Tracking Google Local Visits in Google Analytics – Part 1

It is a well known fact that Google local today is one of the major players in search engine results and the presence of the website in the 7 pack for some of the primary keywords has become extremely crucial to the success of any online marketing campaign. Knowing this you put in a lot of  efforts into your SEO campaign, do all the hard work to get yourself listed in the 7 pack and finally you get listed. But what next? How do you measure the performance of your Google Local campaign. How do you measure the number of visits to your website that come from Google Local listings. This is where the concept of tagging the URLs comes into the picture. Unless the URLs are tagged , Google Analytics by default treats the visit as an organic search engine free visit.

There are two ways to track visits from Google Local. They are -

  1. Manually tagging the URL using the URL tool builder
  2. Use of Vanity URL

Using the URL tool builder the landing page URL can be tagged. For example if your landing page is then a manually tagged URL will look something like ?utm_source=Local&utm_medium=Listings&utm_campaign=LocalListings. Tagging the URL ensures that the visit from Google Local is tracked separately. The traffic data for Google Local can be seen under campaigns along with your other campaigns. For the example given above all the visits to Google local will be tracked under the campaign name Local Listings.

However one care that needs to be taken is that nowhere should there be the mention of Google while tagging the URLs i.e. neither the source or medium or campaign should have instance of ‘Google’. For example we cannot have utm_campaign=Google Local. If this is done then the local listing gets flagged and the listings stop appearing in Google search results.

The major advantage of this method is the fact that it is very simple and no code changes are needed. The drawback however lies in the fact that the whole URL is shown in the listing i.e.  a weird URL is shown to the user.

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