Google has released a new search engine results feature which is making a large impact on the way consumers find local businesses. This new type of result is called the Google Carousel and its prominent display located above paid search results is giving some marketers pause.
The Google Carousel is very much what it sounds like. It is an eye catching carousel of search results for a specific keyphrase. It focuses on local search results and is heavily integrated with Google Maps and Google Plus. The most common search queries that produce a carousel results page are those of local consumer based businesses. A Google search query of, “Hotels in New York” for example will return a SERP that has a carousel containing upwards of 20 different hotels in New York City. Each individual property in the carousel will have the business name, picture, address and numerous reviews from prior customers.
What happens after I click on a Google Carousel result?
Another major aspect of the SERP that has been altered as a result of the Google Carousel is the branded results page that appears after you click on a place featured in the carousel. By clicking on an image in the carousel, users will get refreshed search results which are based on a new search query of that specific brand. The new branded search result poses a threat to organic search engine marketers trying to optimize for geo-based key phrases. This is because once someone clicks on a brand located on the carousel and gets a refreshed search query they are extremely unlikely to return to their original search query. Instead, they are much more likely to navigate through the carousel to get branded result after branded result until they choose their desired selection. Essentially, one click on the carousel will greatly damage the chances of a click on your organic link, unless you are the business that was clicked on.
If you want to make the most out of your search engine marketing and stay ahead of your competitors, it is important to be featured in the Google Carousel for high volume search queries related to your business. While not being in the carousel can be potentially harmful to your businesses organic and paid traffic, being featured in the carousel can be very rewarding and beneficial.
Below are a few simple suggestions that can help your business perform well on the carousel.
1. Have Correct Business Information in Google Places
It is very important that you have your correct business information listed with Google Places. Keep in mind that Google cuts off the name at 27 characters and your address does not include the city state or zip code in the listing. If you have over 27 characters in your business name, consider shortening the beginning of the business name as it will read better in the carousel. If you don’t already, it is highly recommended that you get a Google Plus page for your business as it will drastically help customers coming from the carousel learn more about your business.
2. Cultivate Online Reviews
While it is unclear whether or not reviews are a direct ranking factor for the carousel, what is clear is the heavy emphasis the Google Carousel puts on reviews, making them bolded and very prevalent on each carousel selection. Getting more reviews can give your business a higher click through rate.
3. Put Your Best Photo Forward
The photo is a crucial part of the carousel and can make or break some businesses. An attractive carousel photo will yield a higher click through rate and will separate you from many of your competitors. Unfortunately, you cannot choose the photo that you want to put in the carousel as Google does that for you. Google will most likely select the first photo from your Google Plus page that is of high enough quality. This means you should make sure that all photos on your Google Plus page are of high quality and are images that you want representing your business on the carousel.
4. Use SEO Strategies to Rank Organically
Good old fashioned SEO strategies can help your businesses rankings in the carousel and also help your business if someone clicks on your carousel link. With an expected increase in branded searches as a result of the Google Carousel, it is vital that you have your SEO strategy in order. That way, when someone clicks on you carousel link and a new branded search appears you have a positive brand presence that drives multiple conversions.