Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Search for Google returns Yahoo!

I consistently preach that it is crucial for businesses to ensure that their identity is protected and highlighted online. When users search for business products, services and contact information, they better be able to find you instead of your competitor.

I came across an ironic competitor search result today when using Google Maps. A search for Googles business location actually returned Yahoos!

You'll notice that I queried using their phone number (650) 318-0200 (number source explained below). This is a technical contact number, not the companies primary number, as a result they don't have it associated with their primary business location information. Nevertheless, it certainly isn't Yahoo, their major competitor!

This is a case of an contextual misidentification. The web page at CountryPlans.com has address information of the Yahoo office, but also shows the Google contact phone number. The query for the phone number is contextually found in the web page which is associated with Yahoos business location.

Local search has many levels of algorithms, contextual relevancy on top of structured data
and unstructured information. Most of the unstructured data comes from web sites and webpages. Some webpages are included in local search when they can be associated with a business name, phone number, address. All the content on the page is then indexed for search, but with a lower relevancy confidence as compared to a structured data match.

Google can easily solve this problem by associating this secondary phone number with Googles' business listing.

By the way, in case you're wondering where I got this internal phone number for Google, it is listed on Yelp.

About the Author
David Rodecker is President of RelevantAds, a service that gets local businesses online through local search.