You need to track your website traffic to see if your Google Business Profile (GBP) brings in the traffic you want. Unfortunately, this isn't as easy as it sounds. Regardless of the source, all your social media traffic tends to appear in one category on your Google Analytics page.
How do you solve this: By using urchin tracking module (UTM) parameters to track your traffic. These campaign parameters consist of special bits of code that are added to the links in your Google Business Profile.
Want to find out how to set them up and use them? Here's the tutorial that you need!
What’s a Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile (GBP for short), formerly Google My Business, is a profile existing on the Google platform. It's a place where businesses can fill in the required blanks, describing their business, listing their company's full name and address, and providing contact information in the form of phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and more.
These profiles are free and appear in two different places when someone looks up your business or the type of business near them. It will appear on the top section of the listings, near the map area, where a marking will appear to show users where your business is located. It will also pop up in the standardized listings underneath. Either way, when someone clicks on it, your GBP shows up.
Having a GBP is a good way to help new customers and clients find you. It legitimizes your business, provides a place for referrals and review, and is a handy way to get them to your website and contact information However, it's also great for your SEO. NAP listings (Name, Address, and Phone) play a role in your overall search engine rankings and a GBP factors into that.
What’s a UTM?
Before you can add UTM tracking links to your Google Business Profile, you first need to know what they are and how they work. UTM is short for Urchin Tracking Module, and it's a short bit of code that's added to the end of a link.
Thankfully, the UTM codes don't have anything to do with SEO marketing campaigns, and search engines ignore them so that they won't hurt your overall rankings. UTM terms won't help optimize your SEO metrics either, but they do make it very easy to track where your traffic is coming from.
What Does a UTM Code Look Like?
UTM codes have a unique look, so they'll stand out on the page whenever anyone searches for them. You can customize them all that you want, well, the last part of them at least, in order to have different UTM codes for each of your social media accounts or business profiles.
A standard UTM link looks like this:
These links are also called UTM parameters.
What Are UTM Parameters?
- Campaign Name
- Traffic Sources
The overall UTM module is referred to as UTM code or UTM parameters. There are five different types of things that you can set up to track with them. Let's go over them.
With terms, you're tracking a keyword term that someone clicked on. You'll see this parameter in paid advertising, so you can track whether or not your campaigns are fulfilling their duties.
The terms code looks similar to the URL above:
You'd replace the "keyword" with whatever one you're tracking.
You'd use this parameter if you're keeping an eye on traffic from a certain campaign medium, such as an email campaign. If you want to see who is following through, reading your emails, and then clicking on the provided links, you will put
at the end of your links. Since each of your links in the email would be different, you can place the same UTM code at the end of each so that you know the traffic comes from the email campaign.
On the other hand, if you have an email campaign with the same link in different sections, all with a different call to action, you can use the content UTM to see which ones are being clicked on.
This UTM looks like:
This is a good test to see which calls to action are the most effective, as well as note how far down people scrolled on the email.
If you want to get very specific and send out plenty of emails as part of a multi-pronged campaign, you will use the campaign UTM tag. It looks like
You can customize the "campaign-name" portion to whatever you'd like it to be. You can number it "campaign-five" or name it "campaign-original" accordingly.
Finally, if you have a GBP and want to see how many people are clicking on the link to your website, you'd use a traffic source, UTM. This one looks like
with the word "source" replaced by the site.
For example, following the GBP example, you can use "google" instead of "source." Of course, you could also use another tracking tag since it's up to you, and you're the one who set up and is tracking the campaign.
As you can see, UTM parameters are a vital analytics tool for tracking your website's traffic.
Why Do You Need UTM Parameters?
Let's explain this simply: If you have everyone clicking on one single link posted in multiple places, it is tricky determining where that traffic is coming from.
Your main Google analytics dashboard breaks things down somewhat, telling you who is clicking on your site, providing demographic information, and even that audience's country. However, it doesn't tell you where people got the link for your website.
This is where UTM parameters come into play. By customizing your link with the UTM tag on the end, you can look at your Google Analytics dashboard and know exactly where people found a link to your site.
It might be from an email campaign you put together and sent out or from your social media posts on Instagram or Facebook. Or, in this particular case, it could be from your Google Business Profile.
Where Can You Put Your UTM Parameters in Your GBP?
- In the "Your Website" field
- In the "Appointments Page" field
- In your "Menu Page" field
- In your "Order Placing" or "Reservations" fields
- In the "Virtual Care" field
Ideally, your UTM parameters can be placed in any spots where links are allowed on the Google Business Profile page. These include:
In the "Your Website" Field
Usually called the "primary" website slot, this space is good for a UTM link. Using the traffic sources UTM tag, placing one here will make it easy for you to see who is clicking on that particular link and using it to go to your website.
In the "Appointments Page" Field
Suppose your business accepts appointments set up via your website (rather than having people call to make one).
In that case, you should not only steer traffic directly to the appointments page of your website and not make them click over to it but also use an appropriate UTM parameter.
This way, you'll know where the traffic to that particular page is coming from.
