Google Local Carousel - OFFICIALLY Launched!


Linda Buquet

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Wowser! It's live or at least officially starting to roll out now. In my story yesterday I said I thought it would be launching soon, but that was fast!

Here is the official Google announcement:

From Google on Google+

Give it a go—type or say “mexican restaurants,” or try any similar search for restaurants, bars or hotels. Click on one of the places in the carousel to get more details on it, including its overall review-based score, address and photos. If you want to see more places, click the arrow at the right of the carousel. And you can zoom in on the map that appears below the carousel to restrict your search to only places in a specific area.

While some iPad and Nexus tablet users have seen this new look since December, we’re excited to expand to desktop. The interactive “carousel” is rolling out in English in the U.S.—we’ll add more features and languages over time.

Below are my other more detailed reports about the carousel:

Google Local Carousel AKA Knowledge Graph Makes Website Extra Click Away

Google Local Listings Carousel? Major Update Coming?

As noted in my previous post about this: One of the big issues I see is that clicking on the name does not take you to the web site, like it would have in the old display. It takes you to a Google search result for that business. So there is an extra click and extra page of results that could cause the customer to get distracted and surf off to a competitor.

Just wanted to quickly share the news. Off to see if I have it yet so I can explore.

If you have it please share anything noteworthy with the community!
 

Linda Buquet

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Jade just posted some great tips and more details at the Google forum.

Carousel local results in Google search (US only) Jade wrote:

Today, we’re announcing an interactive “carousel” of results on Google search for local dining, nightlife, hotels, and other attractions on desktop. This launch is English and US-only for now. The carousel has appeared since December in tablet searches in the US, and the desktop local search experience is now consistent.

To give it a try, search for something like “mexican restaurant.” Users can click on a specific place to view more details and scroll through more results by clicking on the arrows on the side.

How can I get my business to show up in the carousel?
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.

Why is this feature only available for some business verticals?

We’re committed to providing users a high quality search experience for every query. The carousel filtering experience is a good fit for some categories of local businesses. We will continue to experiment with different designs and interfaces to make sure that users get the information they’re looking for, fast.

I’d like to see this feature in more languages and countries, please!
We’ll work as fast as we can to roll out new features in as many places as possible, but have nothing to announce at this time.

My business is on the carousel, but I’d like to change the photo. How can I do that?
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.
 

Linda Buquet

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Anyone seeing it yet? I've been so busy posting about this and working on that new "big thing" hinted about in the big banner at top of the forum - that I have not even had time to try to pull a carousel.

Let us know if you can see it and where you are located!
 

Linda Buquet

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YAY! Got it.

I'd been checking Chrome because saw folks say they could see it there.

I don't have it on Chrome oddly, but do in FireFox, so off to explore. Back later.
 
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so Jade says:

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.

That's a bit troubling... there's no way they can algorithmically sort out image content/intent... what if someone posts a photo that the business owner doesn't want there, or isn't flattering to the venue (or heaven forbid, a photo of a bug on their table at a restaurant) - now the owner of the business is stuck with what the algo decides to put there?

not good...
 

Chris Alphen

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Hi Linda,

I've had it since early this morning.
Nice to have flexibility.
Even though most of my clients are SAB's I do have a sprinkling of clients in the affected cats.

I've been drilling down all morning just because I want to work in the carousel. Of course that means I'll have to get more into social.

Anyway, one glance is all you or a business owner needs to know something's not right. 3 reviews next to the guy with 268 or a page showing a map because there's no photo next to one with a picturesque venue.

That's for the ones that are in the carousel.

All the search results behind the click need to be fixed too.

Lot of work to be done.

Thanks Google
 

Linda Buquet

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so Jade says:

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.

That's a bit troubling... there's no way they can algorithmically sort out image content/intent... what if someone posts a photo that the business owner doesn't want there, or isn't flattering to the venue (or heaven forbid, a photo of a bug on their table at a restaurant) - now the owner of the business is stuck with what the algo decides to put there?

not good...
Greg from the very quick checking I just did it appears all the ones I've checked are using the cover or 1st photo from the Place page. I assume she said that somewhat generically giving the algo room in case she swaps in a different image. But I think usually it will be your 1st one.
 

Linda Buquet

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Haven't had time to analyze from a Local SEO perspective yet...

But as a consumer, shopping for restaurants for example - this pretty much rocks IMO!
 

Phil Rozek

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This sucks. You can't see any details about the business until you click, but once you do, you have to scroll down. I, too, am troubled by the fact that you can't control your own image. What an awful user-experience. Let's hope it stays confined to the touristy industries.
 

Jim Froling

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@Phil
The carousel isn't just a ride for tourists. Check out: "Guitar Lessons in Laguna Niguel"

BTW...you may notice that I have not "upgraded" to the new Maps. And don't intend to do so as long as I have a choice.
 

Linda Buquet

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"Guitar Lessons in Laguna Niguel" good find Jim!

I just took some comparison screen shots since I still have the old display in Chrome. Will post shortly to make a couple points.
 

Linda Buquet

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OK here's one quick comparison, since I still have both the old and new layout.

Los Angeles Chinese restaurants OLD display in Chrome




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Los Angeles Chinese restaurants NEW Carousel display in Firefox


So based on that and the limited testing I've done so far...

No algo change, just layout change. Exact same ranking order in the local listings as well as the organic listings.

One of the big differences, besides the obvious carousel layout at the top, is that all the organic listings get to move up higher on the page so more show above the fold, which should make the Yelps and YPs of the world happy.
 

Jo Shaer

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For once, I'm actually glad that Google hates the UK's Local businesses! Not thinking much of that at all :(
 
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First impression: Organic strikes back in a big way with the new display. Better get your citations in good shape because they own everything below the carousel.
 

Colan Nielsen

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I can't believe that Google would take that top of page real estate away from their bread and butter, AdWords.
 
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Linda -

We've had issues with clients who show random photos in their G+ page "photo strip" that were either uploaded by the public or by a past admin who's no longer there... can't get rid of them, can't change them out...

and if the "first" photo gets chosen for those guys, they'd be in trouble...

ALSO -

huge question - if you click a carousel listing, the SERP changes to a branded search... if you then clickthrough to the website, what's gonna show in GA? Your original non-branded query or the branded query you clicked on??? Could be a data nightmare...
 

Jim Froling

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@Colan
I agree that its hard to believe that Google will give up their Adwords real estate. If you scroll upwards for my previous post of the screenshot of Guitar Lessons in Laguna Niguel, you can see Adwords links below the carousel.

Why not in Linda's search of Chinese restaurants in LA? I lunno :D
 

Linda Buquet

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@Colan
I agree that its hard to believe that Google will give up their Adwords real estate. If you scroll upwards for my previous post of the screenshot of Guitar Lessons in Laguna Niguel, you can see Adwords links below the carousel.

Why not in Linda's search of Chinese restaurants in LA? I lunno :D
If I remember right there weren't any Adwords even with the old layout so LA Chinese Restaurants just don't do Adwords right now I guess.
 

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