Is Local Search Killing the Phone Book?

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Is Local Search Killing the Phone Book?While phone books aren't exactly a thing of the past just yet, they will be soon enough. This event has me thinking about the Yellowbook and the services they provide. At some point, businesses will begin to realize that advertising in the Yellowbook is no longer driving leads to their businesses, at least not the way it used to.

Is Local Search Killing the Phone Book?
Me: I'm hungry, let's order a pizza.

Mom: Sure, from Casey's?

Me: Ummm... yeah. Taco, or sausage and mushroom?

Mom: Taco.

Me: Sounds good. What's their number?

Mom: I'm not sure... look in the phone book.

Me: What's a phone book?

And that's about when I received a smack across the shoulder for being what my mom calls, a "smartass". I love to give my mom shit. My forte seems to be asking what something is when the "it" is something old or outdated. In this case, it was a phone book. Other times, it has been a CD, VCR, answering machine, etc.

Obviously the gag is that I am trying to make her feel old. I know what a phone book is, as well as a CD, VCR, and answering machine. However, by suggesting that these items are outdated, which they are, I am then implying that she is outdated, which she is. Sorry mom. No one I know uses a phone book anymore. This is fact.

It's true, I do not own a phone book. I do receive one every year. I'll usually find it sitting there at the end of my driveway, but then it gets recycled. It's also true that those that are closest to me, also do not own phone books. Instead, we rely on technology and the Internet. Personally, my go to application for when I need a phone number is the Google Maps app on my phone. I find this solution to be the best for me as it is fast, easy-to-use, and accessible wherever I am.

A Takeaway From This

While phone books aren't exactly a thing of the past just yet, they will be soon enough. This event has me thinking about the Yellowbook and the services they provide. At some point, businesses will begin to realize that advertising in the Yellowbook is no longer driving leads to their businesses, at least not the way it used to. Instead companies will have to invest in online advertising, most likely local search advertising via Google.

Furthermore, image just how much of an advantage those companies have currently just because they've taken their advertising online. I'd bet their online competition is slim compared to what it will be in just a short time. It's clear that if your small business isn't yet taking advantage of many local search marketing channels that are available online, you need to start. The time is now. It won't be long before everyone is, and then what advantage will have then.

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Google PPC Drop-Down Listings

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Google PPC Drop-Down Listings I just now noticed that Yahoo! is experimenting with a drop-down option on their paid search listings. I was searching for a bear claw - a tool used to shred pork and noticed the change. When users click down, the listing grows to show products, descriptions, and price related information. Is anyone seeing this change?

Google PPC Drop-Down Listings

Just came across this while searching for a bear claw - a tool used to shred pork - and noticed that the Target paid listing has a drop-down option that when clicked will show products, descriptions, and pricing related to your search. Anybody else seeing this?

Google PPC Drop-Down Listings

This could very well be old news, but this is the first time I've seen it.

Interesting.

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SEM is Like Running Through A Forest

written by
Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I ended up having one of those sit-down discussions with a close member of my family who just happens to be completely oblivious to what I do for a living. Actually, I can pretty much say that about all of my family. I try my best not to confuse them with talks of search engines algorithms, link juice, and paid placement techniques. However, I did my best to explain.

Welcome to the new year. I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. I sure did. One of my favorite parts about this time of year is being able to get together with friends and family and catch up on each others lives. Well that, and of course all of the food, booze, and gifts that come into play too.

I ended up having one of those sit-down discussions with a close member of my family who just happens to be completely oblivious to what I do for a living. Actually, I can pretty much say that about all of my family. They understand that I drive to work every morning, sit at a desk, operate a computer, and work online with websites, but that's about the extent of it. I try my best not to confuse them with talks of search engines algorithms, link juice, and paid placement techniques. However, in this particular case, I was asked several questions that needed detailed answers. I did my best to explain my position as a search marketer.

During our conversation, we kept coming back to this idea that a website owner could in fact be doing their own search engine marketing... especially those that are budget-conscious. Instead of shooting down this notion that a search marketer is nothing more then an expendable middle-man of sorts, I actually validated it. Hell, it's true.

I explained that my clients could certainly be running their own search marketing campaigns if they had the time, money, and inclination to educate themselves on how to do so. I then followed that with "I could also self-diagnose and treat my own medical needs too, if I had the time, money, and inclination to go to medical school. But, I'd rather just leave it to the professionals". Flick, flick, and flick... the light bulb went off. The analogy worked.

Later that evening while driving home I began to think about this particular conversation and came up with probably the best analogy that I have ever thought of to describe why a search engine marketer is so valuable to a website owner. I was late thinking of it and so it never did make it into my discussion, but maybe you can use it in one of your own.

It goes a little something like this:

Search engine marketing is like running through a forest. Both, while seemingly easy on the surface, can be quite the opposite once you start to consider the tasks associated with each. Now in either case, you could choose to have someone guide you through the process or you could take the task upon yourself. It's your call.

In regards to running through a forest, wouldn't you agree that it is in your best interest to have an experienced and knowledgeable guide with you at all times to explain to you, in great detail, the many dangers that exist? Wouldn't you also agree that having someone tell you when, where, and how to jump or duck as you ran would be better then the alternative... that is falling in holes and hitting your head on low-hanging branches? This kind of foresight is priceless! I guess the alternative is that you could just start running through the forest by yourself and deal with each situation as it arises, but then again you wouldn't really be running now would you?

And that's my point.

When a company invests in a search engine marketer they aren't just paying for someone to submit their website to the search engines and edit a couple of meta-tags. If that is the case then I'd certainly encourage those companies to "optimize" their sites themselves. Instead, companies are employing someone to be at the forefront of their online marketing efforts and, to some extent, share with them year's worth of hands-on experience and industry know-how. Having a search marketer guide you through the many dangers that exist with the search engine marketing process, as well as to tell you when, where, and how to jump or duck is priceless information.

Well, I guess it's not completely priceless. We all have a price, but you get my point.

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