On June 18th, Google officially rolled out their new “interactive “carousel” of local results,” Google Local Carousel, to all United States users in English only.

The carousel has been in use on tablets since December 2012, however this roll out, or ride if you will, is now bringing desktop availability to Google searchers.

Google Local Carousel Layout and Verticals

As an agency that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO) under our master umbrella of integrated marketing, we specialize specifically in localized New Jersey SEO. As a result, we’re naturally very interested to see how Google’s Carousel will evolve over time. But, for now, let’s talk about what we know about the local search carousel from Google thus far.

Horizontal Layout. Let’s start with a visual (shall we?), just as Google is starting it’s localized SERPs with the Google Local Carousel now:

As one can see, this new Google functionality will show horizontally at the top of the page when submitting a localized search query in specific verticals (i.e. “restaurants in asbury park nj”)—more on verticals in a bit. In the horizontal carousel, each panel highlights the following:

  • High quality photo
  • Total review score (for restaurants)
  • Total review count
  • Venue name
  • Pricing summary and type of food (for restaurants) OR location address (for other local businesses)

There are approximately 10 panels showing when viewing the carousel on a standard MacBook Pro screen, complete with a browse-more arrow atop the right-most listing in the carousel.

When you click on one of the listings in the Google Carousel, you are directed to a SERP for that particular venue, not to the venue’s website as you might expect. This SERP has the usual listings you’d expect to find on the page for the venue’s name, such as listings for the main website, the venue’s Facebook page, review sites the venue is listed in, media hits highlighting the venue, etc.

Additionally, on the right side of the page, one will see the venue’s Google+ Local listing snapshot. Here’s an example of what I just described, for one of my favorite restaurants in Asbury Park NJ (Stella Marina):

When you click on the panel a second time, you get directed back to your original SERP. In this case mine was “restaurants in asbury park nj,” should you wish to try the process out from the start.

Local Search Verticals. As one might expect, at first the Google Local Carousel is only featuring limited verticals. However, the vertical types will expand over time as experimenting is conducted. According to query testing that Autorevo has done, a good number of verticals are already being represented as per the fantastic list of Google Local Carousel verticals they included in a recent post.

Verticals such as restaurants, bars, wedding venues, art galleries, colleges, candy stores, hotels and strip clubs are included on the list, amongst many others. The horizontal carousel of results will feature thumbnails, ratings and Google+ review numbers.

Google Carousel SEO Takeaway for Local Businesses

Very simply, local businesses need to get their Google+ Local business listing in order! For local businesses who may not rank high on the page for local searches, having a presence in the very prominently located carousel of results could be an opportunity to get new-found exposure.

However, something to keep in mind is that there is no guarantee that one’s business will be chosen to ride the carousel due to how Google’s algorithm works in semi-mysterious ways, as per usual.

And, even if you do catch a ride on the carousel you should know that Google will still have a say in terms of the image that will be featured for your listing. Google suggests using high quality images on Google+ Local business listings, so ensuring that your listing is chock full of images of that nature will ensure that a great image will be chosen on your behalf.

Aside from the fact that it has a fun name, what do you think about the new Google Local Carousel? Share your thoughts here in a comment, on our Facebook page or Tweet at me directly!

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Sources:

Official announcement: https://plus.google.com/+google/posts/KpsbyvHUotN

Other resources:

 

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