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New research showing which of the Google Places gets the most clicks

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Not number 1? Don’t despair. There are things you can do.

Where you are in Google Places matters, as we would expect, but if you’re not on the top, there are things you can do to get your fair share of the clicks, thanks to this great study from “Mediative” that is revealed in their white paper called “Eye Tracking and Click Mapping Google Places.”

Their study involved 12 participants who came to Mediative’s eye-tracking research lab in Toronto, Canada and 90 online from whom Mediative tracked actual clicks.

The question they were asked was: “If you are in [city] looking for a tatoo artist. Where would you click next?” They repeated the test for 3 cities to compare different actions that might occur as a result of the different query results that would appear.

Now for the test

I’m showing the results here in one picture as opposed to the 9 they provide because for me it’s easier to make sense of the data and results when they are side by side. I’ve only included 2 studies instead of their 3 for brevity and space. Please refer to their white paper for more details of the study.

  1. Row 1 shows the two results for two different cities as they first appear.
  2. Row 2 shows where they clicked as indicated by the red dots.
  3. Row 3 shows the eye mapping and demonstrates where people spend their most time looking.

Note what stands out visually and what would capture your attention as a searcher. Think about where you would look and where you would click. Then look at the results.

Click on the image for a larger view.
google place heat map and click study

And the take-aways

1. The heat map showing where people spend time looking is the same as we see for web pages in general. This is called the “Golden Triangle.” Viewers start looking in the top left corner, scan to the right, go to the next listing, scan less to the right, then so on.

TAKEAWAY 1: As on your web page then, the listing at the top left will get the most eyeball time, and so that’s where you want to be – #1.

2. The second important takeaway is that there are other signals that can either trump that first place listing or at least capture attention away from it. In this case, that would be reviews. Notice that in the Winnepeg results the 3rd place listing got as much attention as the first. Both had a good showing of good reviews.

TAKEAWAY 2: Get as many good reviews as you can! And throw in an image while you are at it.

3. Third, viewers tended to look at the map and click there as well showing that location is important to them. That might indicate they are looking for directions or to confirm proximity to their current location.

TAKEAWAY 3: As they say, “Location, location, location.” As is true with all good business practices, where you are located does matter. So if you’re looking for an office or store rental, make sure it is conveniently located in close proximity to where many will be hoping to find a business of your type.

What this all means is this –

If your Google Place page is not at the top, and if it does not have good reviews or other social signals, as Mediative points out, you are pretty much ignored. This is especially true if other listings have great reviews that can act as magnets and pull eyeballs and clicks away from yours.

In a nutshell then, when optimizing your business Google Places, do everything the experts have been telling you all along to get yourself to the top:

  • Optimize your Google Place page
  • Acquire local citations
  • Actively recruit positive reviews

For details on how to do that, please return here to a soon-to-be-published ebook with all the best advice from all the best experts in the world. Until then, check out this slide deck full of Google Places optimization tips.


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Kathy (aka Kat) is one of the internet's original Digital Divas and freely shares her expertise in the fields of web design, SEO, Local SEO, social media marketing, content development, PPC, and conversion optimization to help businesses succeed online. Sadly, she's allergic to cats.

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