When Google updated their search algorithm with Pigeon, it drastically changed the rankings for sites who targeted local SEO. Even now, it’s not unusual for sites to shift in local rankings on almost a daily basis.
For companies focused on local content, this can make tracking the effectiveness of their campaigns difficult, since ranking reports are less reliable when results can fluctuate so wildly. Instead of trying to discern meaning from them, here are five key metrics that can help you judge how your site is doing, without rankings.
It’s easy to get lost in the search result ranking game, but what’s really important is ensuring that people who view your search listing will follow the link through to your page. Organic traffic reports, or a list of what sites your users were on before coming to you, will help you discover how effective those links are.
Pigeon’s algorithm updates will cause your traffic from Google to fluctuate, but by looking at it either on a monthly or yearly basis, an overall trend should be clear.
Organic Landing Pages
Most direct traffic to your website should be the homepage, while organic traffic will hopefully lead users to relevant, deep content on your site. By discerning what pages are popular search destinations, you’ll start to get a feel for the keywords your customers are looking for. Be mindful of unusually high bounce rates, however, as this could mean that the keywords you’re optimizing for do not relate to the queries customers who land on your site hope to have answered.
Organic Conversion Sources
If customers find your site, and find the information on the site useful, it’s important to track the effectiveness of the conversion tactics your using on the page. Whether this is a customer adding product to their shopping cart, or filling out a free form for more information, if you’re spending time and effort bringing users to your site, you want to make sure that it’s positively impacting your ROI.
Google My Business Impressions
Using Google my business, the search engine will distribute your information across their search results, maps, and G+ s0 that customers can find your listing no matter what device they’re currently using. This is metric will show you the overall impressions, or how often your business was seen by a customer. A customer clicking on your business within Google Maps, or paging through the new search carousel will not always lead to website visits, even though this impression could lead customers to your store, making it an important metric to track.
Clicks For Driving Directions
If a customer is clicking a provided link to get directions to your location, chances are good that they’re seriously considering a trip to your store. While the results to this metric, like those of Google my business, are approximate, this is a strong indicator of how effective your onsite content is at converting visitors to potential customers.
Ranking Is Not Dead, Just Less Important
Ranking is still a useful metric to aim for, but it should not be the sole focus of any successful local SEO campaign. Obtaining a higher rank in search results will help improve all five of these other metrics, but the ranking fluctuations of pigeon make it a difficult metric to track.
Instead of chasing the fickle pigeon, focus instead on creating useful, high conversion local content utilizing the above metrics as guides.
Source: Search Engine Land