A carousel for local search results is the latest in a continual stream of updates Google is making to its results pages. We’ve come a long way from the page with 10 hyperlinks to an increasingly complex array of search results that shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Specifically in regard to local, Google continues to pack more information into results pages. Now, not only is carousel taking up real estate, but so are related facts, business hours, moving times and flight info. And Google is making these changes with the user in mind, which may be baffling to businesses.
To shed some light on these changes as they affect local businesses, Standing Dog Interactive has compiled an in-depth look at carousel and knowledge graph and reviews how they work with Google maps to serve up results pages jam-packed with relevant information.
Keeping Up With Google Carousel
Making its initial splash last June, the carousel displays local hotels or restaurants when terms like “Dallas hotels” or “Chinese food” are searched. Upon clicking any of these results, a new search is created that displays highly specific links to the particular establishment clicked on.
Initial studies show that the carousel obtains 48 percent of clicks when it appears in a search engine results page (SERP). This statistic can be alarming for business owners whose properties aren’t displayed in the carousel.
But never fear. Standing Dog’s analysis uncovers some clear-cut strategies that give establishments a great shot at appearing in the carousel.
Strong Correlation with Google Maps
Standing Dog analyzed a number of carousel results and noticed that, with small variation, they exactly mirrored the order of locations in Google maps search results.
This means that ranking factors related to Google maps can equally influence carousel results (like proximity to point searched, accuracy of listing info, citations, etc).
How Should My Local Strategy Change?
Nothing drastic has changed in regard to strategy because of Google carousel at the present time. This could change down the line since Google is constantly tweaking results for optimal user experience. But since carousel seems to be powered by Google maps, current strategy can continue as before.
It would be extremely helpful to measure carousel rankings moving forward, but sadly, most ranking measurement tools haven’t included carousel tracking in their tool kits. Standing Dog is currently talking with SEO tool vendors to see if/when carousel rankings can be tracked.
The Importance of Knowledge Graph
When a carousel result is clicked on, the knowledge graph listing is displayed prominently for the property. This knowledge graphic window is chock full of information such as room pricing, upcoming events and number of stars from Google reviews.
As if reviews and up-to-date property information weren’t important enough before, it’s now more so since the knowledge graph is so inviting to click on from the initial carousel display. And don’t forget those Google+ results either, since recent posts from the property also show up in snippet form in the knowledge graph result.
While Google continues to require more engagement from properties for them to appear in the SERPs, sustainable strategies that were effective before are still proving to drive the trust that Google is looking for online.