Now that the local search industry has decided what to call the newly replaced local carousel results  (Local Stack has a heavy lead) I thought it was high time we ran some tests through Usability Hub.

First Study: “Salt Lake City Hotel”

Question Asked:

Imagine you need to book a hotel in Salt Lake City. You go to google and search for “Salt Lake City Hotel” and see the following results. Given this search result what would you click next?

New Pack Click Test SLC • Test Results ⋅ UsabilityHub

Total Clicks: 100
PPC: 22%
Local Stack: 25%
Organic: 53%

Things I Find Interesting: 

1. We are to the age of 100% above the fold ads in some industries. I think we can expect that this will be the future for most industries in due time.

2. Even though organic listings were below the fold they still pulled a majority of clicks.

3. Every Hotel in the Local Stack has paid booking ads on this search result.

4. The display image on the local stack matters. Big time.

Second Study: “Denver Sushi Restaurants”

Question asked:

Imagine you are in the mood for some Sushi while in Denver. You Google “Denver Sushi Restaurants” and see the following search results. What would you click?


Total Clicks: 100
PPC: 0% (There were no ads)
Local: 73%
Organic: 27%

Things I Find Interesting:

1. How little ads there were on this query.

2. That the local stack claimed such a high percentage of clicks without ads.

3. Yelp outperformed Urbanspoon with a lower position.

4. No one sorted by Rating, Price, or Hours.

More Studies

Here is a previous study I was a part of on the local carousel

Also, Here are a couple studies I conducted on non local stacks (traditional map packs) over the summer.

Search Phrase: Burley Lawyer  

This study is on a listing that has organic results above the map pack.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 12.57.53 PM

and the same search on mobile.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 12.58.11 PM


This data is by no means a conclusive click study for all local stacks. In contrast, this shows how diverse each search query can be based on ads, images, intent, etc. If anything I hope this shows you that you should do you own testing on the serps that you care about and that this can be done very easily. The biggest takeaway for me from this (and the previous click studies I have done) is that local is not everything, PPC, is not everything, and Organic is not everything. The combination and importance given to each is important and can create a great local search marketing strategy. Those who only focus on one of the areas are those who find themselves eventually without traffic and without options.

If you enjoyed this then you should check out the upcoming joint conference with Moz and LocalU called LocalUP

Mike Ramsey

Author Mike Ramsey

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • AvatarCasey says:

    Thanks for sharing this great info Mike! The preference for Organic is really interesting. Time to run more tests!

    For the record the best sushi restaurant in Denver is Sushi Den.

    • Thanks for the advice! I find the organic pull extremely interesting and might help explain why the local algorithm continues to gravitate towards traditional organic factors.

  • AvatarGreg says:

    Good info and always a challenge with SEM and trying to explain the importance of diversifying marketing plans to clients. Thanks for sharing.

    • The more data you have the better chance you create to change their minds! Good luck.

  • Great info. I think one of the takeaways is that the general public really has a comfort in clicking organic listings and see local and ads as a last resort.

    • I really do think a wide study on the effectiveness of local vs organic would be awesome. I also wonder how many call right from the google search result after viewing a phone number and if local clicks convert better. So many things to test.

  • Really cool research to see! Thanks for sharing. Keep running those tests!!!

  • AvatarTyler says:

    This kind of data is so refreshing to find. Thanks for giving out some original research. Definitely going to give UsabilityHub a try. I hadn’t heard of it before and this kind of data is critical!