Do you have a local business? If so, then you’re probably using Google My Business (If you are not, stop what you are doing and go claim your business)! You’ve probably created your own account, added your business details, verified your location, waited patiently for the verification code to arrive and added it to the platform and that’s it, you’re on Google My Business. Great. Well not quite…!
Google is constantly changing their guidelines, adding new options to its platform and changing options or interfaces (Thank you Google…) and so you should never stay static and wait for their changes to catch you. Instead, you should be proactive and learn how to adapt to Google’s tools. Google My Business is no different. In fact, Google My Business has some extremely useful and insightful information that you can use to your benefit. In this post, I’m going to talk about some of the insights that you can find on your dashboard.
To find your business insights, log in to Google My Business and access your dashboard. You will see a screen like the one below. From there, click on the left-hand menu or on the view insights box and you can start reviewing your insights.
Once you have entered the Insights section you will find the following metrics and charts:
How customers search for your business:
What Does This Tell You?
This section shows how many times your Google My Business listing has been found by users, comparing Direct searches (when users have searched for your business name or address) and Discovery searches (when users have found you using keywords like products or services).
As with many other sections on the Insights Dashboard, you can look at data for 1 week, 1 month or 1 quarter but you cannot go beyond that date.
Having a high percentage of Direct searches is a good indicator of the popularity and prestige of your brand compared with other competitors. However, you need to be careful when analysing this metric, because having a low percentage of Discovery searches could also mean that the optimisation of your Google listing is not as strong as it could be. Make sure to complete all the fields that Google My Business offers you, review the on-page optimisation of your site and try to get some extra reviews on Google. Each of these can help you to get more visibility for your listing.
On the other side, if your Direct searches aren’t performing that well, you may want to support them with PPC campaigns. Remember that your ads can also appear on Google Maps, so it’s a strategy you should consider when assessing your local results.
*If you want to learn more about Google Maps marketing, check out my post where i show you how you can dominate the local results here.
Where customers view your business on Google:
What Does This Tell You?
This second metric compares your listing views on Search and on Maps, allowing you to see how many impressions you got on a particular day. You can do so by placing your cursor over that day.
This chart is useful to compare the popularity of your listing in each of the Google Products. Be aware that Google search normally displays less local results than Google Maps.
If you see an increase in your Google Maps visits, this could be a good opportunity to review how your site is displayed on that platform. Make sure to have many images, not only from the inside of your business but also from the outside. If your users are searching for your business on Maps it may also mean that they are trying to find it, so having a picture of your building from the street could also help them to find you.
Of course, other local data should also appear in both platforms, so don’t forget to add your address, phone number and opening hours. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure to have reviews because having the star rating snippet could help your business to stand out from competitors.
What Does This Tell You?
Now that you know how many people have seen your local listing and where, it’s time to see if they have interacted with it. This next chart shows you the different actions a user can undertake on your listing, including:
- Visiting your website
- Requesting Directions
- Calling you
Let’s look at each of these actions separately, starting with the visits to your website. This could give a good overview for how many visitors are finding your website through local searches. You need to make sure that the landing page used on Google My Business provides clear local signals to avoid confusing your visitors. Make sure to offer clear indications on the next steps a user should take.
Of course, this will be different depending on the type of local business you are managing:
Do you want your user to visit your local store?
Provide clear directions and images that can explain what they will find in store.
Do you want your user to contact you via email?
Add a call to action to your email contact or, even better; make sure the landing page has contact information so the user can choose how to interact with you.
Next, let’s look at direction requests. An increase in the number of direction requests could be an indicator that your local business is not easy to find. As such, you should provide clear direction instructions on your site for different transport, using the nearest bus lines, train stations or parking areas. As mentioned, make sure to add images from the outside of your building so anyone can recognise it easily. Remember that requesting directions to your site is a good indicator that someone is interested in your business, so you can compare the direction requests with your business performance that day. Have you seen an increase in sales? Have you receive more visits on the store? That way you can assess the impact of your local presence on your business.
If you are hosting an event or are receiving specific visits, this chart could also be an indicator of the number of direction requests that you can combine with the next chart to see where your visitors are coming from. Make sure to ask your visitors if they have used the local listing to find your location and if they find it useful; they can give you some extra feedback about it.
Finally, the calls section is useful if you aren’t using any call tracking system. It allows you to see when you are receiving calls from your local listing. If you are not receiving calls, you’ll want to double check that the phone number is added to your Google My Business account and that it’s the correct one!
Driving Directions Requests
What Does This Tell You?
As mentioned in the previous section, knowing where your visitors are coming from can be very useful from a business perspective. This chart uses a heat map to show you the most popular areas that your visitors are requesting driving directions from.
Knowing which areas are the most popular can help you if you are planning on remarketing ads, as you can target specific areas.
It will also be useful in terms of content creation for those businesses that are involved in their community. Knowing where your visitors are coming from will allow you to investigate events near them you can support or local news you can share on your social channels. Writing blog posts about these events or news will provide your website with more local content and, with some luck, more engagement, local links and citations, which always help in terms of Local SEO.Finally, if you are planning on opening a new store, this map could be a good indicator of the areas that may require a closer location or where a new store could be successful.
It is worth mentioning that you need a minimum number of driving direction requests to start seeing any data on this map.
This metric shows the most popular days of the week and the times of the day where you receive phone calls. This is useful as it enables you to see if you are receiving calls outside of your business hours. If that’s the case, you may want to make sure that your business hours are clearly stated in both your website and your local listing.
If you are still receiving phone calls outside of your business hours, you will need to make sure that those calls are not lost. Redirecting them to your personal phone could be an option when the number is low, but if you are receiving a lot of calls out of business hours, you may want to reconsider using other solutions like an answering machine with further indications or even a call centre.
Photo Views and Photo quantity
What Does This Tell You?
The last two charts can be analysed together as they show the number of photos uploaded on your listing and the number of views from users. The chart shows you data not only for your business, but also for similar businesses, so you are able to compare how are you performing compared to your competitors. Unfortunately, you cannot see these competitors, but a simple search for your services on Google Maps can give you a good overview.
Make sure the number of photos on your listing is higher than your competitors but especially, make sure they are useful and represent the image of your business.
You should have:
- A photo of your logo
- One or two images from outside your business
- Different images from inside your business, depending on how big your store is. This should give your visitors an idea of what to expect when they visit you
- One or two images of your team at work. Try to provide a friendly image so your visitors feel more comfortable when they visit your business
Conclusion: Getting the most of all Google My Business
If you don’t feel like the data your shown is enough, Google My Business offers an API which can retrieve historical information from the last 18 months for all the metrics mentioned above (except driving directions requests), so it’s definitely something to consider if you are interested in those metrics.
As you can see, using Google My Business Insights can be useful not only for your local strategy, but also for your overall business. The insights can help you decide the best way to go for your company.
What about you? Have you ever used these insights? Do you have any other ideas on how to apply them? I want to know, so please leave your ideas in the comments.
If you’re looking for support with any aspect of your local search campaign, take a look at our Local SEO services here or please feel free to get in touch by calling us on 01273 733433 or contacting us using the form below: