September 27, 2019

Image Carousels And Their Importance To Local Search

The image carousels feature images next to the business name in the search result page; the images are usually clickable, and they typically direct the searcher to the company’s Google My Business listing, with easy access to the company information and website link.

Unfortunately, this image carousel feature for local search has been largely inconsistent and heavily influenced by product types as well as the fact that Google has favoured certain industries over others. Until Google decides what they are going to do, the inconsistency is expected to continue, with image carousels appearing on some devices (but not all), and for some product types (but certainly not all).  

Google has been adding image carousels to businesses such as restaurants and hotels, while largely neglecting business operations such as professional practitioners and clothing stores.  The feature – which pulls images from the company’s Google My Business listing – seems likely to expand in the near future, and could potentially become a hot topic in local SEO for businesses who are looking for an edge over the competition.  

At this time, Google has not disclosed the parameters  regarding how Google assigns image carousels to different products, services, and devices.  A search for “restaurants Jupiter fl” could present an image carousel when searching on a Safari browser, but the exact same search on an iPhone Chrome browser could yield a result without this feature.  The “why’s?” are generally not known, but it is expected that this feature will become more prominent in the future, and because of this, it is important for a company to research and utilize properly optimized images.  More on this later.

It might seem like an obvious point, but the images a business places on it’s GMB page are extremely important, especially if they are appearing in an image carousel.  These images paint an immediate picture for the searcher, and have a significant impact on the initial impression prospective customers have on the business as a whole. It is commonly known that consumers give more consideration to local results that have images and those businesses generally get more conversions.  

The proper optimization of images is unclear in the eyes of Google; if a business is not getting the images it would like to be displayed, a number of strategies could help, including:

  • Editing the resolution of the images (high quality images seem to yield the best results)
  • Cropping (or re-cropping) the images
  • Placing the images in a different order, or adding new images and deleting old ones
  • Using original images – stock images may not yield the best results
  • Adjusting the brightness and resolution of the images
  • Ensuring the images on the company’s GMB website are visually appealing when appearing in the image carousel, and the cropping does not interfere with the overall image attractiveness (the image should look good in a variety of sizes and formats)
  • Continue to monitor the results, as Google is continually updating and changing how things are done

Because of the critical importance of properly optimizing images, an increasing number of businesses are choosing to work with SEO companies such as Web Promotion Partners to gain an advantage over the competition.

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