Accurate tracking, measurement, and reporting is mission critical for local SEO marketers. Brands have a massive amount of local and organic search data available to them (especially those with multiple locations), but not all data is created equal.
To save time, keep costs in line, and unearth the most relevant insights, brand marketers must identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that actually matter. With those KPIs in hand, marketers can implement a simple three-step process to quickly track local search performance, measure the effectiveness of local SEO efforts, and analyze results to optimize future efforts.
First, let's look at the local SEO KPIs you should track and measure for the greatest success and impact on ROI.
1. Check Ranking on Search Engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing)
My last Search Engine Watch column discussed "The Big 3" search engines account for an estimated 94.2 percent of all search traffic, but Google itself takes only a 65 percent slice of that pie. You need to track across all three for an accurate view of overall performance, but this can be incredibly time consuming. Monitoring search engine rankings across the engines from a single platform makes tracking and measuring this important KPI a scalable endeavor.
Takeaway: Run searches for keywords in all the cities where you have locations.
2. Ranking on Local Search
Tracking and measuring your performance in organic search is important, but you need to get more granular with local search results, including the map pack and third-party results. How are you ranking for specific keywords on Yelp, Facebook, Citysearch, Superpages, and other third-party local sites?
Takeaway: Review the engines for third-party pages where your brand can rank.
3. Citation Consistency across the Ecosystem
Feeding incorrect business information or failing to keep listing information current in search engines and data aggregators can lead to a poor user experience. You need to see how your citation accuracy compares with local rankings over time. Citation tracking and monitoring also enables brand marketers to quickly spot unclean data and correct it individually or with bulk edits.
Takeaway: Compare local business data for matching and consistency.
4. Traffic from All Engines, Directories and Niche Sites
Beyond The Big 3, you need to automate the process of tracking and measuring across all the engines in which your local listings appear, as well as directories and niche sites.
Takeaway: Look at all referrals for lift in traffic by sites like Yelp or Facebook.
5. Link Activity Analytics
How do visitors respond to and interact with your hyperlinks, whether from driving directions, coupons, click-to-call options or otherwise?
Takeaway: Track click activity that matters with consistent naming, e.g. driving directions, click-to-call, and coupon downloads.
6. Number of Reviews per Location
Reviews instill trust and confidence in consumers. The number of reviews for a local business on services like Google+, Yelp or Yahoo can influence consumer perception about the popularity of a business and how your brand ranks over time. Monitoring and measuring this KPI can drive strategies to increase the number of reviews and the perceived popularity of a location.
Takeaway: Check your number of reviews over time to see if more reviews lead to better rankings.
7. Average Review Ratings
Of course, with a high number of reviews, you're also looking for a high overall rating. Tracking and monitoring local review ratings and how they impact your local search ranking is an important source of intelligence that can be used to improve service and operations across the organization.
Takeaway: Check your average ratings over time to see if more positive reviews generate better search rankings.
The 3-Step Process to KPI Measurement for Maximum ROI
Now that you know what you need to track and measure, let's lay out a simple yet effective process to put your newfound local search intelligence to work for your business.
1. Plan Your Approach
Begin by defining your ROI requirements. How will you define success? This will be unique to each business, but may include traffic increases, more leads, form fills, appointments, or other tangible business benefits.
Next, which conversions will you measure and track to conversion? This may include website analytics, call tracking, click activities, conversions, rankings, brand consistency in local citations, or other indicators.
2. Implement Local Analytics
Measure traffic and click activity across local landing pages by implementing web analytics to track goals, click events and conversions. Segment traffic to your location finder for national, state, city and local pages; identify traffic by source, whether from search, mobile or referrals.
3. Track and Review Results
It's important to track and measure rankings, citations, and reviews across the three major search engines, local results, and third-party organic results like Yelp and Foursquare. Focus on online store referral traffic, online and offline coupon redemptions, loyalty program sign-ups, conversions from paid search campaigns, and retargeting to social influencers.
Automating your local reporting gives you quick and easy access to scheduled reports and hyperlocal reporting data. It allows you to seamlessly track local data consistency across engines, data aggregators and niche local sites, as well as simplifying the process of tracking reviews and ratings.
With roll-up reporting, you can compare the following:
- Local data accuracy to local ranking over time.
- Number of reviews to local ranking over time.
- Average ratings effect on local ranking over time.
- Local rankings to traffic to location finder and landing pages over time.
- Online conversions to local search traffic over time.
Tracking across major search engines, data aggregators, and niche directories and sites doesn't have to be a time-consuming, fragmented process. Roll-up reporting gives marketers and search practitioners a birds-eye view of the overall success of their local SEO strategy. It also provides the highly precise, granular insights needed to meet business goals and affect real change in ROI.