is the use of specialized Internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a structured database of local business listings. Typical local search queries include not only information about "what" the site visitor is searching for (such as keywords, a business category, or the name of a consumer product) but also "where" information, such as a street address, city name, postal code
A postal code is a series of letters and/or digits appended to a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail. Once postal codes were introduced, other applications became possible.In February 2005, 117 of the 190 member countries of the Universal Postal Union had postal code systems...
, or geographic coordinates like latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....
. Examples of local searches include "Hong Kong hotels", "Manhattan restaurants", and "Dublin Hertz". Local searches exhibit explicit or implicit local intent. A search that includes a location modifier, such as "Bellevue, WA" or "14th arrondissement", is an explicit local search. A search that references a product or service that is typically consumed locally, such as "restaurant" or "nail salon", is an implicit local search.
Local search sites are primarily supported by advertising from businesses that wish to be prominently featured when users search for specific products and services in specific locations. Local search advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely to the search terms and location provided by the user.
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.
Geolocation is the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar, mobile phone or an Internet-connected computer terminal...
techniques may be used to match visitors' queries with information of interest. The sources and types of information and points of interest
A point of interest, or POI, is a specific point location that someone may find useful or interesting. An example is a point on the Earth representing the location of the Space Needle, or a point on Mars representing the location of the mountain, Olympus Mons.The term is widely used in...
returned varies with the type of local search engine.
Google Maps is a web mapping service application and technology provided by Google, free , that powers many map-based services, including the Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit, and maps embedded on third-party websites via the Google Maps API...
(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 Local
Bing Maps is a web mapping service provided as a part of Microsoft's Bing suite of search engines and powered by the Bing Maps for Enterprise framework....
Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States. The company is perhaps best known for its web portal, search engine , Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping ,...
Local, and ask.com
Ask is a Q&A focused search engine founded in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California. The original software was implemented by Gary Chevsky from his own design. Warthen, Chevsky, Justin Grant, and others built the early AskJeeves.com website around that core engine...
'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
John Linwood Battelle is a journalist as well as founder and chairman of Federated Media Publishing. He is a visiting professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and also maintains Searchblog, a weblog covering search, technology, and media.Battelle is one of the original...
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.
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).
Private label local search
Traditional local media companies, including newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...
publishers and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...
broadcasters, are starting to add local search to their local websites in an effort to attract their share of local search traffic and advertising revenues in the markets they serve. These local media companies either develop their own technology, or license "private label" or "white label" local search solutions from third-party local search solution providers. In either case, local media companies base their solution on business listings databases developed in-house or licensed from a third-party data publisher.
Traditional print directory publishers also provide local search portals. Most regions around print directory publishers have an online presence.
Social local search
Local search that incorporates internal or external social signals could be considered social local search driven. The first site to incorporate this type of search was Explore To Yellow Pages. Explore To uses Facebook Likes as one of the signals to increase the ranking of listings where other factors may be equal or almost equal. Typical ranking signals in local search, such as keyword relevancy and distance from centroid can therefore be layered with these social signals to give a better crowdsourced experience for users.
Mobile local search
Several providers have been experimenting with providing local search for mobile devices. Some of these are location aware
Locative media or Location-based media are media of communication functionally bound to a location. The physical implementation of locative media however is not bound to the same location to which the content refers....
. In the United States, Google previously operated an experimental voice-based locative service (1-800-GOOG-411
) but terminated the service in November, 2010. Many mobile web portals require the subscriber to download a small Java application, however the recently added .mobi top level domain has given impetus to the development of mobile targeted search sites are based upon a standard mobile specific XML protocol that all modern mobile browsers understand. The advantage is that no software needs to be downloaded and installed, plus these sites may be designed to simultaneously provide conventional content to traditional PC users by means of automatic browser detection.
Business owners and local search
Electronic publishers (such as businesses or individuals) who would like information such as their name, address, phone number, website, business description and business hours to appear on local search engines have several options. The most reliable way to include accurate local business information is to claim business listings through Google's, Yahoo!'s, or Bings's respective local business centers.
Business listing information can also be distributed via the traditional Yellow Pages, electronic Yellow Pages aggregators, and search engine optimization
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid search results...
services. Some search engines will pick up on web pages that contain regular street addresses displayed in machine-readable text (rather than a picture of text, which is more difficult to interpret). Web pages can also use geotagging
Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as a geotagged photograph or video, websites, SMS messages, QR Codes or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata...
hCard is a microformat for publishing the contact details of people, companies, organizations, and places, in HTML, Atom, RSS, or arbitrary XML...
(protocol for adding local info to web pages)
- Local advertising
Local advertising refers to optimizing delivering ads according to the position of the recipient . It is used in Geo . Local search often fuels uses optimization for targeting the advertising.-See also:* Geo...
- History :Ziplocal was first created when Montreal-based Zip411.net was acquired by Redcity Search Company in 2008 a few years after Zip411 pleaded guilty in a Montreal court to deceptive telemarketing and misleading advertising charges under the Competition Act, stemming from complaints filed...