Google announced their new Local Business Center dashboard today. Many businesses use Google’s local business search in hopes of driving traffic to their store locations or web site. The new dashboard feature allows business owners to see how local business listings in Google are performing. Providing this data extends one’s analytics by allowing you to see pre-click data for local business results. Our hope is that this is a step toward integrating local business listing pre-click data and Google Analytics data.
Local business listings can be found by searching either Google.com or Google Maps. On Google.com, if Google is able to identify a local keyword, they will show a map result along with organic and paid search results. The listings next to the map results come from local business listings. The new dashboard shows local business listing impressions, actions, top search queries and the zip codes used in driving directions. This can be invaluable data for business owners to better understand and utilize their local business listings. In the past, this data was extremely limited and not very useful. More in depth demonstrations are available from Google or Greg Sterling’s blog post.
Our hope and request is that Google will continue with this dashboard concept and take it one step further by allowing the integration of one’s local business listing account with their Google Analytics account. This would prove to be very useful, similar to the way Google AdWords and more recently AdSense linking to Analytics has proven to be. As we have seen with AdWords, allocating pre-click data into GA can further help you measure your ROI in a multitude of marketing mediums. If you haven’t already set your business up with a local business listing this new dashboard is a great incentive to get things going.