Google Carousel’s Impact on Paid Search

Google Carousel has had an interesting, and unexpected impact on paid search, particularly for those companies in the travel vertical and other local focused industries. In this video we discuss the issues we're seeing and provide a resource with five tips outlining what you can do to avoid dropping in the SERPs and how you can actually use Carousel to your advantage.


Download Dossier 4.3 for the five tips.


Craig Zagurski: Hi and thanks for stopping by and checking out this video on the RKG blog. I'm Craig Zagurski and I'm an SEO copywriter for RKG. For this video, I'll be covering Google Carousel, which was featured in a recent Dossier in an article contributed by Rachel Harvey. And she is a team leader in paid search over in our Charlottesville office.

Google rolled out Carousel mid-2013 and its main function is to provide a boost for local search results. Well, surprisingly, many paid search advertisers from industries related to local search, like restaurants and bars, but especially those from the travel vertical, actually saw a decrease in traffic to their sites after the arrival of Carousel.

So, we thought it would be a good idea to just provide an overview of some of the functionality of Google Carousel and what you can do to avoid dropping down on the SERPs if you belong to one of those industries and how you can actually use Carousel to your advantage.

So, here is how Carousel works; let's say you're a user and you put in a query for ‘extended stay hotels Charlottesville’. Non-branded query, right? So, Google receives it and it triggers the Carousel, which appears at the top of your screen in a black bar across the top, you can probably see it right here. And Google provides results it deems appropriate for your search terms and you can scroll left and right through the Carousel to see the different results. Below the Carousel, you still have your paid search ads and below that you have your organic results.

Well, the thing that is very interesting and worth noting about Carousel is that if you were to click on one of those results inside of Carousel, instead of being sent to the company's website, where you can go about your business and find the information you were looking for in the first place, Google actually refreshes the page and regenerates the search results from a non-branded query, which was the ‘extended-stay hotel Charlottesville’ to a branded query, something such as, well you can see, ‘Residence Inn Charlottesville’.

Well, the reason why this happens is because Google automatically regenerates the search results based on a formula and this formula is the company name or property name plus city, comma, state. So, this formula that Google is using is affecting not just you who are still a few clicks away from finding what it was you were searching for in the first place, but also companies who have customarily bid on non-branded search terms and they're suddenly losing their prominent place in the SRP's, dropping, down in favor of these branded search queries.

Well, to further raise the stakes, there were some paid search advertisers that actually figured out Google's formula and went back and changed their bids to branded terms and in some cases, to exact match, so they certainly had an advantage.

So, if you’re a professional in the travel vertical, or any of the other industries that would be affected by Google Carousel, we have some recommendations for you; five to be exact. And I'm going to direct you over to Rachel Harvey's article in the Dossier, so you can download that and see them for yourself. You're not going to want to miss them. But thanks for your time and we'll see you again soon.