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March 27, 2007

Google Custom Search - The Future of Search? Or is it the Past?

So I was reading Getting Link Love From Google Custom Search Engines at Search Engine Land, where Eric Ward discusses the link building opportunities and possible effects that Google Custom Search Engines (CSEs) may have on the future of search.

I was inspired to create a Custom Search Engine for one of our clients who is an industry leader and definitely an authority in its' market. Creating the CSE was simple and I am excited to see what kind of results and benefits we can achieve by incorporating this new CSE into our client's Internet Marketing efforts.

After I created the CSE, I was exploring the different options in the account and reading the Google Custom Search Blog about CSE's popular queries. I knew I wouldn't have any statistics yet, as I just created the search engine, but I was curious so I accessed the statistics page for my new CSE and was presented with the following screen:

1970? Huh? I thought this was the future of search? What's up with that Google?

Is it just me? Or is this a Google Co-op bug in all accounts for the new statistics feature?

March 14, 2007

Google's Local Search Onebox is Hurting My Head!

As a web design company in Dallas (who was recently recognized as one of the largest) we deal with a lot of clients who provide services only in the Dallas area. Clients like Dallas Landscapers, Dallas New Homes, and Dallas Auto Body Shops as well as clients who provide services and products nationally.

With the implementation of Google Maps Onebox to Google’s search results I have been researching the implications of how this will affect our clients in the local market and it’s hurting my head!

Take for example Dallas Landscapers, Google’s SERPs show:

Our client is ranked organically #1 for the term, but does not appear in the Onebox. Why? What determines what gets displayed in the Onebox? Now, granted I did just submit the site to Google’s Local Business Center, so I am not sure if that will help at all. I have read speculations that the results are the top 3 that are closest to the center of the city.

So, since our company, MasterLink has been listed in Google’s Local Business Center for quite some time I searched for "Dallas Web Design" and was provided the following Onebox results:

Digging down into the maps further to find MasterLink I finally found us in the map below, we are "I" on this map. Now obviously we are not closest to the center of the city, but "A" and "C" certainly are not either. And what’s up with "J"? It sure looks pretty close to the center of the city, yet they are listed after us? My brain hurts!

Through my research I found that Bill Slawski from SEO by the Sea has created a Google Local Search Glossary where he provides:

"A collection of terms and definitions from a number of Google’s patent filings on Local Search (not everything discussed in a patent application has been incorporated into Google’s Local search - but the interesting thing about many of these patent filings is exploring whether or not they may have been)."
More brain pain for me.

Anybody out there have any insights into how this new Local Search and the Onebox in SERPs works?

I’m off to get some BC Headache Powder!

Posted by: Kimber Cook