How to Track Local Search Analytics with Google Analytics

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In order to keep up with the industry, I constantly search for keywords related to my job (and sometimes it’s because I just don’t know how to do what I need to do). This morning I was creating reports on Google Analytics when I didn’t feel like fumbling through the UI, so I searched for a tutorial on how to track local searches.

Google’s answer on the topic felt a bit lacking, and even Moz’s tutorial could stand to be updated, so I ended up digging through the UI and find my own answers.

Lucky for you, as I was researching, I also outlined the steps to help your track local search results on your site. So without further adieu, enjoy this simple guide to local search analytics. 

1) Open Google Analytics Dashboard

First you’ll need to login to Google Analytics and access the dashboard for the particular website you want to track local analytics for. This will bring you to the Reporting tab (on mine, it does – I can’t remember if that’s a default setting or not). While Moz outlined some decent ways to access this information, I wanted to target specific market segments.

Basically I wanted the ability to run quick reports to show traffic targeted at specific geographic locations in order to quantify the results of local ad campaigns. Since we targeted multiple smaller markets over a region, ideally, I wanted to be able to see each city individually, as well as county and state overviews.

1.5) Warning about Moz Manual Method

You can do this by clicking  “Add Segment” in the Audience Overview section under the Reporting tab, you may run into some issues. Google’s algorithms are tricky and the comment section explains much of the problem. This isn’t to fault Moz, as the site is great with SEO tips. That’s why I went there in the first place.

2) Open Admin Tab

In the Admin tab, under “PERSONAL TOOLS AND ASSETS,” click “Segments.” This will bring up a list of segments already created. If you don’t have any segments yet, click “Import from Gallery” to import the top two sets to populate a great starter kit of Analytics segmentation tools.

Then click “+New Segment” to bring up a demographics menu. This allows you to target specific age ranges, genders, affinity categories, and other demographics, but what I was interested in was location segmentation.

3) Location Submenus

The Location fields are submenus allowing you to select categories to narrow location segmentation. The first submenu allows you to choose from Continent, Sub-Contintent, Country, Region, and City.

From there, you can choose the parameters such as contains, does not contain, etc. So you can input exact ranges of cities to target. After inputting the information, click the blue “Save” button at the top of the page.

4) Add Segment and Run Reports

When you return to the Reporting tab, you can now add your customized segment to the reporting and compare geographic location data in your Google Analytics reporting. This is helpful when targeting local search across all market segments, including Maps, Yelp, and any other geolocation.

With the Internet of Things being powered by M2M communication, geolocation is a vital step in marketing demographics. Be sure you’re focusing on local search traffic to remain on the map during the next evolution of the Internet.

Check back throughout the month of October for more in-depth guides to Google Analytics.

Brian Penny is an expert in Google Analytics, as well as a frequent contributor to the Connectivity blog. 


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