Google officially rolled out its local carousal results to all U.S. users last week for select verticals like hotels and restaurants, and since then, marketers have been trying to figure out what makes it tick.
Two search agencies independently conducted experiments of their own to see where people click when presented with the new carousel in Google local results. While these tests were largely informal and consisting of a small sample size, they are still interesting to note.
Local U and Ethical SEO Consulting had a combined sample of 112 respondents in their separate experiments. Searchers were given a prompt search results page, and asked to go to the part of the page that was most relevant to them for that search.
Here’s what one of those search result options looked like to respondents for the query: "pizza in Denver":
What the Local Carousel Result Studies Found
Both studies showed the map and carousel results on the page were favorite areas for users to click in order to find what they were looking for.
The "pizza in Denver" results showed the map result received 32 percent of the clicks, followed by the first image in the carousel at 17 percent, and then the first organic result at 11 percent.
The other experiment used the query "Chicago restaurants" to generate a results page, and found 48 percent of the total clicks were on the carousel results:
When asked why the searchers clicked where they did within the carousel, the Chicago restaurants respondents mentioned reviews as a determining factor.
What Does It Mean?
People are clicking on the carousel to find what they need. But more studies will need to be conducted to truly understand how the new carousel results in Google are impacting overall click-through rate on the results page.
Both Ethical SEO consulting and Local U and commented on the challenges and opportunities of the new look and feel of Google local results.
"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," Local U said in its post.
Ethical SEO consulting also noted that reviews were going to continue to be important, and added, "having a long tail keyword site content strategy is also going to be an important factor in showing up in as many carousels, and map results as possible. The organic results also cannot be discounted."