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Does Personalised Search Threaten Local Search?



11:06 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google personalised search seems to being applied more aggressively, as will certainly be the case with other engines shortly. This led to a worrying situation tonight where a search for 'business type town' came up with adverts for 'completely unrelated business type town' because of the previous search.

I think this could be problematic when someone is refining their local searches or changing the type of business they are searching for.

As the matching in the above example is clearly wrong, assuming searches in a short space of time are closely related, I decided to do some more research.

I tried a variety of searches for differing heading/town combinations, some closely related and others wildly different. There was only one consistent factor, Google showed irrelevant adverts time and time again. Wrong business types were shown, or when I changed the town to somewhere quite far away there were adverts showing that had no connection to the area.

The nature of Local Search means both the business type and location have to be correct for an advert to be relevant, personalisation seems to put this relevance under threat.

Only time will tell if this will be a short-lived problem that gives us, eventually, better results or if Local Search is a step too far for personalisation (on general search engines) at the moment.


3:32 pm on Jul 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

personalization in LS = social networking and saved search functions not personalized general search query activity.

this is one of the important reasons amongst others why LS utilities needed to be segmented from general search utilities.

by segmenting results you can segment algos and display-- applying new criteria that in your example is unique/distinct from the that of the challenges of general search algo progression.


5:12 pm on Jul 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I agree that segmentation is the best way, however even Google seem to be having difficulty in getting people to change their habit of just using the general search box (hence the local results in their web search product).

Hopefully this will be an opportunity for us to take advantage of. It'll take a while for most people to realise that alternative solutions may better fit their needs. I won't be placing bets on who will be top 5 in local search in 5 years, it's all to play for.


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