iMarket Solutions Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Google+ Local’

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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Google Places has been replaced with Google+ Local! What does this mean for local business owners?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

There have been a lot of changes at Google lately. The recent search algorithm updates have definitely changed how people searching on the web see results and find exactly what they’re looking for; this latest Google announcement is no different.

Earlier today, Google announced the merging of Google Places into a new aspect of Google+ called Google+ Local. Over 80 million Google Places pages have already been automatically converted to the new Google+ Local format, and more will follow.

The new format is much more user-friendly and will help your business be represented in a more powerful way. Of course, as with any change, you probably have some questions.

What does this Google+ Local announcement mean for your business?

The new Google+ Local listings are a way for you to begin to manage your local business listing with Google in a more meaningful way. Many industry experts believe that this will help solve some of the issues with listings needing to be reclaimed or corrected as often due to inaccurate information.

Is it going to be more work for you?

Not at all. If you are an iMarket Solutions client with ongoing SEO services, we will continue to manage your Google+ Local page just as we have with your Google Places listing. If you do not have ongoing SEO or are not an iMarket Solutions client, contact us to learn more about how we can help!

If you like to be hands-on with your local presence on Google, you can continue to manage your Google+ Local page through your normal Google Places login. Google does recommend that you create a Google+ Business page as they will soon release a way to connect the Business page with the Google+ Local listing. iMarket Solutions will be working on this process for our SEO clients.

Will I lose my reviews?

Your reviews will be migrated over to your Google+ Local page. The reviews will be attributed to “A Google User” until the owners of the reviews verify their old reviews can be attributed to their identity on Google+ Local. The good news is that Google will ask users to do this now that Google+ Local is rolled out.

Google will now be incorporating the 30-point review system created by ZAGAT (which Google acquired in September 2011). Reviews will be moving away from the star system to this new scoring system.

Will I lose my photos?

The photos that were part of your Google Places listing will remain part of your Google+ Local page. If you have user-uploaded photos, they will be migrated the same way as reviews.

Does this change how potential customers find my business in Google?

Your potential customers will be able to search for your local business as normal, and their experience will remain consistent whether they are searching in Google, or on Google+, Google Maps, or through mobile apps.

Other changes to expect…

  • You will be able to develop followers and interact with them through posts and messages on your Google+ Local page.
  • The new Google+ Local page is more visually interesting with photos and reviews given a more prominent location.
  • A new “Local” tab has been added for Google+ users making it easier to find local businesses like yours.
  • Google+ Local pages will be integrated throughout all Google search properties.
  • Users will have a more personalized experience with the integration of Google+ Circles to help highlight businesses that their friends and family have recommended. This means if you have a customer who has recommended you, their online connections will be more likely to see your business in a search for services you provide!

Overall, the migration of Google Places to Google+ Local appears to be a positive change for local business owners like you. Please do contact us with any questions about Google+ Local, or your overall SEO strategy for your website. We are happy to help!

For more information on the Google Places change to Google+ Local, we recommend Search Engine Land as a fantastic source of up-to-the-minute information!

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