Confluent Forms LLC, located in Easthampton MA, is a boutique branding, graphic design, web design, web development, Blogger development, and PHP/MySQL application development firm providing services to customers from the Fortune 100 to local non-profit organizations and academic institutions. Serving Western Massachusetts and beyond.

Local Search and its importance for Local Business

by on October 17, 2014
Last updated on
We have posted a number of times regarding Google+ Local Pages (which is now Google My Business) and why businesses, especially small/local businesses, need to claim their pages. In particular, it has been our contention that Google+ Local Pages are essentially acting as your new landing page to your business, fulfilling many customer needs for critical information without them coming to your site. They are acting as your splash page.

Recent improvements in the metrics reporting within the Google My Business system have given us further insight into the critical need for businesses to claim their Page as well as keep it up to date and promote it.

For this example we've selected one business, a 1-location popular restaurant in a major city. For clarity, "clicks" in this graph represents: "Clicks to your website: Number of clicks to your business’s website from local search results in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile" That leaves a lot of possibility for variance as there are so many facets to Google Search and where your information is displayed, but unfortunately that's the definition we're provided with.

Worth noting

This business is NOT active in Google+ beyond having a Google+ Local Page created, and some basic auto-posting from their blog. They have less than 100 followers and almost 0 engagement on their posts.

The Findings

Over the last 30 days, the business's information was displayed:
  • 43,217 times in search views (this is what we'll be focusing on)
  • 28 post views
  • 11 profile views
  • (totaling 43,256 views)

From that information, it had actions of:
  • 7350 clicks to the website
  • 1240 clicks for driving instructions
  • 770 phone calls
  • (totaling 9360 clicks)

This has a click through rate (CTR) of 21.6%.

Putting this in context with the rest of the website's traffic

Over the same 30 day period of time,
  • The website received a total of 23,722 sessions
  • Google Search resulted in 14,221 of those sessions
  • The website was viewed in Google for 23,463 impressions (via Webmaster Tools)
  • From all of Google Search, the website recorded 7,506 clicks
  • Google Organic Search accounted for 60% of all traffic to the website

Takeaway observations from this data...

Google Local Search clicks to the website were responsible for 52% of all of the Google Search traffic to the website, and 31% of the total traffic to the website.

If we sum the driving instructions and phone calls as "goal conversions" (as those for a restaurant generally imply a firm movement toward a sale), this is an equivalent of an 8.5% bonus to the goal conversions of the website, as their goals have been fulfilled before the user even visits the site.

Looking at the differences between the Google Webmaster Tools data of impressions (23,463) compared to the Google My Business search views (43,217), we can deduce that the Local Search displays are providing an additional 184% bonus search exposure to the business beyond the standard Google Web Search.*

(* this is either an 84% bonus or 184% bonus, depending on whether GMB search views include regular search or not, but their description would seem to indicate that it does not, hence 184%)

In summation

Google+ Local Pages and Google My Business needs to be a prominent piece of every small business's local strategy and search strategy. While this study is for one business in particular, from the data that we have observed for other local businesses, this is fairly indicative of the results that we've seen, especially for B2C establishments. As the local search market grows, a local business's need to maintain a valid presence within the local search results needs to be at the forefront of their online marketing efforts.

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