On Tuesday, June 18, Google officially announced the rollout of its Knowledge Graph Carousel for local business search results. But what the heck is a Knowledge Graph Carousel?
See for yourself! Type in a search for [Your Area] + restaurants, and you should see the interactive graph at the top of your search browser. For example, here is what a search for “Tampa restaurants” looks like now:
Google announced that, “while some iPad and Nexus tablet users have seen this new look since December, we’re excited to expand to desktop. The interactive “carousel” is rolling out in English in the U.S.—we’ll add more features and languages over time.”
While this hasn’t been rolled out to all industries yet, we can assume it will eventually be the new norm for the majority of local search results. So what does this mean for your local business?
1. Embrace Google +
Whether you like it or not, this platform integrates directly with Google Places to be the driving force behind the Carousel. We now build Google + into all our local SEO strategies. Not only should your business have a Google + page, but it should be well-maintained with up-to-date content and you should be constantly working to grow your natural followers. Also make sure to upload high quality pictures as these will be used in your Carousel listing. With visual appeal and layout being paramount features of the Carousel, the more eye-catching your images, the better.
2. Verify and Optimize your Google Places Listing.
The better optimized your listing is, the more likely it will be to be shown for given search terms on Google’s new Carousel. Make sure you submit to all appropriate categories, optimize your business description, and add photos.
3. Don’t neglect the importance of other online directories.
One of the main factors that goes into where your business will be “ranked” in the Carousel, not unlike the old version of Google Places, are the reviews written on your business. However, the new Carousel seems to scour listings and reviews from other directories much more so than the old version of Places did. Sites like InsiderPages.com, Yelp.com, Patch.com and more – plus industry-specific sites like urbanspoon.com – are critical to your overall local optimization and to your ranking on the Knowledge Graph Carousel. Also for restaurants, which is one of the first industries that Google has rolled this out to, it pulls a score for your restaurant in the listing based on your Zagat score.
4. “Traditional” SEO is still important.
With the Carousel format “freeing up” a lot of the first page real estate that was formerly being dominated by Places listings, organic listings are once again taking center stage. A well optimized site and good ongoing SEO strategy will give your business more front-page exposure. Plus, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander: the better your website is optimized, the better it will support optimization of your Carousel listing, and vice-versa.
What do you think will be the major implications of the Knowledge Graph Carousel for local businesses, and for the overall search experience?
Blog by Webhead Interactive