How do you track and measure for your clients?


erjdavis

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Hey All,

I'm just starting out on offering Google+Local as a service I offer...and all the threads in here have in great so far, thanks for that.

My question is, how do you guys track and measure results for your clients? I'm assuming most offer this service as a monthly service, so do you provide any reports at the end of each month?

I'm having a little trouble on exactly how I should track results other than just saying "look, you're on page 1".

Any input/advice is appreciated. Thanks!
 

Laustin1878

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I've asked this question a number of times and sadly, have not seen a viable response. Hopefully your post yields better results.

I've mostly worked with Google Places and have come to learn that the data they provide is not the most accurate. This has been verified via a few discussions in these forums. If you look in Google Analytics under Traffic Sources > Referrals, you will usually see maps.google.com when they are referring traffic. This will give you a better idea of what is happening instead of relying on Places data. I also found through discussions that Driving Direction requests may not always be accurate, especially if you are in an office building or a strip mall.

I'm sure there are some tools out there that will help you gauge your success but I'm also waiting to see what are worth-while and which need to be passed on.
 

dorothea

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Just as Linda already mentioned, results in terms of local SEO are starting to be a lot more difficult to track. I'll list here a few of the options I tested with my clients, note that each comes with a major downside. Frankly, I am faaaar from having discovered the perfect results measurement methods.

1. Monitor Traffic - few years ago traffic estimations could be done properly with the help of a few handy (and some even free) tools. The TOP3 results for exact queries usually got a certain percentage of clicks, while the next 4-10 positions got less clicks. Nowadays predicting traffic is almost impossible, since we can't even tell how many results Google will display on a result page (as some recently noticed, Google has started switching from 7pack to 3pack). Also, accurate traffic estimations for the new Google Maps interface seem almost like an impossible task, but maybe we'll get to know more about this in the next few months.

2. Monitor Conversions - this has always been one of my least preferred methods, as conversions depend on a lot of variables (most of them not related to the SEO's job). I'll list here just a few of them:
- page design, structure, landing page optimization: if the customer gets lost on the page or is overwhelmed with badly structured content and page errors, he will most certainly click "X" without buying anything.
- bad or overpriced products: if your client's company sells red whine for 50$ per bottle, while competing sites sell it for 5-10$, guess who will get the most sales. A hint: it won't be your client's website. :(
- unfriendly personnel: sometimes every online aspect was truly accomplished. The client has a beautiful, well-optimized, user-friendly website, he works with a great SEM team, he sells wonderful products at great prices, but the local personnel just stinks. A client calls and wants to make a reservation and stumbles over one of those highly unfriendly voices, who fail in providing information, treating the client nicely and solving his/her problems. Bad personnel is the no. 1 recipe for losing clients and winning negative reviews on your Google+ Page.

3. Monitor SERP Results - this is just as difficult as the other two options, SERP results are no longer clearly fixed positions, they vary by country, city, and even neighborhood, device, browser, browsing history a.o. criteria. It's almost impossible to create a measurement of all these things. In additional to that, local SEO will soon no longer be merely SERP focused, with the new Google Maps we will have to develop ways of tracking business visibility on a map (for example, few months from here we might be telling our clients something like: "your business is visible when zooming out up to a scale of X").

In the end I believe it's best to see how your client-agency relationship works and adjust your result measurements accordingly, by combining some of the above described methods (and even adding more to the mix).\

Hope my answer will serve as a good starting point. :)
 

Linda Buquet

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Just as Linda already mentioned, results in terms of local SEO are starting to be a lot more difficult to track.

3. Monitor SERP Results - this is just as difficult as the other two options, SERP results are no longer clearly fixed positions, they vary by country, city, and even neighborhood, device, browser, browsing history a.o. criteria. It's almost impossible to create a measurement of all these things. In additional to that, local SEO will soon no longer be merely SERP focused, with the new Google Maps we will have to develop ways of tracking business visibility on a map (for example, few months from here we might be telling our clients something like: "your business is visible when zooming out up to a scale of X").

Hope my answer will serve as a good starting point. :)
You NAILED it with #3. Totally nailed it!
I may quote you or use those lines. So well stated and so true!
 

erjdavis

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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Right now I think I'm going to start with making sure the company has Google Analytics installed on their site.

This way, I can see how many visits they are getting to their site directly from Google. Hopefully, if we get them ranked and listed in the top 7...there Google visits will go up.

Any thoughts on this strategy for tracking?
 

sergiuliano

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You NAILED it with #3. Totally nailed it!
I may quote you or use those lines. So well stated and so true!
Thats only half true, for the maps results every is clear as the user is specifying the exact location, BUT on Google Searches ( used on over 99% of the local searches ), the location is specified either in the search query ( about 20% of searches - explicit keywords ) or Google is identifying the user location by the user's IP address ( reverse IP to location )- this is the solution used for about 80% of the search queries )

In this case Google is not running a custom ( by street ) search, but a generic local search ( by city , or by zipcode )

What this means ? All users from a certain city area will get the same results when searching on Google for "pizza delivery" or "pizza delivery" + cityname , and the SEOers goal is to be sure they manage to get a high ranking in the results displayed to 99% of the users.

Maps are important but Google Search Results ( organic + blended ) are far more important than maps only!

Saying Monitoring SERPs is not important for Local SEO is 100% wrong, as this is the only way the Google Local SEO Algorithm can be reversed, by accessing accurate statistics for each targeted location and industry.
SERPs Monitoring helps improving Local Keyword Lists or Citation Sources List by analyzing the one used by the Local TOP Ranking websites.
 

dorothea

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You are definitely right, Sergiu. I wasn't trying to minimize the importance of SERP results. My comment rather tried to offer a broad view over all available monitoring options (with ups and downs :) ) + offer a few speculations on how we might track results in 1-2 years from now.

At the present moment local SERP monitoring (+ a mix of few other variables) is what best works for me and my clients. Even though the search engine is pretty unpredictable, in most of the cases my time/work is directly reflected by a site's SERP evolution.
 

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