How To Get Google Analytics To Reveal Your Local Traffic

A common mistake I see local businesses making when they look at their Google Analytics is that they look at their overall stats (number of visitors to their site, their bounce rate, how many pages were visited, etc.). While those numbers do have their place, the more relevant Analytic numbers to look at for a small business would be the stats for their local market.

Consider this actual example from a local business in Barrie, ON:

Google Analytics Without Local Filter

The above graph shows about 60 visitors a day (1,843/30) to this local small business website. A pretty decent number for a local business.

However, if we narrow down the results to show only traffic from Barrie, a much different picture emerges:

google analytics with barrie filter

This local business may be getting 60 visitors a day to their website but in reality, they’re getting fewer than 2 visitors a day (44/30) from their local area! (I should note that this particular analysis is really applicable for the local small business; if you’ve got a business that is more online or geographically dispersed, then you may want to filter on your Country or your Continent; the idea here is to filter on your main trading area.)

We’ve gone from good news to bad news. Clearly, this business needs to work on increasing their local traffic!

There is some good news here though:

  • Pages/Session goes up. If you look at the average number of pages each visitor goes to during a visit, the number more than doubles…almost 3 pages per visit.
  • Avg. Session Duration goes up threefold. Obviously, local visitors are spending more time on the site—presumably to check out the services of this business.
  • Bounce Rate goes down. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to a web page and leave without going to any other page…single page visitors. While 64% still isn’t a great number, it’s certainly a lot better than the 94% we see in the overall stats.

I’m not going to go into details about what this business should be doing to increase their local search traffic other than to say, on first blush, I’d recommend they take a look at:

  1. Their Search Engine Optimization, especially what keywords they’re targeting.
  2. The “sticky” devices they’re using on their site to encourage visitors to explore more of their site (latest blog posts, related blog posts, Calls to Action, etc.)
  3. The initial impression the site is creating for visitors…in the critical first few seconds, are they capturing the attention of their Ideal Customer?

There are many more factors we can analyze from their Google Analytics to get an even better understanding of what may need to be changed to improve their local search results, but even these few key Google Analytic stats gives us some valuable insight as to what should change.

How to Create a Filter in Google Analytics

It’s pretty straight forward to create a filter for your geographic trading area in Google Analytics and once created, you can easily use it in the future.

Here’s a 30 second video showing you how:

With less than a minute’s work, you can get a much more useful look into how your website is performing and what steps you may need to take to improve your local search results.

Not Your Typical Web Geek

Scott Gingrich

Scott Gingrich

Partner &
Chief Marketing Officer

Lifelong student of marketing, persuasion, and strategy. Business Grad. NLP Master Practitioner. Slept in snow; walked on fire. Coffee geek (not snob). Currently dabbling in geology and native flower gardening.

Values: Family, Friends, Community.

“Marketing is about the Customer, not the product.

– Dan Kennedy

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