How to Optimize for Carousel – Google’s New Local Search


Last Updated on April 8, 2016

As a quite spectacular change in the way local results appear, the new Carousel has added further dynamism into local search queries and completely replaced the old  local/7-Pack/maps type of results we were familiar with.

Google is well-known for consistently improving search engine functionality, thus, the new local carousel results didn’t come as a great surprise.

While this new feature is quite efficient for the individual browsing the Internet, webmasters need to know how they can optimize their website to further increase their chances of being found in Carousel results.

So, let us take a brief look at some of the main features of Carousel and how you can gain better exposure with this novel search function.

What is new with local carousel?

Simply stated, Carousel is literally a carousel; that is, a rotary function that will allow users to scroll through a number of visually-oriented results on the top of the page.

The visual, scrolling interactive display that Carousel offers on top of a local SERP will be able to present up to twenty different results at any given time.

The information presented

While there will still be a map on the local search results page (that enables users to actually navigate to the old maps listings) along with organic results, the carousel function will provide users with interactive images of local search results.

The local results will not only contain static information but also the user reviews, score, and in the case of a product or service, average costs and other relevant information.

For example, the restaurants listed in carousel search results are presented with information regarding their user rating, price and type of cuisine. The user can also refine the search results of his query by any of these attributes.

Carousel restaurants results

Another major change is that once these pictures are clicked on, they will not direct the user directly to the business’s website, but initiate a new, branded local search query.

Search queries touched by Carousel

Right now, this feature is only available for US English search queries and only for some business verticals. The type of search queries that trigger carousel results are based around service-oriented sectors, such as local dining, nightlife, hotels, and other attractions.

Simply stated, highly user-oriented products and services are those which will tend to be included in Carousel search results. However, this is temporary as more features will roll out in the future, as well as the geographical area of users benefiting from these features.

How to Optimize for Carousel Listings

Naturally, the final question will revolve around how a business can optimise their exposure in regards to Google Carousel and how to track carousel ranking results.

Although it seems that the algorithm used to determine carousel rankings is basically the same one used for maps results, there are three major factors that have higher correlations with carousel rankings:

  1. One of the key factors given extreme importance is the reviews of a certain business. Positive reviews will directly correlate with a higher carousel ranking.

Correlation between reviews and carousel rankings

This is critical for service-oriented businesses such as hotels and restaurants, as user-generated reviews seem to be taking up a significant amount of prevalence.

  1. The second critical factor is the physical location of the business in relevance to the city it’s queried from. This can be interpreted as Google carousel giving more importance to companies that are close to the target city (within 2 miles is thought to be the criterion). So, this theoretically signifies that the closer a business is to a city, the higher the possible ranking on carousel.

It is therefore recommended that businesses should instead promote nearby landmarks and venues, as opposed to the city itself. This will increase the chances of users landing upon the relevant carousel link.

  1. Another key component to optimize carousel search results is for a business to not only encourage organic reviews but to also include pricing and services they offer. This is quite important because keywords will trigger the carousel to be displayed. Some examples of these words are:
  • Accommodations
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Brunch
  • Entertainment
  • Courses
  • Things to do

Incorporating this information into your Google+ local business page and landing page will obviously help you be seen in searches that yield Carousel listings.

As more search queries are transitioning to carousel local results, we can expect even more emphasis to be placed upon the analysis and development of specific optimization techniques from Google.

Tags: carousel function google local search webmasters

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