November 9, 2010
While Google has shifted the typical Places layout from the 7-Pack to the blended organo-local results, these 7-Pack heatmaps and research from ionadas local still hold a lot of value. This snippet is of particular interest:
And our most surprising finding certainly still applies. The conventional wisdom has been that the map itself should be one of the greatest draws on the page. Our research found that the map actually receives very little attention. Most people hardly notice its presence at all.
December 2, 2009
Last week I created a heatmap of the main Google search results with the Local Listing Ads in place. I wanted to compare the results to a heatmap of the new UI with the Local Listing ads. Once again I used AttentionWizard which claims a 75% correlation to human interaction:
New Google UI with Local Listing Ads (Click to view larger):
For easy comparison here is the heatmap with the current UI and the Local Listing ads:
Things certainly move in different directions and changing what gets looked at initially and subsequently with the local listings and the first ads seeming to be the most affected.
November 20, 2009
Like all in the industry, I am curious about how a user might view and respond to the new display that Google is presenting when the Local Listing Ads are included. Between the Adwords, new Local Listing Ads & the 7 Pack organic results have been pushed very far down the page and user behavior is obviously impacted.
Not having a budget for this project I used one of the new algo generated online heatmap products, AttentionWizard to see what the results looked like. According to their own description there is a 75% correlation between this type of heatmap and a real heatmap. So what you see should be viewed with a few grains of salt. That being said, it is interesting. Click the image to view it larger.
What do you think?
Here is a screen shot of the original search for comparison purposes:
February 7, 2009
Google has released some results from their eye tracking studies at the Official Google Blog. The results confirm the value of having your listing show up in the Universal Local Results.
From the entry:
Based on eye-tracking studies, we know that people tend to scan the search results in order. They start from the first result and continue down the list until they find a result they consider helpful and click it — or until they decide to refine their query. The heatmap below shows the activity of 34 usability study participants scanning a typical Google results page. The darker the pattern, the more time they spent looking at that part of the page. This pattern suggests that the order in which Google returned the results was successful; most users found what they were looking for among the first two results and they never needed to go further down the page.
When designing the user interface for Universal Search, the team wanted to incorporate thumbnail images to better represent certain kinds of results. For example, in the [how to tie a tie] example above, we have added thumbnails for Image and Video results. However, we were concerned that the thumbnail images might be distracting and disrupt the well-established order of result evaluation.
We ran a series of eye-tracking studies where we compared how users scan the search results pages with and without thumbnail images. Our studies showed that the thumbnails did not strongly affect the order of scanning the results and seemed to make it easier for the participants to find the result they wanted.
Google is confirming that the Universal results do not disrupt the typical scanning pattern of users and that even with thumbnails (and obviously other Universal results), users were able to find what they wanted at the top of the page.
August 25, 2008
Urbanspoon’s iPhone application is a fun, engaging app that uses the features of the iPhone and location awareness to create a unique local discovery experience.
They are now showing a heatmap (thanks to High Earth Orbit) showing where the shakes have been taking place for the last 24 hours:
According to Urbanspoon:
300,000 iPhones have downloaded the application
1,000 shakes a minute at peak
20 shakes per iPhone
10 days so far
January 8, 2007
From the Marketing Sherpa report excerpt: a heatmap…revealing how actual consumersâ€™ eyes view listings. As you may be aware, the red blob is where most searchers looked directly; as colors change, the level of attention goes down. The â€œXâ€ indicates where searchers clicked, and the red horizontal bar shows how far down folks scrolled to view listings.
User behavior upon viewing a search results page has always fascinated me although I have never attempted to actually test this behavior or track the physiology behind it. The folks at Marketing Sherpa annually do that and the results are both instructive and beautiful.
