LeeAnn Prescott at Hitwise reports: Traffic to Google Maps increased by 26% from January to February 2007. It appears that this increase was due to an increase in upstream traffic from Google, which occurred on February 7, according to this daily clickstream chart shown here. Did anyone notice a change in how Google drives traffic to Google Maps around this time?
This jump in traffic to Google Maps shown on the chart occurred one week after it was reported that Google upgraded the Local Onebox results on the main search results page.
This jump is more dramatic when you plot just Google Map’s traffic increase shown by Hitwise:
My sense is that the internal traffic boost to Maps is a result of the OneBox change. Why there should be a week lag in the effect is not clear.
*Were there other internal changes by Google in that timeframe?
*Did the change rollout to different servers over that period, hitting larger markets last?
*Is the lag a reflection of user behavior changing over that week?
*Is it an artifact of the measurement process or some coding change at Google that would make the increase more visible?
LeeAnn also asked: How do these smaller UGC-focused review sites compare against the bigger players in local search? Yahoo! Local and Google Maps, which includes local content, received more than 10X the market share of visits of Insider Pages in February 2007.
It points out that, at least on the Internet (as opposed to the mobile search), Local search is Google’s and Yahoo game to loose. Given their control of the search mindshare, they can easily change their approach to capture more market share. It is hard to imagine all of the elements that would be required for this to dramatically change.