Deep Dive: Review Carousel but So Much more. Meet the Query Carousel!
Carrie Hill

Join Carrie & Mike as they discuss the new “Query Carousel” which is sourcing content from reviews to the top of your Google Business Listing.  But wait!  We’re also seeing posts, Q&A and possibly more affect this carousel as well. They explore what might be triggering the carousel to show up for queries – from specific product or service keywords to the number of reviews.

Mike: Hi. Welcome to “Deep Dive” in Local. Mike Blumenthal and Carrie…

Carrie: Hill.

Mike: Hill.

Mike: It is and my memory is shorter. I have a terrible case of jetlag and I apologize for continually forgetting your last name. Anyways, today, Carrie encouraged me to, us to talk about the new review carousel that we identified last week, Anil Taginga Badio (sp) a digital marketing specialist in Canada, you’ve identified?

Carrie: I think so. Canada.

Mike: And he sent it to me, I tweeted it. But we wanted to go into more depth about it. It’s actually more interesting than it first appears on its surface. Last week, he sent it, Anil sent me an example from State Farm in Canada which was showing essentially a review carousel high up in the business profile on mobile and desktop searches, and as I looked at it over the weekend, Carrie and I looked at it earlier, and it seems to be more than that and we just wanted to explore some of that. So I’d like to share my screen and stop our video and hopefully, you can see this search, “engagement rings Williamsville.” Is it visible to you Carrie?

Carrie: Yeah. Yeah. It looks good Mike.

Mike: So what Anil identified was written up by Barry Schwartz and Search Engine Land and confirmed by Google as a new feature was this new section of the business profile called “related to your search,” where, at least what we saw last week was reviews. So this query is for engagement rings, Barbara Oliver Jewelry, all of the reviews that mention engagement rings…oops. Hang on. All of the reviews that mention engagement rings show up in this carousel. But as I was exploring it over the weekend…well, firstly, when do they show up and how do you find them? Because they don’t show up on every profile, even when the profile, when you go into a profile and you see certain phrases, they may or may not show up for these same phrases. It appears that there has to be a fairly large number of reviews firstly for these to show. We don’t know exactly but certainly, more than 15, maybe more than 100 reviews in their review corpus for this to show. That’s one criteria. And the other is the query seems to make a difference.

For example, the query “jewelry Williamsville,” does not show the carousel. So it appears to be more intent-related around product. And seems to be some weird stuff with, even with plurals and singulars. For example, this query “wedding ring” shows the review carousel but wedding rings doesn’t, which is really a little bit strange given that the review itself has the word wedding rings in it. Right? So it’s not clear to me quite why it doesn’t. But also note that this related to your search section is elevated above the address in the knowledge graph which I think is significant, at least for now, everything’s for now with Google, right? It shows how important they think it is. So that was what we reported last week if I can confirm by Google. So as we were exploring this, what became obvious is, one, it doesn’t typically show up for, the review carousel doesn’t show up for people with very few reviews but oftentimes, Google posts would show up that are, have the word wedding ring in it for example. And we noted with, now this one, Scanlon Jewelers, which has 48 reviews, he has wedding rings, he has 3 of them, reviews about them, he’s not getting any treatment. But Andrews Jewelers is getting sort of a combination treatment of a Google post plus wedding ring reviews.

Carrie: How many does he…click on his reviews link Mike. What does his places label say? Is there wedding rings in there at all?

Mike: It doesn’t show. Not at all but there’s a lot around rings. So it doesn’t show at all. But again, notice how high it is here. And then this one, he has several posts, older posts, they’re not current posts, which is interesting because it will surface older posts. They’re not product posts, they’re just regular posts that mention wedding rings plus reviews. So the carousel that is shown here related to search can be more complete, more full with other things. We did notice that it shows, it doesn’t show as much on sort of categorical phrases like jewelry, like even when they have a lot of reviews or they may have posts around it or not seeing it. So Carrie did some interesting searches where, this is from their product feed, is showing up in this area. And this was “drawer pull Denver.” And it’s showing up from the product feed. And again, notice that…

Carrie: It’s not showing…

Mike: Nothing for these. Although this one too has it from some sort of product feed. This one, which is Applewood Plumbing and Heating shows up a Q&A in here as well as the questions.

