Google is combining Street View images, neural network analysis, and a reverse Turing Test via reCAPTCHA to analyze the exteriors of storefronts.
Welcome to the 21st century, where you may need to perform “optimization” on the real-world exterior of your stores to help ensure the best rankings in Google!
While at SMX Milan last month, colleague Luca Bove, in his presentation on the “Making Sense Of The Local Landscape” session, mentioned how Google potentially employs an algorithm with its local search systems in order to improve maps’ locational quality.
I was struck by how the data was very likely also used in validating business addresses for purposes of eliminating spam as well.
Google’s development of these capabilities is just one part of its data collection about the actual world around us that folds into the local search algorithms.
The Neural Network by rajasegar (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
There are some reasons why these sorts of developments are becoming more important to local businesses and local search marketers.
In the earlier days of the internet, a business tended to assume that anything about them on the internet was placed there by them and thus controlled by them, much as their presence in the yellow pages directories may have been handled in days past.
Of course, as the internet has matured, perhaps most businesses have come to realize that they do not solely control their online presence — numerous online directories, search engines, and other types of sites all compile data about entities and display it in various ways.
In the Web 2.0 world, many of us have learned and continue to learn how our online reputations and presence are something of a gestalt, formed of all the disparate pieces of information that are collected together and served up in multitudinous ways. (Indeed, this evolution resulted in the need for …read more