How To Segment Local Search In Google Analytics (with Free Dashboard!)

Ed_Local_U_Analytics_600

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.

Local_Search_Aggregate

We now have a segment that measures all the traffic that local search sends to our website. Sweet!

Local_Search_Details

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.

Maps_Local

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!

35_Percent

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.

CLICK HERE TO IMPORT LOCAL SEARCH DASHBOARD

Enjoy!

16 Responses to “How To Segment Local Search In Google Analytics (with Free Dashboard!)”

  1. I was just thinking how awesome the tip was, when I saw the import link in the end of the article and it all became superb.

  2. This is a great article and explanation. I’m hustling into this to see what it turns up. Bravo. Haven’t done this before. Gives me goose bumps which is a stupid geeky kind of thing. :D

  3. Wowza! These are some awesome tips. Thanks for sharing and for the FREE dashboard!

  4. Thanks! I appreciate the comments! I’ll be adding a few more dashboard examples I’ve been using in the next few weeks. I love advanced segmentation :)

    Ed Reese
  5. That’s an awesome dashboard for local data. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Nice! You had me at Free Dashboard:)

  7. Hi – firstly, thanks for all this – great to get an insight into segmenting this local data. However, after applying the advanced segment provided – from June 26th/27th onwards im seeing that referrals from Google Maps have fallen dramatically across a number of websites! Is anyone else seeing this? Have Google updated their tracking parameters for Maps? – or is there another really obvious reason for this that im probably missing?! Thanks guys!

  8. I’m seeing a drop in referral traffic as well. I’ll be posting a follow-up focusing on Google Carousel (and traffic referrals) tomorrow on the Local U blog. I’ll have more data sets than just my own tomorrow so we’ll see if there are conclusions to draw from the data.

    Ed Reese
  9. I tried adding the different local traffic sources and it isn’t catching some of them. One of which is Google Maps. Can I just type in “maps” and it will find the traffic from there? Or do I need to type in something different? It’s only finding Yelp on mobile as well.

    Shea Benedict
  10. I had been playing around with this before. Thanks for some new ideas.
    I am, however, a bit confused by your filtering of localhost. What’s the point of that?

  11. @Shea Yeah, adding “maps” in the filter is a good way to start. They you can create your segment (or segments) based on what you see in the broad maps list. Once you’ve got your segments set up take a look at where they’re coming from and device used to really isolate it.

    Ed Reese
  12. @Bill That’s a tip I picked up from Kayden Kelly over at Blast Analytics & Marketing. It’s a way to exclude your own traffic to keep the data cleaner. Doesn’t apply to really small businesses that don’t have a defined network, though.

    Ed Reese
  13. Ed:

    I wonder if you can comment on this. I set up analytics as you suggested. Oh my oh my, I should have known this but results were disappointing/interesting.

    I went back and took a look at something. Over the last 6 months on one site, analytics shows over 20,000 visits via google and all of 11 visits via maps.google.com

    Needless to say my effort to look at data wherein I’m summarizing local is clearly skewed.

    What analytics isn’t doing at this point is differentiating between clicks on my site from organic links versus clicks inside the PAC. Any way to get better data?

    BTW: for that same smb I looked at the dashboard for the same period. G Places or G + Local dashboard showed over 54,000 impressions in that time period. Of course what I don’t know via the dashboard is exactly what those keyword phrases were, and what is the geographical area over which the dashboard covers impressions and visits. Is it a mile, 10 miles, a huge region???? :D Our friends at google don’t tell us that little bit of info. Ha ha. not very helpful are they???

    tx.

    • Dave,

      The impressions are just that – the number of people the Google+ info was seen by. The geographic area isn’t incorporated in to those statistics. I can search a business in Bangor, ME, from my office in Phoenix, AZ, and the Google+ analytics will register it as an impression.

      But to speak to your point, my company has developed a tool that will take the top 10 most searched terms that Google reports in the Google+ dashboard and overlay it on a map while showing the specific geographic area where that term is appearing on the first page of Google results.

      If you’re interested to learn more please feel free to contact me at Report Pro 888-265-4393.

      James

  14. How can I go into even more detail and get this local search info only by mobile?

    Morry

  15. Thanks for the info and the dashboard, Ed. I know that there is nothing in the referral URL from a 7 pack listing, but have you found a way to effectively estimate traffic from those types of results?

Leave a Reply