The Local Search Zeitgeist

Last week, ClickZ wrote an analysis of the state of local search advertising. Using the €œGoogle Zeitgeist,€ the article reported that only 1 in 20 searches on Google Local generated ads from small businesses, as opposed to geotargeted ads from national advertisers.

Thus the article paints a somewhat fatalistic picture of search-engine advertising for small business. And while it mentions the recent Google-BellSouth deal the article doesn€™t otherwise discuss the rapid proliferation of simplified search products now being introduced.

Firms such as Inceptor, SME Global Solutions, Marchex and others are increasingly offering simplified search to the market through €œsmall business aggregators€ or resellers (e.g., Yellow Pages publishers, Web hosts, vertical directories). As we point out in €œSEM for SMEs: The Model Has Arrived,€ this €œflat fee-guaranteed clicks€ approach will bring in the volume of local advertisers, who very clearly aren€™t going to involve themselves with the complexity of paid search directly.

These simplified products are proving extremely popular with local businesses and have very high renewal rates so far according to two different providers.

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