What’s changed?

Google have finally made it possible for business owners to bulk download the insights for all their business locations in Google My Business at the push of a button. While that may not seem like much it’s taken them since 2014, when Google+ insights were first removed and added to Google My Business.
Previously you would have to painstakingly go into each location, then copy and paste the information into a spreadsheet. This simply wasn’t practical for large businesses or any business with more than a handful of locations. Google My Business will now also allow you to get data from 18 months ago.

The new bulk download option provides data broken down into the following columns:

  • Total searches
  • Direct searches
  • Discovery searches
  • Total views
  • Search views
  • Maps views
  • Total actions
  • Website actions
  • Directions actions
  • Phone call actions

For descriptions of what each of these columns mean then you should refer to Google’s guidelines

What’s not changed?

There’s still only one line per location so you don’t get a daily breakdown. This means if you want to make any comparisons then you’ll need to download the data in 7 days, 30 days,90 day or custom bursts. Which isn’t ideal but this is still a major improvement.

What does this mean for businesses?

The insights section in Google My Business gives you an inside look at how people find your business listing on the web. Insights focus on how customers use Search and Maps to find your listing, and what they do once they find it.

Each column in the bulk download serves to provide insights in the following sections:
• How customers find your listing
• Where customers find you on Google
• Customer actions
• Driving directions requests
• Phone calls
• Photos

With concrete performance data it is now much easier to justify investing in local SEO as it is a huge advantage to be able to tie this type of activity to direct changes in search performance. If you can pair this up with an effective local keyword tracking tool and URL tracking parameters then you’ll be able to clearly demonstrate the value Local SEO activity has had to a business.

Going Forward

With the increased ability to measure performance comes the opportunity to improve and refine local optimisations. By creating a bank of performance data the ability to spot trends and link changes in budget and campaign activity has arrived.
I would expect there to be further updates to the Google My Business insights dashboard as Google has clearly been investing in this section. They’ve provided benchmarking data for photo views and for comparing the volume of photos you have against competitors.

The recent ability to select attributes for the business enable your site to appear for longer tail keywords in the local pack. These include whether the business facility is wheelchair accessible, what payment methods are available, or if free parking is available.
It’s clear they are keen for business owners and agencies to improve the accuracy and completeness of each business profile. The ability to get daily GMB data is surely in the pipeline. I imagine it would operate in a similar way to the search analytics report in Search Console. And the sooner that happens the better!
If you want to optimise your local business listing then you should read this blog post by one of our SEO Specialist’s, Martin Sprong, or get in touch with us to see what we can do for you.

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Katie Mckelvie

I’m a Digital Solutions Executive at Reprise and enjoy working in local and technical SEO roles. I provide SEO insights and recommendations to Finance & Retail clients and I’ve previously worked with luxury Hotel brands in the UK.