If you have recently Googled something similar to “hotels in Atlanta,” then your search results were displayed in the Knowledge Graph Carousel. The Knowledge Graph Carousel is a newer feature Google uses to display search results for specific keywords and industries. Hotel search results were on the leading edge of the Carousel rollout and for the purpose of this blog we are going to explore how hotels can optimize use of the Google Carousel. I’ll also share three tips for how you can improve your hotel’s search listing.
“With a carousel at the top of the results page, you can get a more complete picture of what you’re curious about.” –Google
What is the Knowledge Graph Carousel
First, let’s take a look at what the Knowledge Graph Carousel is and how it works. Essentially, it is an image based display of search results that allow online consumers to immediately understand top-level information about your hotel. These snippets allow consumers to make more of an educated decision, helping them move further down the path of conversion.
The details offered in search results include:
- the name of your hotel
- a picture of your specific listing
- an overall review score
- the number of reviews your hotel has
- the price and the class of your hotel.
When you click on one of the images in the Carousel, Google doesn’t actually take you to the website of the hotel.
Instead, it takes you to another page of search results that offer exclusive information on your specific listing.
How Carousel Rankings are Determined
The number one position in the Carousel is just as import as the number one position in organic search results. Like organic search results, there are many factors that go into how you rank in the Carousel.
The information displayed in the Carousel is pulled directly from Google+.
There is your first optimization clue and that’s the best place to start. Google LOVES Google+ and for this reason all business owners who want to connect with their customers online must embrace it.
This means businesses must have a completed Google+ page.
Begin building your Google+ page by completely filling in all information on the “About” tab of the profile. The “Photos”, “Videos”, and “Reviews” tabs have the option of being displayed or hidden from visitors. I recommend displaying all tabs to visitors. The more information you can show potential customers, the better they will feel about your business. Online reviews are the biggest influence on purchasing decisions to online consumers.
There should be plenty of high quality, current photos under the Photos tab. The Videos tab automatically pulls from the YouTube account associated with the Gmail address.
Reviews are very important to ranking and should be shown to visitors and responded to. At this time the best way to respond to reviews is through the Places for Business dashboard. The quantity and quality of reviews weigh very heavily when determining Carousel position.
Google also focuses on proximity to search keywords. A hotel can have a million 5 star reviews, but if it’s 15 miles from the search term used, it’s not going to rank well. That means it’s important to align keyword strategy with nearby attractions and landmarks. For example, if a hotel is located in a suburb or away from the city center, the keyword “downtown” should be avoided. Another example is if a hotel is located within 6 miles of the city center and 2 miles from an airport or other large landmark, the closer keyword is more important. Relevant location keywords should be implemented wherever possible: URLs, page titles, blog titles, meta data, Google+ Profile information, etc.
The Knowledge Graph Carousel is only about a year old so you can expect Google to continue to tweak and refine the algorithm. The information that is displayed might change as well. Originally prices weren’t included in the Carousel results, but as of about 3 months ago they are. Google is also changing the way Google+ works, so it’s important to stay active and up to date with that. That brings us to my three tips for improving your hotel’s Carousel position.
Tips for Improving your Carousel Position
1. Stay active on Google+
2. Link your website to your Google+ profile (desktop and mobile)
- Log in to Google+
- Hover over the Google+ Home drop down list, click on the Settings link
- Click on the “For your site” tab
- Click the blue “One time setup” button
3. Make sure you have good citations – A citation is any time your company is mentioned online. A good citation is anytime your company, it’s address, and other identifying information is mentioned.
How you have used The Knowledge Graph Carousel?
If you have any questions about the Carousel, let us know in the comments.