Aug 7, 2013
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You can also download a copy of the Mediative report on the meditative website. The report only had 53 participants, but it still gives us an idea of what users are doing. The study compares 2005 with 2014. What is obvious is that search patterns are changing as Google adds more elements to results.

Traffic From Google SERPs Has Changed: Heat Maps Study

Mediative recently published the results of their latest eye-tracking study where they zeroed in on how users interact with Google search results pages (SERPs) in an effort to identify real opportunities for SEO, PPC and branding especially as it relates to click-through rates. What they found is enlightening and corresponds to what I?m seeing with some of my clients.

Some of you remember the 2005 study known as the Golden Triangle heat map displaying how users interacted with Google SERPs, but people don?t interact with SERPs in the same way today.
Google has added more search elements that impact how users view and click:

Knowledge Graph ? answers to fact based searches
Carousel ? a strip of images at the top along with ratings
Local Listings ? grouped together from 2 to 7 listings
Organic and sponsored listings ? traditional Google search listings


Apr 16, 2014
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Interesting that 36% of people click on the first organic result for a "local" search, rather than the 2.8% that click on the first map result. I'd like to see more local phrases analyzed before making any conclusions, but based on this one you'd have a higher CTR if you paid & got that top ad spot (4.9%)... Now we don't know what the #'s are for the 7.7% of people that clicked on the map either, so that could change the cost/benefit too..

Thanks for sharing!
Aug 7, 2013
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Interesting that 36% of people click on the first organic result for a "local" search, rather than the 2.8% that click on the first map result.

Yeh, a while back I started giving people my phone and asked them to search for something. I was surprised how many people scrolled passed the maps and were more likely to click on an Organic. We have had a handful of clients pop out of maps, but had a strong organic position. Looking at Analytics we couldn't see a single change in traffic.

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Thanks for sharing Justin! Good one!

Ya I've mentioned a few times before that I've had people complain in the G forum when they went from #1 organic above the pack to A in maps.

They were upset they were A and wanted out of the pack because they said when they got in the pack their click and call volume dropped way off. One guy seemed pretty savvy and had the numbers.

But still that study surprises me. I can see if it showed 2 organic above the pack that the top one would get 36%, but way down below the pack?

I think that just goes to show that people are creatures of habit and are used to seeing regular organic for everything else, so when they look at local they just gravitate toward what they are used to. Pure organic.
Aug 7, 2013
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Its crossed my brain a few times that Google might end up dropping that Pack. Maybe move it over to the right side of the page.


Nov 19, 2012
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We've been working on local small business visibility since 2003. That is years before Maps and Pacs. In that time google has changed visibility innumerable times.

Additionally following Mike's piece on PAC visibility abt his jeweler client, following Pigeon, wherein he showed some radii, at the end of the comment period I interacted with a commentator abt pros and cons of PAC versus Organic high rankings.

Also, for many years we have done top ranked adwords.

Now in sum, we've had top ranked organic above the PAC, plus top ranked PAC and top ranked adwords for various phrases. We get MOST traffic by far when we have top ranked Organic over the PAC, even w/ us having top ranked PAC.

BUT!!! The commentator in Mike's piece with an entirely different type of local SMB and vertical was doing better w/ top ranked PAC.

AHA!! Different strokes for different folks and MORE IMPORTANTLY different click throughs for different types of smb's. and very different types of buying patterns.

It is VERY DIFFICULT to assess where clicks are coming through; Are they off the PAC or are they off Organic???

For more involved services we like Organic above the PAC. For quick buying we do like the PAC...but we still like Organic.

I'd test and test and test over some years to get a feel for it.

Finally 53 views does not do justice to the full spectrum of business types and variations. It takes far more research and information. Its interesting and helpful, but think through why people are searching and how and why they might buy.
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