A 2019 Google Local Carousel Clicks Case Study
Internet users who aren't familiar with SEO might not realize what the Google carousel is. When a search comes up with images and links above the top of the search results, which you can scroll to the side, it's called the carousel. The search engine just recently, as in this summer, released the carousel for Google Local search results. So if customers want to know what's close when they search for a "bar," they'll see photos. However, marketers and SEO gurus are not scrambling to figure out just how the carousel works.
Google Local and the Carousel
Of course, this means good things for local SEO. If you can get your store or restaurant in the carousel, you'll be highlighted like never before. It's not wonder that marketers are trying to figure out how to use it to their advantage just like they did with Google Places and Google MYB (My Business). Now that marketers understand how to leverage information shared by their Google Business, they've taken the time to investigate the Google Local carousel.
Two particular companies signed on over 100 users to perform test searches and get those users to click on the most relevant results for them. As you'd expect, users paid particular attention to the maps and carousels because they presented information in a visual way. One reason that users might prefer these to text results is the ability to see more information at a glance. The carousel shows reviews and suggested price in addition to location, for some businesses, or types of cuisine for restaurants.
Similar information shows up when you hover over the map, while clicking a tack or photo on the carousel brings up detailed information directly on the search result page. This information comes from Google Places listings. Contact information, directions, link to reviews and the ability to write a new review are immediately available.
It seems that users found this information helpful because about one-third of the test subjects clicked on the map. 17 percent of users headed to the first entry in the carousel rotation, while 11 percent clicked on the first non-paid search result. As it stands, searchers are inclined to stick to the first results whether they're text or images. In a similar search, about half of the users clicked on the carousel to view data from Google Places listings versus other results on the page. Many of the searchers remarked that the highlighted review and ratings for businesses encouraged them to click on the image in the carousel.
Improvements Made to Google Local
However, the carousel is still in its infancy. While it can certainly benefit local SEO, marketers and website owners have expressed frustration at being unable to choose which photos appear in the carousel. It would be nice to choose from specific photos rather than the images that appear, which can include uploads from Google users, photos from your business's Google MYB page, Google business photos or street view from Google Maps when not photos are available. Google will show photos, map and street view when possible.
It's likely that business owners will encourage Google users to write more (positive) reviews in Google My Business on the social network because the carousel shows ratings so prominently. In fact, the prominence of reviews might encourage some business owners to pay more attention to their companies on Google properties than they did before.
In addition to this, marketers will have to focus on long-tail keywords to get the most out of their local SEO efforts. This will enable you to appear in as many carousels as possible. For example, a pizza restaurant might show up in the listings for an Italian eatery or a bar if it also serves cocktails. This strategy has the potential to reach far more consumers than simply posting to your Google My Business if you do it right.
For more information on Google Local Carousel or local business rankings contact Quantm Media. We at At Quantm Media strive to bring trust and transparency to the SEO process because we know the power that local organic search results can have in bringing tangible rewards to businesses of all sizes, in all industries.