Google Takes Action to Improve Usability In Carousel Results Using Breadcrumbs as a Selection Indicator

Google’s Carousel results may vary in appearance like having star ratings or not, and may also sometimes vary in how they are labelled in the search results whose ranking seems to correlate well with Wikipedia city pages. Probably the most common you would find is mentioning the results near the location you are searching. Although from time to time you may also find results indicating that the business is in the location and not near the location, or sometimes mentions the results that are most popular based on the amount of mentions.

3 different examples of labels in Google Carousel: Restaurants near San Diego, Museums frequently mentioned on the web, and Hotels near San Diego that include possible reservation dates.
Notice the differences in Google’s labeling of the title of the carousel results

Carousel Results are Entry Points to Branded Search

Once clicking on one of the carousel results, this does not immediately bring you to the website of the listed business. Instead it changes all the organic search results below it to be a branded search query of the business you clicked on.

Once clicked, there are a few cues indicating that you chose a specific selection.

Search query and red underline are the clearer selection indicators, but the title does not clearly indicate this.
When a result is clicked on in the carousel results, it’s labelled title can still be a bit confusing.

Once a result on the carousel is clicked, the main selection indicator you have are the red underline on the selected item in the carousel and the actual branded search query in the search box.

Breadcrumbs as a Selection Indicator

Breadcrumbs are always useful for usability purposes, aside from being a navigational tool to move within some online site architecture, it gives users a good sense of where you are in a topic hierarchy. That’s why they are good for websites where traffic can come from anywhere going to any page. The breadcrumbs clear up a lot of confusion immediately where the content you are viewing is located in relation to other content pages on the site. This leads to better user experience; it’s always a good practice to have breadcrumbs.

Google Improves Usability of the Carousel with Breadcrumbs

Once a listing in the carousel is clicked, the breadcrumb appears instead of the previous label that mentions the businesses near, in or popular in the location. Instead it turns into a breadcrumb in this type of format: City > Business/Organization Type > Company/Organization Name.

Selected result in carousel clearly posted in the breadcrumb navigation.
The new breadcrumb label on the carousel results gives a clearer indication of the selected listing that was clicked on.

In our opinion, this is a clearer label that is less confusing to the user giving them a better idea of what is listed on the page.

After clicking on Allan Hancock College in the mini carousel, it is added to the breadcrumb label. But when a selected was clicked in the restaurants results, the chosen selection is not indicated in the label.
New breadcrumb label clearly shows selected carousel item, while the old label that is currently on most carousel queries is just not that clear in stating that a selected item was clicked.

As of this moment, we are not sure if this breadcrumb in carousel results is a new and permanent feature of Google and if it will roll out to other keyword queries. So far we have been seeing the new breadcrumbs on carousel labels for education related keywords such as college, university, or school in combination with a city name. We also observed it appearing in general tourist interest keywords like attractions, or points of interest in combination with a city name.

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