How to Review BrightLocal Results

BrightLocal integrates all your local SEO tools into a single, reliable platform that has all your bases covered. It gathers all the local SEO data you need, such as organic traffic, maps, and search rankings, as well as reports like Google Local audit, competitor benchmark, and on-site and off-site SEO. Integrating this software with Google […]


BrightLocal integrates all your local SEO tools into a single, reliable platform that has all your bases covered. It gathers all the local SEO data you need, such as organic traffic, maps, and search rankings, as well as reports like Google Local audit, competitor benchmark, and on-site and off-site SEO. Integrating this software with Google Analytics and Facebook will further help provide you with a clear picture of where your business is in the social media landscape and what you can do to grow in the realm of social networking.

In this task, we are going to show you how to review your BrightLocal results and what terms are the most important to understand. This task will help you better understand the software and most provide you with the information you need to make strategic decisions.

Reviewing BrightLocal Reports

The videos below will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to review the most important BrightLocal results and how to make sense of them. These videos will help you to understand what to look for when assessing each report which is important for understanding how your SEO efforts are performing online.

The BrightLocal Dictionary (Everything You Need To know)

The information below is a summary of every page and the most important terms used in BrightLocal. While you are reviewing results and find yourself wondering what a term means, simply make your way to this “BrightLocal Dictionary” to find the answers. Ready? Let’s dive in!

Summary Section

The summary section is the first thing you will see when you open the “Local Search Audit” report. This section provides you with a complete overview of your office’s online results and provides a score for the other sections that will be covered below. BrighLocal makes use of unique formulas to calculate the scores you will see in each section. These scores are then converted into an easy-to-read score of Good, OK, and Poor. By clicking on each colored box, you can see the section you are interested in. You can do this or scroll down, but simply selecting what you want to see will save some time.

So, what does each section mean? We will now explain what you should know about each section. The most important thing to remember here is that we want you to understand what each term/report means so that we can discuss it in our monthly meeting. If you see that your scores are low in some critical areas, we want to provide you with advice to fix this.

1.) Google Analytics Results

Here BrightLocal checks your website to see which website analytics solution you use. If you’ve completed Box 1 as instructed, you should have both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager in this section.

2.) Citation Tracker

According to BrightLocal: “A citation is an online mention of a business that features the Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) of the business. In the context of local search, citations are typically business directory listings such as Yelp,, and many others. Citations are a foundational ranking factor for local SEO, which means it is essential to get them right in order to improve business visibility online and to potentially influence local rankings.”

Accuracy is one of the most important factors of citations — you need to make sure that the business’s name, address, and phone number are consistent online. Achieving this gives Google (and other search engines) confidence in the true location of a business, ensuring they can accurately place the business on a map. Having a range of accurate citations also tells search engines that a business is prominent, or well-known, which search engines also use as a factor to determine the influence that a business has in their local results.

3.) Rank Checker 

This section provides you with an overview of how well your website ranks in relation to the keywords that are important to you (e.g., Dentist in Dallas or Implants in Chicago). BrightLocal reports your ranking on the largest search engines, such as Google and Bing, and also within their local offerings which are Google Maps and Bing Local. BrightLocal will report the top 50 results — if you don’t appear in the top 50, you will see >50.

The lower the number here the better. The ultimate goal is to appear within the first 10 results within your area. If you see >50 for many of the results, it means you need to work on improving your SEO to move up the rankings. See this as an opportunity, not a train crash. In Box 4, we will show you the best ways to improve your SEO organically. So, if you’re ranked low, don’t worry, we’ll be here to help soon!

4.) Links and Website Authority 

The “Links and Website Authority” reports some of the most important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) indicators that influence how high or low your business ranks in search engine results (e.g., Google, Bing). BrightLocal calculates these scores by generating data through their proprietary systems and also pulls data from trusted partners, who are experts in their respective fields.

