Ranking Local Businesses Based Upon Quality Measures including Travel Time

An Antique shop, formerly an apple factory
An Antique shop, formerly an apple factory

Google’s Travel Time Patent

Can the amount of travel time someone might take to get to a place be a good indication of the quality of that place? That is the assumption behind a recently granted patent from Google that focuses upon local SEO.

Travel time in the patent is referred to as a “time investment a person may be willing to make to visit a specific location.” The travel time patent provides more details with the words:

Quality measures for locations are often based on one or more reviews related to the locations. For example, user reviews and/or professional reviews may be utilized to determine a quality measure for a given location. The quality measures may be associated with the given location in a database and may be utilized by one or more applications and/or provided to a user. For example, a user search for restaurants in a particular area may return search results for restaurants that are ranked based on the quality measure and/or that are displayed in combination with an indication of the quality measure. Indications of the quality measure may include a numerical rating, a number of stars, etc.

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Google May Check to See if People Go to Geographic Locations Google May Recommend

Geographical locations recommendations

Google was granted a local SEO patent this week to enable them to check whether people are following recommendations in search results to visit geographic locations – to see how many people actually visited those places. And it’s probably good for many businesses to have Google recommending that people visit them.

For example, people living near a certain restaurant may be recommended as a place they might like to go; and the patent determines whether or not people may be following those suggestions.

The patent provides a summary of the steps that it takes in ranking recommendations based upon whether people actually visit the places being suggested:

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Google Introduces a Social Suggestions Patent

Jellyfish from the Birch Aquarium

Social Suggestions from Google

Google was granted a patent this week on offering recommendations or suggestions for places to go for members of social groups.

A social group, such as a meetup group that may get together for social events, may use the internet to communicate and interact, and look to for recommendations on where to go next. The patent from Google looks like it might be useful in providing a framework for such a group to make it easier for them to meet at locations and check in at those places and tag one another in photos to associate them with locations that they may travel to.

I could see an offering of social suggestions like this being built into an existing social network such as Google+, and wouldn’t be surprised if it was introduced at Google+ by Google.

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