- Google has added a "Browse by product" carousel above the traditional list of business locations in the Local Finder.
- The complex UI shows Google's clear intent to expand local search from a business locator to a product locator as well.
- Google is integrating the shopping and local graphs to promote local product search and ultimately product purchases on Google.
Google, the local search engine, is rapidly becoming a local shopping engine.
Today Khushal Bherwani, an SEO analyst in India, and Search Engine Roundtable highlighted an upgrade to the Local Finder that adds a local "Browse by product" carousel above the traditional list of business locations. When a product from the carousel is clicked it takes you to a new list view that features the product at the top and locations that carry it.
While a local Browse by product has been available through Google Shopping, placement at the top of the Local Finder and the display, integrating the product above a list of local stores, is new.
Browse by Product in Local Finder
Selecting "More places" in the search result takes the user to the Local Finder with a new inventory element at the top. Selecting a specific product takes the user to a new product-first view in the local listings. From there the user can scroll to a location that has the product – although there is no image indicating that in the listing view – or select "More about this product."
This a somewhat circuitous and confusing path; and if the user wants to purchase the product, makes the journey longer than necessary.
That being said, this upgrade shows the clear and unambiguous intention of Google to evolve local search from a basic business locator to a local product inventory locator for product-driven searches.
Integrating Local and Shopping Graphs
We can also observe, particularly in non-geo modified searches, the integration of both the shopping graph and the local graph into the main search results.
When products with local inventory are selected, the user is then given a choice of local stores to make a purchase. But with this type of ambiguous query, Google presents a confusing array of results that require a fair bit of scrolling to get to a local business.
Complicated Experience Should Improve
Clearly Google intends to integrate the shopping and local graphs to promote local product search and ultimately product purchases on Google. Yet bolting this experience on an already crowded search result makes for a complicated journey – albeit one that keeps the user on Google, more maze-like than rabbit hole.
We are still in the early development of local product search on Google. If users positively respond to these types of SERPs, we anticipate an improved experience over time. That's because local product inventory promotes two big Google goals: local transactions and product search that occurs on Google not Amazon.