Last week, Google started to switch out its local Carousel results for a new set of mobilish-type pack results that appear to rely heavily on its local Knowledge Panels, so let’s call it a Knowledge Pack, or “K-Pack”, for the purposes of this post.
In his seminal post Some Thoughts On The New Pak Results From Google, Professor Blumenthal mused:
“I would love to hear what happens to web traffic for the directory type sites that seemed to be doing well when shown below the Carousel. Clearly this was prime space for TripAdvisor, Yelp etc and this can not have been good for their traffic. In unpublished user research that I did, a number of users would flat out ignore the carousel and move right to a branded website like TA or Yelp. I doubt that behavior persists with this display.”
What the Professor wants, the Professor gets.
While I don’t have access to either Yelp’s or Trip Advisor’s analytics, I do have access to some pretenders to the local throne. Here is the Google traffic to the “geo-category pages” (e.g. “Merkins in Olean, NY”) for a national local directory site focused on one of the verticals that is now displaying the K-Pack:
U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic
Traffic was down about 6% on the 12th and has almost fully recovered.
I am not seeing these results in California much but I do get them often for New York searches so I looked at the traffic for these different regions and you can see that New York traffic has been somewhat more impacted.
U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic – New York Region
Traffic was down about 11% on the 12th, but recovered to being down only about 3% over the weekend.
U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic – California Region
While traffic was down about 8% on the 12th, it quickly recovered on the 13th.
Of course this is just one site’s data over a few days, but this pattern is similar to Pigeon’s in that Google does not appear to be trying to royally screw local directories with a new local SERP. It has plenty of other ways to do that after all.
3 Response Comments
I find the new results much more helpful than the carousel. I never understood why Google rewarded directories, YP in particular. Yelp at least has useful info. Why would I want to do a search for say, Pizza, and then have to click another link to find a page filled with ads on YP to find what Google should have provided.
Jeff, the data suggests that the Carousel did not really affect traffic to the directories and it looks like this update is no different.
For my very unscientific research on pizza has very different results than what I saw last month. We have a couple of clients that are pizza joints so I check that regularly.