Carrie: And reviews.

Mike: As well as the reviews. So it’s got Q&A. So it appears that Google is looking for content related to the search intent, so this is for “water heater,” from any of multiple areas, it could be a product post, could be a service post, could be a Q&A, could be a review. And that is elevating that content in the business profile in this, oops, carousel form, which I think is just, is fascinating. What do you think in terms of…I mean, personally, what do you think about it? Secondly, what do you think the tactics are around it?

Carrie: So I think it’s kind of volatile still. Sometimes it shows, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, you have to do a few queries before you actually start seeing them show up. But it tells me that we should probably start paying pretty close attention to the query intent or the semantic intent in our reviews, right? So when you ask for a review, if you use the language you want in the review back, it could be helpful, you know. If we want our reviews to mention we bought an engagement ring, or they installed a hot water heater, this is becoming more important and I’m not seeing any where the business’ response to the review is surfacing. So I’m not sure that’s going to be enough, right? So I think, the right words in your reviews are going, if this sticks, is going to become more important. I think posts with all of your products and all of your services…

Mike: Let’s just deal with this first question about the right words in your reviews. Certainly, if you get a lot of reviews, this is going to happen naturally, that’s point one. Point two is as we saw, it appears to be more sort of sentence related than these places tag related, right? Because we saw in that one case where they had plenty of them in the places tag, they still didn’t get this, I’m not quite sure why. But it seems to be, and it appears to be that they show the whole sentence as opposed to highlighting these tags. So it seems to be using a slightly different way of surfacing it. So to me, and the review side, volume of reviews is the easiest way to achieve sort of broader exposure.

Carrie: And we think our target’s about 100, right?

Mike: At least. Yes. I haven’t found, it’s hard to find…You see a lot of people with 30, 40, 50, 60, 70. We haven’t seen this in those. So it’s somewhere beyond that. Obviously, Barbara has 181 and Andrew has 184 and Garelick has 205. But Garelick is a good example. Brings us to something that’s much more controllable than reviews, right? Google posts. And these are not even product posts. These are just posts where they mention engagement rings. So I think the second tactic is to look at Google posts from a semantic sort of categorical search-related kind of way and be sure that…

Carrie: Specific products. I think those specific, because we’re not seeing this show up for those category queries. So your specific products, engagement rings, water heater, you know. Those pieces I think are important. Instead of just saying, “Hey, we’re a plumber,” don’t say, “we’re a plumber.” Say, “We replace hot water heaters, we replace,” “we fix drains.” I don’t know what those people are called but whatever.

Mike: Exactly. Yeah. So I think you want to be thinking about posts, to cover a broad array of the products and services you offer as well.

Carrie: I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to maybe eventually see Google pulling posts and services information into here. It seems to me like a lot of this is sort of surfacing that search suggest piece of the Q&A, so when you ask your question and it starts surfacing content to try and answer it before you post the question, this seems to kind of be playing off that a little bit, and that pulls post data in. So, or not post, product data in. So I think that, maybe seeing products just show up in here from your Google My Business dashboard might happen in the future, but I like using posts versus products because you can put your call to action in there. It looks a little bit fresher. So I think that there’s a, there’s a benefit to using both of course, in my opinion.

Mike: Right. And with products, we are seeing some, there’s the feed feature which has been around for a while but we are seeing some GMBs with the beta of product posts, a product feature to allow very small businesses to post some limited number of products. And then, we’re seeing the Q&A which I think is interesting as well.

Carrie: For sure. So that’s like, so we talked about reviews, we talked about getting your posts in there with your individual products or services, and the third piece is making sure that you have Q&A on your pages that ask and answer questions related to individual products and services. Do you custom design engagement rings? Do you replace hot water heaters? Do you sell green furnaces? You know. Those very specific queries probably will be triggering, yeah, just like, and here’s an example, custom engagement rings, custom, custom, custom, custom.

Mike: Let me just see. I know she has a Q&A, custom jewelry design. Let’s see if we can surface that here. No. It doesn’t surface. She does have a Q&A, do you custom design jewelry. Let’s just try changing this and see what happens. Custom design jewelry.

Carrie: Yup.

Mike: Oh, there. There it is, right? So that’s weird though but do you custom design jewelry brings it up but custom jewelry design doesn’t.

