In order to know if your local business internet marketing efforts are sound, track your Google My Business profile. properly.
We say “properly” because if you leave it up to Google to give you complete and accurate data while looking at your Google My Business Insights information, you are seeing only part of the picture.
Why you should add extra UTM tracking to your Google My Business profile.
The best part of internet marketing is the ability to track data related to your campaigns. However, tracking your company’s Google My Business data is an often neglected part of local SEO marketing effort. Basing decisions on incomplete or incorrect data will waste precious resources that smaller companies do not have.
Most people rely on Google Insights data to help them understand how their listing is getting found, but this is not a good idea. The data that Google provides about your Knowledge Panel clicks and impressions is incomplete and just plain bad.
Google Insights tracking is insufficient and often completely wrong
If you go to your Google My Business dashboard, you will see the Insights tab where Google displays collected information about some keywords, phone calls, and photo views. The Insights tab is basically the official name for Google My Business Analytics.
However, there are large data gaps in Google’s own report. Whether it is purposefully done due to protect privacy or just a bug inherent in Google’s system, the data you see is only partially correct.
People are consistently reporting Google My Business data issues on Twitter:
Google My Business Insights data is not to be fully trusted and at most is a very rough picture of what is going on with your listing.
The bottom line is that Google Insights data can not be relied upon to make business marketing decisions and you must supplement that data with extra Google My Business tracking.
What tracking can you add to your Google My Business profile?
The good news is that Google allows you to add tracking parameters to many fields in the Google My Business dashboard:
- Website & Appointment urls
- Google Post buttons
- Products Section urls (not every business listing has this section)
For all of these sections, you will need to add utm parameters to the urls of these fields.
Google has a UTM builder tool that will help you achieve this task:
There are different ways to setup up the utm parameters and for local businesses that may have multiple locations, you will want to make sure everything is consistent.
A good guide to get you started on utm tracking can be found here:
Adding UTM codes to Google Posts was important enough that dbaPlatform created a UTM builder to help save time when scheduling Google Posts through our system.
You can also add call tracking to your Google My Business profile as well. In this case you will add the tracking number as the primary number, and move your real phone number to the additional position.
Where to find the Google My Business tracking information?
Great! Now that you have added all your UTM codes and have set up call tracking, where do you go to find all this tracked Google My Business traffic?
In Google Analytics, you will find the UTM data in Acquisition > Campaigns
The initial report view will separate everything automatically by Campaign Name. (If any of your campaigns have not received any clicks, those URLs will not show up.) You have effectively linked Google Analytics to Google My Business.
In Search Console, you will be able to find the data for all urls that contain UTM parameters by filtering the view by Page, and selecting URLs containing, and input “UTM”.
You will now see the specific keywords that have triggered impressions and clicks only for the Google My Business profile. You can then compare this list to the Insights keyword list which will most likely be different.
This is an example of keyword data from Google My Business Insights for a business:
And this is the keyword data that Search Console displays for only the utm tagged Google My Business website link for the same time period:
(Note that I have also filtered the brand searches that normally show up in Search Console.)
Search Console data for your Google My Business profile will show you more keywords, including the ones with location descriptors that Insight strips out, but it will also give you an idea of the rank of each keyword phrase.
This data is much better for analysis purposes than the keywords data that Insights provide.
Tracking the data in the Google My Business Knowledge Panel: Summary
Google My Business Knowledge Panel tracking is very important as Google does not always provide complete or accurate data in the Insights tab.
You can easily add UTM parameters to the Website, Appointment URL fields, as well as to buttons while creating Google Posts and links in the Product section.
Google My Business Post tracking will let you see which posts get viewed, clicked, and which even have Analytics Goal conversions.
Adding phone call tracking is a simple process and will provide much better data on where leads are coming from.
The extra Search Console data will give you a more robust keyword list to help in the optimization of your website.
About the Author
Yan is the creator of Local Falcon, the original Google Maps grid tracking system.
Currently the VP of Product & Growth here at dbaPlatform and Senior SEO at Toronto based, SterlingSky.
When not in front of a computer, he is either working on a house project or coaching soccer.
Connect with him on Twitter @YanGilbertSEO