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Local Search Forum

What is "local" about local search?
How many flavors of local are there?

 12:22 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I search for local businesses, that is, in my backyard. I'm a local searching local businesses. Is that "local search"?

I'm from NJ and I search for goods and services that I or someone else will consume in Chicago. Example: Hotel or lodging, when I visit. Maybe I order a care package that I have delivered to my son at college? Maybe I retain a lawyer in college town X in the event (heaven forbid) my son is caught, ummm, say streaking? [small]Anyone remember streaking? Will that social event come around again?[/small}

What qualifies as local in the realm of local search?

What makes any given search qualify for the designation?

Are there well defined criteria?

Okay, enough already about this local search stuff for awhile. Can you tell it's been on my mind? Time to pester people in the forum and community building threads. ;-)

[edited by: Webwork at 12:28 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2005]



 12:26 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

IMHO, Local search represents the search for physical entities instead of websites. To me, when you're doing local search, you're looking for businesses with physical presence or storefronts.


 12:56 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is a search for an entity that doesn't have a local physical presence but will act locally a "local search"?

Say I need sympathy flowers delivered to a funeral home in Des Moines?

Does it matter to the definition of "local search" whether a local florist fashions and delivers the wreath? What if a FedEx truck shows up with the wreath from a central processing facility?

Is a local physical presence the sine qua non of local search, that is "that which makes local search local"?

What about arranging for "local action" or "local delivery of services"? Sympathy flowers is one example. What about arranging for a limo to pick up a friend, one that travels from NJ to NYC to pick up a friend?

Is it "local", Jake, when I perform a search and arrange for Desiree from the Kitty Kat Ranch in Las Vegas to arrive at your doorstep tonight in Outer Mongolia? I needed a local service provider. Is it the locus of the services that matters?

Any exceptions of broad import?

I tend to agree that a physical presence, a storefront, goes a long way to defining local search. Does that capture or define the market entirely?

I'm not devoting my time splitting hairs so much as I'd like to fully grasp what is meant when people or companies or SEs talk about "local search".

What makes local search local? I want to fully appreciate what we're measuring, going after, selling, etc. when we're talking about the future of local search.


 5:01 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is it "local", Jake, when I perform a search and arrange for Desiree from the Kitty Kat Ranch in Las Vegas to arrive at your doorstep tonight in Outer Mongolia? I needed a local service provider. Is it the locus of the services that matters?

Any exceptions of broad import?

Or broad export, as the case may be.


 5:41 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Desiree may fall under the "physical entities" rule, i.e., she is the storefront or the storebehind if you prefer that view of the matter. ;0)

That aside are we certain we've fully explored or exhausted the question: What is - or are - the defining characteristics or attributes of 'local searh'.

This gets to the question: What exactly is being measured when pundits or promotors or industry execs refer to this thing known as "local search".

Is local search simply a matter of local for a local 'physical thing'?

Does the definition matter? Does defining the scope of what is being talked about matter?


 2:12 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jake, it occurs to me to ask: When somone is performing a search preparatory to deciding whether to vacation in St. Martin or St. Maarten is that search "local"?

For instance, when I search for weather or seasonal information, is that "local"?

When I want to see pictures of beaches on either side of the island is that local?

Is a search for general information about St. Martin (French cuisine) vs. St. Maarten (Dutch cuisine?) local? It's definately localized.


 4:26 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)


Local search!= localized search.

Is "pictures of St. Marteen" local search? I'm not sure.

Is "pictures of restaurants in St. Marteen" local search? Probably.

Is a search about the differences in local cuisine "Local search"? No, not at all (remember this is IMHO).

I struggle with the same issues you do, Webwork. My opinion is exactly that, and it's my opinion that I'm designing my local search engine in mind with. ;-) No one's figured it out completely yet; there is no killer local search app at the moment.

To be sure, there can be many types of local search. Chicago and I were speaking about this last night. There's varying approaches - from the destination side (Citysearch), to the aggregation side (G Local), to somewhere in the middle (Yahoo and us).

I see your other post, I'll post more there...


 11:59 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

My take on local search:

A search that gives better results when a location is specified.

This can be applied to products, services, information and probably much more. I think the definition has to be about the value of the location in the search rather than the type of item being searched for.

It's important to remember that many companies have skewed local results with SEO techniques, that's legitimate for them to do but it does make the definition of local search trickier to pin down. An example of this would be hotel searches, we all know that a few companies dominate results on the whole but local sites, often with better information about their small area, can still be found with local searches.

I can see a big change coming in the UK which may spread to the US (having just landed a potentially large Local Search contract for an under-represented classification of local search provider that may not cross people's minds currently). Obviously I can't give too many details but you will either hear about it, in which case it is significant, or not, in which case I will have wasted 6 months and a lot of a clients cash :(

Verticals are the way that I see things developing, I don't think that is at all controversial. The major fight is going to be between those that will emerge as leaders in each vertical market and how defined each market will be. I don't see the new classification shifting some of the more established players, but in lesser developed verticals they are well placed to take the lead.

I'm sure you all have thoughts about the direction of local search, it's going to be interesting finding out who is the closest to correct.

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