Local SEO is a rapidly growing digital marketing channel for multi-location businesses across the world. Google research states 4 out of 5 people use search to find local information and that nearly 20 percent of local smartphone visitors made a purchase in store within one day. After Google launched the “Pigeon” update, the difficulty of leveraging company proximity to engage these interested customers has grown exponentially. Now that only 3 location-based listings are displayed in SERPs, brand visibility in the “Snack Pack” is coveted by all companies because it drives both web traffic and foot traffic.
With the heightened attention to local search exposure, many agencies claim to “improve” local SEO without adequately quantifying results. To ensure your brand’s investment in local SEO generates the highest return and consumer engagement, hold your agency accountable for specific KPIs that influence visibility and action. The following key performance indicators will help your brand properly measure data that impacts exposure and conversions in local search.
Total Location Landing Page Traffic
One of the strongest indicators of a high-performance local SEO campaign is the amount of traffic captured by landing pages unique to a location. This is inherently tied to success for any local SEO campaign. Organic search visitors who find a landing page specific to their location are primed to enter the sales funnel.
Location-specific pages deliver distinct information to customers interested in visiting a store. A page personalized for each individual location enables companies to speak directly to these localized visitors with messaging catered to the audience. By focusing local SEO efforts on increasing visitors, companies know how many customers found relevant information such as the address or phone number. By providing the information customers turned to search to discover, companies can drive online traffic to offline revenue and increasing brick-and-mortar foot traffic.
In order to collect this data, a new segment must be created that includes visitors who landed on a specific location page. Start with clicking the “New Segment” button in Google Analytics:
Next, clickon the “Conditions” tab and set a filter to only include page visitors whose navigation began at a page with a URL string including a unique location identifier.
After saving, this segment can be found from the dropdown list of all segments and can be enhanced to include more data from local landing pages.
Local Keyword Rankings
Traditional keyword page rankings evaluate typical SEO campaigns because increased rankings result in more impressions on organic listings, which in turn raises the number of click-throughs to a website. The ability to track and influence “Snack Pack” rankings is rapidly evolving — it’s challenging to keep up with so many changes without measuring its effects on your business. By increasing “Snack Pack” visibility in location-based keywords, a natural increase in the amount of visitors to localized landing pages will follow suit.
Local keyword rankings can be tracked several different ways. Location landing pages, if optimized correctly, should rank well organically for search queries pertaining to a brand’s products or services within a specific location (i.e. ‘Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles’). Additionally, monitor how My Business listings are ranking in the “Snack Pack” (shown above with local rankings 1 through 3) to gauge campaign performance. The percentage of “Snack Packs” that a website ranks for specific keywords across all locations can be improved by utilizing local SEO best practices and keyword revenue forecasting tools.
SEMRush provides users a tool for collecting ranking data from within the local packs. The “Projects” feature has keyword tracking functionality that gathers ranking data from the local packs for the keyword list provided. Once the data is collected, use the ‘Position Tracking” tab to filter the positions to include only search rankings within the local pack.
After exporting this data monthly, a report can be compiled to track incremental local SEO improvements or the position changes.
Total Traffic from Google My Business
Local SEO campaigns increase website visibility in the local results of SERPs. This exposure is determined by the ranking order of Google My Business listings. In order to measure the increased discoverability of a website in this locale, segment inbound traffic to landing pages that comes directly from your Google My Business listings. A well-optimized local SEO campaign will increase visits to a Google My Business page due to increased rankings in the ‘Maps’ algorithm for location specific keywords.
The Google My Business page has it’s own conversion opportunities, such as ‘click-to-call’ and ‘get directions.’ Any customer sourced to a Google My Business listing that visits the website rather than converting on the listing is further along the sales funnel than a typical visitor. You have more information — a visitor from this source is searching for a product or service in a geographical area and seeking more information then the My Business listing provides. These qualified leads are ready to make a purchase either in-store or online.
The information on website visitors from Google My Business is tracked in the My Business dashboard under the “insights” tab. For multi-location businesses, pulling this data from hundreds of locations is a monumental task. In this scenario, use trackable links for your Google My Business listing to gather click-through data.
Conversions are unique to each business, so measurement is different for each campaign. For many companies, the true return on investment from local SEO is connected to in-store conversions. Even if a site doesn’t have an online store, including links for directions and “click-to-call” will provide measurable conversion metrics. According to a Google study, 50 percent of consumers will visit a store within one day of a local search on their smartphone. Click on the “get directions” links are a measurable way to equate web sessions to in-store traffic.
While the amount of customers who convert either offline or directly from My Business pages can be a challenge to measure, the percentage of visitors from these paths who complete a goal, like making a purchase, can still be tracked. By increasing the amount of local consumers who find a business through search for relevant products or services, customer acquisitions will rise proportionately. Based on the inbound traffic, optimize landing pages to ensure you are maximizing lead generation.
Use Google Analytics or AdWords to set up goals that should be tracked on the website. Once the goals are tracking correctly, use the created segment filter for visitors who began their navigation on a local landing page to find conversion data from visitor.
In order to maximize ROI in a local search campaign, these indicators must be considered:
- An increase in total visitors to localized landing pages
- An increase in local keyword rankings
- An increase in traffic from Google My Business
- An increase in total conversions from local SEO efforts
The process of aggregating baseline data on these factors alone is beneficial in providing insights on the current local search strategy. These insights should then be applied to a comprehensive local campaign in order to drive consumers directly from the site to store.