Looking for a good cup of coffee to start the morning or a classy restaurant for Friday night? Need a mechanic to fix your transmission or a plumber for that leak in your bathroom? You’ll likely turn to Google to find reviews and directions for the best local options.
What does this mean for local business marketers? If you don’t appear prominently in local search, you’re missing out on a wealth of new business. Develop a sound and thorough local SEO campaign to increase visibility on Google for local searches, and use the following reports to monitor the progress of your tactics and initiatives over time.
Segmenting locations of organic traffic
Begin tracking your local SEO results by segmenting your organic traffic location. Ideally the majority of your organic traffic will be in close proximity to your business. If you operate multiple locations, you can see which locations are driving healthy local traffic and which could use improvement.
You can also look at bounce rate per city compared to the site’s average to analyze which location’s organic traffic is not engaging with the site as much as others.
Sometimes, you’ll also find traffic from cities that you didn’t expect, which could potentially present opportunities for expansion or outreach.
Locations and landing pages
If each of your locations has its own landing page (as they should), use the Pivot option in Google Analytics to view what locations are going to what landing pages. To set this up, select the “Pivot by” box and pivot location against landing page. Filter to only include your location landing pages.
Is organic traffic from Portland landing on your Portland landing page? If not, where are they landing? This segues into the next Analytics report essential to local SEO.
Behavior flow report
If local organic searchers are finding your website primarily by your homepage, are they following your conversion funnel that lands them at a contact or location page? This report shows how visitors are traversing your site, and whether there are any roadblocks causing visitors to bounce.
Traffic from specific search engines and directories
Updating local directory listings with thorough and consistent information significantly improves local search rankings. But these resources can also be helpful for driving referral traffic. Look at your referral traffic report to view which directories are driving quality local traffic, and where you can increase visibility.
Monitor rankings on these third-party sites, particularly Yelp, Facebook, and other niche sites, for your targeted non-branded searches. The better your rankings on these sites, the more referral traffic you will drive back to yours.
In addition to monitoring overall organic traffic, look at the individual search engines as well. While Google dominates market share at about 65 percent, don’t forget the two other search engines that form the Big Three: Yahoo and Bing. Together these three constitute 94.2 percent of all search traffic.
Google My Business: Impressions, calls, and “Get Directions”
A complete Google My Business listing will make your business visible in local searches and Google Maps and will also create a knowledge graph for users searching for your brand. It is essential to local SEO success. The Google My Business dashboard also provides outstanding insights into how many users have seen your listing, both in Maps and in search, as well as how many users clicked on directions or the click-to-call phone number.
Unfortunately, this data only goes back 90 days, so in order to monitor improvement over time, it is recommended to export and catalog this data in a spreadsheet to keep a lasting record.
Google Search Console: Rankings, clicks, and CTR
As you may already know, Google Analytics encrypts nearly all organic keyword data. This makes it nearly impossible to know what keywords are driving organic traffic to your site. However, Google search console not only provides you with keyword rankings, but also how many clicks and impressions those keywords derived. If your local SEO campaign is successful, you’ll see significant traffic from geo-specific keywords, like “Portland marketing company.”
Search Console also measures click-through rate. So if your site is getting a lot of impressions but not many clicks for a certain keyword, chances are your page titles and meta descriptions need some work to get people interested in your site.
Like Google My Business, Search Console only stores data for the previous 90 days, so it’s essential to download this data to monitor for improvements over time.