Google Local Carousel AKA Knowledge Graph Makes Website Extra Click Away


Linda Buquet

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Back in May I reported on the new Google Local Carousel display layout that was being tested and had been spotted in the wild.

More people are starting to see this new display, so I feel it's likely getting close to being rolled out.

Last week I was talking with Greg Gifford on Twitter, who was seeing Carousel results for more and more types of queries.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>hey local peeps, check this out! <a href="https://twitter.com/CatalystLocal">@CatalystLocal</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/mblumenthal">@mblumenthal</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/yodledave">@yodledave</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/niftymarketing">@niftymarketing</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/localseoguide">@localseoguide</a> <a href="http://t.co/fgkeZAWQsN">pic.twitter.com/fgkeZAWQsN</a></p>— Greg Gifford (@GregGifford) <a href="https://twitter.com/GregGifford/statuses/345270505978331136">June 13, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Here is a link to the image above.


Greg did a detailed post Friday I wanted to share with you. One of the questions we've had is when this rolls out, will it mainly be for restaurant and lodging keywords. Greg lists a variety of other types of keywords that triggered this new display.

But an even more important point Greg makes is the fact that with this new display there is NO LINK TO THE WEB SITE. The link takes you to a Google search result for that business, not direct to their website. See below.


New Layout for Local Searches in Google

Here’s what you don’t get with the new layout:

You can’t click directly to the venue’s website
You can’t click directly to the venue’s Google+ page
No URL is displayed
No phone number is displayed
No address is displayed

Clicking on a carousel listing doesn’t do what you’d expect… When you click a venue, the SERP is changed to show results for a search for the venue name. A second click returns the results to your original search.

Clicking on the review score or review count produces the same result, which will be incredibly confusing for most users. Most people know that if they click the review count in the map pack that they’ll be taken to the reviews for the business. Now they’ll just see the search results change.

This also means that Google is forcing extra clicks to get to information that used to be a single click away. Want to check out the company’s website? You have to click the carousel result, then click the top organic result (which will be the company site, after the SERP changes). Want to see the address or phone number for a venue? You’ve got to click the carousel result, then look down below the first organic listing.
You need to click the link above to see all the screenshots and read the whole thing. It's a long post with important info, so head over to read it.

The click going to Google search instead of directly to the website should be a concern. Key listing info like address and phone that used to be right on page one is also now a click away. This is a concern. Once you make that extra click back to the search results there is increased risk the potential new customer will get distracted by something else on the page and drift away before you get the click or call.

I do like the display and think it gives all the front page listings more equal play.

What do you think?
 

Linda Buquet

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I was a little late with this story. Below are a couple others that picked it up.

Mike focused mainly on the type of businesses triggering this new display.
Google Local Carousel Display Showing More Frequently, In More Categories

Search Engine Land similarly covered the variety of business categories featured: Google Knowledge Graph Carousel Sightings Becoming More Frequent Within A Wider Variety Of Searches

Mark Traphagen has a discussion going on Google+ too: New Layout For Local Search Results

I still think that extra click which goes back to Google instead of the site is an important thing to watch. Hopefully by the time this rolls out the link will be a direct link. But the visual presentation is an exciting change and it will be interesting to see if this rolls out for all local results or only certain industries.
 

Jim Froling

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I think this is FUBAR!

Google is simply losing it where local search is concerned. The carousel lineup is but one example. A basic fundamental of Web Marketing 101 is the consumer must be presented the info they are looking for within one click or the vast majority will bounce. For locals that info is the NAP. (Note the highlighting of Phone). Now they don't get that? How's that for a "user experience"? Say "Ba-Bye"!

What about SABs and verification of their G+ pages? More FUBAR. First, they roll G+ out then, "oh by the way, if you are a service area business" you can be penalized for merging and verifying your listing. Why? Because Google states that they do not currently support SABs on the G+ platform. That was MONTHS ago, and they still haven't figured this out.

I am confident that there are some really smart people at work for Google. How about sending a few of them over to work on the local search platform? Because what is happening these past couple of months is just stupid! Or just FUBAR.
 
