Local and mobile

Location-based searching adapts a search to your geographic location. This post analyses Yahoo Mobile Search and China’s booming mobile industry.

Local intent and concept

A large amount of searches have local intent even if they do not have locations included within a search query. “Chinese cuisine [city]”, for instance, suggests that the searcher wants Chinese food places in [city]. “Weather”, conversely, does not contain a city but it is unlikely a searcher wants weather information for North Korea. Search engines must calculate if all queries have local intent.

Yahoo! Search for mobile delivers geo-specific content by the following 3 steps:

  • Analyses the concept and the intent of a query;
  • Search execution plan is produced which optimises the concept and intent of a query. This query is mixed with various categories, including, for example, web, news, photos and user-generated content, such as, Yahoo Answers;
  • Search results are brought together from various categories and reorganised in a manner appropriate to a query. This reorganisation means a blended SERP is constructed.
Mobiles offer location-specific locations.

Photo of a mobile pinpointing a specific location. From Nahid Giga.

Why are mobile phones popular in China?

The Chinese government has supported the development of mobile phones by implementing the State Council Policy of 1999 entitled State Affairs Development File No. [1999]-5 (MII, 2005). Government legislation and the high number of people and manufacturers means that mobile phones are popular in China — the largest country of people with mobile phones.

Of China’s population of 1,349,585,838 persons there are 1,150,000,000 active subscription service users. This means 85.21% of the population have mobile phones. In terms of mobile devices China is the world’s biggest market.

Mobiles and location

Since mobile devices are packed with various technologies, for example GPS and WiFi, your location is more precise compared to, say, desktop computers. Exact locations are good for local searchers. Search engines, however, need to calculate if a searcher has or has not got local intent within every query. This area of technology is still developing. But marketers need to know about local searches in order to create local SEO campaigns, for instance.

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References

  1. Chang, C. Wang, F. and Fu, H. (2009) A strategic analysis of the mobile telephone industry in Mainland China. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management. 20(4) pp. 489–499
  2. Lu, Y. Peng, F. Wei, X. and Dumoulin, B. (2010) Personalize web search result with user’s location. SIGIR ’10 July 19–23. pp. 763 — 764
  3. Reuters. (2013) China’s mobile subscribers up 1.2 pct at 1.15 bln in March. [Online] [Accessed on 03rd October 2013]
  4. Yi, J. Maghoul, F. and Pedersen, J. (2008) Deciphering mobile search patterns: A study of Yahoo! Mobile search queries. World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2). pp. 257–266
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3 responses to “Local and mobile

  1. Thank you for sharing :) V

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