Yesterday, Google updated the layout for its search results. The change in design directly affects local businesses and how their information will be presented for mobile tablet users.
Check out the screenshot I took below. See the change? Google is now highlighting local businesses (from their Google+ Local database) in a carousel, which features the business name, category, price rating and, most importantly, a single thumbnail.
The way you appear — assuming you do — in the carousel will determine whether tablet searchers choose your business over your competitors. I think you’ll agree with me when I say the right thumbnail will be a determining factor for many customers.
Your Homework Assignment
How can you make sure you’re putting your best face forward? The following quick-and-simple steps will ensure you have a Google+ Local page that is optimized for the carousel.
1. SET UP YOUR LISTING
If you haven’t already, set up a Google+ Local page today by visiting Google.com/places. Follow the steps, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
2. UPLOAD THUMBNAIL IMAGE
Google doesn’t have a clear maximum size limit on images, but keep the aspect ratio 1:1 as Google+ Local will display the images in both square and circle frames.
3. SELECT YOUR CATEGORY
Select a business category that is relevant to you but also frequently searched by customers. While you may have the best Northwestern Montana Sushi Tapas in the country, your prospective customers will likely search for the word “Sushi.”
Unfortunately, this list can’t guarantee your business will appear in the number one spot in the carousel. Like regular website rankings, other factors contribute to the local search results, such as the current geo-location of the searcher, the SEO keywords you’re using in your business listing (if any) and other relevancy factors affected by social media and reputation.
Looking to maximize your local business search rankings? I’d love to chat with you about how Aristotle can help. Leave me any questions you have in the comments section.