Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Today the Local Business Center team is rolling out a new feature: a dashboard that will provide you with information on how Google users are interacting with your local listing in Google Maps and Google Search.
We're pretty excited about this new feature. If you're a local business, you probably already know that Google Maps drives traffic to your website and to your business. While you may be tracking usage metrics on your website, you don't always get as much information from that as you'd like. For example, a user may search for "pizza," click on your business listing, look at the reviews, and decide to pay a visit to your Italian restaurant without ever visiting your website or calling you. The new LBC dashboard feature will change all that, making this data easily accessible to business owners by introducing a new "dashboard" tab in your Local Business Center (www.google.com/lbc) account. So if you're a business owner who maintains one or more physical locations, and you're curious about what people are searching for when they see your business listing and where your customers are coming from, the dashboard will answer many of those questions for you. Data available in the dashboard will include the following:
- Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
- Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business' website or requested driving directions to the business.
- Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for "tea" or "coffee"?
- Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.
So how will you use the dashboard? The first thing you'll need to do is make sure that you've claimed your listing in the LBC. Even if you hadn't claimed it until today, you'll be able to use the dashboard, since we're automatically populating it with data from the past month. When you log in to the LBC, you'll notice a new "View report" link right under the statistics that we provide:
Clicking on the link will take you to the dashboard page, where you'll find several features. At the very top, you'll see a timeline tracking the number of "Impressions" and "Actions" that your business received on Google. "Impressions" refers to the number of times that users saw your listing appear as a local business search result; "Actions" refers to how many times users interacted with your listing. You can change the date range selected to view more or less data.
Right under the graphs, you'll see a summary for the date range you've selected, along with a breakdown of the various types of "Actions" that users took:
Below that, you'll find a list of the top search queries people are using when they discover your business listing. For example, do people tend to find your Italian restaurant more by looking for "pizza" or "pasta"? Do more customers seem to find you because of your reputation as an affordable hotel, or as a quiet hotel? This gives you valuable insight into the ways that your potential customers are looking for you, and what terms are associated with your business. To protect any potentially personally identifiable information, queries with a very low search volume are put into the "other" category, and we filter addresses out of the queries (for example, if a someone searched for "bakery near 5873 Maple Ave," you would only see the "bakery" term.)
Finally, you'll also be able to see a breakdown of zip code starting points for driving direction requests to your business. To protect privacy, we aggregate these requests at the zip code level. If you hover over the counts inside the map, we'll highlight the area represented by that count. This lets you find out where there's an interest in your business, which can help inform advertising strategies or future growth.
If you want to learn more, you can read our post on the Official Google Blog or watch the video below. Otherwise, head to http://www.google.com/lbc to dive in to your new dashboard!