The Google Knowledge Graph Carousel has been a popular feature that affects a number of local search results. It now appears that Google has a new smaller version of the carousel which we are unofficially calling it the Mini Carousel. These carousel results seem to be highly influenced by geographical information on the Wikipedia city pages on what results are prioritized and ranked higher in the listings. It makes a lot of sense for Google to come up with this mini carousel result for areas that may not have a large amount of listings to post.
The New Google Mini Carousel Results in Relation to Wikipedia
For instance, when the query “universities in santa maria” is used, a breadcrumb appears with results from the “Colleges and Universities” section of Santa Maria’s Wikipedia page. As you can see, the three colleges that are being displayed in this breadcrumb are the only three universities that are included under that specific section of the sidebar knowledge graph information where most of its data is being pulled from the Wikipedia page.
But upon visiting the actual Wikipedia page, one of the schools is not listed in any way, anywhere on the Santa Maria Wikipedia page.
CET-Santa Maria or Center for Employment Training is not found anywhere on the Wikipedia page. Since the Wikipedia page may change anytime, we also checked all the previous 50 updates in Wikipedia in the revision history that goes back 7 months earlier and all did not mention CET-Santa Maria.
CET or Center for Employment Training may not be on Wikipedia but it does have its Google+ local page that was probably sufficient enough for Google to include it in the Mini Carousel Results but is less prioritized.
Google’s Standard Carousel Results in Relation to Wikipedia
A query for a larger geographical location such as “universities in san diego” results in the Google Knowledge Graph Carousel.
The source of data in the mini carousel appears to be the same and also prioritizes results that are listed or mentioned in anyway on the Wikipedia San Diego page but there still seems to be some inconsistencies.
We have found 9 universities and colleges listed in Wikipedia that were not on the carousel:
- San Diego Miramar College
- San Diego Christian College
- University of Redlands School of Business
- Pacific Oaks College San Diego Campus
- Chapman University
- The Southern States University
- UEI College
- Woodbury University School of Architecture
- University of San Diego School of Law
And we found 6 universities on the carousel that are not in Wikipedia:
- San Diego Continuing Education
- Golf Academy of America
- Fashion Careers College
- Rady School of Management
- Jacobs School of Engineering
- California Miramar University
But aside from common local SEO factors, such as having the Google+ location page, consistencies in NAP information, citations and reviews, the top carousel results are all on Wikipedia, although this may just be a “correlation result” and not necessarily a “causation result”.
Although this study may not be as thorough as possible where we observe multiple cities, and really come up with some statistical correlation analysis, just by looking at these results alone our speculations believe that:
- Smaller cities or counties with fewer selections to choose from will have the mini carousel.
- Carousel listings with higher rankings will often have some type of mention in the Wikipedia page of the city but it is indefinite if the Wikipedia listings are actually causing Google to prioritize the listing.
Main Action Item
As part of local SEO, aside from the local site submissions on citation sources, promoting to customers to give reviews and star ratings, optimizing listing especially on Google+ it is important to also check the city page in Wikipedia.
If your targeted non-branded keywords trigger a carousel result, then check if it is possible to mention the business or organization you are optimizing for on the Wikipedia city page. You are encouraged to do so as long as it is not spammy and is actually useful to the reader and is included in the right section of Wikipedia to avoid any type of deletion from other Wikipedia users.
It is important to note that Wikipedia may not necessarily be causing Google to rank the site higher in the carousel, and it just so happens that local businesses that are popular with lots of reviews and good ratings will often be more likely that someone would be writing about them also on Wikipedia. So answering if this technique will actually help is still questionable, but it is still a good marketing practice anyway. Lastly, please, please, please do not spam Wikipedia, that is not what we are recommending.