Google is dropping the somewhat controversial carousel display of local search results, which was used for hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues, in favor of a “three pack” of top ranked organic listings.
The Carousel hasn’t been very popular with SEO experts who had difficulty figuring out how the Carousel could change the way users searched for businesses. It was also unpopular with the businesses themselves, as the business owners couldn’t control which image would be used for the display. The Carousel never even launched in Europe.
The new three pack looks like this, appearing BELOW the AdWords results (the Carousel appeared above AdWords):
The three featured destinations are ranked by Google, using algorithms. Hotels will have their pricing and review results listed in the three pack listing, along with a calendar feature allowing the searcher to check on availability. Night club and restaurant results are similar, with reviews and price points. The ”More” link takes the user to a page of local results, along with an interactive Google map.
The great improvement the three pack delivers for hotels is that by clicking on one of the featured listings, the user will be taken to a business profile page, something very similar to the Google Knowledge Graph panel. The business panel appears at the top of the new page, along with alternative photos, reviews and a Google map. If the hotel offers online booking, the user is able to start the booking process directly from that page.
For now, the three pack results will only appear in PC queries, not mobile.
This new display result gives users an easy way to navigate the top listings in the category they are searching for, while still feeling integrated into Google search; the features can make the booking process nearly seamless.
This improvement should be much more popular than the Carousel, especially for those whose organic results place them in the top three!