Google Index Count: This represents the number of pages that Google has indexed on your site. This allows Google’s search engine to ‘read’ your website content to understand what you do and offer. This enables Google to return your business for relevant searches. You need to ensure that Google (and other search engines) can read all the pages you want them to. 

Link Count: This number indicates the number of links that come from other websites to your site. If, for instance, your website is featured on a dental association website, this will count as one link. Links are essential for organic search SEO. The more inbound links you have, the higher your page will rank. If you have more inbound links than your local competitors, you are more likely to rank higher than them in local searches for dental services.

Linking Domains: This shows the number of websites that link to your website. When you have links from trusted websites to your website, Google counts this as a vote of confidence in your dental website which will help you rank higher in search results. Keep in mind, it’s more powerful to have 100 links from 100 sites than it is to have 100 links from one site, and these sites must be relevant to your business. You should do your best to have more sites linking to you than your competitors do.

Domain Authority: This measures the “rankability” of your website by considering more than 150 different SEO metrics. High domain authority will allow you to rank higher in search results. As you improve your overall SEO score over time, your domain authority will also increase as a result. 

Website Age: This calculates the age of your website. Search engines trust older websites more than new ones. Just something you should take note of.

5.) Local Business Listings

As we have expressed on multiple occasions, your dental office’s address and contact information need to be correct and consistent online. That’s why we encouraged you to install MOZ in Box 2 to help verify that your information is correct. By making sure your information is displayed accurately online, Google is more likely to trust you, increasing your SEO ranking. This also ensures that your customers can find or contact you without running into any difficulties.

The Local Business Listings section audits the most important online directories, then reports back on whether you have a listing there. If you do, BrightLocal will check if your information is complete & consistent, and highlight any errors that need fixing. These directories can be a direct source of new patients, boosting your local ranking within Google.

5.) Review & Ratings

BrightLocal audits all of your reviews on the most important review sites. This provides a report of total reviews, average rating, and score on each site. Positive reviews are one of the best ways to build a positive online reputation. The better your reputation, the more likely you are to convert patients. Swell, which we set up in Box 2, is a fantastic tool to help build a positive online reputation. If you have positive reviews on Google, you will also rank higher in search results, helping with click-through rates. 

Review Count by Star Rating: This chart shows you how many 1-star, 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star reviews you have received across the top five sites.

Top Review Sites: The number of reviews you have on every site is shown here, along with the star rating for each site.

6.) Google My Business (GMB)

The Google My Business section analyzes your GMB listing and reports on various key performance indicators. BrightLocal also benchmarks your dental website in comparison to the top 10 ranked businesses in your area within the same category (dentistry).

In Box 1, we showed you how to create a Google My Business listing or how to update it if you already had an account. By having this listing, you are more likely to appear in organic search results and Google Maps results on both desktop and mobile devices. — this is why GMB is such a useful marketing opportunity for local businesses. The better your ranking here, the more likely you are to attract new, local patients.

7.) On-Site SEO

In this section, BrightLocal looks at On-Site SEO factors that influence your potential to rank higher in search engines. These factors include elements of your actual website (both visible and in the code) that affect how high you rank in keyword searches. This is one of the easier ways to improve your SEO since you have the power to make changes to improve your own site.

Here BrightLocal provides an audit summary of all of your website pages. You can even view page-specific results which are great for when you are trying to optimize your homepage. This is the first-page potential patients will see. This is why it’s important to have a good ranking. The next task in this box, we will show you how to improve your homepage, so stay tuned. First, let’s take a look at what On-Site SEO factors influence your website’s success.

a) Technical results

Page Load Speed: This measures how fast your landing page loads when viewed using a desktop device. The faster a page loads, the better the experience for your users. Scores range from 0 to 100 points, where 100 is the optimum score. Here’s a word of advice from MOZ on how to increase your page loading speed.

