As usual, Google has found something else new to test – something that Search Engine Land is calling “Local Business Cards” in search results! Although this is something that Google hasn’t named themselves yet, it’s still a reasonable description of the new card carousel test that is featuring content from local businesses near the top of the search results.
Mike Blumenthal was the first to spot the test, and was further confirmed by Greg Sterling that this is a real test. The idea behind Local Business Cards is the same as Candidate Cards, which was launched a few weeks ago.
Here are a couple screen shots that show off local businesses participating in the test – Healthy Choice Massage and Escape Pod Comics
At the moment, this pure experiment has involved only “a few dozen” local businesses that Google approached, which shows all custom content that isn’t being drawn from Google My Business, or any other feeds. This is also the first time that Google has introduced or allowed animation/GIFs on a search results page.
Although the cards can be shown on desktop, the format was created with mobile users in mind. Local Business Cards will appear on desktop immediately adjacent to the Knowledge Panel featuring that business. When using mobile, they can be found below the Knowledge Panel equivalent.
The intent behind these Local Business Cards is to let the business communicate something directly in the search results, such as content or information that highlights the business’ products or services in ways that Knowledge Panels doesn’t quite allow. Plus, the content is sharable directly from within the carousel.
Will Google be rolling out this feature in the future? Right now, it seems that the company hasn’t made any decisions about that yet.