I get a warm feeling when I look at my analytics and see my efforts bear fruit… don’t we all. I use multiple analytic providers, Google Analytics for conversions and the rest and Shiny Stat to keep an eye on Google Analytics (GA). Recently I noticed some conversions from “Direct Traffic”, as reported by GA and suspected that some had simply bookmarked the site and returned later to request the service. So, I checked further and found that the conversions had come from ‘absolutely unique visitors’, hmmm… off to Shiny Stat to see if I could find out anything else. They reported visits simply from directory. So, off I went to Superpages.com to run a traffic report on the PPC campaign I set up with them. And one by one I tracked the dates of the clicks with the dates of the “direct traffic” I was receiving and lo and behold they matched…wow.
This campaign is so local that the traffic was low enough that I could figure this out with a good degree of accuracy. If this was a major campaign, however, it would be nearly impossible.
Local Directories are Shooting Themselves in the Foot
I went on to test Yahoo! Local – a featured listing and organic, yellowpages.com, true local and local.com and found that only yellowpages.com reported the click-thru accurately. The others were recorded in a fashion that made them “untrackable.” Will professional search marketers advertise on sites that they can’t track easily?
Now that local search has arrived (you almost wouldn’t know it because as it finally arrived the conversation shifted to mobile) these sites may be able to attract more of the professional search community… but not without fixing this problem.