Getting Local with Your Web Analytics

Every local business owner is looking to increase traffic to their stores, offices, and websites. With myriad ways to accomplish this on the internet, it’s more important now than ever to get a good handle on your web analytics.

Segmenting Out High Value Traffic

From Google Analytics to Piwik, and most other web analytics programs catering to small business, location data is parsed for every visitor to your website. To get the most from that data, it’s imperative that you segment out visitors that are likely to visit your brick and mortar, or fall into your service area.

Google Analytics makes this easy, as you can simply set up an Advanced Segment that includes specific geographic regions.  To do so, from your Standard Reporting tab, click on Advanced Segments, and make your Filter either Region or City.  Region (in the United States) is statewide, whereas City is obviously a much smaller selection.

If you’re truly a small local brick and mortar, you may wish to use City and add multiple OR statements, and start including all the small towns and villages that might be within driving distance of your shop. From there, you can truly gauge the effectiveness of your email marketing, social media marketing, and in some cases, offline advertising value.

Getting Some Control Over Social Media

Social media should be a key ingredient to any local business’s advertising/marketing strategy. However, it’s also a medium that is difficult to control for the advertiser, so to truly measure its worth, it’s important to understand the components:

  1. The location of the people your message is being shared with (Tweeted, Shared, Liked, etc.)
  2. The actions those people take on your website once they’ve received your message

In analytics, we need to look at the locations of people that visit our websites through social media and determine what they are doing when they get there. For example, if you’re having a one-day flash sale at your local clothing boutique, social media can be a powerful method of getting information out to potential customers as the sale is occurring. Once you’ve tweeted that message, however, and shared it on your business’s Facebook wall, the sharing is done by your fans and followers, and the geographic scope of your message is multiplied.

So to judge the value of the Tweet, we need to look at only those folks that lie within your geographic service area (i.e. those with a strong likelihood to stop by the store today).  This is where our custom segments come into play, and we really start to associate revenue with social media marketing actions.

Questions to consider:

  • How many visits did the social media campaign generate to our website overall?
  • How many of those visitors lie within our effective service area?
  • How many went beyond one page view and looked deeper into the offer?
  • How many signed up for our sales and specials email list?

Once your business can answer these questions, you’ll be in position to take advantage of web analytics and social media to truly grow local.

What Comes Next

If you find your web visitors are too scattered geographically, it’s time to reconsider your SEO strategy.  Engage whoever does your SEO (or think about getting an SEO expert to assist).  Ask them to start locally targeting your content and landing pages.

If you’re not getting enough local traffic at all, make sure you are taking advantage of localized web services like Google Places.  If you already have, make sure you’re showing up for local searches for your product or service.  If you’re not, time to rethink how you’ve set up your local accounts.

On the analytics side, use Google Analytics Annotation system to make notes for yourself when you make changes that could impact your local results.  You’ll find it right underneath the line graphs on any page in your Analytics account.  Did you add a new product to your website, or a new landing page?  Annotate it, so you can watch trends and effects of your hard work.

Most importantly, make sure you take some time each week to LOOK at your web analytics in detail.  All the data in the world can’t help you grow your business if it’s in a folder in your desk.

So Monday morning, before you flip the Open sign in the front window, log in, and digest what you see. When you start to understand the causes and effects that making changes to your website brings to your in store traffic, you’ll be in a great position to really grow your business.

About Kevin Webster

Kevin Webster manages web analytics, SEO, and SEM accounts for He also assists in OPM duties there, and blogs on his own at Kevin has been in affiliate and online marketing since 2003, and web analytics since 2005. Over his career, he has worked in B2B lead gen, outdoors/recreational SEO and SEM, and in the manufacturing space.

4 Responses to Getting Local with Your Web Analytics

  1. A local search presence is becoming more important as more people are using the web on a mobile device.  A large percentage of mobile searches conducted are for local information.  If local keywords aren’t included in your content and you don’t have any local profiles, it’s a lot less likely that you will be found.  

    • Completely agreed, Nick.  And if you look at the contribution mobile had on Black Friday sales in the IBM Coremetric data, you’ll see where this is heading.

  2. Nathan T. says:

    Is there a use for this information for companies that operate solely online?