Local Links of Interest

Local Searchers Hunt for Ideas, Not Categories – Brian Wool, ClickZ

In recent weeks, bloggers and others have discussed how consumers are adopting a new way to use local search engines, Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), and local directories. Actually, it’s not so much how consumers use local search products but how their search queries are adapting to the changing landscape brought about by technology.

One such interesting blog post by Jennifer Osborne discusses how millennials, the generation born from roughly 1980 to 1995, no longer think in terms of categories like previous generations. This is no small observation, considering there are about as many millennials as baby boomers. Marketers who don’t understand millennials may be turning off a large segment of their audience.

Microhoo vs. Google: The Battle for Audience and Keystrokes – Tim Cohn, SrcreenWerk

Google homes in on revenues from phones – Maija Palmer and Paul Taylor in Barcelona

Google on Wednesday said it had seen 50 times more searches on Apple‘s iPhone than any other mobile handset, adding weight to the group’s confidence at being able to generate significant revenues from the mobile internet. 

Panelists Express Mystification about the iPhone – Greg Sterling, LocalMobileSearch

The overall sense of the panel conveyed in the article is that the various mobile executives speaking were unable to see a practical path to a better user experience and/or more usage of the mobile Internet by consumers until they got there (cost of data plans is an issue that was raised as well). 

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3 thoughts on “Local Links of Interest”

  1. I liked that article on categorization. Having advertised in print YP for decades and faced rigid categorization it has been thrilling to see how the market actually searches for products/services.

    Boy, I’d like nothing better than to get access to local engines and see the diversity of phrases searchers use. What a gold mine.

    Of final note I spoke with a small business owner I know that recently cut out all his IYP. Frankly his business was simply outranking the IYP’s for relevant phrases. Lots of money spent, few contacts from the IYPs. He saw little direct visitor usage of the IYP’s.

    I know in some categories the IYP’s are powerful and rank high. I suspect they can help in those areas. Where they aren’t ranking and you can get strength and rankings to outrank them…..don’t waste the money.

    Dave

  2. Hi Mike,
    You know, that Jen Osborne article really caught my eye, too. It’s a completely different way of thinking, and not something I was aware of. It made be ask my sister what her adolescent and teenage sons are saying these days.

    Apparently, things that aren’t good are ‘whack’. Haha. So, I think we should start posting articles like “Maps’ Bugs Are Whack” if we want to be up-to-date.

    Slang aside, the fact that, according to Jen’s article, milennials don’t think in categories strikes me as really, really important.
    Miriam

  3. Interestingly, Localeze has contacted me and gave me the same overview.

    I think it is essentially correct although the vagaries of human search phrasing lead me to believe that even in a category trained generation like our there are a large number of search terms for any given category and incredible variation in search phrasing.

    Apparently during the data collection process the data collection companies key in business entries from all of the printed Yellow Pages as a double check on their database. According to them, they ended up with 75,000 different phrases for the roughly 8000+ categories that were present in each of the printed books. I.E. wedding dresses, bridal gowns, bridal dresses etc .

    So forcing searchers into a limited, relatively flat category structure given the power of sophisticated databases with nearly infinitive ability to structure data and better understanding of user intent to match with those categories, it seems that going forward limited categories will go away.

    In fact one of the things that I think one of the issues we are seeing is the generational conflct between business people trained in the historical use of categories and search engines that are thinking that they can provide better results with deeper taxonomy. The other conflict that we might just be seeing is that conflict existing within Google themselves…

    By that I mean that when Google first initiated Local and purchased the business records they needed a way to categorized them until they could gather additional taxonomic clues. Thus the default record set and currently those that have not been touched in the LBC or that don’t have websites still use this categorization structure.

    For those that have LBC categories and significant clue from the website or from the description and other info in the LBC, I am theorizing are using Google’s expanded phrase driven taxonomy. Creating different outcomes in Google’s indexing system. Thus leading to additional smb dissatisfaction.

    Mike

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