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Whitespark Review: Local SEO Tools and Services to Bring Customers Closer

Local SEO is a big deal these days.

How often do you search for things like, “best restaurants NYC,” “hardware store near me” or “movie times Los Angeles”? If you’re like me, you’re doing this all the time.

Not only is it a common type of search, but the results are highly influential: 50% of people who look for local results visit a store that same day.

Getting to the top of the local search results is key to getting bodies in the door. Having exciting images and stellar customer reviews to back up the keywords ranking is another major plus.

Even so, some business owners might not be stoked about investing extra time and resources in their digital presence. It’s admittedly a lot of work.

Whitespark presents an attractive solution for brick-and-mortar businesses to get into digital marketing and SEO. This platform offers a comprehensive online suite of tools and services that make local SEO easy, even for people who don’t have any digital marketing background.

It features reputation management, so you can handle your online reviews in a simple, streamlined way, display the positive reviews and minimize the impact of the negative ones. It helps you find citation opportunities and build backlinks, boosting your visibility online so people can find you IRL.

So, we’ll take a careful look at Whitespark here, and examine whether the hyper-focus on local SEO is an asset, or if other marketing platforms are a better buy.

Whitespark Review: Local SEO Tools and Services to Bring Customers Closer

Whitespark is an à la carte service, so each of the tools and services must be purchased separately.

I’ll warn you, it’s a bit difficult to figure out the layout of the site right off the bat, so you should plan to invest time in getting started—or you can pay Whitespark to manage things for you. That’s right, they’ll take things into their own hands and just deliver you the needed results.

There’s also a division between its tools and services to be aware of. Tools are the things that you can use on your own, while services are what the Whitespark team can complete for you. We’ll try to keep this distinction straight as we move through the many different components of the platform.

So, What Tools and Services Does Whitespark Offer?

1. Local Citation Finder Tool

The Local Citation Finder tool allows you to uncover citation opportunities on your own.

You’ll be able to quickly search for citations based on targeted key phrases, uncover competitor citations and reveal the best opportunities for new citations.

To set up a new project (each business is its own project), you’ll simply click “start a new project” and enter your business name and location, plus the keyword you want the platform to research.

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The results will appear in a spreadsheet listing blogs and directories where you can record your business info.

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What’s more, you can see the Domain Authority. This tells you how reputable a website is, and thus should give you an idea of whether or not a directory is worth posting on.

From there, you can take the information and start building citations by submitting your business information to the directories that look most promising.

The tool is completely free (with a Whitespark account) for three searches per day but only allows you to work with one project (one business) and returns limited results. If you need more information than this provides, the upgrades range from $17 to $80 per month based on how many searches, projects and search results you need.

2. Citation Building Service

Don’t like the idea of digging up those citations on your own? Whitespark offers a citation building service that increases your chances of getting discovered online.

You submit your information to the platform, then they’ll research what’s online to see if there are any mentions of your business across the internet’s many directories.

The service, which costs $4 per citation, looks for duplicate entries, incorrect NAP listings, and powerful related directories, and from there, generates a list of citation opportunities.

Whitespark then builds citations by hand and sends you a report with all the listings they’ve created, so you can track your progress after the service has been performed.

3. Citation Clean-up Service

This Whitespark service works to fix inaccuracies that harm your SEO rankings.

It’s a valuable thing to have people working on when your information is already listed across many directories, but it’s not listed correctly or consistently.

For local SEO, it’s incredibly important to make sure the information is correct, up-to-date and exactly the same on all other sites. Phone numbers, website URLs and other business details that are incorrect can potentially confuse customers.

If you’ve recently moved your brick and mortar business to a new location, changed your phone number or switched website URLs, then you might want to hire Whitespark to take care of this.

It only costs $2 per listing, whereas it might take you upwards of 20 minutes per listing to do the research, find the information, figure out how to edit it or request an edit—and then you might miss some too. I’m guessing your time, as a business owner, is worth more than $2.

4. Reputation Builder Tool

The Reputation Builder tool allows you to add customers—with custom fields for name, email, phone and so on.

You can send an SMS message or email following the completion of a transaction, which prompts users to leave feedback.

High ratings are redirected to your pre-selected online profiles (your business website, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) and encouraged to leave a public positive review.

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Unhappy customers—people who give your service less than a 6 out of 10—are directed to a private feedback form, which allows you to intercept bad reviews and remedy the problem before the customer goes public with their critique.

This feature also allows you to aggregate positive reviews from 40+ review sites, including the big guns like Yelp and Google, and pull them for featured testimonials. Additionally, the tool allows users to monitor their progress with a dashboard that collects data from all relevant platforms.

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This extensive tool’s cost ranges from $35 per location per month (at the most basic) to $215 per location per month (with tons of credits, features and information). What you’ll need really depends on the size of your business.

5. Review Handout Generator Tool

The Review Handout Generator is a simple yet handy tool that you can use to create customized instructions for your customers to leave reviews.

After all, some customers love your business but just aren’t internet-savvy. This will guide them through each step they need to take, leading to more reviews online.

And it’s free with your Whitespark account, so it’s just a nice bonus if you’ve already signed up!

6. Google Link Generator Tool

This is another free, simple little tool to guide your customers through the process of reviewing your business.

In this case, it helps customers who might not know where to leave a review of your services on Google.

And Google is where you want many of your reviews to be, as they seriously help with search rankings and appear most prominently in local search results.

You can use the Google Link Generator Tool to create a custom link that, once clicked, takes readers directly where they need to go to leave a review on Google.

