Common Misconceptions About How Search Results Are Generated
The following are the most common misconceptions our customers have about how search results are generated:
Not All Location Types Have A Latitude And Longitude
We often receive tickets from customers claiming the search results are broken because it is not sorting members by distance. Usually, when this happens, it’s because the location that was entered is a state, country, county, or another type of expansive location.
The system does not sort members by distance if any of these types of locations is searched for, because there is no way to pinpoint a specific latitude or longitude. If the system did this, one could search for “Texas” and have a listing in Dallas show that it is 425 miles away for example.
Distance is taken into consideration when a city, zip code, neighborhood, or street is searched for, and not when a country, state, province, county, or other large location is searched for.
Search Results Should Be Filtered By Which Member Is Closest To My Physical Location
Search results are generated by imputing a location field. If one searched for “90210”, the system will provide the members that are closest to the latitude and longitude that is assigned to the zip code“90210” in Google’s location database. It will not display the distance from the user's current physical location.
Doing it this way allows someone who is in Chicago to search for restaurants that are close to his hotel in New York. This visitor would be surprised to search for New York and see all distances calculate the distance from his house in Chicago.
A Member Should Not Show First If They Are Not Located In The Area That Was Searched For
The most common reason this happens is that the site is set up so that premium members are allowed to select service areas and have a higher search result priority.
If there is a premium member in California, and allow them to select additional service areas, it means that they will appear in search results for those locations as well, despite them being physically located in California. If the premium member sets New York as a service area when a visitor performs a search for New York, the premium member that has chosen New York as a service area will show ahead of a Basic member that is physically located in New York due to the premium member's higher search results priority. If there are multiple premium members from different states that have selected New York as a service area, the Basic member will appear below all of them.
Visitors and members often view this as “broken” search results, even though the system is working exactly as it is designed.