As with most wants and desires in the digital marketing and advertising world, selling your concept or need for budget and resources requires approval.
It can be a big letdown to have a gut feeling that dedicated attention is needed only to be turned down because you can not prove the impact.
There is an old saying that the “devil is in the details.”
In reality, all of the opportunity lies in the details.
We can find this avenue through proper analysis and, more importantly, how you track and report upon local search performance.
Within local search, we do not simply focus on non-branded keyword delivery to sales and leads.
We also consider how well your branded local visibility performs and ushers traffic to your site.
1. Start Small
We know that Google holds the brunt of overall search engine share.
What you might not know is how well it is performing for you.
With the ownership of your local listing and a small amount of optimization, you may already drive a substantial amount of traffic, calls, direction requests, and website traffic.
To gauge the latter, you can implement a UTM variable to your website URL link.
The URL tag can easily be done with Google URL Builder.
Simply ensure that you note the search engine source, medium of “organic” and your campaign identifier.
Through your Google My Business listing info area, you can edit the website address.
This now allows you to assess local listing traffic in Google Analytics Campaigns and associate with lead, goal, or website revenue data.
Also, feel free to do this exercise for Bing Places as well.
Google My Business does a good job of showing you location level engagement.
Connecting Google My Business to Google Data Studio does a great job of showing improvement over time.
Here, we have the ability to understand, by location:
- The level of engagement.
- Increase/decrease of sentiment through star ratings over time.
- The performance of local listings showing up for non-branded local searches.
You now have something to stand on!
You have created visibility within a certain segment of your brand’s online user behavior and can show the impact it has on your bottom line as well as the direction it is heading.
Insight into your Google local listing performance breeds the proof that you may want to:
- Dedicate additional time to listing optimization, photo, video, information detail additions.
- See the need for maintaining the site through continual Google Posts custom content additions to promote happenings and offers of your company.
- Warrant the need for review generation services to increase the number of positive reviews on your Google local listing and other third-party sites that Google draws reviews from. You may also see the need for brand reputation management solutions or resource time to monitor sentiment on your listings.
2. Get the Ball Rolling
Now, you have potentially shown the power of the largest contender in this arena.
It is time to show what other local vehicles could be driving to your site.
Utilizing a local listing audit tool such as BrightLocal, SEMrush or Moz can help you understand how broad your Name, Address, Phone (NAP) presence is across the web and, more importantly, if it is accurate.
Sending traffic to an incorrect destination does nothing to help you.
Additionally, this report will provide domains of authoritative listing sites.
With this, you can filter your website visitor referrals to source only these domains.
This will help you to understand the quality of these visitors traversing your site.
While your Google local listing review was primarily for review of revenue and lead generation, this specific listing review is keen on accuracy and then traffic.
Accuracy in itself is going to aid in your domain’s overall local search success.
If you are seeing a lack in both of these areas, I suggest using a local listing management feed distribution service.
These are provided by the same services mentioned above.
This will allow you to correct inaccuracies as well as casting a much wider broadcast of your web info for potential traffic back to the site.
This process will also help you monitor reviews for better control of your local reputation.
3. Think Locally
Does your organization have ties to other organizations?
These can be partnerships, sponsorships, charitable events, etc.
This is often an association with a website that receives much more traffic than your site does.
This means it can be a traffic driver for you.
The inbound link itself will hold local-specific relevance with search engines but there may be more benefit here than you know.
Again, filtering traffic by these domains which you have linked association, review for any lead attainment or revenue.
This is likely low. However, take a look at user behavior.
Is the bounce rate low, did they look around the site to learn about you more?
This is a great time to capture this inquisitive audience in a Google Analytics audience.
Selection through definition that they arriving at your site from these sources, you can then target them in the future across Display and YouTube advertising.
This is a great way to stay fresh in their mind considering that you are locally relevant as well as a mutual association from the locally linked sites.
4. Look on the Inside
To this point, we have reviewed how we stand from a listing standpoint as well as with regard to locally relevant links.
Now, it is time to look at internal location-specific pages, how they perform, and how you should analyze moving forward.
Don’t have location-specific pages?
You need these.
Even if you do not service clients at your location, Google needs a mention on your site of your address to associate with local listings.
Plus, you can save time for confused delivery drivers and potential job candidates close to being late for an interview!
First off, take a look at Landing Pages, in Google Analytics, filtered only to your location page(s). Do this specifically for Organic Search traffic.
The reason being here is that if the percentage of traffic is substantial, you will want to invest in all the above-mentioned elements of local search optimization as they combine to provide added benefit to your linked destination location pages.
Second, look at all referring sources which result in a location page as a landing page to understand differences.
What to look for:
- Do users typically move past the location page to service/offering, about us, homepage content, or do they bounce away from the site?
- Do these users end up becoming converters on the site?
- Implement goal tracking on the site for phone number clicks, click to email, etc. Are these visitors completing these goals?
Are you seeing a lack of positive behavior for these items?
Then, you might already have an understanding of what should be on these location pages in order to give users the needed contact information, company information, or internal links to other relevant site content.
Valuation & Understanding the Need
Hopefully, this exercise has given you the ability to see what value your local SEO efforts have driven in terms of locally relevant links, traffic, conversions, and revenue.
You also now have the ability to visually prove this to a group that can approve your journey forward.
With a little perseverance and a lot of data, you will now be on track to see local search success.
- Local SEO: The Definitive Guide to Improve Your Local Search Rankings
- The Complete Guide to Local SEO for Multiple Locations
- A 50-Point Audit for Getting Started with Local SEO
Featured Image: Created by author, June 2020
All screenshots taken by author, June 2020