Carrie: So very specific query matching. That’s interesting.

Mike: Yeah. Very specific query matching. I’m not sure what that means. I think you’re better off dealing with that in your post than in Q&A, right? I think it would get kind of weird to have Q&As about custom jewelry design and…

Carrie: Custom design jewelry.

Mike: Yeah. Custom design jewelry. Right. And it seems to be very…

Carrie: It would look artificial to me to see that.

Mike: Right. That would make more sense, but it does show you that the Q&A should also refract your broad product categories and service categories as well. It will surface.

Carrie: I think it’s interesting. I think the placement in the business listing so high up kind of makes this something that we should definitely be looking at. I mean, even if, do you think it’s too volatile to start working this stuff in Mike? I mean, I think long run, putting this content in your GMB is not going to hurt you. How they surface it may change, right, if they don’t keep this carousel, but certainly, adding more content to your GMB, be it posts or Q&A or whatever is not a bad thing.

Mike: Exactly. I think that you need to revisit your Q&A strategy and be sure that the questions deal with the major product and service categories, in addition to other common questions you get. I think you need to revisit your post strategy to make sure that you’ve got several posts in each of those so that, we did see, where was that example where it was just one Google post showing? Do you remember what that query was on?

Carrie: Oh darn. I think it was a plumbing query but I can’t remember.

Mike: Yeah. Well, what we saw was if you have more than one query, they use the small mobile tabs. If you have more than one post that serves the, that matches the query intent, or the query keywords, we’re not sure what it is, it does this sort of smaller…

Carrie: It’s like a wider post.

Mike: Right. If you only have one, it just gives you a single one there. So it’s a little more visible and obvious. So I think that from a tactical point of view, it makes sense to revisit your Q&A, to revisit your post strategy, to be sure that your posts and your Q&A are addressing this broad range of products and services you’re doing. It doesn’t hurt, right? As you pointed out, it will show up other places if they’re not showing up here. I think in terms of reviews, I’ve never been a big fan of sort of sculpting reviews too carefully. I do think though that when you’re asking, you could modify your request to include those phrases and I think it would subtly suggest that they use them. Thank you for buying an engagement ring from us. We would hope you would review.

Carrie: I think that that’s, another customer touch point though. That’s another, like if you can personalize that ask a bit, they take, like, “Thank you for shopping with Barbara Oliver. I appreciate your business.” Or, “I really appreciate you buying your custom engagement ring from Barbara Oliver Jewelers. Can you, share with us how you felt the process went?” Or something like that. I think if you ask with the specific product or service that you did, they feel even more seen, right? Because you’ve personalized it. So beyond getting them to parrot that verbiage back to you in their review, you’re making them get the warm fuzzies because you actually acknowledge what they bought from you.

Mike: And as I note, with Heather up, if you use tags when you upload a customer to send them a review ask, if you use a tag, you can use like engagement rings, you can use that tag in the email to customize emails, to personalize it. So certainly, this whole process can be automated with tools as well. So to me, this looks interesting because it seems very important to Google, it’s interesting they confirmed that they’ve rolled the product out to Search Engine Land. So I think in that sense, it’s worth paying attention to. I think it’s fairly easy and trivial to show up well here with content. If you’ve been doing it right along in the right way, you’re already there and I think you can just sort of buff the edges of your tactics around Q&A, posts, products, and reviews, and see even more benefits.

Carrie: For sure. And if you’re not doing posts or you quit doing them because they moved them down to the panel or, whatever your reasons may be, I think that this should renew your interest for sure.

Mike: Right. So anything else to add?

Carrie: I don’t think so. I think we’ve got to come up with a good name for ’em though. I don’t know…we’ve got to work on that.

Mike: I will think about it over the weekend. If anybody comes up with a name, let us know.

Carrie: Sounds good. Thanks Mike.

Mike: All right. Thank you Carrie.

Carrie: We’ll see y’all later.

Mike: Bye.

Carrie comes to Sterling Sky with SEO experience that dates back to 2005! She has a passion for figuring out what works for each and every client and picking apart the problems that arise in our “it depends” relationship with Google. She has also been organizing and nurturing the LocalU Conference Series since 2017 – through to today – across a hectic few years of pandemic and back into in-person conferences again.