There is no doubt that many of you have already seen the new 'Google Carousel' pop up in your recent search results and most of you are probably wondering what it's all about.
The Google Local Carousel is Google's latest product designed to bring consumer's the most relevant local search results possible. Since 43% of Google search queries are from people looking for local results, it's no wonder why Google is making some changes to address this statistic.
The Carousel is a great tool for finding all sorts of real places in the real world. Let's take a look at it together:
If you search for "San Francisco Hotel" on Google you will see the following results page:
You may have seen something similar in your own search results. If not, feel free to try searching "San Francisco Hotel" right now to get a feel for the Carousel.
As you may have discovered, clicking on a specific Carousel result does not take you to the property's website as many people would assume, but rather customizes the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) to reflect a search for that specific property. This can be beneficial to the user because it gives you access to news articles, Google+ profiles, Yelp pages, and a number of other useful information related to the property that may not be available on its actual site.
Let's take a closer look at the first result on the Carousel for "San Francisco Hotel". Keep in mind that when I say "first", I am simply referring to the result on the far left. In this case, that would be The Fairmont San Francisco.
One of the great things about the Carousel is that the top 9 – 20 properties (depending on the user's screen size) will now show up in what is traditionally thought of as the "Top Spot" on the page so companies no longer have to worry so much about that "Top Spot". Here is what the Carousel shows for The Fairmont San Francisco:
As you can see, each Carousel result includes a picture of the property, the property name, property star rating, the street address, and the number of reviews the company has on their Google+ page.
Google seems to be making a huge push towards the importance of customer reviews on Google+ pages, so it's fair to assume that the number of reviews and the quality of ratings on those reviews are having a significant impact on a company's placement within the Carousel.
As with all Google's products, the Google Local Carousel is a work in progress and it will be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few months. Keep an eye on your SERP's to see what changes Google will implement next!Contributed by Austin Harthun, Internet Marketing Strategist - www.milestoneinternet.com