A few weeks ago at Local University Advanced, I led a lab session session focused on local search analytics and how to better utilize advanced segmentation. We had great questions (as well as awesome suggestions) from an audience very eager to take a deep dive into local analytics. We could've easily taken another hour to go through all of the topics discussed during the session. It was awesome!
Then just a few days later Google launched the Knowledge Graph Carousel for Local Search. The impacts of this recent change have been researched by our own Mike Ramsey and Mike Blumenthal, Autorevo's Greg Gifford, and others in addition to excellent coverage from Search Engine Land.
In my mind, this makes the perfect opportunity to discuss how to isolate and measure local search as well as take a look at the impact of Google Carousel and attempt to make sense of what this means for business owners and marketers.
How to Measure Local Search Traffic
First, let's measure local search in aggregate to see all of your local search traffic together. To do this, take advantage of regular expressions. RegEx is your friend! I'd also like to give a quick shout-out to Kayden Kelly of Blast Analytics & Marketing who first showed me this technique at GAUGE Con.
We now have a segment that measures all the traffic that local search sends to our website. Sweet!
Taken as a whole, this is a great way to measure local search traffic in aggregate. While this is cool information to have, it isn't necessarily actionable. What I like to do next is segment local traffic by specific source. That makes it easy to identify which local source might need a little love.
To do this just create a new custom segment that isolates the specific source of local traffic.
Now we can compare this segment (and others we create) to the local search aggregate as a whole as well as to each other. Google Maps tends to get most of the attention, but as you can see in the example below, Google Maps only represents only 35% of the local search traffic to the website. Yes, it's the top source of local search traffic, but there are other opportunities as well. Go find them!
And to Help Make it Easy...Here's a Local Search Dashboard for You!
While there are many thoughts and philosophies regarding dashboards, my hope is that this one helps get you started down the path of setting up your own local dashboards in Google Analytics. The only caveat here is the the goals are generic (starts, completions, and conversion rate). Once you click on the link below you'll be able to click on the goal widgets, select your own goals and get rocking with your actual goals and conversion rates.