Although the major services get the most attention, there are dozens of players in the local search space and lots of opportunities for search marketers use to highly targeted services to reach users looking for local products and services.
The Local Search Guide is an industry showcase put together by the Yellow Pages Association with support from comScore, SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), and The Kelsey Group, a consulting firm known for its work in online yellow pages and directories.
The Local Search Guide features profiles of 19 Internet yellow pages providers; 22 search engines that offer some type of local search; 29 vertical directories that serve as an online index of local vendors in well-defined categories; and 31 search tool vendors, defined as companies that provide directory listings, transform existing print products to online content, combine Web services with VOIP (define) and phone capabilities, or provide search capabilities through a network of users.
Profiles of each company are compiled from public information, intended to provide a brief snapshot of each firm rather than offer a comprehensive description. Partners and advertising products offered by each company are also listed, as is a timeline of milestones for each company and ownership information for many companies.
The "who powers whom" information shows a complex web of associations between many of the players in the local space. For example, look at the profile of Yahoo and you learn:
Got all that?
What's particularly useful for search marketers is the list of advertising products offered by each service, though unfortunately there are no direct links to more information about each one. You'll have to click the link to the home page of each service, then hunt around to find out how to participate in the various search advertising programs described.
For the Internet yellow pages and search engines, comScore also provides rankings data for each of the services. No real surprises with the search engine rankings, with Google, Yahoo, and MSN listed as the top-ranked services. But it's interesting to note Yahoo and Google are also the number one and three Internet yellow pages providers, with MSN in ninth place.
The Local Search Guide also has a thorough glossary and a great list of links to other sites related to Internet yellow pages and local search.
If you have an interest in Internet yellow pages or want to dig into opportunities to get more heavily involved in local search marketing, the Local Search Guide is a great resource. The site has been online since December 2004 but is maintained and updated with new information on a regular basis.
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Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.
In addition to being Associate Editor of ClickZ's sister publication, SearchDay.com, Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to Online Magazine, EContent, Information Today and other information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.
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