Step three: Check local citations
Local citation analysis is an essential part of any competitive analysis because local quotes Impact Rankings.
in one Citation Tracker reportthere is a tab called “Competitor Quotes”. Here is a list of the citations and business attributions we have for our law firm’s top five competitors, excluding those that our law firm already has.
To find out who the competitors are, we can just click on the red pins.
For a better understanding of the citations that are worth registering for, we can take a look at the “Citation Authority” and “Citation Value” columns.
Citation authority is based on Domain Authority, a metric calculated by a third party, Moz. This is a website’s SEO score and a prediction of its ability to rank well in search engines. This is calculated out of 100. The higher the number, the more influence that website can have.
The citation value is unique to BrightLocal. It is determined by the number of times a website appears in citation records. The more a website is used as a citation source, the higher its value. These values are calculated using unique research by BrightLocal.
If there are citations in the table that have high citation value and/or citation authority scores, you should search for them first.
To do this, click on the “+” symbol in the “Actions” column and you will be forwarded directly to the citation page. Once there, you should be able to enter your company details to register a quote request. Keep in mind that your citation may not be immediately added to an index.
Once the quotes are ready and dusted, we can proceed to monitoring our local competitor’s rankings.
Step Four: Monitor local competitor rankings
Local Search Grid tells us how well we’re doing relative to our competitors for certain keywords and gives us an idea of who we’re actually competing against so we can start developing an improvement strategy.
In the geogrid you can see how our firm performs in the range we have specified. If we hover over the points we can also see the main contenders for that particular place.
To understand how we might outperform them, we can click on the dot and get a list of the top competitors along with information about their proximity, number of reviews and star rating. For example, if we find that we have a lower number of reviews and star ratings than our competitors, running a review generation campaign would be a good way to start our strategy.
This is also a great place to spot name spam. If we notice that a company ranking above us has used emojis or keywords in their company name, also known as keyword stuffing, we can click the report button to go directly to Google’s redress complaint form. If they use name spam, Google will penalize them. You will go down in the rankings and we will go up.
Below the geogrid is a competition table that shows us a list of the top ten competitors ranked in the geogrid and the following information for each of them:
- Average rank: the average ranking of the participant
- Left: the competitor’s number of backlinks (according to Moz) pointing to the web domain listed as a website on its Google My Business listing
- Authority: a measure adopted from Moz; The higher the Authority Score, the higher the ranking potential of the competitor’s website
- Reviews: the number of customer reviews of the competitor
- Evaluation: the average star rating of the competitor
- Main category: the primary category used by a competitor in their Google Business Profile
- Additional categories: the additional categories used by a competitor in the Google Business Profile
How can you use this Local Search Grid data?
Our law firm has significantly fewer links and ratings for the search term “law firm near me” than the top three competitors. They also use another main category in Google Business Profile. They have “Family Lawyer” and the two biggest competitors have chosen “Law Firm”. So two action points would be updating their primary category in the Google Business Profile and initiating both link and review generation campaigns.
Again, we can watch for keyword stuffing and report suspicious businesses using the flags button.
Additionally, we can use the information in the competitor charts to understand if we can actually expect to rank for a given keyword in an entire grid. This is great for setting expectations for ourselves and for our customers.
We can click on each competitor in the table to see if there is a single competitor that is dominant for that keyword. If not, there’s no point expecting your entire grid to go green.
If we find that the law firm does not rank at all for a keyword in its direct location in the geogrid (marked with a blue pin), it may mean that it is being filtered by Google.
Filtering occurs when more than one business searches for the same keyword at a single address. For example, if there are multiple businesses at the same address using the same primary category in their Google Business Profile, Google will only rank one or two of them and filter out the rest.
Suppose there is a dental practice that employs five dentists. In their Local Rank Tracker report, you notice that they don’t rank at all at their address (i.e. the dot is red where their blue location marker is, just like in the image above). If you click on the red dot you will see that there are two dentists from the practice above them which means they have their own GBPs set up.
If you check on google you can see that the two dentists use the same google business profile category as the main practice and therefore google filters the main practice.
The main point here is to optimize the GBPs of the two dentists for a different keyword. For example, one could specialize in teeth whitening and that would be the main category in their GBP instead.
Step Five: Link and Website Authority
The last one is Local search audita great all round tool for screening potential and existing clients and identifying areas of their online profile that they need to work on or prioritize.
How can you use it to gain information about our law firm’s competitors?
In a Local Search Audit under the heading “Links & Website Authority” we can determine the average score of our competitors as well as our company ratings in the following areas:
- Google Index Count: the number of pages Google has indexed on your site
- Link Count: the number of links leading to your website from other websites
- Linking domains: the number of websites linking to your website
- Majestic C-Flow: a link-related score calculated based on the number of incoming links on your website
- Domain Authority: A search engine ranking score that predicts your website’s ability to rank in search engine results pages
Our goal should be to rank higher than the competitor average on each of these points. This table therefore gives us a good insight into where we should prioritize our efforts first and in the future.
For example, if our link count is below the competitor average, like in the example above, then start with one link building campaign would be a worthwhile endeavor.
As we’ve learned, conducting a competitor analysis for local SEO takes a lot of time and effort, but with the help of BrightLocal’s tools, it can be made easier and the potential benefits make it really worth it.
By carefully examining each competitor and documenting various factors that contributed to their success, you can gain valuable insights and overtake them in local searches.