Seer POV

Google My Business: Battling Bad Info & Safeguarding Your Search Strategy | Joy Hawkins

Key Takeaway: Discrepancies in data can make or break your local campaigns, in her presentation, “Google My Business: Battling Bad Info & Safeguarding Your Search Strategy” Joy Hawkins is here to outline how to identify misinformation in your data and what can happen when that info is bad, wrong, or just plain incomplete.


Finding Inaccurate Google My Business Data

After combing through a study she conducted with her team, Joy found major discrepancies between their Google My Business and Google Search Console Data.

First insight Joy found was Google My Business views doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional impressions we are used to tracking, her team found fluctuations in their charts and saw views weren’t matching with calls or other metrics. 

Let’s walk you through what is considered a view:

A view is any time a location is on a search result, even if a user is not looking at that exact listing. 

Additionally, competitor listings at the bottom of the Knowledge Panel count as a “view”.

Every single photo you click will get one “view”.

Metrics to Leverage

Joy recommends the metrics we measure in our Google My Business data is “searches”– they represent actual searches done on Google. 

💡 Pro Tip: To dive deeper into searches, import into Google Data Studio using Google My Business API. 

She also recommends measuring using the metric “query” too (these only exist within the Google My Business dashboard). 

💡 Pro Tip: Be sure to use “google” and “organic” as your UTM parameters in Local, otherwise you’ll be stealing from your organic traffic report in GA. 

You are able to compare data to Google Search Console but be sure to take a look at both reports. They have differences: 

  • Users switching between devices
  • Time frames on Google My Business are not intuitive – “1 Quarter” in Google My Business is not the last 3 months. 
  • Implicit (no local business within query, “botox”) vs Explicit (adding the city to the query for local results, “botox beverly hill”)

Following the above example, after diving into the insights in comparison between Search Console and Google My Biz, Joy and her team looked at 29 businesses and 78 listings with 1560 keywords.

Using Google Search Console, Joy looked at impressions and clicks for the pages with the UTM parameters:

  • 66% of the top 10 queries were different between the two platforms
  • 40% of Google My Business queries that didn’t show up in Google Search Console were implicit. 
    • “Botox” according to Google My Business = 49 unique visitors
    • “Botox” according to Google Search Console = 18 impressions

If you don’t rank organically, none of the mobile searches will count in Google Search Console as impressions. There are no website icons on Google My Business listing on mobile (they have to click first before seeing the website icon). 

Remember: Search Console tracks your website while Google My Business tracks your listing

  • If there is no website icon, your site won’t be counted in Google Search Console 
  • Google Search Console reported CTR for mobile as 30% but there are so many mobile searches not generating impressions at all in Google Search Console 

Search volume of implicit queries were 51% higher than explicitly queries, so Joy tested a hypothesis: do explicit queries convert better.

Joy conducted a test with 15 businesses that had a total of 894 conversions and found a trend not consistent across industries, but generally, implicit queries converted at a higher rate than explicit, but not as high as “near me”.

Another interesting find was that 40% of the top Search Console keywords that did not show up in Google My Business insights were explicit searches.

In Google Search Console, be sure to use search impressions metric vs. Google My Business views. But when doing keyword research, do not use click data.  Make sure you’re tracking both implicit and explicit queries, stop thinking that one is better than the other.


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