Google Updated the Carousel in Local Search Results
For the first time since its release in 2013, Google has officially updated and changed the look of their “Carousel” feature in local search results. Not only did Google change the design of the Carousel, they reduced the amount of local businesses that show up in the “pack” as well. As you can see below, there are some big changes.
The Old Google Carousel
The previous Carousel was horizontal in shape with a black background. It would also show around ten businesses on average, depending on what you searched for.
The New Google Carousel
The current Carousel, now often referred to as the “Local Stack” or “Local Pack” amongst industry professionals, has a white background and blends in more with the rest of the search engine result page. It also dramatically reduced the amount of results shown, a “3-pack” in this instance. What do you think, is it an improvement?
Click-Through-Rate of the New Local Pack
A recent study done by Nifty Marketing showed the click-through-rate (CTR) results of the new local pack for several different industries. Below is an example if you searched for a sushi restaurant in Denver. (Click here to see result)
For this particular search, the local pack received nearly 75% of all clicks. That’s huge! However, search results for other industries were more varied. Others received 25%, with organic search and advertisements claiming the rest. So make sure you analyze what your industry’s local pack search results look like and optimize accordingly.
Pro Tip: To ensure the best outcome, make sure you’re diversifying your marketing budget across the different platforms that make up the search result for your industry. Dedicate a certain amount of time and money for local SEO, PPC, and social media.
The New Layout for Individual Business Listings
What happens after they click one of the local pack results? As you can see below, third-party information heavily influences the information shown for your business. In order to be successful with this new layout, you will need to optimize a lot more than your website. To have the best looking search engine result page (SERP) possible for your business, you will need to optimize your Google Plus Local Business page, claim and optimize third-party businesses listings, and stay active on social media.
Here’s the SERP segmented out below.
1. Search Phrase – Notice how it changes the original search keywords to the name of the business. This has actually been shown to influence what keywords show up in Google Analytics.
2. Business Information – The images, map, and review information comes directly from the business’s Google Plus page. It’s important to have a completed profile with high quality images and content about the company. While it is rare, Google reserves the right to show reviews from third-party websites as well.
3. Third-Party Reviews – Underneath, you will usually see different third-party review websites associated with that business show up as well. They are usually industry specific.
4. Official Website Result – The first organic result is usually reserved for the website of the business. This is where it’s important to optimize the title tags and content of your site so it looks nice on the search result page
5. Third-Party and Social Media Websites – The rest of the search results are mostly comprised of third-party review websites and social media profiles. This is where being on top of your reviews and reputation management is very important.
What To Do In 2015
Even though this new layout has dropped several businesses from being on the first page of Google, it has opened the door for many new ranking opportunities. Large sites like Urbanspoon, Yelp, and TripAdvisor have gained ground in search rankings so make sure to go out and optimize your profiles on all of these types of review websites. If your industry has their own unique large review websites, go out and optimize those too. Also, investing in pay-per-click ads, social media, and search engine marketing will improve your overall online success and minimize the impact of these types of updates in the future.
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