After months of testing, Google is officially dropping the horizontal carousel used to display local search results.
The carousel will be dropped for several listing categories — including hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment. It is being replaced by a 3-pack of results, showing organic listings and some new secondary pages. You may not see the new search results design just yet, however, as Google’s roll outs are typically gradual.
The Local Carousel, released in June of 2013, used to appear as a black bar at the top of a results page when searching for local listings like restaurants and venues. Users could then scan through the carousel of images, but were not provided much additional information without clicking through. Ever since its initial roll-out, the carousel has been controversial among SEO specialists and has raised many other concerns.
The new 3-pack design will display three of the top matching local listings based on the search, and will appear below the paid SEM results. Users will then be able to click any of the three results and will be brought to a new business profile page where more information about the listing will be provided.
The removal of the Local Carousel could mean a lot for local listings. The look of the 3-pack is much cleaner, and enables the quick display of more information. Additionally, businesses that depend on Google’s local results may benefit a great deal from this change, but only if they are in the top three; those who fall short of the top three relevant results may miss out on a lot of website traffic because of this update.
This is just another example of why it is so important to following Google’s best practices when setting up local pages. Thanks to Google’s Pigeon algorithm, businesses that have properly set up a local page with quality and correct information will be rewarded in terms of how results are ranked.