Google 7-Pack Heatmaps & User Behavior Study

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.

Google 7-Pack Heatmaps

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Google 7-Pack Heatmaps & User Behavior Study by

8 thoughts on “Google 7-Pack Heatmaps & User Behavior Study”

  1. Thanks, Mike. A friendly reminder. Its all about the top of the page.

    The top of the 7 pac dominates. The top of ppc dominates in its realm…..and the top of the organic rankings also dominates its realm

    What is interesting from that survey is how strongly the top of the 7 pac grabbed eyeballs from PPC and organic

    It makes me think that organo-local rankings with a top ranked business/ a combo organic/local description with picture/ title/snippet/ and references from the places page with reviews ……is a huge eyecatching winner.

    I guess we’ll see over time.

    In the two weeks since this new presentation has emerged I have some businesses that seem to bear out what the heat map suggests:

    Both winners and losers.

    Gotta get to the TOP. and if there…gotta stay there.

  2. No surprise to me. The map image draws the eye, in a peripheral fashion, over to the text along side it. A few years back when made for Adsence (MFA) websites were all the rage for small indy webmasters the leading ad click through optimization technique was to place an image right beside your text ad block. Google later made changes to their TOS to curb the practice. People want to, expect to, read text and click links on the web. An image just draws the eye, as an attention getter and helps to direct it to the text it wants, like a traffic sign showing you the exit you want.

    The heat map above does not surprise me at all. It becomes the anchor that focuses eyeballs on the text links beside it. So much so that it takes attention away from PPC, as Dave mentioned above.

    Will be interesting to see a heat map of the new blended version. The map icons next to place listings, inside an organic listing, will help draw the eye, but in a different fashion as there are now multiples on the page. Probably spreads things out more, plus give the PPC ads the exposure Goog’s offshore tax haven bank accounts needed.

  3. Mike,
    I love looking at heat maps! Like Steve, this one does not surprise me and this is why:

    UNLESS I am on a mobile phone in a car and am trying to find where something is located right now, I am not really doing a search for a map. Chances are, my local search is to find out business details like phone numbers, reviews, etc …. not to zone in, right at first, on their physical location. I look at the text first, click into a Place Page or website, and then, if I’m actually going someplace, I’ll look at the map…but it is really not my top priority.

    It would be interesting to see a contrasted MOBILE heat map to see if it’s different, because that’s where I’d be looking for a map first, as my husband careens towards the wrong freeway exit to get to a library. “No, no, the MAP says it’s over there.”


  4. Oh yeah, forgot to mention. The new map placement, over on sidebar above PPC ads. How much attention do you think that draws to that top ad?


  5. Mike,
    I might not understand your statement completely, but I would not expect a lot of hits on the map because IMHO it provides extremely useful information already about where the businesses are located approximatively, which at this point of the search is enough information.
    The focus is on finding out what the businesses are about so the click go to the places page or website.

    Obviously higher ranked businesses get more clicks, but do you have any more information about cases where the A and B businesses have no or a few reviews and the E or G business have a critical mass , implying high credibility or at least more information about the business?

    How would a heat-map look like then?
    Thank you for your always insightful articles and comments!!

  6. @Uwe

    The heat map shows not just clicks but more importantly eye direction so the heat map reinforces the idea that folks don’t spend that much time looking at the Map but at the listings. And as a reader pointed out, probably more so now.

    At this point I have no hard facts about relative click thrus of the positions given the many variables that can come into play.

  7. Mike,
    I love this stuff, and hope someone is working on same with the new layout!
    Regarding “the idea that folks don’t spend that much time looking at the Map,” I think it is hard to compare scans of text to scans of images. Check out this post from Gord Hotchkiss from a few years ago: Eye Tracking on Universal and Personalized Search. In it, he states, “We never see a lot of heat on the image, because we don’t have to spend a lot of time to understand it.” I wonder if the same is true for the map image?

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