SEO Update-Google’s Carousel Local Search Results

Wish you could get your business on the first page of Google’s search results?  Well that might be getting a little easier.

Google has changed their local search result layout again and this time the change is significant.  Last week, Google rolled out their Carousel look and feel to all users last week (previously just tested in beta).  Whether you are a search engine optimization veteran or a business owner just trying to understand what SEO is, this is going to be a very big improvement.

Google's Carousel Local Search Result


Tablet users should already be familiar with Carousel, it’s been in place on those devices since December 2012 and now you will start seeing local SEO carousel results for restaurants and hotel related searches.  I've personally seen this search result also show up for local searches for:

  • "Bars Gainesville, Fl"
  • "Nightlife Gainesville, Fl"
  • "grocery stores Gainesville, Fl"


What's the SEO Impact for YOUR Business?

There is no doubt that the carousel search results format will be rolled out to all markets eventually.  Early test results are showing that it’s a big winner with 48% of searchers clicking on the carousel results vs. the maps or the actual listings.

Our agency watches local search very closely for our clients: it can literally make or break local businesses who depend on search traffic.  Here are our thoughts on how this could impact YOUR business:

  1. It reduces the importance of being ranked in the top 3 - if you’ve been struggling to get listed in the top 3  this will help you as you will now have more exposure “above the fold” on search results - probably in the 16-20 range.

  2. Your images have to SELL - the thumbnail picture selected for the Carousel is going to be very important!  Make sure your Google local business listing has only GREAT images that sells your value.

  3. Local SEO is EASIER - If you are not focusing on Local SEO yet, you should make it a HIGH priority.  These results changes will eventually roll out to all verticals and it’s now easier to get on page 1 (18 results vs. 3 or 7)

  4. Only Local Businesses Get In:  sorry yellow pages, trip advisor and, it looks like Carousel is going to outrank you everytime (unlike Google Places results).


  5. Reviews Matter - as you can see from the screenshots, the number of reviews will overlay the thumbnail images and will have an impact on the number of clicks your image receives

To illustrate this point, I would like to share a screenshot of for a search for "Seafood Restaurants in Port Canaveral".

Baja Tavern and Eats is a new restaurant in Port Canaveral facing stiff competition.  Many of their competitors have been in business for decades so competing for new customers searching for seafood on Google is paramount to success.  As you can see, Carousel results, in partnership with well optimized local results featuring authorship imagery of the owner gives them more visibility for these searches.

Google Carousel: In Summary

I see this as a big win for local businesses who don’t have a big budget for SEO in 2013-2014.  And, as this change gets rolled out to more verticals, it will have the same impact for other local businesses such as lawyers, accountants, dentists, HVAC companies etc.

Are you a restaurant owner or a hotel manager here in North Florida?  I’d love to hear from you regarding how you feel this will impact your business!

Got questions about SEO, your website or just marketing in general?  Schedule a free consult!