Google Boosts the Importance of Local Search

I had the pleasure of talking with Anita Campbell a couple of weeks back, for an article published today on the Technology portal web pages of Inc. Magazine – Local Search — How Do I Use it for My Business? If you don’t know Anita, or her writings, I heartily recommend that you visit her Small Business Trends site, which is filled with useful and usable information about small businesses.

We didn’t know when we were discussing local search then that Google would make a change that would make local searches even more prominent, which they announced this morning.

You can find local search information on Google’s Local Search pages, but they also will sometimes show information in a regular Google Web search in a section above their Web search results about local businesses when they think that a search is intended to be a local search. See the post I made about Google OneBox Results at Search Engine Land if you want a technical explanation about how they might decide to show those results.

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Interviewed at Web Analytics World

Manoj Jasra of Web Analytics World and I talked last week, and he posted an audio version of the the interview this morning.

Among other topics, we discussed Social Media Optimization and Social Bookmarking, the possible impact of some new patents from Google, the approach competitors to Google might use in taking on the Mountain View search giant, how Microsoft might gain ground on Google by reallocating some of their internal resources, and the little I know about Danny Sullivan’s Search Marketing Expo.

Thank you, Manoj. It was a pleasure talking with you.

Some Social Networking Papers from 2006

If you run a business, there are benefits to being social, to getting involved in your community. Building friendships and business relationships with others not only means having a richer social life, but also becoming part of the whole community.

Getting involved in a local chamber of commerce or main street business association can provide networking opportunities, and also a chance to help strengthen and enrich your community, and improve the standard of living for the people around you.

The internet expands our ability to be social beyond the scope of our local communities. The Web is a social place, a medium which allows people to communicate and interact regardless of differences in distance or timezones.

There are a lot of folks who have written about different aspects of the social nature of the web. I thought it would be interesting to find some papers from the last year that take a closer look at social networking online.

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Mobile Patent Roundup 1-26-2007 – Reranking Searches by Language Used

This week’s granted patents and published patent applications sees an old patented system from Google with a new reranking feature, a mobile sports tv, a multimodal wireless device from Microsoft, a cancelled internet access service for air travel which provided a geographic search service, a context aware user interface, wireless vending machine auditing, mobile scanning, and a platform for mobile services.

Patent Applications

System and Methods for Perfoming Online Purchase of Delivery of Service to a Handheld Device
4121856 Canada Inc. (20070022438)

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What Google Advertisments on Mobile Phones Might Look Like

A new Google patent application on serving advertisements on mobile phones provides a glimpse of what those ads might look like, and what kinds of features might be included with them.

Mobile Phone Ads for Google 1
It might be possible to send a text message to advertisers.

Mobile Phone Ads for Google 2
Or download a coupon to use towards a purchase.

Mobile Phone Ads for Google 3
Images of products could be shown in the ads.

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Difficult Queries and Identifying Missing Content in Search Engines

There are times when you perform a search in a search engine, and the results just aren’t very relevant.

When you don’t get the results that you expect from a internet or intranet search engine, is it because the search engine isn’t very good, or is it because there isn’t much indexable information on the web or intranet document repository that contains content related to that search?

A new patent application discusses how the folks who run search engines might identify difficult queries where there may not be much content collected by the search engine on certain topics. The process in the patent filing provides search engines the chance to offer searchers suggestions for queries where they may find an answer to questions that they may be searching for, or to allow indexing efforts from the engines to work on filling those gaps.

The best introduction to the patent filing is probably a couple of pages from IBM which discuss the efforts of the researchers who came up with this process:

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