Among their key findings: … is the attention to which search users pay what we call the â€œbullet pointsâ€ within top listings… these eyetracking results indicate you canâ€™t afford to wait for a time when Google stops changing the One Box (if indeed they ever stop changing.)… In addition, as our past eyetracking tests (also included in the appendix of this Guide) have
- Thereâ€™s a â€œred triangleâ€ of attention in the upper-left corner, beyond which eyes donâ€™t
December 4, 2009
In the third week of November, readers sent me screen shots of a new Google Adwords Local Display Type that included a Blue Map Pin & address. Readers continued to ask about the test as it showed up in their markets so I asked Frederick Vallaeys, a Product Evangelist for Google AdWords, for more information about the test. Here is what he said:
Here’s what we’re doing… For a small percentage of traffic, location extensions (and legacy LBAs) that appear as top ads or top right-hand side ads will be part of an experiment wherein:
An advertiser’s business name, address, and phone number will appear with his or her ad
Ads will appear with a numbered blue pin alongside them.
Ads will be indicated with the same numbered blue pin on the map.
There is no opt in or out of this experiment at this time. If you want to be eligible to participate in the experiment, you should set up location extensions in your account. If you do not want your ads to take part in the experiment, you can pause your location extensions ads. Keep in mind that this experiment only affects a small percentage of traffic, so you shouldn’t see any major change in your statistics.
Hope that answers all your questions.
Is it possible that this test relates to the recently ended Local Listing Ad tests and is an attempt to create a more unified presentation of the ad results?
October 14, 2008
Steve Espinosa has some interesting preliminary research on the relative click thru rates of a #1 listing in the Local 10-Pack and a simultaneous #1 listing in organic. The organic listing showed 1.6x the click thru of the the Local 10 Pack listing. As it is preliminary research and only looked at click thru not call in or other measures of action, it is an important piece of research but doesn’t speak to ultimate customer action.
According to TMP’s Local Search Usage Study : Following online local searches, consumers most often contact a business over the telephone (39%), visit the business in-person (32%) or contact the business online (12%).
If one works out the combined math of the two studies (a not very reliable number I assure you), in the end the top local ranking would still provide more client contacts either via phone or in person than the organic ranking.
At the end of the day, Steve’s research can not be viewed as a reason to not focus on local but rather as a call to action on the organic side. I think he would agree that, in the excitement around local, you can’t forget organic’s power and that in an ideal world a business would use every tool available to them. However, many times, due to the nature of a business, a business may not be able to legitimately play in the Local space and their only recourse is to optimize their website for local phrases.
Another interesting outcome of Steve’s initial research was “the fact is that the majority of the users who got to the site via the natural link had resolution above 1024×768 and the majority of users who visited via the Onebox result had resoultion of 1024×768 or under.”
As Steve pointed out, this could be do the greater real estate visible to those with larger screens and thus greater visibility of organic listings above the fold. It could also, however, be due to the differences in font size with which Google represents the results. Steve has also done some interesting research on the value of visual authority and in this case the user might be attracted to the greater font size of the organic listing and wandered away from the smaller type faces presented in the 10-Pack. I have seen some recent heatmaps that seem to indicate that more users are moving further down the page when presented with a Local 10-Pack.
Great area for further research! If anyone has the heatmap info I would love to see it or if anyone is doing the research I would love to hear about it. Your thoughts? Does anyone have a recent heatmap?
March 16, 2007
Here are some recent announcements that have not been covered widely that I found of interest:
NavTeq goes 3-D
Summize: Enhancing Search With Heatmaps
Maps as art and politics (nothing to do with local search per se but interesting none the less)
January 23, 2007
I have written a number of times about the OneBox:
-Eyetracking Heatmap: How Searchers View the Google One Box
-The Google â€œOneboxâ€ on general search phrases
The OneBox, in its many forms is very important as the primary interface that Google provides to local search and thus deserves attention. Bil Slawski has just published a summary of Google’s OneBox patent at Search Engine Journal as well as listed other OneBox references. As Bill points out the OneBox is Google’s method of allowing vertical search to works its way into the main search engine results page.