7. Local Audit Service

The Whitespark Local Audit looks at all the factors that affect your local standings from your Google My Business profile, to your citations, and backlinks.

It also covers all things optimization—you’ll get a report highlighting areas on your site that need improvement, recommendations for reputation management—plus an action plan for moving forward.

It very thorough, so it quite reasonably costs $695 for the audit of your first business location and website pair. After that, you’ll need to calculate the cost of additional locations or websites.

8. Local Rank Tracker Tool

This Local Rank Tracker tool works to help customers view their in-depth, local organic search rankings. You’ll know exactly what people are seeing when they search for your keywords on Google, depending on their region.

This tool serves more as a visual means of tracking how your site performs for certain keywords in search engine results and provides some insight on how you can improve.

Additionally, the local rank tracker monitors your performance over time, by individual keywords, as well as how you stack up against the competition.

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The advantage of this tool over a standard rank tracker is, you can track geo-specific location modifiers. So, when you create a campaign, you can include City, State, Zip Code—i.e., “citation building Los Angeles.”

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This tool starts at $20 per month and allows you to track 100 local keywords—but on unlimited domains.

Compared to other standalone keyword rank trackers, this is relatively pricey. On the other hand, the information delivered is highly targeted, neatly organized by region and immediately useful for your local SEO purposes.

9. Link Prospector Tool

The Link Prospector is an easy-to-use tool that spots opportunities for guest posting, content promotion, directories and more. These are all places where you could earn a backlink, which is very important in local SEO and achieving high rankings in Google search results.

A backlink, quite simply, is a link on another site that leads people back to your site. Google views these as powerful signals of quality and respect, especially if you’re placing backlinks on very good websites.

The link prospector allows you to type in your target keyword, and from there, you’ll get a spreadsheet identifying the best opportunities for link building that are related to your industry.

This also includes a Broken Link Builder. Sometimes, once you’ve built a backlink, it breaks or is lost for a variety of reasons. This tool will find ones that you’ve lost, which are great opportunities because the webmaster already linked to you once before. Now, you can use this information to contact webmasters with updated links and ask them to fix the broken links.

For this tool, you can either pay as you go (and just buy credits as needed along the way) or pay a monthly fee starting at $47 per month.

10. Offline Conversion Tracker Tool

So, you’ll have all of these great tools and services at your disposal with Whitespark, but they all really focus on the online elements of business.

What about what’s happening offline? How did your real-life customers find out about you? How did they decide to visit your store, or call your brick-and-mortar location to ask for more specific information?

This free Offline Conversion Tracker tool allows you and your employees to keep track of referral and conversion information from offline customers, then keep track of it in Google Analytics.

What Are the Best Things About Whitespark?

The local focus and level of personalization are pretty fantastic. The tool makes it easy for small businesses to take advantage of SEO opportunities that can drive foot traffic.

A lot of what Whitespark does is actually about making local easy and fast, they aren’t necessarily providing services that can’t be done for free—especially in the case of tools like the citation finder or the reputation alerts.

Of course, it’s free to use Facebook, Yelp, and list yourself on Google My Business. But the relevant Whitespark tools take a lot of the manual labor out of this and also facilitate the process for your customers.

The bottom line: If you’re strapped for time and need some help with say, a full-on local SEO audit, paying Whitespark to lend a hand isn’t a bad idea.

The reputation management tool, too, is pretty darn comprehensive. It’s nice that the tool can aggregate your positive reviews to your website, and that it tracks your performance across multiple channels.

Whitespark does have a somewhat confusing interface, especially if you’re a first-time user. You’ll need to figure out how to consolidate multiple tools and services if you end up paying for more than one.

However, there’s documentation and helpful guides to ease you into it, and the customer service reps are readily available to answer questions.

How Does This Tool Stack Up Against Its Peers?

There’s a lot to like about Whitespark. They’ve created a collection of offerings that work for mom and pop shops regardless of tech-savviness.

Other reputation management tools tend to be on either side of the spectrum in terms of cost—either free and time-consuming, like Google Alerts, or expensive and comprehensive, like BrandMention.

If you’re interested in getting very involved with SEO and digital marketing, a more powerful website analysis and SEO tool like SEMRush or Monitor Backlinks might work better, though these require a little more SEO interest and hands-on work.

The backlink tool is pretty attractive since it’s geared towards scoring local/regional links, but there are several tools out there that do this for free.

The main defining features between Whitespark and its other SEO counterparts are: (1) the serious focus on local and regional SEO, (2) the a la carte setup for purchases and (3) the blend of outsourced services and hands-on tools.

If all of that’s interesting to you, it’s well worth considering the various tools and services offered by Whitespark. It’s a unique platform.

In the end, Whitespark has a ton of value for people with brick-and-mortar businesses and limited SEO knowledge.

If your business is mainly online, or if you’re willing to invest a lot more of your time in SEO, there’s probably a competitor out there that can give you better information for a better price.

 

Hang On, We Have Something for You!

CoSpot readers can now receive a free trial of the Monitor Backlinks SEO tool.

If you think Whitespark is up your alley, you’re going to love Monitor Backlinks.

It offers an excellent keyword rank tracker and backlink management tool that can accommodate local SEO needs, similar to Whitespark.

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You’ll get information on backlinks from websites in the region you’re targeting, as well as a notification when you’re ranking in Google’s Local 3-Pack.

Oh, and the plan pricing is pretty awesome too.

Take advantage of the trial period to compare both Monitor Backlinks and Whitespark, then choose what’s best for you.

Claim your free trial of Monitor Backlinks today!

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