Google Goes Local; Retailers Should Take Heed
One other retail-notable feature of Google's new local product is its review system. "We don't take in user reviews directly," says Taylor, "but we aggregate user views and ratings around the web. Just to make it simple, green is good, red is bad, and yellow is in between." This means if anyone on the internet has written about a particular experience at a store or ranked the store at a site such as citysearch.com, that color-coded opinion could also turn up on the local search returns. This feature is increasingly influential as more and more consumers are writing about their daily life and product choices on personal sites and blogs.
Though search engine methodology is a complex system rife with trade secrets, the results are easy to access. Savvy sellers are learning to Google, Yahoo, or MSN-search themselves frequently (using the variety of different keywords a customer might try) and see what turns up.