Google Carousel was designed to give local businesses equal opportunity to appear toward the top of the search rankings for a specific area. It's being discovered, however, that businesses don't always get what they expect from the new horizontal design. The structure seems simple enough but can be disappointing unless a business understands how the carousel concept works and how to market its business. The carousel has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of business involved and what it expects to gain from the experience.
Gives All Business Similar Exposure
Businesses are showcased on a horizontal platform. Even though much space is wasted with the use of small, colorful pictures laid out on a wide black background, the side-by-side display gives each business an equal opportunity in the eyes of the person searching for information. With this concept, the first business listed is on the same level as the third, fourth and fifth, giving each one the same opportunity to be clicked on.
Clicking on an Image Leads to Information
When a person clicks on an image, the business' contact information, location and description appear. The page that opens up provides much of the information the searcher is looking for to answer questions about the business. For a business to receive the maximum benefit from this type of advertising, it needs to put only the best possible images on its website. Images must be fresh, clear and contain something that catches the eye of the customer.
Discrimination Among Types of Businesses
The carousel only highlights specific types of businesses. Businesses that are entertaining or recreational are the only ones that make it into the carousel. If you have a business that specializes in a necessary service or commodity, it will often be left out of the carousel to make way for others. For businesses to remain on the carousel, businesses must have a strong marketing strategy that draws the public in.
Too Many Photos, Not Enough Info
The carousel is designed to showcase photographs, not display content. Because of the way it is designed, the carousel can display pictures effectively, but doesn't allow for much in the way of content or variety. The photos used by a business should display as much branding and target information as possible, such as signage and pictures of the storefront itself. Companies should push their brands and limit their images to those that grab the attention of the customer. This ensures maximum visibility on the carousel. Since no content is used on the carousel, the business has to be able to tell its story in one picture.
Businesses Don't Get to Choose Their Own Photos
One of the biggest drawbacks to the carousel format is that the business does not get to choose the photos that are used in the lineup. The photographs displayed on the website will determine which ones are used on the carousel. Pictures that aren't indicative of the true nature of the business may give future customers the wrong idea and encourage them to continue searching for another provider. Photos should be unique and specific to the business they are representing. Businesses have to push their personality to get attention.