Evolution of Local Search

Written by admin

Topics: Local search

Local search is the natural evolution of traditional off-line advertising, typically distributed by newspaper publishers and TV and radio broadcasters, to the Web. Historically, consumers relied on local newspapers and local TV and radio stations to find local product and services. With the advent of the Web, consumers are increasingly using search engines to find these local products and services online. In recent years, the number of local searches online has grown rapidly while off-line information searches, such as print Yellow Page lookups, have declined. As a natural consequence of this shift in consumer behavior, local product and service providers are slowly shifting their advertising investments from traditional off-line media to local search engines.

A variety of search engines are currently providing local search, including efforts backed by the largest search engines, and new start-ups. Some of these efforts are further targeted to specific vertical segments while others are tied to mapping products.

Various geolocation techniques may be used to match visitors’ queries with information of interest. The sources and types of information and points of interest returned varies with the type of local search engine.

Google Maps (formerly Google Local) looks for physical addresses mentioned in regular web pages. It provides these results to visitors, along with business listings and maps. Product-specific search engines] use techniques such as targeted web crawling and direct feeds to collect information about products for sale in a specific geographic area.

Other local search engines adjunct to major web search portals include general Windows Live LocalYahoo! Local, and ask.com‘s AskCity. Yahoo!, for example, separates its local search engine features into Yahoo! Local and Yahoo! Maps, the former being focused on business data and correlating it with web data, the latter focused primarily on the map features (e.g. directions, larger map, navigation).

Search engines offer local businesses the possibility to upload their business data to their respective local search databases.

Local search, like ordinary search, can be applied in two ways. As John Battelle coined it in his book “The Search,” search can be either recovery search or discovery search.

This perfect search also has perfect recall – it knows what you’ve seen, and can discern between a journey of discovery – where you want to find something new – and recovery – where you want to find something you’ve seen before.

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This applies especially to local search. Recovery search implies, for example, that a consumer knows who she is looking for (i.e., Main Street Pizza Parlor) but she does not know where they are, or needs their phone number. Discovery search implies that the searcher knows, for example, what she wants but not who she needs it from (i.e., pizza on Main Street in Springfield).


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