At a recent local search conference I learned more about the amazing Google Data Studio tool, which is free and though has a little bit of a learning curve, can do an amazing job at combining a lot of that important information from different sources into one spot.  One of the problems I was having with local small business clients was reporting on Google My Business (GMB) Data as well as Google Analytics, especially with GMB taking more and more traffic and activity away from local business websites in the past year.  Though it doesn’t necessarily matter to the business owner whether that phone call came from their GMB or their website, it does present a problem with reporting. It often creates disjointed reporting and confuses the business owner who is trying to figure out what is working and what isn’t working. Your SEO fuels both your site traffic and your GMB activities, and the data comes from different places. Even more challenging to those of us piecing together screenshots from the GMB Insights, the data doesn’t show year over year data, which gives a better view of seasonal performance comparisons.

In Steps Google Data Studio for The Right Data Story

Google Data Studio and its connector tools allow for you to create dashboards that show data comparisons of the exact data you (or your clients) want to look at. It allows you to present year over year GMB actions and organic traffic on the same dashboard or Google Ads search queries combined with device category info or geographic location to nail down who is converting and who isn’t. If you are used to putting together reports, it takes a little time playing around with the data, but you will figure it out. I had basic dashboards created after spending an afternoon digging in. You can then tweak based on client need or important KPI’s.  If you don’t want to just jump in, you can start with an intro video provided by Google.

Google Data Studio DashboardGoogle Data Studio also allows you to set up one link to go to over and over that will automatically adjust and present data in the date and time you want. For example, if you want it to always show prior month compared to the same month last year, or the month before that, you can do that. In fact, each element can have its own data comparison. One table may show year over year, while the next show month over month.  It is very customizable and can help you get at only the most important information without the confusion and clutter of trying to dig and dive into Google Analytics, GMB Insights, Google Search Console, and others. If you love the data and enjoy digging into those tools, you still can, but it is great to have one headline each month to look at easily and judge progress, as well as alert you if something goes off track.

For example, this month a client that was having steady progress for over a year suddenly saw a drop on their dashboard, which triggered a conversation and a technical audit, and I learned about some things that were happening behind the scenes that caused some site issues but hadn’t been communicated with me.  These dashboards are instantaneous check-ins and can do wonders for reporting and understanding the important elements of the data story. In this world of deep data dives and analytics for business success, small businesses can now jump on board, for free, and have access to the right data easily, and readily available. Y0u just have to spend some time up front, setting it up. If that seems too challenging, you can call me and I can help set it up for you.