A fascinating eye-tracking study was released by SEOMoz today that is worth paying attention to. The eye-tracking research shows how eyes moved through Google search results and posted several “heat maps” of the results. These results included Google Places and Google map data that is currently being “blended” into the search results by Google. The conclusions Blizzard draws for hotel and lodging websites are not new:
- How you look when you do rank is very important. A lower ranking with a great looking search results can really deliver.
- Because so many lodging related searches are “local searches”, your Google Places becomes increasing important because Google uses Google Places data to “enhance” a simple search result with red map icons and review info.
This is something we spoke about a few months ago when we got excited about how Google Places was giving individual hotel websites a big boost over Expedia and TripAdvisor in Google’s own search results. The bottom line is that lodging companies should work to improve the visual appeal of their search results. This will encourage the consumer to actually look and see your listing when he or she searches. Practically speaking, this means working to improve your presence in Google Places.
I encourage you to visit the SEOMoz post to look at more, but here is an example: