What is a Google Carousel?
Google officially launched the local Carousel feature back in June 2013 as an expansion to their already existing Knowledge Graph. The purpose of the Carousel feature is to give local searchers an interactive display of results so they can quickly make an informed decision based on reviews, pictures, prices, and numerous other factors. Though it mostly affects searches related to local bars, restaurants, and hotels, it is expected to expand into other local industries as time goes on. With this new feature, as with any other new search feature, it is important for local businesses to optimize their listing so they don’t miss out on any opportunities to gain new customers.
How Does the Local Google Carousel Work?
Let’s use local restaurants as an example. Do a quick Google search for “Boulder restaurants” (or click the link) to see the Google Carousel in action.
Here you can see the local Carousel prominently displayed at the top of the results page. It usually displays the results in order of reviews, but you can filter the results by clicking the interactive box in the top right-hand corner (see above image). In this example, you can filter the Carousel results based on price, customer reviews, and type of cuisine. Local hotel and other local industry searches have their own variations of this feature.
What Happens When You Click a Listing?
Something interesting happens when you click one of the listings, something that has really frustrated internet marketers trying to provide accurate Analytics reports for organic keyword searches. It changes the keyword search term you previously entered to the name of the business listing you clicked on in the Carousel (see below).
A Common Issue With Carousel Images & How to Fix
If your a local business owner, or very curious and astute searcher, you’ll notice that sometimes the image displayed in the local Carousel isn’t always the same as the Google Plus profile image of that particular business (see below).
How does this happen? Google hasn’t commented on the subject as of yet so most internet marketers think it’s just a bug. This is unfortunate since there are some Carousel listing pictures that are far from flattering. Luckily, there is a solution if your business happens to be one of those listings with an image you’re not too fond of.
It appears that the Google Carousel picture comes from the Photos section of a business’s Google Plus profile. In most cases, it is the first image uploaded to a business Google Plus profile that shows up in the Carousel. If your business is one of those who haven’t uploaded any images yet, now is the time to go in and upload the image you wish to show up. Again, just remember to upload the image you wish to show up first. If your business has already uploaded photos to your business profile, unfortunately, as of now, you will have to go in and delete them, then re-upload them. Hopefully, this is only short-term glitch that Google is currently trying to fix, but until then, it’s best to go in and fix it now, then re-evaluate the situation after they fix it.
Suggestions for Google:
- Add a checkbox for users to select after they upload an image to choose if they wish to use this as their Carousel image.
- and/or let the user select if they wish to use their profile picture as their Carousel and/or Knowledge Graph picture.
How to Optimize Your Google Local Carousel Listing
Local SEO can be quite technical sometimes, but not to worry, I’ve listed some quick tips that should be relatively easy for you to do for your business listing.
Quick Optimization Tips:
- If you haven’t already, create a Local Google Plus page for your business and connect it to your Local Places account (if applicable).
- Fill out as much information as possible. This includes a proper profile image, selecting the proper business category, hours of operation, etc.
- Upload images to your profile in the Photos section, just remember to upload the one you want to show up in the Local Carousel first! For now at least.
- Fill out the About section as best as possible.
- Add your website link.
- And last but not least, link to your new profile from your website.
These steps should give you a great foundation for your local business listing in Google search results. After you’ve completed these steps and Google has crawled your page, search for your business and see how it looks. If you like how it looks, then you’re done. If not, make any necessary adjustments.
If you need any help with your listing, don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re happy to help.
Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.
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