In response to the growing interest in local search, the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) introduced a new column this month called "Viewpoints" that features commentary and articles relating to the growth and development of the local search market. The new column features articles written by some of the top names in the industry, including local search guru Greg Sterling of The Kelsey Group.

In an article today titled IYP, Consumers and the Search Arms Race, Sterling explores how the 100 year old Yellow Pages industry is being forced to adapt to the online world in order to capture their own share of the rapidly expanding local search market. Sterling points out that roughly 20% of all searches being conducted are for local items or businesses and that roughly three quarters of online consumers have conducted at least one localized search.

The article makes a good point about the need for companies to adapt their business models toward changing technology. It's not just the Yellow Pages or the brick and mortar stores of the world that need to rethink how they do business now that we've entered the age of the Internet. We're also going to see significant changes in the coming years in regards to how products are marketed. With DVRs spreading like wildfire and television viewers now having the ability to fast forward through commercials, businesses and ad executives are going to have to find new and creative ways to reach their target audiences.

With search marketing so heavily focused on placing products in front of parties when they are interested (as opposed to when they are reading the newspaper, driving or watching their favorite shows) the new medium of search and contextual advertising will provide ever expanding opportunities for companies to market their products.

Local search is a logical expansion in this area. After all, what better way to increase the inventory of keyword related ads and contextual based ads than to segment search activity by region? A used car dealership in Houston is unlikely to have much luck selling their cars to someone in Columbus, Ohio, so why pay the fees associated with national advertising. Localized search segmentation is on par with cable TV advertising in how it allows smaller businesses to reach an audience that would otherwise be too expensive to target.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
March 3, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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