Google Carousel – How to Hop Onboard!

July 1, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                         return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Carousel – a feature that gives an awesome advantage to getting found among competitors in local search – has been rolled out to desktops in the U.S.  Are you ready to take a ride?  Here’s what you need to know:

What IS Google Carousel?

Originally a feature for tablets, Google’s Carousel activates on desktops when users effect searches for local businesses.  It is a series of thumbnail pictures placed horizontally across the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in a filmstrip-type format.  The photos are of businesses that meet the inputted search criteria.  They contain additional information as well:  addresses, number of Google reviews, and sometimes price ranges for goods/services.  The “filmstrip” may be advanced by clicking an arrow at its right end.

Google carousel

Clicking on one of the thumbnail photos brings up more detailed information on the business portrayed there:  additional photos and location details, contact info, hours of operation, website URLs, Google reviews, more links and other information come into view at the top of the SERP page, right under the thumbnail strip.

Google Carousel expanded view

How do we get onboard?

Google’s Carousel helps companies that can’t make the coveted first few spots on the regular vertical result listings to be visible right at the top of the SERPs, which is an obvious benefit.  It allows them to be seen in an eye catching way, with pertinent details right there for the taking.  From where does Google get all this information about the businesses?  It pulls the details from those companies’ Google Plus profiles and local listings – a critical reason to fully optimize and use those Google Plus profiles, as well as provide eye-catching pictures and complete details for local listings.

Since Google applies search algorithms when selecting the companies to showcase in its Carousel, it makes sense to provide the platform with as much visual and textual information as possible.  This includes cross listings on other directory sites such as Yelp, as well as the number of Google followers and reviewers companies have.  The more they show, the better their chances are of winning one of those coveted spots.

One post script: with this initial desktop rollout, Google Carousel deploys for local searches of restaurants, bars and hotels.  But the feature will soon expand to other industries.  So get your company’s Google Plus profile and local listing fully filled out and optimized.  You need to be ready for when the Carousel includes local search for your business niche!

Are you using Google Plus profiles for your business?  How complete is the information you supplied for them and for your local listings?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

Google logo with carousels for Os