In 2012, Google debuted a new tablet-exclusive design for some local search results, incorporating a carousel with the best results at the top of the page. This service just expanded to desktops as well. The new feature can be triggered by searches for hotels, restaurants, bars and other local places.
This new, visual format is extremely beneficial for hospitality brands whose audience is increasingly reliant on reviews and social integration to search.
Here’s how it works:
A user might search for something like “hotels in Richmond VA.” Rather than just producing a simple search result, Google adds the carousel – a black bar reflecting many options, that highlights easy access to reviews about the search result – to the top of the page, including a photo, the standard Zagat ratings, price class, and cuisine.
By clicking one of these places, the brand’s corresponding Google+ Local site will appear with more information. For example, when we click on The Jefferson Hotel above, we are greeted with a variety of information about the hotel:
Users can click on an arrow to the right to see more places, as well as can use the map in the sidebar to zoom in, allowing the carousel to automatically restrict searches to this specific area.
Rather than scroll up and down through text-laden results, searchers are offered a more visual, left-to-right experience, which can then be easily personalized when an option is selected
Google also uses a similar design for some of its Knowledge Graph results. The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine’s search results with semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources.
Knowledge Graph carousel results seem to be popping up more frequently now than ever before, and, given today’s addition of the local search carousel, chances are that Google’s stats show that this is a very effective way of presenting search results.
Do you think this new local search update will change the way users interact with local brands online?