Google is always up to something new, but you already knew this. Recently they nixed the “more results near” link on local search results making the importance of ranking in top positions even more essential to being found. To follow-up they figured more sassy changes were a good idea. Now flaunting a new, flashy feature they’re labeling the “Knowledge Graph Carousel”, Google’s search reports have never looked smarter.

Go for a Ride

Go ahead. You know you want to hop on the Carousel. Next time you’re looking for a new place to eat, grab a drink, see a movie or even just find a fun place to get a coffee on Saturday morning, test out Google’s Carousel before you hiss at the change. Not only has this update made search more visually stimulating and locally focused than ever before, it also just looks cool.

It’s a Bit Different than Before

Don’t feel alone. Many people aren’t a big fan of change. But there’s just no denying that Google’s Carousel does change local search. Here’s how:

– Local results are shown in the Carousel which means all other results are shoved down a bit

– Mapped results have changed so that the top results shown on the Carousel are all that appear on the map (and those little pins are now red dots)

– Ranking based on top placement moves from left to right but, depending on your monitor size, you might see more than 7 results on the first “page” of the Carousel

– Pictures need to show quality and pizazz since they are what stand out and tell your story on the Carousel

– Reviews are more visible and are shown using the Zagat scale which omits the total review count and shows a score of x/30

Dangers of the Carousel

Many businesses aren’t very excited about the new ride they’re on with Google. Since you can no longer click right to a venue’s site or their Google+ page, it takes a couple of clicks before they really capture your attention. Seems minor, but it does have a big impact on capturing audience online. And since your URL isn’t showing and your phone number isn’t a focal point (and requires an extra click to access), it’s no wonder why this Carousel doesn’t seem that fun to some. With that said, all of these negatives can be managed if you have the ability to navigate through the tough stuff.

Another concern related to this change might be the fact that business who hold the top ranking spots are now having to share that spotlight with 7+ others. And some may consider the new listing as a boring way to monopolize search results. While in the past finding what you wanted took a bit of digging, these days everything is more based on the reviews of others and where everyone else goes. What happened to the days of being an individual? While finding the most popular places is getting easier, finding the roads less traveled just might be getting even harder.

Stay on the Horse

Obviously, Google marketing is always a great way to capture new business. The way to go about getting that business, however, is changing. Keep yourself on track by being as educated as possible (or make it easier and just hire someone who knows what’s going on). In order to snag the most attention from possible new customers, it’s essential to follow along with these types of local search updates. If you don’t, you just might slip right off that horse.