Is a #1 Ranking All it's Cracked Up to Be? Local Search Click Study


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Is Ranking #1 All it's Cracked Up to Be?

We all love heat maps and click through rate studies. But ones that cover Local results are few and far between. So here is an interesting click study from Nathan Safran over at Blue Nile Research.

They did a fairly small study of click through rates to prove the point that listings with rich media like stars, author images or local results with images, can get a fair percentage of clicks, even if the listing is not ranking in the #1 spot.

Toward the bottom are the results of their local pack click study.

<a href="http://bluenileresearch.com/position1/">Search?s Position 1 is Not All It?s Cracked Up to Be</a>

?The top of the search results or bust? has long been the driving mentality for Marketers when it comes to search. Yet with the enormous growth of rich media in the search results?studies show up to 8 out of 10 high volume keywords now have rich media in their search results?it is time to challenge the singular focus on position 1.

Scenario 3: The Lion?s Share of Clicks Goes to the ?Three-Pack?

Our final scenario replicated a local search (?coffee near me?) with a three-pack result at the top of the search page. In this scenario, our goal was to test the degree to which position within the three-pack impacted CTR. In other words, how much does being in position 1 in the three-pack affect click-through versus position 2, versus position 3? To that end, the onlydifferences among the three scenarios tested were the position of each of the three results in the three-pack.

Head over to read the rest and check out the screenshots and stats.

BUT as you see they choose "coffee near me" for the query, which of course pulls up the original snack pack that has images.

So I wonder how a traditional 3 pack without images would fare?
I bet if #3 has review stars and #1 and 2 don't, #3 wins!


What do you think???
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DanLeibson

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Interesting, although since "near me" queries are highly mobile I would suspect that "Coffee Near Me" and "Toyota Dealer Costa Mesa" have very different interactions with a SERP.
 

Daniel Bauer

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Agreed, would love to see comparable data for mobile searches. I also would be interested in seeing that data compared with non-click interactions: how many people, in that scenario, would have just grabbed the phone number or address and called/visited the business without ever clicking?
 
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Good points all Dan and Daniel! A more comprehensive study would be great and that's what this company does, if someone want to commission them. ;)

But this test wasn't about local specifically. It was just about how media effects clicks. And local images in the snack pack was just one small part of the study. But still thought it might be of interest.
 

painperdu

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Interesting but I think the extra real estate that is afforded to rich-media listings has as much to do with higher CTR's as do the media itself.

Also, Google AdWords has basically already admitted to this when they made ad extensions a part of calculating an ads quality score. More information along with attention grabbing SERP real estate naturally increases CTR.
 

Conor Treacy

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Pretty nice little report. I think we always knew that the Local 3-Pack dominated the clicks, but to see that it's in the 85-90% range, it's a staggering percentage!

From what was showing on the report (for the coffee), it didn't appear that having a picture vs having a map made much of an impact to the users.

I often wonder how much of a difference the icon for "Directions" makes on a 3-Pack result. If there are two companies listed with Website & Directions, and one company with just Website, do they get the click since they appear to be the odd one out?


From the image above, I'd venture to say that the Middle item with the Stars is going to attract the eye, but between the #1 and #3 position, does the #3 take the second click since they're different?

Maybe I'll have to fork over some cash and see the results. ;)

 
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Yep I'd say #2 gets the eyeballs and clicks.

#3 gets a black eye GEO KW stuffing, but it likely would attract eyeballs from those cities.
 

Conor Treacy

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Yeah, the blinds companies (at least for our area) are very spammy listings, with what seems like every agent in a building having a different number registered as a different "business" listed in Google. :(
 

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