Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide produced an interesting post on SEL which I quite enjoyed. Actually, I took up his recommendations to start tracking Google my Business URLs in order to get better visibility on the GMB (and Google Places/Maps) for one of my clients. In fact, analytics software such as Google analytics do not give you any visibility whatsoever on universal listings which is what GMB is classed under. The source is “organic” whether it comes from the organic web or GMB.
In order to get visibility over the GMB channel, you need to track your URLs using the Google URL builder and also ensure that your GMB destination URLs have a canonical link to self in order to prevent indexing of the tracking URLs.
After you implement your URLs, you will start seeing the GMB traffic segment.
It is interesting what is happening in local search right now. Over the past year Google has had a number of local search updated which started with the Pigeon update on July 24, 2014. You can see a detailed list of all the Google updates here on MOZ.
Google now shows 3 local listings (called the local 3-pack or snack-pack) almost exclusively searchers that trigger local pack results on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Not only is this 3 pack now much more competitive than the old (up to) 7 pack, the 3-pack also has been shown to rank almost exclusively in #1 in Google under the paid listing 93% of the time. I made a recent post on this topic. It is causing some upset and opportunity in the local SEO world to say the least. Many local reliant businesses are seeing shifts in the visitors they acquire from web vs local vs paid. For some businesses, there is an increase in business but for many (probably most) clicks have increased on paid channels and decreased on local and web channels. This is forcing many businesses to have to pay more money to Google in order to maintain their traffic acquisition numbers to reach targets.
Time will tell how this local push from Google will ultimately pan out and affect businesses that are highly reliant on local search.