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In about a year, Yahoo! alone launched services that hunt for videos, pictures, travel deals, local information, and even files buried in your desktop hard drive.
But the future could be specialized sites, many of which are adding their own tricks to finding information on the Web.
I realize that alot of companies out there are in this in hopes of being bought up by the bigger players so bells and whistles count along with quantity over quality but in the meantime at what level should we hold ourselves as far as the accuracy of our data?
Impressive acquisition TL guys ... no guts no glory.
[edited by: limitup at 6:37 pm (utc) on Nov. 30, 2005]
My guess is the actual business owner.
Business owners double check YP data, IYP data, Newspaper data, etc about their companies.
Eventually (and many do now), checking online data and giving away enhanced info to make a sale will be part of the usual business data checking process.
My site is an industry-specific local directory. My information is accurate because businesses pay me to be listed, and they get a reasonable flow of business from me, so they have a motive for their keeping data current. I send them a newsletter by email, so I know when their email address is bad because the newsletter bounces back to me.
I build each listing by hand and it contains plenty of detailed information that may or may not be found anywhere else. I take information from websites, text and images given to me by business owners, and I massage it all to make it unique and hopefully somewhat better.
The big search engines treat my site as an authority. Sending people to my site insures that they are giving solid relevant results, which is what they want to do. I provide plenty of good hand-edited material to work with and as the more globally-focused search engines come to understand that, they give me higher rankings and more traffic. They can't duplicate what I have, but they can benefit from it by linking to it.
I'm not getting rich at this, but I'm making a living and I can sleep well at night knowing that it will be pretty tough for a global/national site to put me out of business by providing better results than I do. I live in the area that I cover and am deeply involved in the industry that I focus on. I am active in trade associations, give daily local industry news coverage, and am pretty well-known here. It was my intention to build a strong wall against competition and I think that I've been successful at it.
if you want to only talk about local search in the context of yahoo local or google local then i would advise one to revisit your first college marketing book.
local search is simply a form of seo and sem ~ marketing tactics and vehicles. while we have dappled in the wild west exhuberance of generalist seo for the past eight years, we must be wise the fact that a mature internet serves when it can mimic and augment daily behavior which is inherently local.
we can talk local in the form of domains, apps, directories, targeting, web sites, profiles, reviews, ratings, proximity, authorities, iyps, segmentation, sme's, mapping, social networking, clicks, data, automation, scale, newspapers, classifieds, yps, phone calls, off-line conversions, mobile, aggregation, on and on and on. it is all happening now. it is all viable.
if one treats local search as a discipline in the distance then they will miss the boat entirely. recognize that local search is local advertising which is the majority of all advertising and one may be more productive tomorrow.
local search belongs in every forum on this site.
it belongs in every session at a conference.
it shouldn't be used as a concept in a vacuum within some topical and tactical thread on WebmasterWorld.
everyone here has an aspect of their business which is directly affected by or related to a locality.
welcome to local search. we have been waiting for you.
I want to add that there is a global aspect to type of local search that I offer. My local industry-specific directory site ranks high for many industry keywords without any regional or local specification in the search. This provides my advertisers with a way to reach the global marketplace and I do get many happy reports from my advertisers about inquiries from other regions and countries.