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This 52 message thread spans 2 pages: 52 ( [1] 2 > >     
Local Google Killed My Traffic
renee




msg:165752
 3:19 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

My traffic dropped to 10% after Google Local came about. My web pages continue to be in the top 5 of the serps for my main keywords - "city widget".

Looking at my logs, most of my referrals are from Google Local. This means that most of the surfers go to Google Local and about 10% are not satisfied and try the websites listed by google local.

Do you folks have the same experience or is it just me?

 

3rdWaveEd




msg:165753
 2:27 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very similar for my sites with a localized SEO focus, but my sites with national SEO focus aren't affected. I think that any positioning based on "mytown widgets" is going to need rethinking if this stays in effect.

jdMorgan




msg:165754
 2:39 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

It seems that local mom-and-pops can survive in Google only if they pay for adwords, pay for Yellow Pages listings, and pay for listings in all of those pay-for-inclusion "local" directories that are topping the SERPs for local searches lately. It's too bad, really, since they've already been squeezed out of a lot of walk-in business by the mega-chain stores, but hey, it's just business. :(

Jim

renee




msg:165755
 3:21 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, my site is a local directory (free listings) and as I said they've been placing high in the serps, before and after local-google came about. My revenues were from adsense and other banner ads. I must say I was delivering significant (very significant!) number of clicks to adsense prior to local-google. I'm pretty sure most of the other local directories are in the same situation as I am. I wonder how much adsense revenue Google lost due to this since 90% of the traffic ended with the local-google results with no further exposure to adsense.

hutcheson




msg:165756
 4:47 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I wonder how much adsense revenue Google lost due to this since 90% of the traffic ended with the local-google results with no further exposure to adsense.

Would that matter to Google? They can serve half as many of the same ads on their own "local" search result pages, pocketing all the money.

The only way they'd lose out is if people were getting to where they wanted to go with over 50% fewer obtrusive pages (search results, directories, etc.) intervening. And I think Google would probably count that as a win anyway -- it would represent such a substantial improvement in service, that they could figure on making up the money some other way. (Popup hailstorms run up a maximum amount of PPV ads per page view, but you don't get return customers. Google is in it for the long term.)

renee




msg:165757
 8:05 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Would that matter to Google? They can serve half as many of the same ads on their own "local" search result pages, pocketing all the money.<

This is probably true in the long term. But for now, google is not serving any adsense on its local results page. This means that adsense revenue on all the local directories that lost traffic due to local-google (go-lo ;)) is lost google revenue.

Of course, having said that, they'll probably start showing adwords on their "local" serp pages.

Brett_Tabke




msg:165758
 4:15 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been hearing a lot of the same renee. There are many mom and pops that are scared about being able to continue with the advent of Local Search.

Let's cut to thet bottom line: if you want to survive, then you are going to have to compete with the locals. To do that, you probably going to have to appear as if you are "local" in nature.

glengara




msg:165759
 4:46 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

In linkage terms, I suppose local links, even if not relevant to the subject matter would still be topical for the locality, so worth aquiring....

BroadLea




msg:165760
 5:05 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't know exactly when Local went live, but it would explain my recent results.

February was the best ever (by far) for our 4-year-old business, and March topped that by 10%. Then, in the waning days of March, our traffic dropped noticeably, and stays depressed even now.

Yet, we continue to rank very well (top 3) in the SERPS, and even gained a point in toolbar PR. We're not a seasonal business, so I don't know what else to blame it on.

yowza




msg:165761
 5:50 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

If local directories are losing revenue through Adsense, I think it is a good thing. I'm tired of seeing the top 20 results for my area be nothing but directories. If Google is taking away the directories' revenue, then maybe we will get some cleaner results.

hiker_jjw




msg:165762
 6:37 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I havn't noticed much of an effect from the Local search addition. Have you also considered that Google.com might have changed their algo recently? Cheers.

johannamck




msg:165763
 6:37 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

In most cases, people do a "local search" to find a brick-and-mortar business.

So, I think it's justified that e.g. in response to a search for "Ford Mytown MyState", Google delivers the Yellow Pages entry of the local dealership and a map as the first search result.

Of course, this makes it harder for (in this example) nationwide car shopping directories and auto part info sites with contextual ads. Few searchers will go beyond the basic Yellow Page info.

This is sad in a way, because there are many elaborate sites based on local-type searches that will be less likely to be found now. People looking for "Pizza Palo Alto CA" will be less likely to find that great site that reviews all Italian restaurants in Palo Alto (another made-up example).

The results can also give an unfair advantage to businesses in the geographical center of a town.

***

I wonder what may come next. Today local yellow page info, tomorrow local message boards and weather, next week maybe local matchmaking services, classifieds and meetups. Google could become the next Microsoft, integrating as much "outside" services into their search as possible. Technically, it would not be a problem, and it would make their site stickier and the results much cleaner. (This is not an attack on Google, just common sense. This is what I would try, long-term, if I were them.)

