As search engine optimization specialists (SEOs), we all have one goal: to increase organic traffic for our clients. We optimize signals to increase the relevancy of our clients’ (or our own) sites so more people find them and check them out.
But what if some of the traffic (or even a lot of it) isn’t attributed correctly, and you aren’t getting credit for it?
Unfortunately, Google My Business (GMB) clicks have an attribution problem. We’ve seen cases where hundreds or even thousands of monthly GMB clicks are incorrectly attributed as “direct” in Google Analytics.
Whenever someone clicks on your Google My Business link from a mobile device, it is likely the click will show as direct instead of organic. With mobile search continuing to grow, this is a problem that will not go away.
You don’t have to put on your detective hat and try to dig up proof you are getting more organic traffic than Google Analytics is showing; you just need to tweak your website link.
Adding an Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) to force the source to show as “organic” lets you take the credit for all the hard work you’re doing. You can attach a UTM code to a custom URL and track promoted content; the results will show in Google Analytics and report where searchers came from.
to the end of your website link in your Google My Business dashboard, and you’re good to go! Now, every click on your GMB link will show as an organic click in Google Analytics.
Google recently rolled out Google Posts, and the click attribution problem has spread there as well. If you are using or testing Google Posts, keep an eye on the click data since, from my experience, it doesn’t seem to match up.
Again, the suspicion is that organic clicks are being attributed as direct traffic. It works exactly the same way as the website link in Google My Business: You have to add UTM tracking if you want to be sure the traffic is correctly attributed as organic.
The best practice here would be to use the “utm_campaign” variable to give each Google Post a unique link, with the source set to “GooglePost” and the medium still set to “organic.”
Everyone has access to the new version of Google Search Console. It allows you to filter clicks and show only clicks to pages using UTM variables. Click to Search Traffic > Search Analytics, then click the radio button next to “Pages” and enter “UTM” into the field. Your click graph will recalibrate and show all the clicks for anything including UTM links.
Now you know you’re getting the credit for all of your organic visits, and both Google Analytics and Search Console share that data. You’ll look great to your clients (or your boss), and it’s much easier to prove the value of your efforts.
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