What does the software or service do well? BrightLocal is a tool I use daily for my US and international clients. It is particularly flexible in Local Search ranking reports for geographically large cities. The ability to specify search engine locations at ZIP Code, UK Postcode, or even finer resolutions is very valuable and directly responsible for gaining my biggest clients.
What does the software or service not do well? There are inconsistencies and lack of communication between various parts of the toolset. As an example, Top Local Citations are discovered and properly logged as "Active Citations" in one part of the reporting but do not appear on the primary report page "Top Local Citations". This makes the Top Local Citations report near useless for distribution to clients. I would also say that the custom report generation area of the product is very basic for an agency, and tedious to set up. I am also disappointed by the limitations of the Local SEO Audit portion of the tool. It is suitable for beginners but not experienced SEO's.
What do you wish you had known about the software or service before using? I began using BrightLocal quite a long time ago when the company was less polished. Most of what I learned about its capability I discovered on my own. Recently the company has become much more proactive in letting its users know about new and interesting features. Similarly BL has grown their Support Staff and its capabilities notably - my issues are always addressed promptly.
Have you used a competitor to the software or service? If so, how does it compare? Over the years I've sampled a couple of other Local Search tool providers and citation-builders. BrightLocal remains my primary provider due to its combination of capabilities, responsive support, and affordable price for its services. Other services can match much of its capability - usually not all - but at higher cost. Having been a customer for over 10 years now, I have no plans to change vendors.