iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘Local Search’ Category

Google Local Carousel: An Interactive Means to Finding Local Restaurants, Entertainment & Attractions in Google Local Search

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Earlier this morning, Google publicly announced the release of Google’s local carousel feature in English to desktops within the United States. Until today, the Google local carousel has only been available to some Nexus and iPad tablet users. Having been initially introduced back in December, 2012, we think it is safe to say the feedback for the local carousel was positive enough for Google to want to roll out such a significant design change to their search results. However, it does seem Google is still only taking baby steps, as Google’s carousel is only being displayed for specific types of local businesses.

Baby Google baboon

What is Google Carousel?

Google carousel is an interactive scrolling bar displayed at the top of some of Google’s local search results, introduced to increase the user experience and accuracy of searches while searching for popular local companies. In Google’s official plus post on carousel, they provide a quick run-down of the features you will currently encounter while using the Google local carousel. The most noticeable feature is that the carousel displays a large amount of businesses within a smaller surface area than the traditional 7-pack or blended search results. The number of local businesses it displays must vary based on screen size, as we were able to see 15 businesses on the first tab of the slide. In clicking the directional arrow located at the far right of the listings, Google displayed an additional five listings relevant to our targeted search. And in clicking on one of the new local business listings, Google automatically performed a search based on [company name] + [company city], which then brought up search results and the knowledge graph relevant to searched company and city.

Clicking on Dave & Buster’s while doing a search for Arcades in Irvine, for example, revealed the following information:

  • A main photograph chosen by that business to represent their business.
  • A clickable map which could be used for further refining your search, or simply to browse the area.
  • A button for getting directions to the business in your search, and another for writing a review.
  • Contact details, which included just the address and phone number.
  • A dollar sign ($) guide, with one through four $’s to indicate the prices to expect at that business.
  • The hours for the day with a link to see all hours.
  • A link to their menu located at Allmenus.com.
  • An overall review score of their business using the Zagat rating system.
  • A numbered link to their reviews listed within their Google Plus profile, with the number being their total number of Google reviews.
  • Links to more reviews on their local profiles at sites like yahoo.com, insiderpages.com, judysbook.com, and urbanspoon.com.
  • A short list of other popular and relevant local business names linking to their Google local listings.

Below is a screenshot, highlighting the Google carousel in Google’s search results. Click the image to view the live listing.

Update, 6/20/2013: Please note the below linked image may not show you the exact listing you see in the image, due to either caching issues or personalized search. If you’re interested in remedying this, you can do a private (or incognito) search, and can also change the area you search from by clicking on the Search tools tab in the search page’s top navigation.

Google local carousel example for Dave & Buster's Irvine

Will Google Carousel Display Plumbing, HVAC & Other Contractor Companies?

Simply put, no. As of today, it does not appear it will affect you in the slightest, unless of course you want a quick and easy way to find local restaurants, attractions, or entertainment. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this eventually roll out to all local businesses though, as Google is keen on always providing the best possible user experience, and this already seems like a far cry from the way they used to display these types of search results. But as the Google carousel is still in its infancy, we are certain we will be seeing even more features introduced in the future.

iMarket Solutions always does its best to not only stay on top of game changing search engine changes, but to also make sure our clients are informed and prepared for what is to come. If you have any questions regarding the Google local carousel and how it could affect your local business, or want help with optimizing your contractor company’s Google local listing, feel free to reach out to us at (800) 727-3920.

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How Much Money Do You Make From Yelp?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

As a business owner serving a specific geographic area, you should have a listing on Yelp.com. Once that listing is claimed and verified by you or your SEO team here at iMarket Solutions, you have access to several tools in the back end of the site. Yelp announced a new tool available as of Monday March 25th to help business owners even more!

New Revenue Estimation Tool for Local Businesses

You know that being on Yelp is important and that reviews influence potential customers to pick up the phone and call you for service. What may be hard to figure out, though, is how much revenue you may be generating from your Yelp presence.

Now this is no longer an issue – Yelp released a “Revenue Estimation” tool that will not only show you how much revenue Yelp estimates you have gained from your listing there, but it compares it to the national average from a recent survey on revenue from Yelp listings.

If you need help with checking out any of the data in your Yelp account, feel free to contact us for assistance!

To read Mashable’s post about this new tool, click here.

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Serve your customers off site? Time to hide your address in Google Places!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Google has stated that for businesses that service their clients off-site at a client’s home, or “on the road”, the address in Google Places should be hidden. As an HVAC, Plumbing, or other on-location service provider, your business falls into this category. This is definitely a big adjustment but one that is necessary for your optimum success in Google Places and local search overall.

Show your address or hide your address?

Prior to the last few months, it has always been key to have an address showing on your Google Places listing. This was one way you were optimized for the searches in your area for your business. However, we have been noticing some changes in ranking factors, and have had these changes confirmed with Google’s latest update to the Google Places Guidelines, as well as prominent industry information.

Google’s newly updated guidelines state, “If you don’t receive customers at your location, you must select the ‘Do not show my business address on my Maps listing’ option within your dashboard. If you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.

While we know that you are used to seeing your address on your Google Maps / Places listing, we are sure you don’t want to risk your listing being removed! If you are an iMarket customer, we have already begun to make this change for you.

What if my business has a showroom where clients do come to our location for service and purchases?

If you have a showroom, we can leave your address visible; however, in the future it may be something you want to change. We believe that Google is making this change across all verticals that are known for primarily serving customers at their homes or office locations, not at your brick and mortar address.

We are definitely doing some testing to determine the best course of action for clients who have a showroom. Let me know if you have a showroom and we can discuss your listing.

What if I have (or wanted to have) multiple Google Places listings for different addresses?

We are no longer recommending that you have multiple listings. On a single Google Places listing, you can specify your location and any additional cities / areas you serve. We have 2 options for this:

  • We can list all towns you service one by one.
  • Or we can select a certain radius (in miles) surrounding your location.

Both options will enable you to come up for searches in the areas you service without the need for a separate Google Places listing in each city or region.

If you have multiple Google Places listings we are recommending the additional ones are deleted so that Google does not have to remove them as spam. Remember, Google may remove the one you wanted to keep, and leave up your others, so it’s best that we choose to remove the right ones, and optimize the best one.

What can I do to help my Google Places page rank better?

You can add photos and videos to your Places listing as a start. If you’re an iMarket Solutions customer, you can send your photos and videos to us and we’ll take care of it for you.

Another post is coming soon with even more information about local ranking factors – stay tuned!

We realize this is a lot of new information, so please contact us with any questions you have! iMarket Solutions is 100% committed to you having the most successful online presence possible, and everyone on our team is happy to help you achieve your goals!

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