Google is Dropping Local Carousel Listings for Some Business Verticals
Google is once again stirring the local search pot with its recent move to eliminate the Local Carousel listings for restaurants, nightlife, hotels, and entertainment. The obtrusive horizontal black Carousel bar is being replaced with a 3-pack of local results in addition to new secondary pages for some local search categories.
- Prominently displayed below the top AdWords results, the new 3-pack results appear to represent the top organically ranked listings.
- Search users who click on one of the three results are taken to a profile page for that business, which bears a striking resemblance to a Knowledge Graph display.
- Immediately below the new 3-pack results is a link that takes searchers to a full page of additional sortable local results, along with a large area map. Clicking on any one of these listings takes the user to a profile page for that particular business.
Since rolling out across the U.S. in June of 2013, the Carousel display listing has been greeted with widespread indifference and dismay by the local SEO community, many of whom have suffered from a drastic loss of rankings. Carousel gradually expanded to include a number of non-local results; whether those results will experience a similar replacement of Carousel listings remains to be seen.
Why is Google Making this Change?
While Google is characteristically mum about the disappearance of the Local Carousel listings, local search experts have noted that the new 3-pack results design provides a much better fit with the overall page design, in addition to offering more information than that provided by the Carousel listings.
One word of caution: more information doesn’t necessarily mean complete information, as some local marketers have noted. Clicking on any of the 3-pack results for the restaurant vertical reveals some startling omissions: no map, no address or phone number, no link to the restaurant’s website, incomplete listing of hours of operation, and no menu.
Why Google would choose to omit this type of information is simply incomprehensible. Hungry consumers looking for a local restaurant would do much better by searching a good local directory site, or by abandoning Google altogether in favor of Bing or Yahoo.
Here is something I noticed after perform a few local searches that use to propmt the caroussel. Is this the replacement? Any onyone from Google care to reply?
How Your Business can Cope with the New Local 3-pack Listing
Since the information displayed in the local 3-pack appears to have been pulled from Google+ Local listings, claiming and optimizing a G+ Local profile for your business should be a high priority. Provide all requested information so that Google has a complete picture of your business from which to base its local search query results on. Include high-quality photos of your business and products. Be sure to keep your G+ listing up to date.
Collect and post as many positive reviews of your business as possible, especially on your G+ Local page. Maintain a consistent presence on appropriate social media platforms, and don’t forget to link your social accounts to your G+ Local profile.
Optimize your website for local search by including local terms in your title tags, meta descriptions, and H1 tags.