations.

How does it do that? With several different types of services:

  • Manual clean-up work to ensure consistent NAP across all web properties
  • Building new, accurate citations on sites where they don’t exist
  • Distributing NAP data via local aggregators
  • Creation of Google My Business (GMB) and Bing local listings
  • Removal of duplicate citations

BrightLocal allows you to pick the sites where you want your business listed. Then, the company does all the heavy lifting on your behalf.

In other words, it’s a terrific service if you’d rather focus on growing your business instead of getting citations.

BrightLocal will also push your business info to data aggregators such as:

  • Neustar Localeze
  • Acxiom
  • InfoUSA
  • Factual

The company will also claim and verify your local citations. That way, you’ll have ownership of them going forward.

Why is that important? Because that means you’ll control the info that those directories display.

If you’ve got a multi-location business, no worries. BrightLocal already partners with some of the biggest multi-location businesses in the world. The company’s team members have the experience necessary to ensure that all your sites are optimized for local search.

Finally, BrightLocal supports local citations in 10 countries:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Singapore
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • United States
BrightLocal Review: Build citations

BrightLocal Review: Build citations

BrightLocal Review: Citation Tracker

It’s not good enough to just obtain citations. You need to track them as well.

BrightLocal lets you do that with its citation tracker.

First, the citation tracker lets you spot NAP issues. That’s important because an inconsistent NAP across different websites can hurt your local search rank.

When the tool does spot inconsistencies, you can prioritize which listings to fix first.

Next, the citation tracker also highlights the top sites for citations. That’s so you can see which high-value websites don’t include your listing.

Duplicate listings could also hurt your search rank. Fortunately, BrightLocal will identify those dupes so you can eliminate them.

Additionally, the tool will enable you to “spy” on your competitors. It does that by showing you their SEO citations.

Armed with that info, you should try to get listed in the same places.

BrightLocal also allows you to add notes and statuses to your various citations so you can more easily manage your campaigns.

BrightLocal Review: Track Citations

BrightLocal Review: Track Citations

Local Search Audit

Comprehensive tools almost always offer some kind of an audit feature. BrightLocal is no exception.

In fact, it runs a complete Local SEO audit in minutes. Then, it offers actionable insights on 7 areas of your optimization efforts:

  • On-site SEO
  • Off-site SEO
  • Search rankings
  • Citations
  • Google + local
  • Social media

Each section has an overall score (Good, OK, Poor) as well as more granular info.

Use the reports to highlight where you need to prioritize your Local SEO strategies. Then, put an action plan in place.

If you’re running your own digital marketing agency, you can brand the audit reports and present them to clients.

BrightLocal Review: Local search audits

BrightLocal Review: Local search audits

GMB Audit

BrightLocal will audit your GMB profile so you have a central place to view all your ranking signals, including:

  • Citations
  • Links
  • Categories
  • Domain Authority
  • Review count
  • Star rating
  • Local phone and address usage

The tool will also show you a side-by-side comparison of your profile with a competitor’s profile. Use that info to determine where you need to improve to stand out in local search.

BrightLocal also shows you a “citation matrix.” That lets you know where your competitors have citations and you don’t so you can fill in the gaps.

Additionally, the tool will display categories used by the top-ranked businesses. Some of those categories might be relevant to your own business model and can help you boost visibility.

BrightLocal Review: GMB audit

BrightLocal Review: GMB audit

BrightLocal Review: Reputation Manager

Reviews matters when it comes to earning local business. Fortunately, BrightLocal helps you build a 5-star reputation.

First, the tool helps you earn more reviews on the sites that matter. It does that with email template that you can use to encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews.

Next, BrightLocal allows you to reply to reviews from within the app. That makes it easier to provide feedback on feedback.

The tool also offers a “feedback funnel.” It shows you the number of people who’ve received your request for a review as well as the number of people who opened the email, clicked on the link in it, and left feedback.

Currently, BrightLocal monitors 21 review sites in the US, 18 sites in the UK, 15 sites in Canada, and 11 sites in Australia.

BrightLocal Review: Reputation Management

BrightLocal Review: Reputation Management

Lead Generation

If you’re running a digital marketing agency, BrightLocal offers a nifty feature that enables you to convert your website visitors into clients: the LeadGen widget.

Just add the LeadGen widget to a page on your site so prospects can create a personalized branded search audit for their websites. Then, they can contact you if they’d like to take their Local SEO journey to the next level.

The widget is offered in different formats, including sidebar, panel, and popup. Pick the option that you think will resonate most with your target market.

BrightLocal also enables you to manage all your leads in one place so you can prioritize the hottest prospects. You can also read their messages and access their Local SEO audits from a single screen.

BrightLocal Review: Pricing

BrightLocal offers a variety of different pricing models, each with a different level of service.

The lowest level of service is Single Business. That costs $29 per month and includes most of the goodies described in this article except the LeadGen widget and white-label reports.

The next level of service is Multi Business. For $49 per month, you’ll get access to additional search ranking reports and more keywords per report. You can also use the LeadGen widget and produce white-label reports.

For $79 per month, you get the SEO Pro level of service. That gives you everything in Multi Business plus more reports and full API access.

As with most other services offered online, BrightLocal offers custom levels of service. You’ll have to contact the company to learn about how much a tailor-fit solution for your business would cost.

Also, you can save money if you go annual rather than pay for the service on a month-to-month basis.

Pros & Cons

Current BrightLocal users are saying stuff about the product online. Some of it is good and some of it isn’t.

First, the good:

  • Great reporting
  • Excellent support team
  • Citation trackers are top-notch
  • Company is always working to improve the app
  • Affordable solution
  • Provides businesses with quality citations
  • Ability to track industry-specific keywords
  • Easy-to-use interface

Now, the bad:

  • Company is a victim of its own success as a growing community of users puts demand on system resources
  • Running manual reports can be very slow
  • Lacks the ability to customize emails sent out to clients with monthly reports
  • LeadGen widget has tough limits with lower-priced plans

BrightLocal Review: The Final Verdict

If you’re even remotely serious about Local SEO, BrightLocal should be on your shortlist. It’s a comprehensive, affordable solution that can more than pay for itself in a matter of months.

You can even try it for 14 days for free just to make sure it’s what you want.