Sebastian Socha shared some interesting images of heat maps for a few different local search result pages. He uses Attention Wizzard for the purposes of the study. It is conducted on Google.de and all the keywords used are in German.
The local search results that he analyzes are the following:
1) [Finanzberater Berlin] (financial advisor Berlin)
The SERP includes 3 AdWords ads at the top, (at least) 8 at the sidebar, 2 organic web results (one of which has both ratings bar and a Plus Box associated with it) above the Google Places pack, and a 7-pack of Google Places results.
2) [Kosmetikstudio Frankfurt] (beauty salon Frankfurt)
This SERP is similar to the one above – 3 AdWords ads at the top, 6 at the sidebar, 1 organic web result above the pack, and 7 Google Places results. However, there are two major differences: the upper AdWords results have location extensions, and the web result doesn’t have any specific”items” associated with it.
3) [Optiker Frankfurt] (optician Frankfurt)
There are no paid results associated with this search. 2 organic web results above and (at least) 3 below the 7 Google Places results are the features of this SERP.
4) [Restaurant Kreuzberg] (I think it’s obvious what it means)
Not only there aren’t any AdWords results above the pack, but also there are no organic web results. Interestingly, one of the web results has the bullet snippets associated with it.
5) [Schloberg & Reich] (this is the name of a company)
This is a typical branded SERP. There are 2 sitelinks under the main result and 3 web results with which there are ratings snippets associated.
What do these heat maps tell us?
There are a few very notable trends:
– the map, and especially the part where the red pins are, is very attractive for the users
– the bold keywords also catch the attention easily
– users are interested in the “local” information – address, phone number
Some other things I noticed:
– AdWords results with location extension get more attention than the normal ads
– ratings snippets are not that important if there are many results on the SERP that have them; however, if it is only one result that has them, this result is a clear winner
– Google Places search results that have keywords in the title tag get more attention than these that have just the business name as a title tag
– it doesn’t matter that much if you rank A or G in Google Places
For the one-box branded search the trend is pretty obvious – pictures are the most prominent part of this SERP, followed by the geo-directions (address, transportation). However, these results might differ from business type to business type. In the example above the business is a beauty salon, so it is natural that people would be seeking for the address. If the business was a plumber, or electrician, it is very possible that the phone number would have been the most attractive part of the SERP.
What do these conclusions tell us about how to do local SEO?
– title tag of the landing page associated with the Google Places listing should include location words and keywords as close to the beginning as possible
– meta description of the landing page should also include location keywords
– you should not sweat too much over rankings in Google Places; as long as you are on page 1 that is pretty much enough
– if you really want to “beat” Google Places only with website SEO (if you do not have address in the area you are targeting for instance), make sure that you get ratings snippet, as well as local Plus Box (whoops, this link will go live tomorrow) associated with you web result
– if you are doing AdWords, targeting locally, location extension is a must; location keywords in the title and the text are also very important