Find Local Information Using Local Search Engines


By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.

More and more people are becoming interested in finding local information. A few companies attempted to grab the market several years ago, like Microsoft's now defunct Sidewalk, but local search hasn't really taken off until now.

Companies of all sizes are starting to launch local search engines. Based on the success of local search engines like Citysearch, and the data now available to large search engines like Google and MSN, local searching has become the natural progression of the modern search engine.

Currently, the major players in local search are:

Each local search offers a different different experience for the user. I've highlighted what I think are the best features of the following local searches.

Ratings and User Reviews

If you're looking for restaurants, bars and clubs, and you want to know how good a destination is, Citysearch offers the best resource for user ratings and reviews.

Finding Jobs

Craigslist make it easy to post and find jobs online. One of the best features of Craigslist is that you can subscribe to a jobs RSS feed. Simply add the feed to your favorite news aggregator, and you can get frequent updates about jobs in the local areas you're most interested in.

Local Search Maps

Google Local has done an excellent job of integrating their Google Maps service. When you search for a business on Google Local, they give you a map of all of the locations found in your search results. If you click on any of the businesses, Google Local sends you to another page with more information, and detailed map of where the business is located.

Narrowing the Search

Simple searches are always nice. Especially when the initial search results are exactly what you're looking for. However, sometimes it's helpful to have more options. Yahoo! Local gives the user the option to refine their search results by category, rating, price, atmosphere, and name. If youíre looking for only 5 star restaurants, itís only a click away.

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