BrightLocal just released a new study on where people click on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for service area businesses and it’s chock full of good insights. Don’t have time to read the full study? No worries. We put together a list of key takeaways and actionable steps you should take to ensure your business gets all the clicks you deserve.

Note: This study compared click rates when Local Service Ads (LSAs) were and were not present, and evaluated SERPs for plumbers, locksmiths, house painters, garage door pros, and towing companies in San Francisco.

#1 Organic is still the leader in clicks.

With 50.8% of people clicking on organic search results when LSAs are absent and 43.9% still clicking on organic search results when LSAs are present, it’s time to stop saying SEO is dead and that the only way to win is to pay the reaper. Organic is still the popular girl at school.

Organic position #1 is the top most clicked SERP result overall, but as long as you’re on the first page, you shouldn’t worry. Only 3.60% of people said that position on page determined where they clicked on organic search results when LSAs were present vs. 8% when LSAs were absent.

Why should you care?

You need to be where people are looking, and people are looking (and clicking) in organic search results. An optimized, attractive, informative, and user-friendly website will help your business rank on the first page of organic SERPs. And given the importance of review ratings (which we’ll talk about in just a minute), you may want to consider adding review Schema markup to your site for a little extra click incentive.

#2 Nearly 1/3 of organic clicks are on directory sites.

According to the study, the number one reason people clicked on an organic search result was because it was a list of businesses (aka a directory). Interestingly enough, Yelp claimed the #1 organic spot in all 5 service business categories.

Why should you care?

If people are clicking on directories, they need to find your business on those platforms. And as much as we all hate Yelp, we shouldn’t ignore it because it’s getting a lot of clicks. As part of your SEO strategy, you should make sure your listings on directory sites are accurate. You may not have time to get incredibly detailed on every major directory, but at the very least, you should have your Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), and hours.

It’s interesting to note, however, that 6% of people clicked on an organic result because it wasn’t a directory (3.18% when LSAs were present). So once again, having an optimized website matters.

#3 Review rating and number of reviews were the leading determiners in who got the clicks in the local pack and in LSAs.

We all know that reviews matter, but this study confirmed that the review rating and number of reviews that a business had largely determined whether or not it got the click in the local pack (51%) and in LSAs (also 51%). The local pack is the list of businesses that shows up just below the map, and spots 1 and 2 are the most clicked SERP results after organic position #1.

Why should you care?

Potential customers are judging you in the SERPs and deciding whether or not to even consider your business based on what others are saying about you. No matter what type of business you have, you need to be regularly getting more reviews and better reviews.

A lot of business owners know they need more reviews but they’re either uncomfortable asking or inconsistent. Asking for reviews needs to be a regular part of your service process, but if you need some help, shoot us an email at reviewhelp@sparkmarketer.com. We have some tools that make the “ask” easy and effective.

Note: Make sure you’re still getting reviews on your Google My Business, even if you’re enrolled in Local Service Ads. Reviews from GMB count towards your LSA rating, but LSA reviews don’t count towards your GMB rating.

#4 PPC Top Ads & Local Service Ads are getting clicked, and with time, education on what it means to be “Google Guaranteed,” and familiarity, the number of clicks may increase.

When LSAs are present, LSAs and PPC top ads are collectively claiming 24.9% of clicks in SERPs. When LSAs are absent, PPC top ads are still getting 14.1% of clicks. While the #1 reason for clicks on LSAs is review rating, the #1 reason for clicks on PPC top ads is position on page. On mobile, numbers are presumed to be even higher, because people are even less willing to scroll down on a smaller screen.

Local search expert, Tom Waddington, points out that with the rise of voice search, “in four of the five categories in this study, the results from Google Assistant would be 100% paid.”

Why should you care?

Even if you have a fully optimized website, if you’re not using PPC or LSAs to grow your business, you’re going to miss out on some customers. If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider adding PPC to your strategy and integrating LSAs if they’re available in your area and vertical. You don’t have to blow your entire marketing budget on ads, but strategically integrating Google Ads campaigns and Local Service Ads can help you cover all the bases and grow your business faster.

Make sure you’re creating clear, attractive ads that people actually want to click. 40% of people click on an ad because of its content. Use the limited space you have wisely and think about what entices you to click. If your ad is unattractive, unprofessional, and doesn’t have a very clear call-to-action (including your phone number), it’s just taking up space.

The #1 top PPC ad is still getting more clicks than all of the LSAs and about 100x the clicks of bottom of the page PPC ads, so that’s really the spot you want if you’re using PPC as part of your strategy. Don’t waste your time on ads at the bottom of SERPs. No one’s scrolling that far down to see your ad, except maybe you. If you’d like to talk with a Google Ads expert about your business, reach out to Christian at christian@sparkmarketer.com.

Pretty interesting stuff, huh? We’re hoping BrightLocal will do a similar study on mobile, because we have a feeling the findings would be quite different. Stay tuned!