Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Local Search Advertising Options for Small Businesses

One of the hot topics in the search engine marketing industry is local search. Local search is the ability to search for local business listings online - an online phone directory, but through the search engines.

Local search advertising & marketing is still a nascent niche industry. The idea is that local and small businesses will have more targeted and refined online advertising options with local search rather than the more cutthroat national and international search advertising & marketing venue.

There are several different options available for small businesses and we'll take a look at a few available.
  1. Search Engine Local Listings: Both Google and Yahoo have prominent local search indexes that are free to submit for indexing. Yahoo even offers local businesses a free listing plus free 5-page website. Google requires you to have a Google account. You can open one for local listing or use a Gmail or Adsense.
  2. Paid Search Engine Listings: Yahoo Local offers paid advertising options that let you paid your way to the top spot in local search listings. So for example, if you wanted to be the top Mover in your local market and you know there are several other moving companies you compete with, if you can pay it, you can be the top listing in a local search. Google offers paid listings through AdSense only.
  3. Paid Listings in Online Phone Directories: You can also pay your way into a listing on,,, and other online versions of printed phone directories.
  4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Text-based advertising where you pay only when someone clicks on your sponsored ad. In Yahoo and Google, you can set the geography that you want to target your advertising, so when someone searches for your industry by geography, your ad shows up. Costs per click can be as low as 1 cent, or even upwards of over $100 per click, depending on how competitive the market is. Yahoo & Google currently reign as kings of PPC advertising. Other smaller sites include Kanoodle and Mamma to name a few.
  5. Pay-Per-Call Advertising: Pay when someone calls a special #800 to reach your business. This is the newest form of advertising targeted specifically for the local business who does a lot of business by phone. The idea is when someone does a local search and sees your business's listing, they call a special #800 that is specific to your company and to your company's listing. When they call, you close the sale over the phone. This is much more expensive than pay-per-click, starting at $2 per call. However, the frequency of volume would be lower than pay-per-click. AOL and Findwhat are the major publishers of pay-per-call advertising.

These are just some of the exciting search engine advertising options for local and small businesses.


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