In Your "Menu Page" Field
Restaurants with menu pages can use this space to place a direct link to their menus, UTM parameter attached, of course.
In Your "Order Placing" or "Reservations" Fields
Suppose your business allows customers to place an order or make reservations online. You've set a link to those pages on your GBP, then use a UTM parameter to track your traffic.
In Your "Virtual Care" Field
This link is only for hospitals and medical practitioners. If you offer virtual care and require patients to set up an appointment, place a link to your direct virtual care appointment page here and add a UTM parameter to its end. It's the easiest way to see how much traffic this link generates.
These are just a few examples of where you can place a link with an attached UTM parameter. Several other options are available, including Google Posts and Google Products, which appear on your GBP page as well.
Adding UTM Parameters and Google Posts to Your GBP
Several years ago, Google decided to enhance the functionality of the company's Google Business Profile pages by adding what they call Google Posts.
These posts act like social media updates and appear at the bottom of the GBP page. Businesses can choose what kind of updates to post, and those posts stay in place for six months.
What Types of Updates Can You Add to Your Google Business Page?
These are three different options:
- Event Announcements
- Unique Offers
These can consist of notices about temporary changes in your hours due to a holiday or even a message about menu changes, an upcoming address change, or more, including announcements about awards that you've recently won.
If you want to update your customers and clients about something, feel free to place it in an update. There's no limit to how many of them you can add.
If your business has:
- a sale
- a unique menu offering for a certain period
- a special guest
These count as events. You can place them in the "event" category of your Google posts so that everyone who looks at your GBP can see them.
If you're having a special sale on a certain item, then an "offer" post on your GBP is a good way to announce it. Also included in this category are coupons that you have on your services. For example, if you own a plumbing service and have a $30 off diagnosis coupon for new customers, this is the category that you should place it in.
What Happens to Old GBP Posts?
After the six-month mark, your Google posts get archived under an expandable link in your GBP. Interested people can click on the link to view all of your old posts. Since they don't fully go away, they are a good method of telling people a little more about your company.
Customers can see what types of updates you've added, which events you've put on, and even the offers you've shared in the past.
Even better, you can include links in your Google posts. Adding a UTM parameter to them allows you to hone your analytics further since you'll be able to see who clicked on those particular links.
You can even customize your UTM parameters with numbers or other special codes so that you're aware of which links are the most popular so that you can adjust your marketing to match.
What About Businesses with Multiple GBP Pages?
If you run a company with multiple locations and need to track which sites get the most traffic from your Google Business Profiles, then UTM codes can help.
Since every one of your locations should have its GBP, it can be tricky to see which ones bring the most traffic to your website. Yes, even though you should have your main URL on your GBP profile pointing to each location's specialized page of your website, there's still space to include your main URL.
How can you use UTM codes in this manner? Easy. Develop a system that places a unique UTM code on the main URL for every location. Make sure to include the site in the name of the UTM parameter.
Place those URLs in the corresponding GBPs, and you'll see which pages receive the most traffic on Google analytics.
Advice for People Using UTM Parameters
- Check the Business Profile Requirements
- Watch for Question Marks
- Don't Mix Up Your Source and Medium
- Use Simple to Read UTM Parameters Make Sure to Use Lowercase Letters
UTM parameters are beneficial, especially since you can set them up on your Google Analytics dashboard and track them to see how popular certain GBP and other pages are.
However, there are a few things that you need to know when setting up your UTM parameters since you do want to get everything right.
Check the Business Profile Requirements
Although Google Business Profile allows for UTM parameters, other types of NAP profiles may not. If you use UTM parameters for them, your links may not work correctly, causing more problems.
As a result, you might be damaging your reputation, SEO-wise. If the business profile site allows for UTM parameters, use them!
Watch for Question Marks
You're only allowed one question mark per URL. Anything more, and your links won't work.
Thankfully, UTM parameters provide you with an easy substitution. Although the standard UTM parameter includes a question mark at the beginning of the code snippet, you can substitute that for an ampersand if you already have a question mark in the URL.
Don't Mix Up Your Source and Medium
Your GBP links with UTM parameters consist of two different parts: the source and the medium. Your main site URL (or whichever page of your site you're linking to) is the source, while the UTM parameter is the medium.
Make sure that you keep these two straight, or you might end up with messy links that don't work.
Use Simple to Read UTM Parameters
Have you ever tried to read something written in all lower case letters without space between the words? It's difficult, isn't it?
Don't make your UTM parameters the same. Instead, use a dash in between each word in the tag.
Make Sure to Use Lowercase Letters
Since Google analytics is rather case-sensitive when compiling reports, you need to ensure that all of your UTM parameters are the same. Otherwise, you could confuse the system when you mix up both uppercase and lowercase on the same UTM tags.
Make all your UTM parameters uppercase; why not go for the more straightforward option: All lowercase?
If you want to find out more about UTM links or effectively place them on your Google Business Profile, it helps to have a solution to make it easier. Click here to learn more about how Yext can help.