Google’s innovations in the SERPs have changed the face of the internet for a long time now. While it’s the bane or joy of most of those who keep up with this sort of thing, it certainly affects the billions using search engines across the world. It’s hard to know if a new feature will be short-lived or long-lasting. Well, Google has done it again with adding “Popular Times” on some searches to the Knowledge Graph and I think it’s going to stay.
Although its data basis is unknown (Google’s little question mark says “Based on historical visits to this place”), I can say that it has little or nothing to do with website traffic and more to do with your actual foot traffic. It took just a few minutes in the Google Analytics of local business to see that it site traffic data wasn’t a large contributing factor to the “Popular Times graph”. After all, the focus of most brick- and-mortar businesses are to get customers in the store.
No, it’s not time to quit optimizing content or getting customers to click on driving directions; having your web experience fully optimized in order to drive traffic and rankings is still the best bet. Oh and keep doing what you’re best at providing service and product better than the competitors. After all, business is about the bottom line.