The massive Carousel experiment has met its end for local listings so far. The search engine giant Google is dropping its horizontal display for Carousel for local search results in many categories. The categories include nightlife, hotels, entertainment as well as restaurants. This horizontal Carousel display will now be replaced with a 3-pack of organic local listings as well as new secondary pages.
The Local Carousel was released in June, 2013 for the PC in the US. This expanded to numerous categories beyond local results (for instance US Senators). It is not evident whether this will persist for non-local search results.
Carousel has been generating controversy amidst local SEOs and those involved in antitrust negotiations with Google in Europe. Carousel was not launched in Europe. Many concerns and queries in the field of SEO have been raised as far as carousel is concerned. Users have reported finding Carousel to be limited and disconnected completely from the remainder of the page. Google has now introduced ads within the ad list format that has been gradually introduced within the knowledge panel.
The 3-pack organic local listings linked to secondary pages are replacing the earlier Carousel experiment. Clicking on these listings results in a separate page on the item being searched. This page is now a knowledge panel. Instead of a drop down menu, ads are being presented in the section before the main description information in the manner Google has been carrying out in the knowledge panel in other verticals as well including TV shows and musical artists. This is also true for local ads and online retailers as far as product searches are concerned.
Users can also reach one of the individual pages for hotel (for example) being searched for by clicking links such as “More hotels” at the end of the 3-pack listing. This leads to a complete page of hotel listings wherein each link is associated with the individual results page. The current “book” drop down is also being removed from the knowledge panel while searching on the hotel by name. The new “Book a hotel” ad treatment will be employed.
Such specialized ad treatments are only appearing for hotel results and not in individual listing pages for affected verticals such as nightclubs and hotels. Ads are still being powered by Hotel Ads API and linked to the sites of the advertisers.
Moreover, the ad blocks of ads from Google Hotel Finder will be removed and no longer be displayed on search result pages. The new 3-pack will appear below the AdWord results. The 3-pack results were not ads and they are top ranked listings algorithmically. Users can click any of the 3 and arrive on the new business profile page much like what users have viewed for the Knowledge Graph panel for hotel or other local business.
As far as the hotels are concerned, features such as driving and room will be seen as they can be viewed in the Knowledge Graph panel. Only in the hotel category and not the others, business details may include an ad unit linked to booking.
While clicking on the more link below in the 3-pack takes users to all page of local results which may be sorted. there is also a large map to the right wherein this is not unlike earlier versions of results on Google Maps. Clicking on each of these local links will enable users to detail page for that particular entity.
This fresh and novel presentation and flow is easier and not awkward, unlike Carousel. It also displays more information. Earlier, clicking on Carousel results changed the Knowledge Graph panel yet did not provide more depth of information. The new pages and flow are currently only being seen on the PC within the US at this point in time.A New 3-pack of Organic Local Listings Replaces the Controversial Carousel on Google Search!,