Tracking your local SEO performance is an essential part of any local SEO strategy, especially in 2024. The ultimate aim? Boosting leads and revenue. But don’t overlook the importance of monitoring gradual improvements in rankings, traffic, and conversions.
This article offers practical advice on setting up and utilizing data from rank tracking tools, website analytics, and call tracking to identify opportunities and accurately gauge your local SEO achievements.
Table of Contents
- Local Ranking Reports:
- Embracing Keyword Diversity
- Monitoring SERP Changes
- Monitoring Keywords and Adjusting Grid:
- Checking Traffic-Driving Keywords
- Customizing Rank Tracking Grid
- Analyzing Local Search Grids: Competitor Research and Prioritizing Enhancements
- Boosting Success Beyond Maps:
- Emphasizing Organic Visibility
- Optimizing Service Pages and Location-Specific Content
- Measuring Conversions with GA4: Configuring GA4 for Tracking Conversions
- Significance of Call Tracking: Importance and Distinction from Click-to-Call Metrics
- Leveraging Call Tracking Software: Using CallRail for Enhanced Reporting
Getting Started with Local Ranking Reports
When setting up your ranking report, it’s essential to embrace keyword diversity. Avoid relying solely on one version of your primary keyword(s). Instead, incorporate longer and more specific variations to capture a more comprehensive view. It’s crucial to monitor both explicit and implicit keywords.
As you curate your list of keywords, verify that the local keywords trigger a map pack in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Keep in mind that implicit searches may not consistently display a map pack if Google does not detect sufficient local intent.
Given that this dynamic can change over time, it’s advisable to regularly monitor SERP screenshots for your selected keywords. This approach allows you to stay informed about when map packs appear and when Google opts not to display them.
Monitor Keywords Bringing Traffic to Your Site
It’s necessary to keep an eye on keywords that are already driving traffic to your website. While ranking well for a primary keyword is valuable, it’s equally important to check if it’s driving traffic for related searches. If not, it might be worth reconsidering whether to track its rankings. You can use Google Search Console to confirm if the keywords you’re targeting in Google Maps are indeed attracting organic search traffic.
This consideration has become more substantial recently due to Google’s local algorithm adjustment, which now takes into account business opening hours as a ranking factor. To get accurate insights, be sure to conduct ranking scans for your business during times when your Google Business Profile indicates that your business is open. You’ll likely notice significant differences in your ranking results when your business is open compared to when it’s closed.
Adjusting Your Rank Tracking Grid
Customize the size of your rank tracking grid on any tracking tool you are using to match your unique business needs. For example, if you operate in a wide service area, there’s no need to set the grid to cover the entire expanse, as your listings may not reach that far. Similarly, in competitive markets, avoid using an overly large grid, as it may make it difficult to accurately evaluate your ranking performance in the region.
Analyzing Local Search Grids for Growth Opportunities
Now that you’ve got your rank tracking grids in place, how can you leverage them to steer your local SEO strategies?
Begin by doing competitor research. Examine businesses that outrank yours for major keywords. Compare your listing with theirs, taking into consideration factors known to influence rankings, such as:
- The number of reviews and their ratings.
- The attributes they’ve added to their listing.
- The primary category they’ve chosen.
- The keywords incorporated into their business name.
- Supplementary categories they’ve included.
When you pinpoint areas where your listing could perform better in these aspects, prioritize these enhancements as low-hanging fruit. Next, assess the quality of their website or Google Business Profile by asking questions such as:
- Do they have links pointing to their main page or an internal section?
- What keywords and locations are emphasized on their Google Business Profile?
- Does their content meet high-quality standards?
- Do they incorporate top-notch internal links with anchor text rich in keywords throughout their website?
Conduct some keyword analysis to evaluate your potential to boost local rankings for your target keywords. Examine the Share of Local Voice (SoLV) for each competitor by keyword to identify if anyone dominates the area for that specific keyword.
You can discern this by assessing their SoLV score; a higher score implies greater visibility in the local finder for those keywords. If a few competitors excel with high SoLV scores, with some SEO effort, you can likely elevate your score.
However, if no competitor manages to achieve a high SoLV score for a particular keyword, it’s wise to shift your focus away from optimizing for that keyword. The data suggests that influencing rankings for that specific keyword may not be straightforward.
