Google Carousel is the latest addition to Google’s already powerful bag of indexing tools. Google Carousel is a new initiative for local search. Carousel is a feature that adds visual appeal to present local results. It does so by adding banners, images and customer rating to its local search results.

So What is New?
Google uses the search engine user’s geographic location (extracted from the user’s IP address), to serve results that are meaningful and locally relevant. So what’s different this time? This time the Carousel technology includes banners (images of the business establishments) at the top. Below each individual banners is a customer review score (out of 5) and is visually represented by the appropriate number of stars. The name of the business establishment is below that and then the address.

As the user scrolls the mouse over the banners, each banner is in turn connected to a marker on the Google map shown below and to the right of the banner. The user has the option of obtaining the precise physical location of the business which from a business owner’s point of view, is an excellent way of getting new customers.

Where does Google get the Images for the Banners?
From the reviews of the business establishment or images you might have uploaded to Google Local Business Options. If no images are available, Google uses snippets of the map location. It has also tied up reviews with the listing so users can now see how popular (or unpopular) your business is. Google local search user’s can also see your visiting hours, phone numbers, links to your website and so on.

What’s in it for you?
In two words – Increased business! A business website with lots of data and good reviews gets prominence and hence, increased business potential. If you are not already on Google local search, there is no better time than now.

Provide the link and encourage your customers to post feedback on Google. Run a weekly gift scheme for best customer feedbacks. The more high-five feedbacks you receive, the more business you will receive via Google local search. Remember that content on your website also counts. The content needs to be interesting, original and preferably encourage customer participation (e.g. guest blogging and product reviews).

Create a Google Plus (Google+) business page and upload fresh and interesting content regularly. Add in links to your social pages.

Google Carousel is an extremely sophisticated tool that can sense social acceptance of a business, its service and its products. The more popular your business, service or products, the higher your ranking in Google local search. While content will continue to play an important part, Google Carousel now factors in social acceptance and customer reviews to decide your page ranking.