As the most popular search engine on the web, it’s no surprise that Google is the bread and butter of SEO strategy. Recently though, the feature Google Local Carousel has been raising eyebrows due to evidence that it confers high click-through and conversion rates —leaving some to determine what exactly goes into the relatively newfangled local search instrument. Although Google hasn’t provided exact criteria for being included and ranked highly in the Carousel, there are some factors that have already been determined most worthwhile.
+1s on URL
It wasn’t long ago that the +1 feature was the newest and most mysterious component in Google’s SEO toolbox. When it was first introduced in 2011, there was a lot of speculation about what +1s would really mean; by now, we know that they indirectly factor into page rankings, but it’s still somewhat unclear to what extent. In any case, the indirect nature of +1s ultimately means that at the end of the day, they shouldn’t replace traditional SEO tactics.
Nonetheless, the first most important thing when it comes to Google Local Carousel is the amount of +1s on your local business’ website. Paramount to your business’ Google Local Carousel profile, +1s serve as the most important form of searcher validation in the eyes of Google.
+1s on Google+ Business Page
If the most important thing for Google Local Carousel is the number of +1s on its URL, perhaps it’s not surprising that the second most principal aspect is the number of +1s on your local business’ Google+ Business Page. This may seem predictable to some SEOs, considering Google’s natural tendency to rank its own features and services higher than some other SEO metrics simply because they’re from Google. Regardless, this fact brings us to the next most important aspect…
Google+ Reviews Number
The number of Google+ Reviews that a local business has also factors into its Google Local Carousel profile, though not as much as +1s on a Google+ Business Page and +1s on the business’ URL. Of course, a business’ overall Ratings Number matters too, but even if all your reviews aren’t spectacular there’s more to the puzzle than that. For instance, one hundred reviews that are mixed in aggregate, contain quality write-ups and are from active Google+ users will be more valuable than ten 4- or 5-star reviews with sparse write-ups from less active Google+ users. While high ratings certainly matter to some extent, it seems like the amount and quality of reviews along with the activity of reviewers are all somewhat more important when it comes to ranking highly on Google Local Carousel.
How much your business is cited across Internet directories is a critical factor for Google Local Carousel, as well. According to this December blog post from Search Engine Journal, the number of citations your business has across the web is the most important factor that’s not directly related to Google’s own services (that is, those that don’t involve +1s or Google+ numbers) when it comes to Google Local Carousel.
NAP as TEXT (Name, Address, Phone Number)
Having a consistent and uniform name, address, and phone number across the web is key to ranking highly on Google Local Carousel. This makes sense and should be a no-brainer for SEOs — if your business doesn’t have it’s information displayed across the Internet in a consistent fashion, it’ll just make it that much harder for Google to determine if your site is legitimate, reputable, and worthy of a high rank.
Making sure these factors are all optimized will greatly improve your business’ ranking on Google Local Carousel. But why worry about all that, when you’ve got a business to run? If your business isn’t ranking how it should be on Google Local Carousel or on any other search feature, give Lift Division a call today. Our technicians can get you a premium spot on the Carousel (you’ll get to wave to your parents and everything) and we’ll find other SEO metrics to improve as well — driving traffic to your site and customers to your business!
Hayden Lewis is a writer at Lift Division, an inbound marketing firm that specializes in local search marketing. Lift Division is located in Columbia, Mo, and serves businesses nationwide. For more of Hayden Lewis’ writings, follow him on Google+ .