Fine-tuning online search options

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Fine-tuning online search options

August 20, 2017 - 08:53

It use to be if you wanted to find a local business you would grab the phone book and look up their name or their category. If you wanted a plumber you would look under plumbers and chose one of the listing to call. The business could buy a larger listing (ad) in the yellow pages to stand out. You would pick one of the business under the plumbing listings and call them.

For most people this has changed. Now they ask their smartphone or do an online search to find a plumber in Hernando County. This means that how a business appears online may decide whether you call them or not. The online information includes their pages, reviews, and social media posts.

Local businesses want to be found when you search for their location or business type. If it’s an Italian restaurant in Spring Hill, it is important that to come up on the first page of search results. You want to make sure you show up in a search for ‘Italian restaurant in Spring Hill,’ but also ‘chicken parmesan Spring Hill.’ You need to understand what your potential customers are searching for.

As a potential customer you may want to vary your search. If looking for a Brooksville carpenter to build stairs, searching for Brooksville handyman or Spring Hill Carpenter may find more options.

The current problem is that Internet searches are too exact. If looking for a dry cleaner in Hernando,a search for that will only find dry cleaners that have Hernando in their site. The dry cleaner may not think of this when building copy for their site. They may only mention Spring Hill; so to find them you have to search for dry cleaner Spring Hill. For local searches, the Internet search engines need to know that you also want to search nearby towns. If you search for Spring Hill Winery you see results for Strong Tower Winery, but if you search for Masaryktown Winery, the new winery in Masaryktown as well as the Strong Tower Winery will be listed.

Local Search is a hard problem and it has lots of room for improvement. Global search engines do not have the local knowledge of nearby towns and nicknames that people who live in the area have.

Either the search engines will have to obtain the local knowledge or rely on local sites like newspapers to find this information.