Google's Knowledge Graph Carousel for Local Search
This month, Google unveiled a new way to display local listings. The new carousel design is a horizontal display of images that appear at the top of a Google search. This new format will replace the existing "pack listing" where Google local results have traditionally been displayed.
When customers search for restaurants, mechanics, museums, or other local places from their desktop, they will be shown the local results first in a black box at the top of their search results. From there, they can scroll through images, and find businesses based on their location on the map.
When results are clicked within the carousel, it brings up search results based around the business. When a customer clicks on your listing, It will bring up your website as well as yelp reviews, tripadvisor, and other directory listing websites. From there, customers will get a better feel for the services you provide and the experiences your customers have shared about your business.
According to a study by Matthew Hunt, the new carousel design greatly improves interest levels in the results and click through rates. In the study, 48% of the clicks were on the new carousel versus 14.5% clicking on the map.
As Google continues to redefine how they present local search results, we continue to see more and more value in the local search arena. Google is constantly working to deliver the best quality results to consumers in the easiest way possible. This will also be better for mobile users to navigate the results and find your business.
Google rolls out new interface for Google Plus Business
This month, Google has been making some big changes to the interactive pages of Google Plus Business. While Google Plus Business is still fairly new to Local Search, there are many added features that were added this month. The newest unveiled dashboard is bringing together the social aspects found on the Google Plus One sites, such as social media updates, video posting, blog link connection, and general updates to the community; it's also incorporating a business model that includes traffic insights, like impressions and customer actions, all from one screen.
What does the general business get out of this new feature?
Google is offering a simpler way for businesses to manage online presence from one accessible screen.
The new dashboard allows business owners and page managers to easily edit and update URL's, descriptions, business hours, and phone number across Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Plus from a single overview tab. Additionally, businesses businesses are given the option to verify their Google Plus Business page via postcard. Once verified, managers of this dashboard will be able to view Traffic insights, including: most popular searches for their company, driving direction requests, etc. With the new interface, page managers are also able to connect a wide range of audiences with small business portfolios, such as: links to blogs, links to websites, updates to communities (including coupons and specials); likewise, the integration of social media encourages business to update the social world and interact with their potential customers.
Google Plus Business is expected to have more tools added in the coming months.
Google offers a new helpline for businesses across the web
Google recently introduced a new helpline that allows business owners and page managers to call someone, directly, for local search help. That's right, you can actually speak to real person! This new helpline was introduced, simultaneously, with the new updated Google Business page as a way to transition Google Places to the new interactive social media Google Plus Local.
The helpline answers questions regarding duplicate listings, problems with addresses, issues with phone numbers, etc. Their response time allows for quick and efficient answers to all local search queries. To access the helpline follow the link below:
Over the last month Google has been rolling out updates to their algorithm much more frequently than in the past. The Google Panda update has been rolling our more slowly than what we usually see it. Also just this last week there was a huge update (see the "mozcast" below) which shows a weather report for the amount of changes occurring in the search results. I don't know if I have ever seen days in the 110's. There is speculation that is is an update to the "spammy" website on the internet.