Google Places – how people use it

I’m trying to take time to do more research and I thought I’d write up a quick synopsis of the research when it’s interesting enough to share. Today I read the following: Eye Tracking and Click Mapping Google Places.  Published by Meditative Research, they tracked click-through rates on Google Places.

Google Places ( is like Google’s version of the local Yellow Pages – although listings are free. (You can buy ads here too.) Google Places feeds into Google searches – especially when your search term includes geographic term in the search such as [st paul pizza].

The research indicates that searchers have a strong preference for the top ranking result (shocker) – but they also show preference for listings that have images and reviews. Getting to be the top site can be very difficult – but adding images to your listing is very easy. Getting reviews can be easy too.

If you have the time it’s fun to look at the results – they use eye tracking to see what draws attention and it’s fun to see the patterns. In short, there is an F-pattern or triangle where searchers read across the top line, maybe read half of the next line, reading less and less of each line as they go done the page. However the pattern changes when there are reviews, ads or other anomalies in the page. They also show how searchers track the map – but from what I could tell mostly people start in the middle and then glance at the flags.

If you have a business, it’s worth the effort to complete your Google Places profile and encourage reviews from happy customers. If you have some local businesses you like, you can help them out with a review.

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