Dropping the Google Carousel
By now many people are very familiar with the Google Carousel. The Carousel highlights local hotels and businesses near a particular geographic area mentioned in the search query, i.e. search for ‘hotels in new york city’ and you will something like this below:
However, since June 2013, with the launch of Google carousel the view rarely matched the organic search results, causing some controversy in the SEO community.
In November 2014, Google discarded the carousel for a new 3-pack organic listing that looks like this:
The new 3-pack results are the top-ranking organic listings (not paid ads), which users can click to view full business details with photos, hours, reviews, and booking module, or click ‘more hotels’ for a full list of hotels within the local area. Also, ad blocks for Google Hotel Finder have gone away and are incorporated into this new result.
How Does The Google 3-Pack Affect Your Hotel Marketing Strategy?
The new listings have many implications for hotels and draws from these three activities:
- Do you have a Google My Business listing that is merged and verified?
- Is the hotel being optimized at a local level?
- Are you participating in Google Hotel Finder’s meta-search channel?
First, having an optimized Google My Business listing has been important for the past few years. Why? Google can crawl this page and provide information found on this listing in its organic search results – everything from hours of operation, phone number, pictures, reviews, and latest posts. All of this information populates in Google’s new 3-pack listing; therefore it is extremely important to verify the accuracy of this information.
Second, optimizing for local as a hotel is essential. Working with your agency to develop and ensure they are actively rolling out and updating a local SEO plan for your hotel is important for the survival and online success of your hotel. Google updates and makes changes to their algorithm every day and it’s important to keep abreast of these changes.
Finally, Google Hotel Finder should be included in your paid search plan. With the update of the new 3-pack results, the user will have to click through the business listing to get more information about the hotel and then use the Hotel Finder widget to book a room. This means hotel finder traffic from desktop users will decrease for the U.S., while local universal traffic from U.S. desktop users will increase.
Like many of Google’s updates, it may take a few weeks for this to roll-out. Some people may still see the carousel view if they’re not logged in to a Google account. Additionally, these changes are only being seen in the U.S. at this time.
Contributed by: Krista Malchow, Regional Business Development Manager, New York