On Tuesday, June 18th Google officially implemented the carousel feature to Google Plus Local result pages. This feature essentially takes the former Google Places Results and puts them into a scrolling carousel of results at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Amongst many changes you will need to consider for your listing, one of the easiest and yet most underrated features is the thumbnail image for your business.
The former places layout displayed business name, business URL, address, phone number, and finally the map on the right-hand side of the SERP. Images of the business, logos or any other thumbnails were only visible once a user visited the Google Plus page.
The new Google Local carousel layout displays none of the features that the previous layout displayed. There is no direct link to the site, address, or phone number. Alongside the business name in the carousel layout are ratings, reviews and a thumbnail image. This is why a thumbnail image is more important now than ever.
The thumbnail image you choose is not only the first impression a user has of your business, but it’s likely the best chance you have to improve your Click Through Rate within the carousel. If you don’t set up your Google Local thumbnail image a default will appear in thumbnail. A default map compared to a competitors’ logo will greatly decrease your odds of engaging with consumers through the carousel. By foregoing optimization of your Google Plus Local you are showing users your page isn’t well attended, and thus discrediting your site’s online presence.
It’s important to have a thumbnail image that is both eye catching and presents an accurate representation of your business. If your thumbnail image doesn’t entice a user to click on your result, the user will likely never see your page. The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) change completely when a user clicks on a Google Plus Local result. When a result is clicked, the SERPs all shift to websites pertaining to whichever result the user clicked on. (i.e. the company’s Facebook, Twitter, YellowPages, etc.)
Don’t underestimate the power of a thumbnail image. Because adding an image is so simple it speaks volumes to your company’s online presence when you neglect to include one. Take the time to pick a thumbnail image that will both grab the attention of users and appropriately represent your company. This will give your site more credibility and a higher Click Through Rate.