Your brand’s local search performance is key in converting online searchers to real-world customers. And when it comes to how people discover nearby solutions to their needs, Google dominates with 70% of all desktop queries and commands 93% of mobile.
As we return to in-person shopping experiences, consumers are looking to spend money in their own communities. Supporting local businesses has become an important value to many; in fact, Google reported a 20,000% increase year-over-year in “support local business” searches from 2019 to 2020.
How do you measure success in local search? Get to know and understand the following local search metrics.
Google My Business insights reflect that people find your locations in local search in one of two ways:
- Direct Search: The search query was for your business’ name or address.
- Discovery Search: The searcher used a more generic search using keywords relevant to your location’s category, product, or service.
- Branded Search: You’ll only see this part of the breakdown if that location appeared in searches for the brand name.
Discovery Searches presents a great opportunity to be found by customers who may not yet be familiar with your brand, or perhaps don’t realize there’s a location nearby. Help Google recognize when your business listing is the best answer for a relevant query by employing these best practices:
- Complete every possible section of your GMB profile for each location.
- Make sure you’ve chosen the best primary category (and secondary, where applicable) for each location.
- Use all attributes available to your category to highlight amenities and features, helping each location differentiate itself from the competition.
- Proactively monitor for local listings inaccuracies that can negatively impact customer experience and cause search engines to lose trust in your brand.
- Build your local reviews profile. Reviews are an excellent conversion tool and a heavily weighted local ranking factor, too.
Local search listings can appear as a Map Pack on the organic search engine results page or in Google Maps. Google tracks both and breaks it down for you in Insights, which are available in your Rio SEO dashboard, as well. These can be viewed by a designated date range or on a specific day.
- View on Search (or ‘Search views’ on bulk reports): The searcher found the location via Google Search.
- View on Maps (or ‘Maps views’ on bulk reports): This reports instances where people found your business through Google Maps.
- Total Views: The aggregate of both Google Search and Google Map searches.
Google also tracks what people searched, whether they were on desktop or mobile, whether they looked at search, maps, or both, what day it was, what time it was, etc.
Clicks to a phone call, clicks to website, clicks to driving directions
Now that people have found you, what did they do? Google My Business tracks these local conversion actions, too.
- Visit your website (‘Website actions’ in bulk reports): Each click to the website, or visit to the website URL in that location’s GMB listing, is counted.
- Request directions (‘Directions actions’ in bulk reports): This tallies the number of unique users that clicked to get directions to the location, and only one visit per unique user is counted.
- Call you (‘Phone call actions’ in bulk reports): This is the metric for clicks to call the location.
- Total actions: This the sum of the total customer actions for website, directions, and phone above.
People can visit your website, call you, or click for directions to reach you from each location’s GMB listing. Having accurate online ordering and website URLs, phone numbers, and map pins/address information is key.
Local keyword rankings
Keywords aren’t as heavily weighted as they once were. As mentioned above, Google considers many factors in local search rankings — reviews volume and star ratings, listing accuracy, and proximity to the searcher among them. Even so, keywords are an important cue that can help Google understand the relevance of your location to a relevant query.
Monitoring local keyword rankings can help you determine new opportunities to optimize content and add to your GMB listing to improve your local visibility and conversions from local searches. Last year, we improved our local rank reporting in order to give brands a more accurate view of local visibility in specific areas around each location. You can learn more about that here.
Citation accuracy is important to monitor when considering local search metrics. When business listings and citation data vary by source, how does Google recognize which version or your location’s information is correct? Citations can become outdated, location information can change, and there are many different ways that inaccuracies can be introduced to your listings.
When this happens, it can be confusing for searchers and also erode search engine trust in your brand. After all, Google wants to provide the best answer possible — and that’s not possible if there are conflicting hours of operation, addresses, or other key business information appearing online for a single location. Learn more about how to measure your business’ citation accuracy and why it matters here.
Average Star Rating and Local Review Metrics
Local reviews are a heavily weighted local ranking factor, accounting for approximately 16% of the weighting in the Local Pack and 6% in local organic results on Google. The average star rating for each location is important, as are the recency, sentiment, and total volume of reviews.
Google is the most popular review site, with 64% of consumers checking there before visiting a site. But it’s not the only game in town. Make sure you’re monitoring and responding to first-party reviews and those on Facebook, Yelp, and vertical-specific third-party review sites, as well.
It takes a comprehensive local reporting solution to monitor local search metrics and power enterprise local search insights at scale. Learn more about Rio SEO Local Reporting here and take advantage of a free local audit to see where you stand today.