Growing Emphasis on Location in Search

“Over the past several weeks we have been tracking Google’s continued emphasis on location in search. During a press conference earlier this year, Eric Schmidt was quoted saying that “”2011 will be the year of Mobile””. Effective mobile search is driven by location. It is natural, therefore, to see location based services as a leading indicator for validity in the statement of Google’s CEO.

Here are a few specific examples that we’ve seen over the last several months:

It all started with ‘Pizza’. One day I had a craving for a nice New York style thin crust pizza and when I hit search, (Google Instant disabled) there it was, the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen…a Google Map, complete with listings- and I didn’t even tell my computer my location. I knew that this was the beginning of something big…

Still, when you really think about it, Pizza is a fairly obvious local search, so my excitement was contained.

Let’s fast forward to today, February 7th, 2011.

What started with Pizza has now expanded to include hundreds of searches. Hotels, pest control, auto repair, and many more. This is something to get excited about, but when combined with a few of Google’s other latest developments, it’s overwhelming…

Google Hotpot has not yet made its way to the search results, which means you can see what your friends rated, posted, or photographed at local businesses, right from the SERP. Here is a little more on Hotpot:

We’ve also seen Google Latitude start to integrate Check-Ins. We’re speculating that this will further support Google Offers, which will be Google’s ‘Groupon-like’ offering. Here’s some more detail about Google Latitude:

This location stuff is starting to segue into mobile, which we predict will be a trend as we continue into 2011. The big takeaways from these developments are that Google is continuing to integrate their results to satisfy a user’s query in the best possible way, whether that be with local results, videos, or product search results (all things that are increasingly integrated into the SERP); Google wants to make us happy. When you’re developing your strategy to position yourself for search engine success, just keep in mind that Google is looking at your complete picture, not just your listings, and not just your website- the more thoroughly you satisfy Google, the more trust they’ll have in displaying your results to satisfy their users.

Phil Britton, DAC Group Product Manager- Location Based Services”

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