What is MerchantCircle you ask? Its an online marketing solution for U.S. small businesses. Depending on your definition, that category could include anywhere from 10 million to 17 million or so entities. Like many others, MerchantCircle takes aim at the yellow pages services market and hopes to lure local advertisers with a range of cost-effective offerings: a rich, structured landing page, blog, newsletters, online couponing and search-marketing. There are two packages: $29 per month and $99 per month, beyond a limited free offering. The site is not a consumer destination, but a hosted platform intended to help businesses be found in search results and communicate with customers.
The landing pages, which are intended as a substitute for a website (but could be a complement to one), are highly SEO-friendly according to CEO Ben Smith. A random search of listed merchants produces mixed results in terms of where they appear in SERP rankings. But as the content grows on the directory, which Smith likens to profile pages in MySpace, those SEO rankings should improve.
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