Recent changes to local search results have left many small businesses out in the cold when it comes to exposure.  We know every change made in Google causes apprehension and struggle for SMBs that just dont have time to deal with the issues.  Taking care of your exposure issues now is imperative.

What you are seeing is called the “Local Search Carousel” – it’s the black band of results across the top of many local queries right now.  We’re seeing it predominantly in dining-related searches, but it’s being shown for other industries like attorneys and plumbers as well.

local carousel

While the carousel isn’t showing for ALL queries – it is showing for quite a few.  We believe this form of display will eventually be rolled out for more and more searches and your own keywords may be effected very soon.  We have deconstructed a carousel result below to show you exactly what Google is showing to help you understand what they’re looking for.

First – the WHY.  You need to be aware, this is going to impact your website traffic if you serve a local market.  Studies done since it’s rolled out are indicating that when a search returns a result like the one above, 50% of clicks are going to those businesses in the black box.

If you havent claimed and updated your listing – the images are pretty basic – and mostly show a map point that is basically illegible to the viewer, so they’re much more likely to click on a colorful image or logo.

chinese restaurant

You can see that the focus of these results is images and reviews.  This is the result for the carousel for a steakhouse in Aurora, CO.  This result doesn’t contain dollar signs, while the chinese food result above did – but didn’t include addresses.  There are some variations in all results – so be aware what is showing for YOUR searches.

Here’s a result deconstructed:

local carousel deconstructed


purple box


The purple box indicated a photo, generally the first one shown in your Places listing.  Make it a really good one, or your logo if it’s recognizable to your audience.


red boxThe red box with the “18” in it is the Zagat rating.  Zagat was purchased by Google and they’re trying to push this rating system across all niches, not just restaurants.  It doesn’t work very well, but Google is still hanging their hat on it.  Zagat ratings only show up if you have a minimum of 5 reviews I believe, so this leads into the next item.

green boxThe green box shows how many reviews you have IN Google Places.  This is not an aggregate of reviews they pull from different locations – all of these reviews live in Google.  You can see that number of reviews and Zagat alone don’t get you a number one ranking.  The 3rd listing has more reviews and a higher Zagat score.  Don’t assume the entire carousel is based on reviews.

yellow box

The yellow box is the name of your business, as well as your street address.  Make sure you’re listed correctly in your places listing.  You might also show your pricing structure in dollar signs – like the chinese food listing above, so be sure you’re using that data if you can in your places listing.


If you want to read more about the Local Search carousel – this is a great roundup of posts over at

So this is the deconstruction of a new Google Carousel listing.  This type of display makes it increasingly important to have a 100% updated and optimized Google places listing.  You need to also be sure you’re steadily obtaining reviews.  If you need help, we can give you a hand – just give us a call or drop us an email!

What is The Local Search Carousel
Carrie Hill
Carrie has been working in SEO and Online Marketing since 2006 - she brings a passion for search and a desire to know more to every project she participates in. Carrie is a noted speaker and writer about a variety of topics, including Schema protocols, Google Analytics, Local Search and more. When she's not digging heavily into search & online marketing issues - you can find Carrie in her kitchen or possibly sitting on the porch with a cup of tea, a book, and her 4 dogs.

2 thoughts on “What is The Local Search Carousel

  • June 28, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Carrie, thanks for the breakdown on the carousel. One thing I’ve noticed about the businesses that show in the carousel, they are not nessarily the same results as in the map pack.

  • July 22, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Carrie, I make all my SEO clients read SEO blogs and I’m adding you to the list. Good explanation with illustrations! –Chris


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