Google’s New Local Carousel: Where Will They Click?

The latest research to come out of Ethical SEO’s Search Laboratory- department of understanding everything we possibly can about the nature of search engines and user behavior- begins answering the newly minted questions surrounding the new local search carousel. First question to answer, “Where will they click?”

Methodology:

For this research, we used Usabilityhub’s clicktest product, and 102 respondents were given this prompt: You are searching for a nearby pizza place. Where do you click?

Then, they were shown this image:

Screen Shot 2013 06 18 at 5.13.15 PM Googles New Local Carousel: Where Will They Click?

The Results:

 

Screen shot 2013 06 21 at 10.14.19 AM Googles New Local Carousel: Where Will They Click?

 

Screen shot 2013 06 21 at 11.01.40 AM Googles New Local Carousel: Where Will They Click?

Screen shot 2013 06 21 at 1.28.17 PM Googles New Local Carousel: Where Will They Click?

Screen shot 2013 06 21 at 2.05.10 PM Googles New Local Carousel: Where Will They Click?

Takeaways:

People are clicking on the map, and this proves that the location prominence of the of the search is going to outweigh everything else. What does that mean for businesses? One action step is to make sure you have great reviews. Also, having a long tail keyword site content strategy is also going to be an important factor in showing up in as many carousels, and map results as possible. The organic results also cannot be discounted.

Looking Forward:

It is going to be interesting how user behavior changes over time. As people get used to this new product from Google, will they begin to choose to rely more heavily on the map’s ability to show proximity and relevance? Is that why people are clicking on the map?

If you have any insights or questions that this research has sparked…. what are they? Share them below.

About the Author

John Van Bockern

For John, it's helping businesses grow. It's why he dedicates himself to developing undeniably useful digital content strategies. When he is not doing that, he builds things, writes stories, or ventures into the woods. Connect with John on Twitter or Google+.

8 Comments

  1. Jason Wiser on June 22nd, 2013 3:09 am

    Your chart refers to the 3rd most popular as the “3rd organic”. This is not entirely accurate and it reveals some interesting information. What you are calling the “3rd organic” is really the “1st Organic” because what you are assuming as the 1st and 2nd organic are actually Google Adwords. I find it interesting to see that more people are skipping the Adwords and jumping to the true “1st Organic”

    And for SEO folks this is a huge piece of data.

    1. Jason Wiser on June 22nd, 2013 3:10 am

      Your chart refers to the 3rd most popular as the “3rd organic”. This is not entirely accurate and it reveals some interesting information. What you are calling the “3rd organic” is really the “1st Organic” because what you are assuming as the 1st and 2nd organic are actually Google Adwords. I find it interesting to see that more people are skipping the Adwords and jumping to the true “1st Organic”

      And for SEO folks this is a huge piece of data.

      1. julie gallaher on June 22nd, 2013 6:22 am

        i think your research is probably right, but before we declare it so, you should run another test. The first slide may have got the lion’s share because it was the first slide OR because it was the only decent photo. I’m thinking it would have won against those other lousy slides even if it was in position six.

        1. John Van Bockern on June 22nd, 2013 10:22 am

          Julie,

          I am glad that you pointed that out, we actually already have another test in the works that is exploring exactly that. In our office/lab, it was actually Frank Scharnell who pointed that out. His observation was that not only did people click on the first picture (arguably better than the others), but that they actually clicked the pizza. Changing that slider image, and re-doing the test is going to provide us with some even more actionable insights. check back soon

          1. Jason Bahamundi on June 26th, 2013 5:59 pm

            Maybe I’m missing something but the 6th slide for Moi in the two heat map pictures shown below. Is/Was there a reason that it doesn’t show up?

            I was thinking that the first got all the clicks not only because of being first but also because of it being a picture of food. The only other picture of food is for Moi but it doesn’t show up in the heat maps.

            1. V Hassam on June 28th, 2013 3:15 pm

              I can’t say that I’m surprised by these findings. In B2C markets SEM success is all about the local SEO, and one of the first factors the average decision maker considers it the proximity of service X to their current location, which is exactly what you’ve illustrated here. What would be really interesting to see, at least from my perspective, is how the heat map changes when the top organic site includes rich snippets for pricing and service reviews.

              1. matthew hunt on July 3rd, 2013 11:58 am

                We did a simple test using Usabilityhub too. Mike talked about at here http://localu.org/blog/a-heat-map-click-study-for-googles-local-carousel-results/ . Found simpe results.

                Next to the map it looks like the first image on the slider did best. Do think could also have to do with the image. ..? It’s the only one that shows a clear photo of a pizza and the SERPs was about pizza.

                I think your image best represent the searched term to help increase CTRs.

                photo + reviews + reputation management will be key with the new carousel search results.

                1. Kyle peron on August 6th, 2013 12:07 am

                  Hi John,

                  Great article you wrote. I was wondering if you or anyone at your company could she d some light on a very BIG issue I am seeing and having because of this change.

                  I am an entertainer (magician and illusionist). My home is in one location so Google + is using that for displaying my ranking on the carousel. The problem is I travel for my shows. My shows are not based from my home lcoation. I do shows up to and over 100 miles from my home.

                  I used to be highly organic ranked (hyperlinks) for a lot of my atreas search terms and spent a lot of time making sure of this. Now I do not even show up in the carousel at all for certain areas of which I used to be highly organic ranked. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is for me.

                  With the data I am reading, I am seeing that most folks (over 50%) are going to the carousel first and themn the map. It is almost as is all my hard work is for naught.

                  My question for you is as follows:

                  – how far (distance) form home base does the carousel actually go out to?
                  – If I travel over 100 miles for shows and want folks to be able to find my website, is there ANYTHING I can do to get the carousel to list me in those further locations?
                  – Is the carousel distance and location based (which it appears to be) or can it or will it be based on SEO rankings?
                  – Any tips you or anyone can give me in regards to how I can get back a larger radious that i had. I want folks in my other neighboring states to find me.

                  I do appreciate any help you can give to me. Much appreciated.

                  Kyle Peron

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