Google Local Search Results “Carousel” Display was rolled out last week for desktop users. Some iPad and Nexus tablet users have seen this new look since December, but now it will significantly impact a much wider audience and a larger number of local businesses. Here is an example search for Italian restaurants Madison, WI; you will see results similar to these.
Google says “searches for local dining, nightlife, hotels, and other attractions” will display carousel results. Try it for yourself to see what displays in your area.
The “carousel” is interactive, so we all know that those businesses, restaurants in this case, with the most attractive photo or logo are very likely to be clicked on first.
“While we can’t guarantee inclusion in search results, we can say that the carousel will show results from listings in Google Maps using categories. Just as in regular ranking, Google’s algorithms take into account many factors to select the places and results that are most relevant to the user. This algorithm based approach is also used to decide which businesses are in the carousel.”
“The Google business listing is one of several sources we use for the photos in the carousel, and making sure high-quality images are posted to it will help improve your photo. However, the image selection, like the actual ranking of businesses, is primarily decided by algorithms and so we can’t guarantee complete control over the image.”
How do you get your business photo there? It all starts with your Google Places Listing, which we have written about previously. If you currently have a Google Places page (where you can upload photos, your logo, business hours, etc.), Google wants you to “upgrade” to a local Google+ page (some of you may have already done that). There are some advantages including the ability to understand customer feedback and respond to Google+ Local reviews.
In an upcoming post, I’ll write more about the somewhat confusing two types of Google Places pages, help you understand the differences and the actions you can take to maximize your visibility in local searches.