P.S.: Did anyone else catch Conan O'Brien's joke about Google and 1984? Funny.

P.P.S.: Is anybody else seeing gross mistakes in the "local" results? For example, searching for "Churches MyTown MyState" yields a list of churches ONLY from a neighboring town. It seems that Google prefers a yellow page entry 5 miles away over a phonebook entry 0.2 miles away, or maybe some sources are not complete (?).

yowza




msg:165764
 6:48 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I see lots of problems with their local results (actually all of their results). For the local results that I have seen, many are companies that are no longer in business or that are not located in the city that I am searching for.

kapow




msg:165765
 6:49 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

This hasn't hit the UK yet but I'm already nervouse about the effects when it does.
How does yellow pages work in the US? (do you have to pay?). In the UK you have to pay for yellow pages inclusion.

Does local Google herald the end of free listing for location keywords?
I suspect this is another step toward the end of free commercial SE listing.

Webwork




msg:165766
 7:04 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's a compelling fact: I spent $16,000+ a year for print yellow page ads in just one YP county book for my law practice for years. Now, I don't spend a dime and I won't spend a dime again.

Guess who is soon going to be running XYZCounty.com, ABCCounty.com - the counties where I primarily practice law?

The counties below aren't my counties but here is what people are already searching in Overture, with extension:

<snack>

At the level of the all important "local search" guess what? You don't need a SE. It's not that hard to get the word out locally. It doesn't even require the yellow pages. Locally, I can get the word out about 'local search brought to you by XYZCounty.com' - gaining mind share - just by having a good brand - like XYZCounty.com - posted a few times in the local useless news rag, plastered on a few trucks (free promo/website for a banner on truck), on a 100 bumper stickers (friends and family), ... you get the idea.

Guerilla marketing's home IS local. Here's a free hot tip, probably worth your WW member subscription: If your county is ABCCounty.com and there's no website at the address (but somebody owns it) then it's high time for you to finally buy a domain in the aftermarket. (I'm not seling mine. Frankly, over the long haul I think county domains may prove to be the some of the most valuable properties - when built out and weighed against the cost of operation - on the web, backed by the proper community website software.)

Yeah, yeah, yeah there will be cases of people outside the local area who may not see the bumper stickers, etc., but if ever there was a case for type-in search: LosAngeles.com, etc, - it's local.

Unless there's one helluva lot of consolidation the war for local is going to be pitting 1000s of Davids against the Goliaths and my money is on David.

So, before you go blowing $1000s on AdWords I suggest you mine around in your own backyard. For a heck of a lot less than $16,000 year I think I will be able to do one heck of a job bringing in new clients locally. A few years ago I ran test of my local strategy and it worked so well I pulled the plug on the test since I already had a few too many projects and clients.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 8:28 pm (utc) on April 10, 2004]
[edit reason] lets leave any and ALL specific searches out of webmasterworld :-) [/edit]

cabbie




msg:165767
 7:30 pm on Apr 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think webwork's strategy is gold.
Also consider the .info tld as well for your domain.

surfin2u




msg:165768
 3:36 pm on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Local google seems to have had no significant effect on the traffic to my local directory site. I get a very small number of referrals from local.google.com and a substantial number from google.com. My SERPs are excellent (many #1 rankings) and seem no different than before local search.

If google were to replace all of its results for my city with local results only, then I would be in big trouble. The quality of the local results at this point for my site's specialization are quite poor. I'm keeping my eyes on things.

If google pulls the rug out from under me, then I'll be able to get by with traffic from other SEs and I'm also expanding my local advertising program to try to reduce dependence on SEs.

howiejs




msg:165769
 6:48 pm on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hopefully local search will take away the directories and go for the REAL websites in the local area

I still can never find the actual hotel I want . . .

Brett said: "To do that, you probably going to have to appear as if you are "local" in nature."

Great point - the question is who do you "appear local in nature"?

Is it a zip code and address on the page?
Is it a local area code phone / number?
Do outbound links to other "local" sites?

Webwork




msg:165770
 7:55 pm on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

The only person searching for EssexCounty.com is the owner of the site running webposition.

Check every major county in any state with Overture's tracking tool. You will see a similar pattern. I doubt everyone searching all those county.com domains owns WebP.O.S.ition.

That people search "Location".com isn't hard to accept. Los Angeles County, population 10 million, is one of the largest counties in the U.S. The Overture numbers - a few hundred searches for LosAngelesCounty.com for the month - are rather modest, but I think they are likely more accurate than your software's "0".

Not to miss the forest for the twig, I'd be more than happy to own LosAngelesCounty.com, wouldn't you? Let's see.... business listings, real estate, dining. Probably 1 billboard, for 1 month, on the L.A. freeway would create enough mindshare to launch the site forever in the minds of a few million people.

