Today, few can deny the benefits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). From small businesses to international juggernauts, SEO offers to augment existing marketing strategies through enhanced search engine visibility. However, it is not a quick process; it takes time to yield results, and measuring its success takes effort. Moreover, its different subsets require keeping an eye on different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for accurate performance assessments. As such, in this article, we’ll explore how to measure the success of your local SEO campaign while distinguishing between its specific KPIs and those of traditional SEO.
SEO and Local SEO Metrics
First and foremost, it is vital to establish that the two do share key metrics. Put differently; local SEO cannot function optimally without adhering to traditional SEO tenets. These metrics will typically include the following:
- Mobile-friendliness and mobile traffic
- Page speed and responsiveness
- Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA)
- Engagement and bounce rates
- Technical health; sitemaps, etc
The key difference, in the context of this article, lies in the locality of local SEO. Both aim to provide valuable content that matches visitors’ search intent, and both need a healthy foundation to do so. However, local SEO explicitly focuses on locality – local “near me” searches, local keywords, local citations, and reviews. As such, you cannot measure the success of your local SEO campaign through traditional, general KPIs. Instead, you must specifically focus on its express intent – distinguishing between general and local data as needed.
Related: SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Measuring the Success of Your Local SEO Campaign
To become more specific, let us explore 3 crucial local SEO KPIs in no particular order of significance.
1. Local Backlinks and Citations
In local SEO, one could argue it all begins with local recognition and visibility. Ranking for “near me” searches is indeed imperative, but it is local backlinks and citations that best enable it. These, of course, you may earn in similar ways as in regular SEO, such as:
- Produce quality content that earns backlinks
- Reach out to claim unbranded mentions
- Engage in broken link building
Similarities continue as regards maintenance practices. Regular citation cleanup is important for both, as is consistently broken backlink restoration. That’s where the differences begin, however, as local backlinks and citations need their own tools to monitor. Fortunately, many tools that cater to one do so for the other as well. Such tools you may use to measure the success of your local SEO campaign include:
Many such tools will offer an array of features that can serve other campaign monitoring needs. Simultaneously, you may use traditional web analytics tools for further insights – as long as you maintain a local focus. Such tools include:
This feature and functionality overlap is crucial to note, as multi-purpose tools will typically help organize data.
2. Locally Valuable Keywords and Local Traffic
Furthermore, among the most significant differences among the two types lie locally valuable keywords. Specifically, local SEO will typically dictate that keywords adhere to the following structure:
- Core term; your product or service
- Modifier or specifier; additional information that expands the core term
- Location; an explicit location specifier
Thus, SEO would hold “(women’s) sandals” as a competitive keyword and “women’s sandals with low heels” as a long-tail one. In this example, local SEO would instead opt for “fashionable women’s sandals in Oregon.” Of course, both would value “shoes” as a great Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) addition and welcome more terms. But for local SEO, these are secondary; it’s the location specifier that matters most.
Fortunately, multiple tools can help you track the success of your local keywords. The ones as mentioned above aside, you may use keyword tools such as:
Their tracking capabilities aside, all such tools feature some form of keyword “extension” functionality. In essence, through grading keyword “difficulty,” they can allow you to optimally extend them for additional local value.
As regards local traffic, you may use traditional analytics tools to measure it. Perhaps most notably, you may use the universally valuable tool that is Google Analytics for overall traffic:
- Go to your Channel Grouping report
- There, go to Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels
- Filter according to your desired time frame
However, for local traffic, you will also need to apply location filters – which Google Analytics fortunately provides. Alternatively, you may also consider UTM codes to more efficiently filter traffic locations.
3. Local Reviews and Mentions
Finally, reviews are equally instrumental to ensuring success. In practical terms, reviews serve as social credit, reassuring potential customers. In SEO terms, reviews serve to inform SERP rankings by indicating a business’s quality – or lack thereof.
Many of the tools mentioned above do provide ways to measure the success of your local SEO campaign in this regard. For tools that specifically focus on this function, you may consider the following:
For more accuracy, you can also consider such review sources as:
- Your Google My Business (GMB) profile
- Google Reviews
- Your social media pages
- Other business directories
You may thus have your SEO tools monitor these specific sources, as well as do so manually. In all cases, it is crucial to do so; both visitors and search engines value reviews highly.
Consider local SEO audits
A final service, as opposed to a tool, you may consider is local SEO audits. Many vendors and agencies provide this service, which typically includes auditing:
- Your GMB profile
- Citations and backlinks
- Google Search Console
- General SEO; technical health, on-page optimization, etc
You may also include competitor analyses as a way of contextualizing your efforts further.
To summarize, local SEO success does require traditional SEO practices; keyword research, on-page optimization, speed and responsiveness, and so on. Local SEO is, after all, a subset of SEO that still requires a healthy foundation to bear results. However, it also hinges on local metrics; local backlinks and citations, local keywords and rankings, local reviews and mentions. Fortunately, the market is rife with options, general and hyper-focused, to help measure the success of your local SEO campaign.