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'Search by Location' Out of Beta

 7:45 am on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



 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 :)


 6:54 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

(Background: my wife and I are trying to adopt a baby.)

I just sent an e-mail to my wife about the new local search and told her to check it out.

She wrote back, "I tried 'available babies' in our area and no kids' names came up."

This is why we don't discuss search engine stuff over dinner.


 8:42 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like Iggy99 am having the same problem of not being listed at all. The difference being that I'm a niche business. I'm almost constantly in the top ten for my search term but I can't even find a listing for my business name in the local directory. My business name incorporates my last name which is not a very common name, so uncommon that if you search for it on google either my website or sites linking to it dominate the serps. So now I have to find out what directory they using so I can get listed. The worst thing is some of my competitors are listed and they don't even have websites........


 12:49 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, not sure I like it. It puts something above my listing for my local area and industry. I am in a small suburb of the area and won't "As relevant" I believe for the Local Area.

Out of my industry, yeah it works OK.

Robert Charlton

 7:50 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy - Great to see this. Any plans to add county as a location option? For some locales, it's a common way of identification.

Also, what about metro areas? The San Francisco Bay Area is a perfect example. A business might be located in Palo Alto, but really be serving the whole Bay Area. If you set the distance to 45 miles and search San Francisco, you get results listed by proximity to city center, with those further away appearing further down on the list... This is legit for pizza, probably less so for web design. It's a complex issue that receives a fair amount of discussion in the Directory Forum. I suspect that now it will come up here as well.


 11:39 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

godlikelotus - "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"

I'm seeing the same thing for "restaurants local city" for several cities - the site that has the top spot on the regular SERPS is nowhere to be found on the local search.

very strange.


 1:39 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I read that the data is being cross referenced with Yellow Pages. Of course, this begs the question which Yellow Pages?


Also is it the print versions or the electronic versions that the data is pulled from? Since there are free listings available for some of these yellow pages, is that data used or is only the paid listings, and if so, which paid listing? For example YellowPages.com has Premium, Enhanced, and Basic business electronic listings. They also have Banner Ads and Display Ads, not to mention the entire print directory. Whew....

Thanks for any guidance.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:38 am (utc) on Mar. 26, 2004]
[edit reason] please review the tos on urls [/edit]


 1:44 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I run a local directory site that has a photo gallery. A search for (my city) scenic photographs gives me a #3 ranking on google. The same search on the local offering omits me completely. It seems that not only are local directories not getting credit for the information that they provide, but they are being excluded from results that their content should get good rankings for.

I wonder how google expects local directories to survive long enough to keep feeding them information, if google is going out of its way to starve them and put them out of business. It's going to be very hard to sell advertising on a site after traffic and rankings begin to dry up.


 1:56 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wish Google would sort out its basic serp quality, rather than mess around with all these add-ons.

Next they'll be offering advertising space on unused empty-content domains purchased in bulk by huge companies.

Oh heck - they're already doing that with domainpark :)

Er what next, maybe celebration of selective holidays, based on what Google regards as being of worldwide importance - Oh heck - they've done it with St Patrick's Day! (do they do Muslim Holidays also?)

O.K. here's another try, before you sort out your serps Google, what about 'Google Dating Services'?

There's something about GG, with his confusing and unfathomable announcements, that's not without its enigmatic appeal.


You could call it, 'Shagoogle' or something like that...


 4:53 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was wondering when you would show up to spread your rays of sunshine, SyntheticUpper. ;) dmz17, the information can come from either or both. Seeing an address in yellow pages and then verifying it by seeing it on the web can be a good way to gain more confidence in the data. Chndru, many thanks for mentioning the broken link. I emailed the geo team about it and pointed them to this thread so that they could read the feedback if they weren't already. 258cib, I think you've got the right attitude in message 72. The title of this thread not withstanding, Local Search is still in beta, but we're looking forward to improving the ability for people to find stuff near them. GodLikeLotus, I don't think the web pages need to be hosted in the U.S. but after the geo folks have a chance to read this thread, I'll ask them. Good point, Robert Charlton. I know that you and nyehouse have been thinking about local for a long time--I can tell it from your posts. peteboyd, I don't think we've talked about which YP sources we're using, or at least not yet.

That's at least a pass to answer questions (the FAQ answers a few more). My parents are in town and I'm (gasp) taking a day off today, but I'll check WebmasterWorld again tonight. By that time, people will have noticed that Yahoo just added a graphical little bar to Yahoo's toolbar that shows a rank as you surf around the web and folks will be eagerly dissecting and debating it, I'm sure. :)


 5:53 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

By that time, people will have noticed that Yahoo just added a graphical little bar to Yahoo's toolbar that shows a rank as you surf around the web and folks will be eagerly dissecting and debating it, I'm sure.

