Well, it looks like that’s soon going to come to an end.
In a Search Engine Land story by Greg Sterling, the search engine giant seems to have debuted a new look for search results of local business listings, including hotels, nightlife, and restaurants. And the redesign is in such a way that Carousel results – a horizontal scrolling selection of search results, complete with photo thumbnails and online ratings, placed prominently on top of traditional results – have disappeared.
Now, whenever users search on the Web for information on local businesses (“Chicago hotels,” say, or “restaurants in San Francisco”), they will see organic listings in batches of three. These “3-pack” listings appear just below the top Google AdWords results, and display useful information like aggregated online ratings, online review count, local business description, room availability (for hotels) and pricing. There’s also a button for users to view more listings and more information.
“Beyond the SEO questions and concerns raised by others, I have always found the Carousel to be limiting and awkwardly disconnected from the rest of the page,” Sterling wrote. “This new presentation and flow removes the awkwardness of the Carousel and enables the display of more information.”
The new design can be seen on desktop searches, and currently hasn’t taken effect on searches conducted using mobile devices. Anyway, check out the screenshots below to see the local search results’ new look:
Why is this important? For starters, business owners have to think carefully about their strategies for gaining advantage in various local searches on Google. These include updating local business data, choosing correct business categories, tracking online reviews, responding to customers, performing review management efforts, and managing online reputation. The new design for Google local search results also means that you, as the business owner, should actively manage your information on Google My Business. If you haven’t yet claimed your business on Google, check out our guide to help you get started.