Although the major services get 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 21 internet yellow pages providers, 21 search engines that offer some type of local search, 27 vertical directories that serve as an online index of local vendors in well-defined categories, and 30 search tool vendors, defined as companies that provide directory listings, transform existing print products to online content, combine Web services with VoIP 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 providing a comprehensive description. Partners and advertising products offered by each company are also listed, a timeline of milestones for each company, and ownership information and 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 that:
- InfoUSA provides Yahoo Local with basic business listings content
- YELLOWPAGES.COM advertisers are included in Yahoo Local and Yahoo Yellow Pages.
- Dex advertisers are included with Yahoo Yellow Pages
- Yahoo works with more than a dozen specialty and vertical content providers to provide depth to basic business listings, such as OpenTable for restaurant listings information.
- Merchants can directly update their listing for free or pay for top placement on the Yahoo Local page
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 product. You'll need to click the link to the home page of each service and 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 that Yahoo and Google are also the number one and three ranked 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.