Ya. Local search. Score 1 for David in the battle of the behemoths.

Brett_Tabke




msg:165771
 8:30 pm on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

dudes - specifics - leave 'em out. thanks.

robertito62




msg:165772
 8:48 pm on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Developing a local offering (SERPS) can become quite an endevour...What is what people search?

Miami-tires? or MiamiDadeCounty-tires? How local is local?

HughMungus




msg:165773
 1:02 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Has anybody noticed (as I have today) that Google seems to be ignoring certain cities (namely, smaller cities near big cities)?

If I do search for "bigcity widgets" with big city being a big city, I get local results for that city. If I do "smallcity widgets" with smallcity being a city adjacent to bigcity, I get no local search results for that city.

Chico_Loco




msg:165774
 5:46 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't worry - have you seen the results on local search? People won't use it for long.

ILuvSrchEngines




msg:165775
 6:12 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Don't worry - have you seen the results on local search? People won't use it for long.

True, and there isn't much of anything in regards to 'search' that is worth anything at Google now really. Local search was just another lame G marketing PR effort to try to get attention for a possible public offering, just like GreeedyMail but on a lesser scale. Poorly thought out and poorly implemented. But I am sure 2 or 3 of the usual G cheerleaders will say it is the best thing since sliced bread and it will save the world. :-)

[edited by: ILuvSrchEngines at 6:20 pm (utc) on April 11, 2004]

HughMungus




msg:165776
 6:14 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't worry - have you seen the results on local search? People won't use it for long.

I'm starting to think the only good local directories are going to be by those who live locally and know the difference between, for example, a widgets store and a listing with widgets in the title. And again, I'm amazed that many smaller cities near bigger cities have *no* local search results.

yintercept




msg:165777
 6:44 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've seen a 50% drop in the Google traffic to my local based directories.

Personally, I think a well designed human edited directory can enhance listings. IMHO, The true local directories really don't reduce the quality of search engines. The ones that reduce the quality of search engine results are national business that optimize for mytown widget for every town on the planet, even when they don't have a local presence in the town.

Yahoo, MSN, About and others took pathetic stabs at online communities for towns. Most have failed. There might still be a market for locally owned directories. The traffic just won't come from Google.

howiejs




msg:165778
 12:36 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

No matter the quality of local search in google today - it is here to stay (that rhymed - sorry!)

Local search is going to be a VERY important part of everyone's marketing focus - Yahoo will be the king of this as they have zip codes / etc in their registration profile (a BIG reason Google wants Gmail is to get registration profiles of its searchers . . .)

Local search is a great opportunity to bring small mom & pop bricks and mortar sites online - in a way that they can actually get some traction / attention in search.

CitySearch has a good model for this - working at the local level picking up pizza places, etc.

I am not sure why so many on this board are always down on local search (almost every thread about it for the past few months is negative!)

hutcheson




msg:165779
 6:07 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm curious also: I tried several local searches, and, hey, I can slice my own bread if I need to, but those were good results. Try "Orlando Hotel" in your favorite search engine (without the quotes): Google's top 17 results are pure worthless affiliate spam, 18 and 19 are actual hotels in Orlando, then skip to 26 and maybe 28. The rest of the top 30 are so-called "directories" of the sleaziest hotel-rezzing affiliate kind. Yahoo is worse in most ways -- poorer snippets, although several of the sites have the category links which I miss from Google; it's even harder to recognize the real hotel pages, and in any case there are definitely NOT four hotel pages in the top 30 sites; some of the reservation systems (yahoo partners?) even appear multiple times under different domain names, to add to the delicate aroma of mass spam.

Now try the same thing on Google local search. Page upon page of ... just hotels.

I tried some local searches where I sort of knew the answer. It was impressive, I thought: more comprehensive if slightly less on target than, say, the equivalent ODP category. Yahoo kicked me over to citysearch, which gave pretty poor results -- too large an area. I have no clue what database they are using: it certainly contains sites that Yahoo doesn't know about. There's definitely some interesting data mining going on.

So: Here's my challenge again. I'd like to see a search that gives poorer results than some alternative. Can anyone give one? or is all the complaining just the usual "I haven't figured out how to beat their system yet, curse their black hearts and overendowed gray cells!"

HughMungus




msg:165780
 1:01 pm on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am not sure why so many on this board are always down on local search (almost every thread about it for the past few months is negative!)

Well, partly because of competition (online retailers compete with local stores) and probably partially because the results aren't as good as expected.

HughMungus




msg:165781
 1:08 pm on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd like to see a search that gives poorer results than some alternative. Can anyone give one?

Do a widgets and city search and get only retail stores (not wholesalers nor results that just have widgets in the name of the company).

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