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'Search by Location' Out of Beta
georgeek

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 7:45 am on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google's response to Yahoo SmartView local search is rolled out - various commentaries [reuters.com].

 

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 8:31 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bear in mind that this is still a beta--it'll keep getting better. :) I suspect the city vs. ZIP codes have slightly different centroids listed, so that could account for small differences..

pleeker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 8:41 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bear in mind that this is still a beta--it'll keep getting better. I suspect the city vs. ZIP codes have slightly different centroids listed, so that could account for small differences..

Understood completely. I assume what furthers the challenge is multiple zip codes in the same city -- that's when zip code-based searches could differ substantially from city name-based searches. I guess we'll be watching to see how this gets sorted out.

sweet_ali

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 8:57 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone,

I have 3 websites with local business directory information. All together, they have over 1,000 pages, all "hand built" and human edited with tens of 1,000s of business listings and new ones coming in every day. (I add them for free with no obligation).

I am trying to figure out if this new feature will be a positive event for my websites or a negative one. ON the one hand, Google is offering the same information I have provided (in my different topical categories = no hotel listings either); but on the other hand, my website is often prominently displayed with the web results listings presented by the local search.

Anyone care to hazard a theory as to how this might impact my sites?

In one of the news articles I found on Google News related to this matter, Local Search Online advertising is expected to grow to $2.5 billion

So now I am just discumbobulated in trying to figure out if I am fortunate to be a part of this or if this new feature means total disaster.

Thank You for any insight. GG, any thoughts?

Alina

PS: On Sunday, my Google SERPs across 1,000s of diffent 3,4 and 5 kw possibilities just died and my traffic dropped by 75 percent. With today's release of local search, I find that a strange and disturbing coincidence. It might be temporary, though, as I see the SERPs change several times a week.

Chndru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 8:59 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

>my website is often prominently displayed with the web results listings presented by the local search.

Well. you could run adsense or something like that, incase you haven't yet.

btw, welcome to WebmasterWorld, sweet_ali.

too much information

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 9:43 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wait a min. So Sasha has a problem with competitors showing with her URL?

Hey GG, can you give all my competitors my URL? That would be great! (kidding of course)

My question is how "local" is the search? I'm in a fairly populated area with many cities within the same local area. So if I search with my actual city name I'm there, but how many others will I show up for?

More directly, is this thing tied into some sort of GIS system? Something like what MapQ--- uses to locate or give directions?

If so, are you guys hiring? I've got a degree in that stuff! ;o)

258cib

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 11:25 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

sweet says:
am trying to figure out if this new feature will be a positive event for my websites or a negative one. ON the one hand, Google is offering the same information I have provided (in my different topical categories = no hotel listings either); but on the other hand, my website is often prominently displayed with the web results listings presented by the local search.

Anyone care to hazard a theory as to how this might impact my sites?

I will try, since my clients are in the same boat.

You have a problem and an opportunity, both.

The problem is, this is where people are going to go. The opportunity is that many, many businesses do not need a web site. They just need a directory listing that Google and Yahoo can find. Yellow Pages can offer that, but who needs them now?

Therefore, your listing has value. But, can you go from free to fee? It's difficult. What you might do, however, is to use your directory as a base, then offer its members enhancements. On your directory, for example, you can offer all of the same info, but having a web site url would cost x. At the same time, offer to administer whatever Y and G might offer for a fee.

The problem my clients are facing is that this isn't the biz they are in, so what to do with this opportunity? I'm trying to start a conversation with the local newspaper. But, they're clueless right now. (It's too early.)

mumbledawg

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 12:39 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

The opportunity is that many, many businesses do not need a web site.
What biz doesn't need a web site? I picked my new doc cause of the info on his web site. The pizza place, I want to see a menu. Home repair.. I certainly want more info than I can find in a phone book. I am trying to think what kind of biz doesn't need a site. Help me out here.

utica

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 1:32 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I noticed that in a search for "bigCityInAmerica widgetServices", the serps radiate out from the geographic center of the city. For a large city with a lot of zip codes, that does not make sense. (Of coarse I happen to be at the edge of the city :-(

Also noticed that all the sites in the serps had a comma after the city name on the indexed pages. Other sites that I would have thought would be listed either didn't have an address on their site ( of coarse it wouldn't be listed in that case) or didn't have a comma after the city name.

Learning Curve

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 2:28 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a feeling I'm going to get real sick of the word "centroid."