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The only thought running through my head is that possibly Google is beginning to think that one click accessibility is untenable to maintain with all of the different user searches and intents that they are observing. Perhaps they are thinking that by adding an extra click they are giving users a chance to refine their searches to a specific business name or type of business in crowded markets. Perhaps a second order search refinement beyond long tail search terms?

Beyond that what else could Google be gaining by the extra click, which presumably may or may not go away?

Is there any potential extra referrer data or advantage for businesses by directing users to a search by business name?
 

Linda Buquet

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... with all of the different user searches and intents that they are observing. Perhaps they are thinking that by adding an extra click they are giving users a chance to refine their searches to a specific business name or type of business...
I would assume if someone clicks a business name, their intent is to go to that business site. The intent seems clear to me. See Joe's Pizza. Click Joe's Pizza that must be the one I want to go to.

But you raise good points Daniel and I get what you are saying - wondering what motive or extra data Google could be trying to get from this move...

However I think it supports the anti-trust complaints about Google sending consumers to their own Google pages instead of to the web site. AND it confuse or distract the consumer from going to Joe's Pizza which was the result he was trying to get to in the 1st place!

I also think it's one more set of impressions for all the competitors that will show up in Adwords ads on that second search page and one more chance to get an Adwords click.
 

Jim Froling

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I first noticed the "carousel lineup" last month while reporting for a client, "Pat Hurley Guitar Lessons of South Orange County". Then, in some communities and keywords the "carousel" appeared. In others, the traditional "listing" (A-?).

Today, slightly different results. In some instances, the Carousel appeared where the Listing did before and vice versa. But for most keywords & locations, same as last month.

I then pulled up his Places Analytics page thinking I would automatically be redirected to his G+ page and new Insights. No, just same ol' page.

So I opened another tab, logged into his G+ page, and Voila! Insights!

Then I noticed that the numbers between Insights and Analytics are different. Analytics reports 680 Impressions/6 Actions. Insights reports 731 Impressions/7 Actions over the same time period. Hmmm. Ahh, but now there are drop downs available under both "Views" and "Actions". The 731 Impressions were "All Views". Of those, the drop down shows 54 "Profile Views" and 677 "Local search views" which is only three off from Analytics' 680 total Impressions.

As for the Insights report itself, gone are the "top search queries" data as well as where driving directions came from, both valuable data points (assuming they were ever really true). Also, it will be a hassle reporting to clients on each of the types of Actions and Views. But such is the price of progress.
 

Jim Froling

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Correction to post above...
Search Queries and Source of Driving Directions is alive and well. They are now on the "Overview" of the new Dashboard and below the fold so I missed it initially.

Sorry, for whatever reason I can't grab a screenshot :mad:
 

Chris Alphen

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I must be wearing a different pair of (Google) glasses. The carousel is a gamechanger for local businesses, especially those that can drive clicks via images. Of course, the entire scenario, from visibility in the carousel to managing content in search results after the hoped for click, is too big for those folks to handle. They need you and me now more than ever.

Google knows the behavior of users better than anyone. They also know that mobile users are doing local search at double the rate of desktop. So, whats worse, an extra click or the need to scroll? Or does a mobile user want to do a new search so she can get into the content stream of that salon?

Google has eliminated ranking in local. Brilliant!

To me, this glass is more than half full. Search- see an inviting image - click - click again to read reviews or to visit the website or find a deal. Nothing hard there.

A company that gets their image clicked and then loses the user just needs to do a better job. That;s where you and I come in.
 

Chris Alphen

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Now that I've seen your post from May again Linda, it registers. I think I must have had some type of psycho-block because it was such a radical departure.

When I realized Google took ranking out of the equation in the new maps a few weeks ago it started to sink in that this is a great idea.

I'm not really selling rank anyway, I'd rather sell results.

It looks like the max is 10 images and then 10 more on the scroll - is that right?

There are lots of categories without a full carousel translating into tons of clients for members of this forum.

What's not to like?
 

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