More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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The questions comes up often here at the local search forum - what gets more clicks and calls - the top organic or the top local pack results?

Just discovered a new cool heat map study by Lawyer SEO Marketing I wanted to share.

Search personal injury attorney. Where do you click?

See the full post here because there is more you need to see:
Local Results Steal Traffic from Organic Results | Attorney Marketing Blog -

I was a little confused by his post at 1st. The top image in his post he refers to as "blended" local result. It has an A, B, C pack listing just like the one above. Then below is the image I showed and he says "If there are not any blended local search results, standard local results are still taking traffic from the higher organic results"

But there ARE blended results, it's not a pack style listing. Then I realized what he meant when he said 'blended' is that his top result had author markup and an image.

So if you go to his site and look at the top image, you'll see that listing C has an image and that draws the majority of clicks away from the A spot and pulls them down to the C spot.


Blended results with no author images displayed
#1 organic - 31%
A spot - is the winner with 37% of clicks
C spot - gets LESS THAN 5%

HOWEVER when you add an author image to the mix.

Blended results with an author image in the C Spot
#1 organic - 29%
A spot - DROPS FROM 37% to 8%
C spot - JUMPS FROM 5% to 43%

Interesting study and it's always helpful to see a visual heat map and chart.
Thanks for the info Lawyer SEO Marketing!

What do you guys think???
Bet this makes you want to focus on Author Markup, right?


This is interesting and insightful. I wonder how CTR is affected when the #1 or #2 organic listing has an author photo, but no author photos exist in the local results.

I also wonder how CTR is affected based on the search query. i.e. would behavior be different if I was searching for a personal injury lawyer in Chicago and I searched for "Chicago personal injury lawyer" vs. just "personal injury lawyer"...if my search query included the city, would I be more inclined to go straight to the local results?
Great questions Eric and I'm glad you weighed in.

Thought this was pretty interesting and folks here keep asking what gets more clicks - organic or pack? So I was surprised by the lack of comments.

Will Tweet again now... Maybe I should add to G+ too duh!

Visual presentations like that are very powerful. But I have some reservations and/or questions including the following:

1. On a similar presentation developed by a well known firm in the SEO world I had some pointed questions concerning the information presented to the people that partook in the study. Simply I wanted to know if the people who participated were given any prior information. (was there some kind of guide as to where to look first).

the person who presented the data did not answer the question. I believe the visual results were "faked" or orchestrated to make a point.

2. What was the search phrase for this study...and of those results...where were the people located.

The top organic result said California lawyers. The top Local result said Bakersfield attorneys. California is huge. Bakersfield is far more specific. Could that have had an impact?

3. While this is not directly related to eye capture...our long term results suggest that when we have had an organic result above the pac...and pac results with the first listing in the pac...we do best. And we do best by a lot.

4th. Regardless of how you are working on these things, I've seen some url's with long term historical rankings for topics in markets with many competitors. The url and smb that has dominated for years has alternatively had an organic ranking above the pac for years...and now has a #1 Pac ranking in what is clearly a merged pac wherein the ranking results are a merger of local and organic results.

I know the smb in at least one of those cases has simply continued to do what they do on both the organic and local side. Its google which is presenting the results in a a different way.

The argument of local or organic is moot in that case. Google is generating the presentation the way it sees fit. The smb on the other hand has done significant work to get to the top in either case.

I'd really shoot for one or the other...I measure measure measure. Today its harder to measure everything b/c on the one hand so many organic searchers are searching while signed into a gmail acct. All results come into analytics as "not provided" or alternatively if people are searching via an Apple IOS6...results come in as "direct".

Being up there at #1 is very important, regardless of whether in the PAC or above the pac in organic.

the visualizations are interesting and valuable but I don't think they tell the entire story by a long shot.
the visualizations are interesting and valuable but I don't think they tell the entire story by a long shot.

Totally agree with you. I feel strongly there is no single concept, study or image that could tell the whole Google Local search story. It's far too complex. However I think every new analysis or angle even if skewed or not as scientific as we'd like can be helpful.

Really appreciate you weighing in on this Dave and like your analysis.
Regarding what Dave mentioned, earlier I tried to post a comment under the article with some questions about the methodology, but unfortunately there seem to be some overlaying "blocks" on their site, and adding a comment seems to be impossible...
To be frank, I'm a little skeptical of some of the results of some of the research connected to heat maps.

The visual data is always powerful.

For local businesses results are in clicks and contacts. Following the heat maps, what actions do users take?

Our own experiences are that we like sites that sit on the top of the serps. We like strong descriptive titles that are closely matched with user search terms, and we like as much dominance of those positions as possible. (who doesn't :D) Frankly we like to match all that with #1 in ppc.

Recently what struck me is seeing google take a site with historically strong position that was always above the PAC and had demonstrably stronger SEO than other smb's in its category....and then as of recently that smb's website now sits in the PAC, on the top for many search phrases. Sometimes it is in the #1 position among 7, sometimes its #1 position is emphasized with a pinned attention grabbing result, underneath that is an organic result or two and underneath that is the rest of the pac.

In this case Google moved this smb's website into the PAC. In this particular case its not a case of organic or PAC. Google recently removed that option. Its the PAC whether one likes it or not, and whether it grabs more eyeballs as part of the PAC or organic.
I have been looking around for this exact type of study for the past few months to no avail. Too bad there isn't more information on the methodology used. It's hard to put any stock in the results without answers to some of the concerns raised by Dave.

I realize this is just a small exploratory study, but how many participants were used? Was the sample randomly generated. How tech-savvy were the participants, and how often do they use Google to search for services? If the sample was large enough, were there any statistical tests to determine whether the results were significant? Did every participant see the exact same results set (if located in different regions)?

Dr. Pete from Moz did a great eye-tracking post in 2011. It would be great to have something like this updated to include local results and rich snippets. If anyone has the resources, this would make for a great white paper.

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