A Heat Map Click Study For Google’s Local Carousel Results
Carrie Hill

Last week I published a post where we recorded 10 random people’s reaction to Google Local Carousel results. I really found some great takeaways by looking at qualitative instead of quantitative behavior of searchers. After the study though, I wondered what the Click Through Rates of Carousel might be. In our study of 10 we found only 2 people clicked on carousel results and 4 people clicked on Yelp’s organic listings.

As I was sharing my findings with a few friends Matthew Hunt from Small Business Online Coach said he would like to conduct a heatmap test on the same search phrase to see what we could find. He set up the following study:

He asked 83 searchers to “Click on the part of this google search results page that most interests you.”

Here are the results:

Original Search Image

Overall Clicks

Heat Map

Some Takeaways

40 out of 83 or 48% of the total clicks were on carousel results.

12 out of 83 or 14.5% of the total click were on the map.

Interesting enough, the 3rd carousel result had 9 Clicks and the 8th Carousel result had 6 Clicks. These two results were also the same two results that were clicked on in my study of 10 searchers.

In my study both searchers mentioned the amount of reviews as a determining factor for clicking. Both images also have very full pictures of well prepared food. Alinea Restaurant has by far the most reviews and the best overall Zagat score but as a few people mentioned in my study “I am not exactly sure with the score means”. Also Alinea has a very poor picture of a gray building exterior to compete against much better pictures elsewhere.

One challenge with images is that Google is not letting you choose what picture to display on the front page. They choose it for you from the images that are uploaded. They want to see pictures of the place. I am not sure if they means they would rather that than pictures of the food (clearly for restaurants this would be a better option).

Ethical SEO Consulting did a similar study on the search phrase Pizza Delivery in Denver. While we have very different outcomes on which carousel results were being clicked on it was interesting to see that their map had 32.4% of total clicks and the map on our search had 14% but the carousel search result on their study got 30% of the clicks and we had 48%.

I’m very interesting to see other takeaways from this in the comments. Anything standing out to you?

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Carrie comes to Sterling Sky with SEO experience that dates back to 2005! She has a passion for figuring out what works for each and every client and picking apart the problems that arise in our “it depends” relationship with Google. She has also been organizing and nurturing the LocalU Conference Series since 2017 – through to today – across a hectic few years of pandemic and back into in-person conferences again.