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:32 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, ILuvSrchEngines. What is it about combining multiple sources of data and geocoding web pages from across the web that reminds you of cats?

dmz17

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:40 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello GoogleGuy,

You wrote: "We generate this data from multiple sources, including Yellow Pages data as well as from the web. The web gives us more comprehensiveness whereas the Yellow Pages gives us more precision."

By "generate data from the web" do you mean the business address and phone number is extracted from another web page as seems to be the case from a couple of examples I tested? This is problematic as it's done without permission or even attribution.

The data from Yellow Pages, Google has presumably licensed. But re-presenting data collected from a web site without permission deprives the source web site of credit, page views, and potential revenue - among other things.

As webmasters we welcome search engines crawling our web sites with the understanding that it's used to help people come to our sites and not so search engines consolidate and republish our data (even if for the convenience of the end user) and reap financial benefit from that to boot.

Some of the things I've read about what Microsoft is trying to do with web search (integrating it into all desktop applications) raises the same red flags for me as far as repackaging and reusing web data without attribution or consent.

I hope Google clarifies what it's doing if I'm misunderstanding it, and addresses it if I'm not.

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:48 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

pleeker, about the city name/zip code difference: if you type in just the city name, we'll use the center of the city as the search. The same goes (roughly) for zip codes, but if zip codes and cities have different centers, then you can get slightly different results.

Note that you can type in an exact address and that will give you more precise answers. I just tried that a few minutes ago, and using an exact address changed my results for searches (and the results were a little more precise). So I'd go for an exact address if you want the best results.

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:49 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well I noticed that they not only grab the yellow page data and associate that, they also grab the billing data? of the "advertiser" and publish that info in the results. This is DANGEROUS in certain industries where the residence of the person should never be revealed! With a map feature as well... ACK!

Their address is not ever shown in the phone listing or the ad.

I know a lot of people that are going to have a freakin heart attack when they discover this.

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:55 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I also noticed something strange and potentially embarrassing in the links that show up if you type "item city state" or "city state item" into the regular google search. On one guy it had a link to some message he had posted on a website (because it had his name on it) and it had nothing to do with his business but it was displayed for all his customers to see!

Ooops!

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:57 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

dmz17, if you search for pizza in palo alto, we also try to show the best web page that we found that mentions that address, e.g. the first link is to a Stanford unofficial guide to good places to eat. There's also a link that says "and more related pages" that you can click on and see other web sites that mention that Domino's. I believe that this feature will drive more traffic to sites with good geographical information, in the same way that Google is overall beneficial for webmasters by driving traffic to their site. But if someone objects, they can use robot.txt on their site to make sure that Google won't ever index a specific web page or site.

<added>pele, sounds a little weird that a business would advertise in yellow pages but wouldn't want its address listed? What industry is this? The FAQ does talk about where to write if someone want to delete their listing though.</added>

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 6:05 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

But if someone objects, they can use robot.txt on their site to make sure that Google won't ever index a specific web page or site.

That kind of messes us up though! We won't be in the regular searches then either unless you separate the bots into a regular and local directory bot?
I also run a local info site and right now my site is coming up right under most of the searches when someone types "city state". It's fine if they use the regular google search but when they use the local google I'm toast.

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 6:16 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jewelry industry and gem dealers that sort of thing is what I am talking about. People get murdered this way. I'm not kidding. The thieves will stalk some of the stores to follow the owners then threaten them to open the safe later. Has happened...

Also... many of these yellow page listings are people who don't have websites and are completely clueless about anything to do with computers and the internet.

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 6:27 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm. This is data that's already out there in various sources or on the web, but definitely drop us a report if someone listed their home address as the business address accidently or something like that so we can check it out.

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 6:40 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm. This is data that's already out there in various sources or on the web, but definitely drop us a report if someone listed their home address as the business address accidently or something like that so we can check it out.

HOW? What subject title to use so it doesn't get lost? That's what I wanted to do.
thanks!

dinehart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 6:41 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe it's a good idea in the big scheme that Google did this. I mean what would the Internet search world come to if every big company purchased yellow page data and gave every category and listing the SEO magic?

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 6:49 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Needs serious work though! I'm seeing all sorts of irrelevent results from one shot things (shows and events) that happen to mention the search word and have an address on the site. Makes it really cluttered and confusing to wade through. The larger the city the larger the mess. (more shows and events)
;)

pele

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 7:03 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think certain stores are going to like this. I just realized that most of the results were the contact info and links to websites of the artists that are represented in the stores! So a customer looking for something locally can skip the middleman(store) and purchase direct from the manufacturer.
Hmmmm...

cyberfyber

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 7:10 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy, hello there,

I've seen the link where one is able to send in a request to be listed. I myself own a "from home" run business, very related to sites I already own...and I'll soon have the .INFO site for the business.

