Local Carousel Ranking = Maps Ranking = Location Prominence

As Dave Rodecker pointed out the other day in his comments on the roll-out of the Local Carousel, the ranking algo that Google is using is the same location prominence algo used in the current/old Google Maps. There does not appear to be any blended/organic influences in the results that I have looked at so far and the ranking matches pin for pin in both Maps and the 7-Pack display for the same search results. This pattern has held true across every search that I have examined so far.

That being said, it is not at all clear to me that a first, left position is all that advantageous and the jury is still out as to user behaviors with this new display. It is likely that clicks will be more evenly distributed.

A comparison of Carousel, 7-Pack and Map ranking on the query "Pool Hall NY NY"

A comparison of Carousel, 7-Pack and Map ranking on the query “Pool Hall NY NY”

The implications?

1-Traditional Location prominence factors of citations, reviews, branded links etc are more important than pure web rank.

2- It also means that if you have a strong ranking web page for the same search it will also show.  And for those users that move down to the organic results that will be very important. Authorship in this context would be hugely valuable.

3- The photo is going to have a huge impact on click through.

4- Given that Google might choose a different photo than you provided it is necessary to be sure that ALL of your photos around the web are as good as possible.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Local Carousel Ranking = Maps Ranking = Location Prominence by

18 thoughts on “Local Carousel Ranking = Maps Ranking = Location Prominence”

  1. Hi Mike,

    This is in line with what I noticed this morning. I now see a “see results for san francisco florist on a map” link below the local results now. Clicking on this directs me to the results on Google Maps.

  2. So the missing link to see more results is back, but different since the old link kept the user in Google Search and this one guides the user to Google Maps.

  3. @Colan
    Yes it is back and now goes to maps…. but if it takes you to the new maps then the results are dramatically different. Thanks for pointing that out.. I saw that last night but forgot to include. Good catch.

  4. Hi Mike, first time commenting but I’ve been reading your blog for awhile.

    I own a local website which is ranked #1 for my given keyword. The user experience helps as well as some good links; however, my Google +Local is terrible and I haven’t followed through with many reviews. I never even see my local + page show anywhere.

    Currently the carousel does not show for my industry, but I’m sure it will some day.

    That said, I would assume without having a number of reviews it might be hard to get my site to show in the carousel even though I have authorship and a strong ranking in the organic search?

    What do think?

  5. “he ranking algo that Google is using is the same location prominence algo used in the current/old Google Maps. There does not appear to be any blended/organic influences in the results that I have looked”

    Mike – I’m seeing carousel equals regular blended algo ranking order primarily weighted toward organic and could show tons of examples of what I’m seeing… But even in example you show above, every single one matches blended order.

    In my research the caraousel is EXACTLY the same ranking order as the regular blended results were/are. I still have both and have done lots of side by side comparisons.

    Then if you go to AOL to view pure organic you can match up and see that the ranking order totally matches up, except when an organic listing does not have a Place page or has a problem on that side of the house, then it does not show in the pack or carousel and is just pure organic. But in every case Carousel exactly matches blended which matches pure organic ranking order.

    Re the new link – Yep once the new Maps update hits it’s going to shake things up a bit. That link will draw folks to maps if they want to see more than the 3 or 7 pack shows as as Mike said lots of things are different once you hit the new maps.

  6. Great tips on photos Mike. Looks like Google is pulling images of maps when there are insufficient photos in a listing.

    I searched “italian food brighton, co” and the carousel images mostly maps. I’m wondering if this will change soon.

  7. Thanks for this post, Mike! When I pulled up the carosel results I was left scratching my head, thinking, “Why on earth are these being presented the way that they are?” This helps clarify things quite a bit.

  8. “4- Given that Google might choose a different photo than you provided it is necessary to be sure that ALL of your photos around the web are as good as possible.”

    Mike, you mean this type of quality?

    jk

  9. Hi Mike! (Fellow Local Search mutant from Boston Distilled here) :)
    What do you think the user experience implications are for the new dynamic map? Aka- when hovering and zooming seeing a rearrangement of the carousel. Do you think this has any future impact on city centroids since in fact the user will be choosing their very own centroid?

  10. From my research it appears the the picture being uses in the Carousel is the same one used in the lower third page banner

  11. FWIW, this doesn’t appear to be true for the “universities frequently mentioned on the web” carousel. A search for “colleges in Chicago” produces a completely different set of results in the carousel from running the same search in Google Maps. My guess (based on the extremely aggravating exclusion of Shimer College from the Chicago results) is that it really does contain some frequency-of-mention element.

    I guess this adds to the pile of evidence that the “universities” carousel is actually a completely different animal, one that just happens to have similar plumage.

  12. I wonder what will happen with the Local Mobile search results where the results are more prominently vertical? The carousel wouldn’t have the same impact

  13. Noticing different rankings in old maps system and the tbm=plcs format than what are actually on the front page of Google. A good example is the search term landscapers Escondido. In the maps portion there is a different list of businesses appearing than the ones that are on the front page. I have always seen a position or two discrepancy but nothing like what I have seen the past few days. I have seen dozens of examples of this same situation.

  14. The order of the results differ from one computer to another in my office even on the same IP address when using the exact same search phrase. anyone else test this? And I am still wanting to find out the significance in why some of the numbers in the carousel listings are red and most are black. Anyone know?

  15. This is very interesting! I still haven’t had any luck getting the carousel to appear but am intrigued. It seems like a better user experience in some aspects and if it’s tied in with local maps rankings it could make the whole transition less intense to manage. I’m interested in how changing the overall positioning of these local listings will impact user choices, I would think more variation in click throughs than with a vertical list format. Thanks Mike!

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