I love when GG talks about what the other guys are up to. :)

Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Looking forward to some statements from G about the sources of the yellow page-type information in Google Local.


 7:57 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

When you click on the full geo results for a given search, many cite the Yellow Pages source. Looks like Verizon Superpages and Switchboard Yellow Pages are the prime sources.

SuperPages seems to offer a free business profile, but I'm not able to make it work right now. Switchboard looks like it's $15 per month. Anyone have any insight into other Yellow Page sources they're using, and cost?


 8:09 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

You are welcome, GG.

I am a big fan of location search too. Someday, i hope, when i drive around the country (or do geo-caching), G would be able to show the nearest atm/bar, based on geo-positioning data. Would someone tell Mr.page a 'yes' vote about the hand-held google devices he is thinking abt. lol.


 1:26 am on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is very bad for me... my business is in a small bedroom community... if I search using that city name, I come right up,

But if I search using the big city (where I get all my customers), my competitors are all there, but Not me at all!

Any suggestions?


 1:29 am on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

When I see you talking Local Search, GG, I can't help but to smile. Its very refreshing and quite welcome.

Data is the engine that drives local search. Most IYPs purchase data from Acxiom Corp or InfoUSA. This data serves as IYP result set backfill, so that they can serve positive and comprehensive result sets to searchers, regardless of the number of paying ads. The IYPs, in turn, sell different levels of enhanced placement above the alpha listed back fills. The backfill data tends to be average at best because quite frankly most people don't know much about these data monsters, and updates take months rather than days.

G's Local Search structure is unique in that data is derived by crawling the web, while utilizing an algo to model the data against proximity scores. This is accomplished in a pure search environment. Data is collected across the *entire web, including authoritative yp properties, directory structures. The algo has checks and balances that interpret and cross reference data in a manner that no IYP has even come close to.

From an optimization standpoint, Gs Local search is much less maniputable than a common search result set. Personalization thru Proximity and Preference measures is where we are going, and unless you can show up in multiple external web sources around the web with dummy data that puts you .7 miles from Jon Doe user, I would instead put my focus on *accurate and consistant external local data* for your business or for your client's business and think about adwords.

This move is good for the local search marketplace, and search in general. We are creating temporary reference points that define future models, trends, and relationships. In the process the small business and the user are benefiting.

Right now a small business is being pulled up for the first time by a local searcher on G. The difference between today and last tuesday is that this business *may not of done a single thing* to appear on top of this G serp. That is remarkable.

Your altruism continues to compell G and your ability to use it to naturally invite monetization is simply remarkable.


 2:19 am on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is there any HTML code such as <address> OR XML that would help Google see that we have an address and business info?

Is any of the current data from an actual site or just databases thus far. Most of the Local listings if you click on do not offer a link to a site. Is this desired currently or do you see future links to sites?



 3:08 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great news for local directory sites! A link to a listing from my local directory site just appeared in G's beta local search results. I hope that this is an indication that they have decided that they're better off keeping us locals around rather than starving us out.

I realize that they've tried many new features and you can't count on anything being a sure thing, but this is very encouraging to me. I hope it means that they see more value in cooperating with the folks that give them their best information, rather than viewing us as competition to be crushed.


 3:11 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

my business is in a small bedroom community

Sounds appealing :) - but what do you mean?


 4:55 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Blimey, can't believed I missed this thread. The sooner they hit Europe with this the better.


 6:17 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

She wrote back, "I tried 'available babies' in our area and no kids' names came up."

This is why we don't discuss search engine stuff over dinner.

This is why I am a bit cynical about all of this new stuff that is being introduced. I am in the UK and I have never had any problems finding local services (using the Internet or otherwise.) Isn't this the WORLDWIDE Web we are talking about? If the Internet had been introduced as a local service, (let's call it the HTWW or Home Town Wide Web) it would never have taken off. People would have dismissed it as some sort of cable channel gimmick. It is it's international nature that is appealing.

In this community we all know a wee bit about computers and are capable of commenting on the new features but we are definitely not typical. The skills of the average Internet user are also increasing with time but my guess is that probably less than 1% of them will take the trouble to play around with the new stuff. I can't help feeling that the development time used on this would have been better spent on further improving the basic search results.

The original appeal of Google was that it had a lot of blank white space on it's home page with a box where you entered your search and generally found what you were looking for quite quickly. You were not pi&&ed of by adverts and did not really need to know anything about computers to use it.

I appreciate that the screen now does not look all that different to what it was originally but adding new options that most people will not use at the expense of better results may be a big mistake. I am computer savvy but I still wan't to be able to find everything from the home page. I don't want to have to set up personal preferences or try to remember where the local search is. Could be a move in the wrong direction.

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