Think global, act local (AKA glocal) was a well known campaign slogan for a multitude of ‘sins’ – eco warriors etc. As the internet has permitted many of us to search further afield for what we seek, the hope had to be that this could be turned on its head and we could think local e.g. “I need/ my family needs/my business needs” but find the answers somewhere ‘out there’ globally. Usually through the search engines.
Google have gone from easy global searches to focusing on local searches in many of their results. So, we have gone from the days where hitting the UK sites only option brought up foreign (e.g.US-based) companies until you narrowed it down to a UK address or a .co.uk domain (often hours later) for the right result e.g. a UK company, to a situation where you can’t find a foreign company for love nor money on a Google search whatever version .com, .co.uk you use.
Which can be a problem when you know that the information you are seeking is definitely not in the UK, nor on your doorstep, nor in Slough, Birmingham or wherever your ISP is based.
There are growing frustrations being expressed about the focus on local search. If every community was self-sufficient in all that each of us require in an increasingly commercial world, none of us would need the Net at all! We would just need a car and the Yellow Pages. But the reality is that many of the products and services that each of us require on a daily basis are NOT available locally.
For instance, I have zero chance of finding a Mandarin translator in my nearby town. I have to look further afield. And if I need such a person to deliver a commercial service, I would like a choice so I find best value.
I do not want to be forced to find that person in the UK. It may be that I need timely translation services eg I send the digital recording of my interview at the end of my working day to New Zealand/Singapore/Hong Kong so that the transcript and translation is back in my inbox (due to the time difference) by the following morning so I can write my article. This is a prime example of how the global economy can be made to work for the benefit of all parties.
However, what is now happening is that I am now adding undue extra cost to my bottom line through the time it takes to find the answer on the search engines because of the focus on local search. The presumption being that what I need is available locally. Whilst this may be correct for pizzas, it is utterly mistaken for a digital service or a specialist product.
I think Google need to rethink. It is time to advance Boolean operators and choices about searches so that Google isn’t assuming it knows better than me when it comes to entering a search term. If I want a video or photo, then that is what I will click on. If I want to find someone locally and therefore save the planet by reducing delivery miles, allow me to search ‘Local’. If I want news, let me look for news.
And every time I want to search the Net, not my local yellow pages, let me do that without giving me completely irrelevant results. If Google’s mantra is ‘Relevance, Relevance, Relevance’ then right now the search results are failing many with the focus on LOCAL.