How to track Google My Business traffic using Google Analytics
Setting up Google My business is one thing.Filtering the traffic that moves from Google My Business to your website makes things exciting.
This would be because It allows you to view the correct traffic coming from GMB in Google Analytics, and this allows you to measure how successful your GMB efforts are.
Why is this important?
Well, you will see what kind of visitors Google My Business is sending to your website, how long they stay and what actions they take. (Identifying user behavior early on solves so many problems later)
Being on the pulse of this data allows you to adopt early, whether you do this by adjusting your GMB listing or your website.
This all depends on what the behavior metrics show based on this data.
Google My business still forms part of Google organic search, the one difference is the location-based search keywords
So why monitor traffic coming from GMB specifically?
Simply put. Customer intention, because as mentioned above, this is still an organic search result.
Because Google searches are intention based, successfully monitoring this traffic will get you a closer look at the behavior metrics of these users.
This allows you to adjust your website or Google My Business listing for the best-qualified users that intern will assist with your end goal on your website, be it lead generation or getting enquiries, its all relevant.
To really dig down into Google Analytics data, we will need a custom campaign URL to track. This is done by adding parameters to the URL/s you use on your GMB listing, namely your website URL or URLs you use in GMB posts.
Setting up UTM codes
Lets first understand UTM Codes.
So what are UTM codes?
A UTM code is an extension you can add to a URL used for a specific campaign that allows you to track the traffic source, medium, campaign name, the keyword term and a specific click on an ad.
The social app Buffer shows a good example of this below.
You can follow the steps for creating your campaign URL using the above mentioned tools by following the below screen grabs.
PRO Tip: make sure that all your parameters are lowercase as this is case sensitive it makes things easier going forward.
Example 1: Google Campaign URL Builder
Example 2: Google Analytics URL builder – chrome extension
The real question is. How do these UTM parameters tie into Google Analytics?
UTM parameters allow you to filter the URL tags like source, medium, and campaign in google analytics.
What this means is that, based on the specific URL parameters, you can now monitor traffic by filtering it through Google Analytics.
I will go even further to show how custom segmentation in Google Analytics works. First, let’s get this new URL with its new parameters added to Google My Business.
How to update Google My Business URLs
Now that you have your new UTM string added to your URL its time to add it to your GMB listing.
Log into Google my business:
- Select Manage Location
- Click on Info
- Edit the website section and Update your URL
PRO Tip: Make sure that you have your home page URL canonicalized to avoid duplicate content
Furthering campaign metrics through GMB sources like GMB Posts
Understanding how to do the above is an advantage as Google My Business allows you to create posts for your business as well.
What this means is if you selling something or advertising new information. You can now repeat the above steps with your post URLs in order to track these metrics. (bear in mind that all URLs added to your listing will need the same parameters)
Now to focus on this new URL working in Google Analytics
Tracking Sources In live view – Google Analytics.
The reason we do this is to see if Google Analytics is segmenting the UTM URL.What we want to do is test traffic on the new URL with its new parameters and see if it comes up in Google Analytics.
The way this is done is by saving and submitting your GMB changes going to your GMB listing via Google and clicking on visit website.
Testing to see that traffic sources are being picked up in Google Analytics.
In Google Analytics, we can use the real-time view. This allows us to view real-time traffic coming to the website.
What you should see is your Medium which is “Organic” and your Source which is “Local”, this is picked up through your URL parameters.
Once this is confirmed you can be assured that your UTM tracking code is working.
To make things easier once you have successfully created your UTM parameters and confirmed that google analytics is picking it up, oh! and you have some traffic history. You can go ahead and view this in Analytics by going to:
- Source > Local or Campaign > GMB
However, to makes things even easier we can go ahead and set up a Custom Segment in order to compare this traffic channel with other channels.
What is custom segmentation?
Simply put. Custom segments in Google Analytics are isolated segments of data that allows you to view trends for a specific channel grouping.
This includes demographic data like Age, Gender, and Interests as well as behavior metrics like Bounce rates and time spent on page.
Creating a custom Segment in Google Analytics is simple.
In Google Analytics you want to break down the parameters of your UTM or custom URL.
These are: ?utm_source=local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb
So in Google analytics go to Aquisition > Add Segment > New Segment > Traffic Sources.
Name the segment Local Organic Search.
In traffic sources we will name the Campaign: gmb, Medium > organic, Source > local and Save the segment.
I cannot emphasize this enough.
Make sure that you keep your parameters all lowercase as this is case sensitive
What it looks like when comparing channels
How it looks on its own
Now that we have covered the basis for tracking traffic from Google My Business.
You will see how easy it is to monitor this traffic, look at behavior metrics and optimize your Google My Business campaigns.
So, how does this benefit you?
You now get to live in a data-driven ecosystem and this is at the pinnacle of every digital business because this is how critical decisions are made.
I would encourage you to take this approach with all your campaigns be it Social, PPC, ad-driven or email newsletters.
This allows you to make sense of the data as each channel serves a different intention and that could be the difference between an online marketing campaign success or its biggest pitfall.
Good luck and if you have cool analytics tips, tricks, and hacks worth sharing. Let me know in the comments below.
About Rudi Van Der Westhuizen
He is a Digital Marketer with a comprehensive background in SEO, UX and Front-end development. Most of his time is split between his blog and day job “The Grow Theory” where he shares his journey through digital with helpful guides and tips on growing businesses online.