Local SEO Tracking – How to Measure Campaign Success
February 13, 2017 | Contributed by: Mark Sullivan
When it comes to local SEO tracking — or SEO tracking in general — precision is difficult. However, it’s definitely possible to find out what’s working to effectively optimize your local SEO campaigns, which is important for marketers everywhere. Let’s explore which tools can help you track and optimize your local SEO efforts to win results with your local neighbors.
How to track local SEO success
There are myriad ways to track local SEO success. One of the easiest ways is to use the reporting tools offered by websites that host your listings.
Many of the sites and directories that host listings will tell you how much traffic your listing receives, as well as how users click on your website URL. Some even may offer information on how many users ask for directions or call your business.
Some examples of websites that offer their own set of local SEO reporting tools include Google My Business and Yelp Business Analytics. However, if you’re looking for a solution that will track all your listings in one place, check out software programs like Yext or MozLocal. These platforms make it easier to track your online listings and change your information quickly, all from one central location. In addition, you can see certain analytics for your listings to better understand your success all in one platform.
UTM parameters are another popular tool used by local SEOs. You can use distinct UTM parameters to track your homepage URL separately from other sources. The data then feeds into Google Analytics for easy tracking and reporting.
- Pro-Tip: Make sure you canonicalize your UTM param URL to the main version of the URL. To do this, implement the canonical manually at the page level. You should also mark in Google Search Console that the URLs are for tracking purposes by visiting the URL Parameters section. This will ensure you don’t get flagged for duplicate content.
Using a UTM param URL isn’t just good for local SEO directory listings. It’s also good for many other types of local SEO, including:
- Guest posts on local sites: Think Patch, local blogs and editorial pieces.
- Local sponsorships: If you’re sponsoring a local event, provide a link back to your website with a unique UTM param.
- Local events: Place UTM param URLs on websites like Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com.
- Local job postings: Ideal for tracking the traffic to your listing.
- Local interviews: Radio stations, TV stations and local blogs are perfect for UTM param URL placement.
- Press releases to local news outlets
- Local brand mention cleanup: If a local business or news outlet mentioned your brand but didn’t link to your site, reach out and ask for a link.
Tracking local success using call tracking
Another commonly overlooked local SEO tool is phone call tracking, which enables you to correlate online traffic and phone calls. When a local SEO campaign sends a user to your website, a specific phone number will display for them to call. Once dialed, they’ll be directed to your main line. This allows you to see which customers are calling you for powerful tracking and reporting.
If you decide to implement a strategy that includes a main line tracking number on your business listings around the web, it’s important to look at the right metric. To evaluate the effectiveness of your local SEO campaigns, you’ll want to pay attention to your first-time callers. This important metric gives you a clear picture of new inbound leads produced by local campaigns.
A note about NAP consistency
NAP consistency requires that your name, address and phone number remain consistent on all online listings. This means you cannot have separate phone numbers listed on different websites — otherwise, you’ll risk a drop in search rankings. As a best practice, you should always show Google and any Google user your main phone number.
If you’re wondering how to avoid NAP inconsistency while using call tracking, don’t worry. You can set up a session tracking pool of phone numbers to link to your main line tracking number (preferably your main business number).
When it’s set up properly, a visitor will see a session tracking number from your pool when they arrive to your website from a designated referral source, such as a local SEO campaign. When that user decides to dial that session tracking number, they’ll be directed to your main phone number. You’ll then be able to see important information about the call in your call tracking software, and you’ll still retain your NAP consistency with the search engines.
Like anything online, local SEO is always changing. It’s therefore best to keep up with local SEO best practices to ensure you’re receiving the results you want.
There are many tools marketers can use to measure their local SEO success. With in-depth data at your disposal, you’ll be able to better optimize your campaigns to get the results you want.