Boosting Success Beyond Maps: Local Organic Search
If you find yourself facing challenges when it comes to enhancing your Google Business Profile (GBP) listings on Maps, fret not. Local SEOs should place just as much, if not more emphasis, on elevating the website’s organic visibility compared to the visibility of GBP on maps. Concentrate on organic search to enhance your visibility for competitive implicit searches that have a higher search volume.
Don’t limit your efforts to the homepage, even if it’s the page you’re optimizing for your most essential keyword. Dedicate time to optimizing your service pages, location-specific pages, and blog posts to establish authority for your local services. Ensure that each page has a clear focus on keywords and locations, and use a grid tracking tool to monitor organic rankings, just as you would for Map rankings.
This approach enables you to assess the reach of all your site pages, helping you determine whether adjustments to your content strategy are needed to incorporate more location-specific content for your target service area.
Service area pages have the potential to significantly enhance your organic visibility across a broad service region. A meticulously crafted service area page can even surpass a Google Business Profile in terms of both traffic and conversions.
If you’re facing challenges in generating sufficient leads solely through your GBP, it might be worth considering the investment in service area pages. These pages can help you establish a presence in cities and towns where your business currently lacks visibility.
Measuring and Reporting Conversions
If you’re not already doing this, then you should optimize your local SEO strategies effectively. By prioritizing both maps and organic search for maximum search visibility, you’re closely monitoring SEO success through improved rankings and increased traffic.
However, it’s crucial not to overlook tracking conversions resulting from these efforts. Here’s where having a reliable source of conversion data becomes vital. Despite the initial skepticism when it was introduced, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a valuable platform for comprehensive website event tracking.
Start by configuring your GA4 to ensure accurate data collection by adjusting settings in the backend. Fine-tune factors like data retention, session timeout, cross-platform tracking, and more to enhance data accuracy.
Collaborating with a GA4 expert can be highly beneficial since there are numerous intricacies within the platform. Working with someone experienced in setting up GA4 for local traffic can save you from future complications.
Once you’re confident in the data you’re capturing, dedicate time to review your website thoroughly and ensure that all sources of leads are tracked. These may include:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Chatbot interactions
- Contact form submissions
- Email inquiries
- Online scheduling or booking tools
Consider every possible way a user can connect with your business via the website and your Google Business Page, and set up each of these as events in GA4.
GA4 also has the capability to attribute conversions on other domains or platforms back to the original source or medium if the user initially landed on your website. This feature, known as cross-domain tracking, can be especially useful. So, if you or your client utilizes third-party booking tools, ensure that you’re properly configured to receive credit for those conversions.
The Significance of Call Tracking
Call tracking holds considerable importance for most businesses, and it is advisable to implement it rather than relying solely on “click to call” metrics. While call tracking may come with an additional cost, some argue, “Why bother with call tracking when GA4 automatically tracks all users who click on a phone call button or link?”
A valid counter-argument is that click-to-call data does not provide insights into call quality and tends to be inflated due to an inability to distinguish accidental clicks from intentional ones. Consider implementing call tracking to gain a more accurate and meaningful understanding of the effectiveness of your call-related strategies.
Leveraging Call Tracking Software for Enhanced Reporting
Incorporating call tracking software to monitor calls originating from your GBP and website can be a game-changer for your reporting capabilities. Consider using a service that can dynamically modify the phone number displayed on a page based on the user’s source.
CallRail, for example, is a preferred choice for its user-friendly interface and its ability to capture extensive data accessible directly within the platform. It also seamlessly integrates with GA4, simplifying the setup process, and allows you to view call data reports directly in GA4.
If you’re utilizing UTMs to track GBP traffic (which is recommended), you can attribute on-site calls from users who clicked from the GBP to your website, distinguishing them from those who discovered your site through organic search. This valuable insight can help you determine where to allocate your SEO efforts—whether it’s organic search or maps—based on call volume and quality.
Furthermore, implementing a call tracking number on your GBP enables you to collect data on all incoming calls, not just mobile click-to-calls, as is the case with GBP insights tracking. This additional information allows you to segment first-time callers from repeat callers, providing a more comprehensive picture of how effectively your GBP is converting new customers.