Thus, considering what's been mentioned about folks having their home address and such listed, how would Google approach something like a PO Box? 'That is, a PO Box registered in the Business' name?

Would this be acceptable?

dmz17

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 7:48 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello GoogleGuy,

Thanks for your quick reply, but let me be more specific with my question. If you search for "NY Pizza" in Palo Alto, CA:

<snip>

My question is whether a) that address and phone is *always* gotten from some Yellow Pages data that Google has licensed, or b) that address might have been extracted from one of the "related" web pages (e.g. the menuchannel.com site in that search)? I only have a problem if the latter.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:35 am (utc) on Mar. 26, 2004]
[edit reason] no specific searches or info [/edit]

ILuvSrchEngines



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 1:08 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think <snip> was a good example. It is a one word phase and probably one of a few things I would look for in this engine besides maybe a movie or a cigar. I would not use it for professional services. I do not want to work with someone who can not afford a web site or know how to use email.

Multiple word searches in this new local search don't work.

Let's say I just got arrested for drunk driving in Florida. (hiccup)

I do a search for the closest ‘dui lawyer’ in zip code ‘33308’

Instead of lawyer pages I get traffic school pages.

<snip>

A search in a different large city for the same phrase 'dui lawyer' brought back zero results.

<snip>

Should I use these search engines rather than Google? Are they better search engines than Google or others because they are more local to me? Are they even search engines?

This seems like grand folly, and maybe there is gold at the end of that thar rainbow in a few months or years, but it would sure be nice if Google fixed the primary Google search engine in the interim to allow local mom and pop sites back (after Florida filter) before creating more rocket science that is exploding on the launch pad.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:35 am (utc) on Mar. 26, 2004]
[edit reason] please review the tos. [/edit]

Chndru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 1:56 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

When you goto [local.google.com...] and do a search and scroll to the end, there's a link "Local Search Home" on the yellow bar, which is linked to a "Not Found". I thought they gonna fix this before it turned live on the homepage. alas!

258cib

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 2:00 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

mumbledawg says to my remark that not all biz need web sites:

..I certainly want more info than I can find in a phone book. I am trying to think what kind of biz doesn't need a site. Help me out here.

Tree services, auto repair shops, shoe repair, plumbers, locksmiths--they all buy YP ads, but they all say the same thing.

Everyone needs a web presence, but not a web site. Indeed, thanks to G and Y, a powerful local directory listing is now more valuable than a static web page.

My friend with the used books store has a e-commerce site. Does well with it. But, she can't compete on G and Y on "books." But, thanks to her directory listing, with a local search she pops up among the top listings along with Borders and Barnes & Noble.

G and Y both have some work to do, but us ol' timers remember back in the day, when even search was pretty weak. (Keep in mind that AdSense is year old next month.)

GodLikeLotus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 2:03 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

GG - "we also try to show the best web page that we found that mentions that address"

Our US directory (UK Hosted) is showing top in the normal SERPS but when we look at the "Local Results" and the "Related Web Pages" our site is no where to be seen. Do I now need the site to be hosted in the US?

switchboard.com seem to have done very well out of this.

jmccormac

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 2:27 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

What is it about combining multiple sources of data and geocoding web pages from across the web that reminds you of cats?

Herding them? :)

Regards...jmcc

flicker

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 3:57 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow! I'm late to the party on this one, but I *love* this local Google search. I need some new boots, and I've had poor luck ordering shoes online (sizing is so variable,) but I didn't have any luck at the shoe stores in the mall last weekend. I just tried a Google search and got the little "local results" box up top automatically... including a shoe store I've never been to ten minutes from my house that apparently carries the kind of boots I'm looking for. I'll be paying them a visit this weekend. (-:

Of course, this wouldn't be so critical if the regular results I got back weren't useless spammy garbage, the adwords on the side weren't all about a city in a different state with the same name as mine (despite my specifying my state in the search), or any shoe stores were listed in my town's ODP category. But those things being the case, I was surprised and pleased to see the local results offered as an alternative. :-D Two thumbs up over here.

Chndru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22693 posted 5:04 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I'll be paying them a visit this weekend

Good. Dont forget to ask them, if they would like a website :)

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