It was an early Christmas gift from Google for all of us local search marketing geeks out there. Thanks to folks at Google Local Business Center, local businesses now have the opportunity to dig deeper into the performance of their Google local listings via a listing performance dashboard.
While this may not be new to those who were able to first explore this offering beginning June 2nd, I just received access to it and I am extremely happy with it. I think that the information made available is insightful, actionable and paints a great picture for how your local listings are performing. Let’s also not forget that ultimately it is much easier than digging through Google Analytics for minimal local listing performance data.
To start off, the dashboard provides the same top-level data of impressions vs. clicks. To some, this may be seen as the most critical data to assess. This is the first indicator that your local business listing is not captivating or that you are marketing to the wrong audience. However, seeing this in the past as effective due to a high click-to-impression/action ratio may have been misleading for those who title their location solely with their brand. Where Google Local took this pre-existing feature further was to show impressions and actions but break out exactly what actions are taking place. As illustrated in the image below, now you are able to assess how may searchers chose to see more info on your listing, request driving directions or chose visit your website. It is also beneficial that the dashboard also allows you to choose custom reporting time periods.
The next new feature of the dashboard report is the “Top Search Queries” section. Here we can see what search engine keyword phrase queries are driving the most impressions. Now while you do not have the information as to which queries drove actions, it is nice to see where you are showing up. With this information in mind, see if you are getting impressions for keyword terms related to your market focus. If so, this is a great tool to use in refining your listings for the impressions you are already residing within. Instead of having to fully optimize your listings, your listings simply need to be polished.
Lastly, another great offering is the section which indicates by zip code identification which listing visitors requested driving directions. This in itself can be used as a tool for offline marketing as well as within your online efforts. Knowing where a lot of your interested parties are located allows you to fine tune you offline advertising efforts to a certain locality. Knowing where your foot traffic is coming also allows you to provide added usability on-site by providing specific driving directions from these areas. If located within a large city, this specific data gives you the need to re-assess your keyword research at a suburb level as well. While city data is available in Google Analytics and other analytical packages, I have yet to see it at a zip code level.
All in all, Google Local Business Center has really made me happy with the integration of this expanded reporting information. While some of this data can be assessed by digging around in Google Analytics, is is nice to have a clean and concise report available for each individual listing you have.