Robots.txt: Robots.txt is a file that sits in your website code. This piece of text tells Google which pages on your site to look at. It’s important to have a robots.txt file to help Google index all the pages you want it to. If you have a WordPress website, you can use this tutorial to install this text.

XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is a ‘Contents’ page for your website. This map helps Google better index your site, which increases your chances of ranking higher for relevant searches. Here’s how to install an XML sitemap to your website.

Errors: Errors are pages also called “URLs” on your site that return an error because the page either doesn’t exist anymore, or the page has some sort of problem loading. If you have a high error count, Google will reduce your website’s domain authority, lowering your search ranking. It’s important to resolve these errors so that potential patients don’t get frustrated with non-responsive pages located on your website.

Internal Links: This represents the number of connected pages on your website. What this means is when you have a link from the Services We Provide section on your website to the Book an Appointment section, it counts as an internal link. The more internal links you have (without going overboard) the better Google will understand your website and how different pages & topics are related.

Canonical URLs / Dynamic URLs: BrightLocal checks your homepage for issues with URL canonicalization (canonicalization is a process for converting data that has more than one possible representation into a “standard”, “normal”, or canonical form). This process is used to avoid URL duplication issues when a website has more than one different URL for the same page. If this happens, search engines get confused about which URL is the correct one to index. Canonicalization tells search engines which page to list.

SSL: Secure Sockets Layer helps make websites more secure. This is done by adding an SSL certificate to your site making it safer for users to input data or download data because the transfer of that data is encrypted. Google provides ranking priority to sites that use SSL. Here’s how to install your SSL on WordPress.

b) SEO results

Page Title: Each page on your website has a main heading title that appears in the page code. This code communicates with Google and tells what each page is about based on this heading title. The titles on your page also appear in the search results and on browser tabs, which is why it is so important to carefully decide what title you want for each page on your website. Page Titles should be unique to each page, containing your most important keywords. This will help with SEO ranking. In the next task, we explain which keywords to use in your titles.

Page Descriptions: Each page has a description or piece of text that appears within the code of the page. Parts of this text will be visible in bold to potential patients when they search for keywords related to your services. This is also visible in search results. Page Descriptions should therefore be unique to each page, containing your most important keywords.

Image Alt Tags: Search engines still struggle when it comes to reading images to determine their content. Adding Alt Text is adding text to an image and lets you tell Google what the image is about. A useful way of reinforcing what a web page is about gives Google more relevant signals that have a positive impact on your SEO.

C) Mobile results

Responsive Design: What this means is that your website page width and content will auto adjust depending on the device it is being viewed on. A responsive site will provide a better experience for potential patients. Google also favors websites that provide their users with the best possible experience. So having a responsive website can influence your search ranking.

Mobile Friendly: Considering most people use their mobile devices to search keywords these days, it’s important to have a mobile friendly website. If your website is not mobile friendly, we advise you to contact your developer and make the necessary changes. 

Mobile Page Load Speed: This scores how quickly your landing page loads on a mobile device.

Mobile Rendering: These screenshots show how your landing page appears on mobile (left) and tablet (right) devices.

d) Content results

Physical Address: This indicates whether you have your physical address on all of your website pages. You should always try to incorporate your physical address on your website as it influences your Google Local rankings. 

Phone Number:  Google looks for a local phone number to confirm where your business is located. That’s why it’s so important to feature your contact details as much as possible. 

Top Keywords: BrightLocal analyzes all the pages on your site to determine the most common keywords used. This is one of the most important features as it helps you determine whether your website’s written content is focused on the right keywords. Your keywords should be focused on your location and the services you provide. This will increase your SEO ranking.

And that’s it!

We know this was A LOT to take in, but, by understanding these terms, you will understand BrightLocal, and most importantly, you will understand the SEO/technical lingo used in the dental marketing industry. On a lighter note, If you noticed that you received a low On-Site SEO score for your website in BrightLocal, don’t stress! In the next task, we are going to show you how to optimize your website homepage to push up those numbers.