Local Search

10 Random People’s Reactions To Google Local Carousel

10 Random People’s Reactions To Google Local Carousel

Carousel Results in Local is the biggest change to Google’s local SERP’s since the introduction of map listings in organic search results.  I had no idea what to think about the changes myself and how searchers would react to such a big shift from the normal map pins. So, I decided to have 10 people from the age of 18-66 load the search result page for “Chicago restaurants” which now looks like the image below, and record their actions, computer screen, and face.

The Test

1. Open the link to the search results page on google
2. Look at the results
3. Chose the best result for the search phrase

Super easy.  I didn’t want to let details get in the way of people doing what they normal do on Google.


Some Interesting Results


  • -Only 2 out of the 10 people in the study clicked on one of the carousel results.
  • -4 out of 10 people clicked on Yelp (which was ranked 3rd organically).
  • -Some of the comments on noticing the carousel listings were: “ohhhh that’s cool.”, “I like the pictures!”, “What do the numbers means?”
  • -The 2 that clicked on carousel results mentioned the review count before clicking on the listings.
  • -3 people didn’t even notice/acknowledge the carousel results at all.


A Click Through Chart Per User

NameClicked Result
BarbraCarousel  (8th listing)
AmandaCarousel (3rd listing)


Comments After The Test Was Conducted About New Carousel Features

 Barbra – “I thought it was a good addition but gave it an okay as I would find it overwhelming to search through a hundred restaurants….I would like to hone down my results by searching by: type of food (seafood) distance from my location, price, and highest rated by reviews….”

Dan – “I did notice it, but I instinctively went to the results below. I feel like I’d need more prodding to use the black bar of results.”

Amanda – “i love it! once i figured out what it was…i’m a visual person so it gives you a lot of information with just a glance…i like it! ”

Craig – “The visual component almost makes you salivate. It’s a nice result compared to text only. It immediately made me think of the type of food I might want to check out, as opposed to just names.”

Aidan – “I didn’t even really notice it to tell you the truth. I would have to see it again”

Happy – “I would rather that search results are associated with a website like zagat that have a level of credibility and a name brand in rating restaurants. The carousel may have been populated via many ways; I am not sure what methodology has gone into populating it. If the carousel results had their source website name on it, i would have clicked on the results.”

Salman –  “Often times, a simple google search doesn’t provide a visual component to their web search. This carousel allows for quick viewing of a wide array of search results so that the viewer can find what they’re looking for in a more time-efficient manner. This way, fewer links need to be opened in order to find what the viewer is searching for, while at the same time, the viewer ends up absorbing even more media in that shorter amount of time. On the whole, I think that the carousel is a great upgrade. ”

Venita – “I noticed that a carousel of images had been added to the top of the page and that is very helpful. since I am a visual person and I love modern then the carousel will help me to eliminate the places that I would not like to visit. I LOVE the new layout.”

Carli – “It was slightly different and interesting, but I clearly went for the old school method of search results over the fancy new one. =)”

Paul – “It’s totally cool – but the only thing I’m suspicious about as a user is what’s driving the results — I don’t see any way to “fine tune” my search by cusine, price, etc”

Some of the More Interesting Videos of People Viewing Carousel Results

I recommend watching the videos below to get an idea of how people look at search results. Barbra’s video especially had some great feedback into the mind of an average non technical searcher.





P.S. – I wasn’t aware that the link to the search result was auto loaded so it took some in the study a few seconds to figure that out.

Mike Ramsey

Author Mike Ramsey

More posts by Mike Ramsey

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Thanks for the great study, Mike. It looks like Yelp was the big winner. This is not too surprising as it has consistently positioned itself as the go-to source for restaurant reviews while Google has been all over the place with their reviews. One tale-away is don’t ignore the directories that are important for your niche.

  • Avatarsarah b danks says:

    While it’s interesting to see these people’s reactions to THIS search, “Chicago restaurants” is pretty broad. If you switch to “Chicago seafood restaurants,” it’s much more intuitive.

    I guess if you don’t have a preference of what kind of restaurant, then you’re going to have to wade through a lot more data to get what you’re looking for — which, PS: Google can’t tell because you have entered a very generic search term 🙂

  • AvatarNico says:

    Super interesting…I’m from Germany, and it’s good to have a preview of what will happen with German Google Users when confronted with the new type of local results.

    Bad for the hotels and restaurants themselves: one extra click necessary to reach the specific homepage.

    Bad for Google+ local pages, because non of the testees clicked on a reviews link, which is the only link to the profile on Google+.

    Thank you!

  • AvatarWill Scott says:

    Wow Mike,

    This is a really cool methodology.

    It’s my perception that in the recent Penguin update “brands” are getting a lot more prominence so I’m not surprised with the Yelp and Zagat results.

    That said, Zagat being a Google property doesn’t hurt either.

  • AvatarPhil Rozek says:

    Mike, I love this. It’s way outside the box. Thanks for posting.

    I found it interesting that people (except for Venita) didn’t engage with the scroll arrow to the right of the carousel. Kinda confirms my suspicions: that it’s hard to notice, and that very few people will use it, because (like Barbara) they’re looking to narrow results, not get another 10 results to look at.

    Also wasn’t too surprised that people paid pretty much no attention to the “at a glance” snippets and Zagat scores in the carousel.

  • An absolutely fascinating look at how ‘regular folks’ are interpreting Google local results. Thanks for taking the time put this together Mike… I found it extremely interesting and helpful.

  • This is a really creative way to get some qualitative, focused research done. Love it. It will be interesting to see how long before you have to pay to play in the carousel. How long before all the middle spaces of the carousel are pay to play?

    They could give advertisers a higher quality score based on reviews, location, hours, and not just relevance to the keyword searched and click through rate.

  • AvatarBrian says:

    Nice study, any chance you want to do a similar test for hotels?

  • Good one Mike! Barbra’s video is so awesome! This post is so objective. What are your personal thoughts on this new display and whether is good for Google or the users or not. Do you expect it to change significantly? Is this the first of more major display changes that we don’t know about yet?

  • AvatarMatt Green says:

    Awesome work Nifty crew, and very timely. We just published some click research which I think compliments this nicely: http://www.ethicalseoconsulting.com/local-seo/local-carousel-people-click/

  • Nice post Mike. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with carousel in the future in other verticals/niches.

    I wonder if Google plans on doing any color testing for the bg color in the future to improve ctr and ux.



  • AvatarJohn Rodgers says:

    Awesome article.

    What leaves me asking more questions; Happy’s response about not knowing how/why the content was being populated, and Paul’s comment about fine tuning the search, which often leads to a business’ independent website and a non-uniform information hunt.

    Sarah B Dank’s comment above is also relevant, would be interesting to see the results for more specific search queries. OR, even ask the same group of users to search for the same thing – and have them use different keywords or phrases and see the results.

    Just some thoughts -thanks for the read.


  • Great Article Mike. Yelp seems to be the trusted source. Not sure how anybody can miss the carousel.

    Do you guys have an RSS feed?

  • AvatarDan Carter says:

    Great Article It’s my perception that in the recent Penguin update “brands” are getting a lot more prominence so I’m not surprised with the Yelp and Zagat results.